A suspected militant killed himself and two children in southwest Pakistan when a bomb in the car he was driving exploded before he reached his intended target.

A woman was also killed and 12 people wounded on Sunday when the bomb detonated close to the home of the militant on the outskirts of Quetta, capital of the insurgency-hit province of Baluchistan. The rented house was badly damaged.

“We have recovered the bodies of a woman and two children from the debris and also found a severed head, believed to be of a militant who was killed in the blast,” police spokesman Mukhtar Ahmed told AFP.

The injured included seven children, some of them related to the dead, the spokesman said.

“The target was not clear. We have launched an investigation to identify the militant. Police were also interrogating the owner of the house,” he said.

bdul Razzaq, in charge of the bomb-disposal squad in Quetta, told AFP the car was carrying between 80 and 100 kilograms of explosives.

Baluchistan, which borders Afghanistan and Iran, is one of the most deprived areas of Pakistan.

Baluch rebels rose up in 2004, demanding political autonomy and a greater share of profits from the oil, gas and mineral resources in the region.

The province also suffers from Taliban attacks and is a flashpoint for sectarian violence involving Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims which has left thousands of people dead since the late 1980s.