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Separatist rebels kill 14 in SW Pakistan

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Pakistani paramilitary soldiers take position during a rebel attack in Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province, on June 15, 2013. Separatist rebels Tuesday killed 14 people, including three security officers, after stopping vehicles at a fake checkpoint in Pakistan's volatile southwestern province of Baluchistan, officials said. (AFP/File)

Separatist rebels Tuesday killed 14 people, including three security officers, after stopping vehicles at a fake checkpoint in Pakistan's volatile southwestern province of Baluchistan, officials said.

The attack appears to have targeted mostly people from the central province of Punjab ahead of the Eid al-Fitr holiday.

Separatist rebels have been fighting in Baluchistan since 2004, demanding political autonomy and a greater share of profits from the region's natural oil, gas and mineral resources.

Tuesday's attack happened in the Mach area of Bolan district, 70 kilometres (44 miles) southeast of the provincial capital Quetta.

"Miscreants blocked the road in two places. First they took away five FC (paramilitary) men from an FC patrol vehicle, tied them up and snatched their walkie-talkies and weapons," provincial home secretary Akbar Hussain Durrani told AFP.

The rebels then stopped two buses and took away 13 labourers. Security force personnel chased after them, but the rebels fired off a rocket that killed one security officer, Durrani said.

"Then they lined them up in the mountains and killed 13," added Durrani.

Local official, Kashif Nabi, confirmed the incident and said the bodies had been recovered.

"We are making arrangements to bring them to Quetta," he said.