QUETTA, Pakistan -- A bomb killed at least 27 people and wounded 18 yesterday as Shi'ite Muslims congregated at a shrine in a remote town in southwestern Pakistan, authorities said.
Thousands of worshipers were at the shrine of a Shi'ite saint near the town of Naseerabad, about 210 miles south of Quetta in Baluchistan Province, when the bomb went off outside, police reported.
There was no claim of responsibility late yesterday. There was no indication that the attack was linked to clashes between renegade local leaders and government forces at a town elsewhere in southwestern Baluchistan, which left at least 30 people dead last week.
''It was a powerful bomb. There was blood and body parts everywhere," Mehrab Khan, a local police official, said in an interview.
''Right now, people are angry. They are wailing and crying. Some of them have blocked roads in the town, and we are trying to control the situation."
A doctor at the local Civil Hospital said that 27 people had been killed and 18 wounded, nine critically. All the victims were men, authorities said.
Khan said he expected the death toll to rise.
Pakistan has a history of sectarian violence, mostly between Sunni and Shi'ite groups. About 80 percent of Pakistan's 150 million people are Sunnis; 17 percent are Shi'ites.
In another development late yesterday, two homemade bombs exploded in a residential area of the town of Turbat, about 400 miles southwest of Quetta, wounding four people, police said. The police did not know who had carried out the attacks.
In another area of Baluchistan, thousands of people fearing the collapse of a shaky cease-fire escaped a town where fighting last week between Pakistani troops and local leaders had left at least 30 people dead, officials said.
The fighting Thursday in Dera Bugti, 30 miles from Pakistan's main gas fields, was viewed as an escalation of a rebellion in Baluchistan, the country's poorest province.
A parliamentary committee has been set up to examine local grievances in the province, which was roiled by insurgency in the 1970s. Many people in Baluchistan are demanding more returns from the natural gas extracted from their territory, and many resent the army's moves to set up garrisons in the region.
As government workers and families fled in vehicles under paramilitary escort, ethnic nationalists accused the army of preparing a major offensive.
Pakistan's interior minister, Aftab Khan Sherpao, in the capital, Islamabad, said fighters loyal to the local leadership were digging in and around Dera Bugti and destroying roads. He described these as ''serious developments" but said the government wanted to resolve the situation through talks.
The two sides agreed to a cease-fire early Friday, after 16 hours of clashes. But yesterday, 3,300 government employees and their families, who are not from the local Bugti tribe, evacuated the town, which has a population of 84,000.
Abdul Samad Lasi, the top government official in Dera Bugti, said at least 1,500 armed Bugti fighters had taken up positions in mountains outside the town. Lasi said the evacuation had been prompted by a statement yesterday from a leader, Nawab Akbar Bugti, that he could not guarantee government employees' safety.