Asia

Pakistan guards die escorting Spain cyclist Javier Colorado

  • 22 January 2014
  • From the section Asia
Image grab of Javier Colorado's Facebook page Image copyright Other
Image caption A message was posted after the attack on Javier Colorado's Facebook page

Gunmen have shot dead at least six guards who were escorting a Spanish cyclist through Pakistan's volatile Balochistan province.

They were about 50km (31 miles) west of the provincial capital Quetta, in the district of Mastung, when they were ambushed.

Cyclist Javier Colorado was slightly hurt after falling off his bike.

A message on Facebook said he intended to continue his trip from Europe on into Asia and the rest of the world.

The attack happened close to the scene of a bus bombing on Tuesday that killed 28 Shia pilgrims.

This remote part of western Pakistan is plagued by kidnappings and drug traffickers as Balochistan ethnic nationalists wage an insurgency for more autonomy.

'Hello Pakistan'

Mr Colorado had arrived from Iran on Tuesday evening. He was urged by the authorities to spend the night at a local police station before being assigned a 12-man armed escort, in two vehicles, for his onward journey.

Soon after setting off, a group of armed men attacked the convoy, shooting dead at least six of the guards and wounding five others.

Several hours after the attack, a message attributed to Mr Colorado's family was posted on the Facebook page devoted to his trip, Colorado on the Road.

"First of all, we want to thank the Spanish consulate in Pakistan for all their help. We've received a call from the embassy and they have informed us that Javier is well and not hurt.

"Today he will fly to Lahore, on the border with India. His initial intent is to continue his trip."

In an earlier message, Mr Colorado posted "Goodbye Iran, hello Pakistan" and said he was in Pakistan, close to Quetta, having cycled more than 10,000km since his trip began on 1 October.

"My next stop is the capital of this country, Islamabad."

Police say they do not know why Mr Colorado was cycling through such a dangerous area.

Two Czech women abducted as they travelled through Balochistan from Iran last March are still missing.

The BBC's Ilyas Khan says the route has been traditionally used by Western tourists entering Pakistan from Iran, but it has become increasingly dangerous to do so.

It seems bizarre that the Pakistani authorities would allow a Western tourist to cycle through the region, particularly in light of the kidnapping of the two Czech women, he adds.

More on this story