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 / Updated  / Source: NBC News

Militants swept into a workers' camp in the middle of the night and killed at least 20 sleeping workers in the restive Pakistani province of Balochistan early Saturday morning, officials told NBC News.

According to district police officer Imran Qureshi, around 40 armed men belonging to the Baloch Liberation Front militant group stormed the camp that housed men working on a dam, checked the laborers' IDs and executed those ones they identified as non-Baloch.

Some 10 gunmen on motorcycles opened fire on the sleeping workers at a dam-building site in Makran, Pakistan, police officer Kech Imran Ali told NBC News.

NBC News was not able to independently confirm the details of the attack.

Balochistan government spokesman Jan Mohammad Buledi said a search operation was underway to catch the fleeing attackers. He said the government would offer the families of the deceased 1 million rupees (nearly $10,000) each.

Balochistan is the scene of a low-intensity insurgency by separatists who want substantial share of revenue from gas and mineral resources and complete autonomy from Islamabad. Islamic militants also operate in the area.

It was the deadliest recent attack to target civilians in the region. In September 2012, 10 laborers and five tribesmen in a labor camp were gunned down in the province's Khuzdar district.


— Mujeeb Ahmed, Wajahat S. Khan and The Associated Press