April 18 (UPI) -- Over a dozen gunmen ambushed a bus in southwestern Pakistan Thursday, killing at least 14 passengers after having checked their identifications, authorities said.
Between 15 and 20 unidentified armed men in camouflage clothing stopped the bus between 12:30 a.m. and 1 a.m. Thursday, and checked the identifications of the passengers before removing 16 of them from the vehicle, Dawn reported.
The assailants then gunned down 14 of the passengers while two other people removed from the bus managed to escape to a nearby checkpoint.
The bus was stopped along the Makran Coastal Highway in Balochistan province's Ormara district between Pakistan's most populated city of Karachi and the southwestern port city of Gwadar.
Soon after the shooting was reported, security forces reached the location and began their investigation, The Express Tribune reported.
The perpetrators and their motive were not yet known.
Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal condemned the shooting while referring to it as a terrorist attack.
"These cowardly terrorists showed the extent of their barbarism by murdering innocent passengers," he said.
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry also condemned the attack along with the other recent instances of violence in the area.
The attack was targeting Pakistan's minority Hazara community who often fall victim to sectarian violence as they are Shiite Muslims.
The National Commission for Human Rights Pakistan said 509 members of the Hazara community have been killed over a five-year period ending December 2017.
The attack also mirrors that of the 2015 killing of 19 passengers in the province's Mastung area.
During the incident, 30 passengers were removed from a bus and 19 of them were taken to the nearby mountains and shot dead.