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Attack took place in Balochistan province, scene of a number of kidnappings of foreign nationals in recent years

Seven police officers escorting a Spanish cyclist as he rode through Pakistan while on a round-the-world bike ride have been killed after what local officials and the Spanish government describe as an attempted kidnapping turned into a firefight.

The attack, which left five other police officers injured and one of the presumed kidnappers, took place yesterday in the Balochistan province, which borders Iran to the west and Afghanistan to the north.

The region has seen a number of terrorist attacks and kidnappings of foreign nationals in recent years.

The cyclist has been identified as Javier Colorado, who is said to have sustained minor injuries in the attack, reports Australia Network News.

He was reported to have undergone medical checks and was “in the custody of the provincial administration."

Colorado's family posted a message to his Facebook page, which read: “In the first place we want to thank the Spanish consulate in Pakistan for all their help.

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

In a statement issued yesterday, the Spanish government said it wished to “underline the high regard it has for the work of the Pakistani state security forces in defending a Spanish citizen, whose safety and well-being has cost the lives of the police officers who died this morning performing their duties.

The UK’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office advises against all travel to northern and western Balochistan and also warns of “a high threat from terrorism, kidnap and sectarian violence throughout Pakistan.”

Some round-the-world cyclists choose to avoid the country altogether after balancing their sense of adventure with personal safety, while others are prepared to take risks.

None of the 12 participants in the World Cycle Race in 2012 rode through the region, most opting to fly from Turkey to India to skip the Middle East, while two took a more northerly route via Kazakhstan.

In 2009, during his round-the-world bike ride, after being the victim of an attempted kidnapping, James Bowthorpe chose not to ride through Pakistan on his way from Iran to India as a result of security concerns.

Instead, he flew via Dubai, making up the distance sacrificed elsewhere on his circumnavigation.

“It seems like an unnecessary risk to take, not just for myself but everyone there who will be escorting me, especially as violence has increased fourfold over the last year and westerners are also being targeted,” he said at the time.

“I intend to make up the mileage in the US with an extended and much harder route, going further south than originally intended and going over more mountains.”

At the time Bowthorpe set off in his ride in 2009, the Guinness World Record for the fastest navigation of the globe by bicycle was held by the Scot, Mark Beaumont.

He had been warned by the British Embassy not to enter Pakistan, but set off there anyway, arriving a few days before martial law was imposed.

During his time in the country, he was escorted by police officers, sleeping on the floors of police stations each night.

Afterwards, he told the Daily Record: "The police thought it was a waste of their time. They kept trying to pick my bike up and put it in the truck.

"After days of being jeered at I'd had enough. One day I lost it – one of the only times in my life I've done that – and they gave me space afterwards," he added.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

18 comments

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Gkam84 [9068 posts] 2 years ago
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If you are told to avoid an area, but you still go there, why on earth would the police bother to help you. You should be doing it at your own risk and not have a squad of police risking their safety, just because you fancy a cycle.

Waste of time and life if you ask me. So 7 dead, 5 injured....how many more uninjured?

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mad_scot_rider [581 posts] 2 years ago
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@Gkam - possibly stated with more directness that I would have used - but I definitely query this chap's wisdom in choosing that route and feel he bears some responsibility for the outcome

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ronin [263 posts] 2 years ago
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Perhaps he can use the rest of his trip to raise money for the family's who have been robbed of I assume their main bread winner...seven people loosing their life to protect you is not an easy thing to have on your conscience. Especially if it could have been avoided.

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notfastenough [3661 posts] 2 years ago
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I would not want that on my conscience. RIP.

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Farky [183 posts] 2 years ago
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So - you can miss out countries in a RTW record if politics etc allow, just add-on the approx miles elsewhere...where its nicer and smooth roads, better food, nicer hotels, wifi and maybe a prevailing wind feature for the season?-/

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sorebones [138 posts] 2 years ago
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Agree with earlier posts. To risk your own life is one thing, to endanger others is selfish and reckless.

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farrell [1950 posts] 2 years ago
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Gkam84 wrote:

So 7 dead, 5 injured....how many more uninjured?

Billions I'd imagine.

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Al__S [958 posts] 2 years ago
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What an utter prat. Self entitlement taken to it's brutal extreme

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mrfree [71 posts] 2 years ago
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Did the cyclist really put other lifes at risk? Or was this the fault, perhaps, just maybe, of the people that tried to kidnap him?

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stumps [3184 posts] 2 years ago
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mrfree wrote:

Did the cyclist really put other lifes at risk? Or was this the fault, perhaps, just maybe, of the people that tried to kidnap him?

What a complete and utter load of rubbish.

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jarredscycling [456 posts] 2 years ago
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It might not have been smart to go there but it still doesn't make it his fault that criminals broke the law. Victims are never at fault

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TheSpaniard [89 posts] 2 years ago
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jarredscycling wrote:

It might not have been smart to go there but it still doesn't make it his fault that criminals broke the law. Victims are never at fault

Unless of course the victim is a cyclist.

I agree with earlier posters, the guy's a tool.

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Gkam84 [9068 posts] 2 years ago
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farrell wrote:
Gkam84 wrote:

So 7 dead, 5 injured....how many more uninjured?

Billions I'd imagine.

I guess I left myself open to that  24

I meant, how many more police officers guarding this one cyclist were uninjured in this incident?

In essence, how many officers does it take to protect one cyclist, travelling through hostile territory on an ego trip??

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Grizzerly [252 posts] 2 years ago
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Isn't it time we stopped giving publicity to these idiots? The world cannot be circumnavigated by bike, you need, at least, to use a boat for very wet bits, like the sea. This stupidity has cost 7 men's lives directly and possibly more indirectly, given the amount of police time wasted on escorting Colorado, and subsequently investigating and attending to the attempted kidnap. It may not be Colorado's fault that the kidnap attempt was made, but it was his fault that it was possible.

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mrmo [2016 posts] 2 years ago
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Grizzerly wrote:

Isn't it time we stopped giving publicity to these idiots? The world cannot be circumnavigated by bike, you need, at least, to use a boat for very wet bits, like the sea. This stupidity has cost 7 men's lives directly and possibly more indirectly, given the amount of police time wasted on escorting Colorado, and subsequently investigating and attending to the attempted kidnap. It may not be Colorado's fault that the kidnap attempt was made, but it was his fault that it was possible.

Be careful with your logic, is it safe to leave the house in case someone runs you down? In fact is it safe to have a house in case someone fire bombs it!!!!

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Lord Fishface [26 posts] 2 years ago
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Gkam84 wrote:

If you are told to avoid an area, but you still go there, why on earth would the police bother to help you.

Perhaps because, contrary to your expectations, Pakistan's police do indeed give a damn about their duty to maintain the rule of law.

While it's a foolish and morally-dubious choice to endanger your life and those of others as you go cycling through Balochistan after your government has issued a warning to avoid the place, to insinuate that primary responsibility for these deaths should fall upon the cyclist (and indeed by extension the murdered policemen themselves), rather than upon the gun-wielding lunatics who carried out the attack, is deeply invidious victim-blaming.

You might as well have asked whether or not they were wearing helmets.

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eurotrash [88 posts] 2 years ago
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So let's say Obama goes to visit some part of the US where he isn't liked, and someone tries to kill him and ends up taking out some of his escort instead. Is it Obama's fault for visiting the area, or the fault of those who attempted to assassinate him?

Or maybe the same scenario but with Cameron and some crazy left-wingers... we all know how violent these commies can be.

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KiwiMike [1074 posts] 2 years ago
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apparently the truth was quite different to the above story:

http://road.cc/110098