At least a dozen people and possibly up to 23 have been killed in Iran’s Sistan-Baluchistan province where Revolutionary Guards and security forces have used lethal force against fuel couriers from ethnic minorities and protesters, the United Nations said on Friday.
The shooting of people carrying fuel across the border led to protests that spread from the city of Saravan to other areas in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan, including the capital, Zahedan.
“The series of violent events and unrest began on 22 February, when Revolutionary Guards are alleged to have shot and killed at least 10 fuel couriers, known as sookhtbar, in Sistan and Baluchistan Province at the border with Pakistan, after a two-day stand-off triggered by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps blocking the road to the city of Saravan,” U.N. human rights spokesman Rupert Colville told a news briefing in Geneva.
Colville said that it has been difficult to verify the death toll due to disruptions of local mobile data networks, but some unconfirmed reports have estimated that as many as 23 people may have been killed.
“We call on the authorities to immediately restore Internet access in areas that remain disconnected,” he said.