Six police officers in Pakistan have been killed while fending off a kidnap attempt against a Spanish adventurer attempting to cycle through one of the most dangerous parts of the country.
Javier Colorado, 27, who is on a round-the-world bicycle trip, was travelling with an escort of paramilitary police guards towards Quetta, the provincial capital of insurgency-racked Baluchistan province.
Local officials said six members of the Levies - as the tribal police force is known - were killed in an exchange of fire while another five were injured.
"Armed men opened indiscriminate firing and wanted to kidnap the foreigner," a local Levies official said.
Colorado was also taken to hospital with a bullet wound. The Spanish foreign ministry said he was released later.
He was given a police guard after crossing from Iran into Baluchistan, one of Pakistan's most volatile provinces.
Pakistanis reacted with astonishment that a foreigner was travelling through the area, not least as the attempted kidnapping took place in Mastung, the district where a bomb attack on a bus carrying Shia pilgrims from Iran killed 24 people on Monday.
The incident had prevented Colorado from travelling on towards Quetta on Tuesday.
A message on Colorado's Facebook page posted by relatives said his family "would like to give our appreciation for the attention given by the Spanish consulate in Pakistan".
But it suggested he would give the rest of Pakistan a miss.
"We received a call from the embassy that Javier is well and uninjured. Today he will take a flight to Lahore, next to the Indian border," the message said.
"His intentions right now are to continue his journey."