QUETTA - Three people were killed and 12 others, including three Levies Force men, sustained injuries in a bomb attack on Shia pilgrims in Ganjdori area of Mastung, some 50km away from the provincial capital on Tuesday.

Mastung Deputy Commissioner Irfan Shah Gharsheen and Balochistan Levies officials confirmed three pilgrims died and another nine, including women and children, sustained injuries when a bomb ripped through a bus carrying them. But other unconfirmed reports put the death toll at five.

“The bus caught fire after the blast,” an eyewitness told this scribe via phone. He added that the injured jumped out of it to save their life. Rescuers and lawmen rushed to the site. Abdul Qadir, a Levies official, claimed from on the spot that the firemen reached the site 90 minutes after the explosion.

Ambulances from Quetta were also sent to take the dead and injured to the Bolan Medical College Teaching Hospital where an emergency had been declared. Two Levies men were among the wound as they were escorting the bus when the blast took place. No group claimed responsibility for the attack till filing of this report.

Officials found small car parts on the site, suggesting that it might have been struck the bus near Lak Pass where scores of Shias had fell prey to sectarian violence in recent months. However, the officials are yet to confirm whether it was a suicide hit or roadside bomb blast.

They said there was no indication that someone was onboard the bus and he detonated himself. It is likely that the suicide bomber might have used a car to ram into the coach, they added. However, an investigation is on. On September 20, 2011, 26 Shia pilgrims from the Hazara community were killed in a gun attack in the same area of Mastung district. Following the attack, the government decided to escort buses carrying pilgrims.