Two Pakistan coast guard killed in Pakistan's key CPEC port district

October 23, 2016 1:19 PM EDT

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By Gul Yusufzai

QUETTA, Pakistan (Reuters) - Two Pakistan Coast Guard officers were gunned down in the southwestern province of Balochistan on Sunday in a district that is key to a Chinese-funded transport and energy project opposed by separatist militants, police said.

No one had claimed responsibility for the attack in the port district of Gwadar by late Sunday night.

Police official Chakar Khan Baloch said the attack was in the seaside town of Jiwani near the Iranian border.

"Two people on a motorcycle targeted Pakistan Coast Gard personnel when they were patrolling in the bazaar of the coastal town," Baloch said.

Two civilians were wounded and hospitalized, he added.

Baloch said the two men were working the intelligence unit of the coast guard in Jiwani, about 80 km (50 miles) west of the Gwadar deepwater port.

It was not clear whether the attack was connected to the port or the $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)project, a network of roads, railways and energy pipelines aiming to connect western Chinese cities to the sea port in Gwadar.

Resource-rich Baluchistan has decades-old ethnic Baluch separatist movements that are battling the central Pakistani government and oppose the CPEC as bringing little benefit to local residents.

Militants trying to disrupt the CPEC project have killed 44 workers since 2014, an official said on Thursday, a rising toll likely to reinforce Chinese worry about the project's security.

(Writing by Kay Johnson; Editing by Ros Russell)

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