Members of minority Shia community gather in the troubled province to demand justice for 10 coal miners who were killed in an attack claimed by Daesh terrorists in southwestern Machh area.

Mourners react as they gather with coffins of miners during a sit-in protest on the outskirts of Quetta, Balochistan on January 4, 2021.
Mourners react as they gather with coffins of miners during a sit-in protest on the outskirts of Quetta, Balochistan on January 4, 2021. (AFP)

Thousands of mourners from a minority Shia community in Pakistan have protested alongside the bodies of miners killed in an attack claimed by the Daesh.

The 10 miners were kidnapped before dawn on Sunday as they slept near the remote coal mine in the southwestern mountainous Machh area, 60 kilometres southeast of Quetta city.

On Monday, up to 2,500 protesters gathered with eight of the bodies in coffins and blocked a bypass on the outskirts of Quetta, capital of oil and gas-rich Balochistan province, demanding justice.

"We will not end our protest until the arrest of all the assassins," said the chief of Balochistan Shia Conference, Agha Daud.

"The latest wave of killings will spread to other cities including Quetta if a decisive action is not taken at this stage," he added.

READ MORE: Gunmen kill Hazara coal miners in southwest Pakistan

Death toll revised to 10

Security officials who did not want to be named said the attackers first separated the miners before tying their hands and feet and taking them into the hills to kill them. At least four were beheaded, they added.

Two of the miners were Afghans and their bodies have been sent to Afghanistan for burial, a local security official said.

Officials on Monday clarified ten people had died in the attack, revising a previous death toll of 11.

Daesh terror group claimed the attack, according to SITE Intelligence. 

READ MORE: The trouble with being Hazara in Pakistan's Quetta city

Vulnerable ethnic group 

Ethnic Hazaras make up most of the Shia population in Quetta, the country's largest and poorest region, rife with ethnic, sectarian, and separatist insurgencies.

They have proven to be particularly vulnerable with their distinct Central Asian features making them easy targets for Daesh militants who consider them heretics.

Pakistani officials have long denied the presence of the group in the country, but it has claimed a number of attacks in the past including a bombing at a vegetable market in 2019.

Though Pakistan's mines are notorious for poor safety standards, such attacks against miners are rare.

Source: AFP