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A suicide bomber rammed a vehicle into a convoy of Chinese engineers working on a dam project in northwest Pakistan on Tuesday, killing six people, police said, the third major attack on Chinese interests in the South Asian country in a week. The first two attacks targeted a Pakistan naval air base and a strategic port used by China in the southwest province of Balochistan where Beijing is investing billions in infrastructure projects.

The engineers were en route from Islamabad to their camp at the dam construction site in Dasu in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, regional police chief Mohammad Ali Gandapur said.
“Five Chinese nationals and their Pakistani driver were killed in the attack,” Gandapur told Reuters.
Dasu is the site of a major dam and the area has been attacked in the past. A blast on a bus killed 13 people, including nine Chinese nationals, in 2021.

Chinese engineers have been working on a number of projects in Pakistan with Beijing investing over $65 billion in infrastructure works as part of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) under Beijing’s wider Belt and Road initiative. No one claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s attack; there also had been no claim for the 2021 attack. Pakistan is home to twin insurgencies – one by Islamists and the other by ethnic militants seeking secession.

While Chinese interests are primarily targeted by the ethnic militants seeking to push Beijing out of mineral-rich Balochistan, they generally operate in the country’s south and southwest – far from the site of Tuesday’s attack. Islamists mostly operate in Pakistan’s northwest, the area where the convoy was attacked.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police have reached the spot and started relief operations. A separate police source told Reuters the convoy was carrying staff of the construction firm China Gezhouba Group Company (CGGC) working on the Dasu hydropower project – the same company targeted in 2021.