Seven cops among 13 killed in Balochistan

PAKISTAN, 03.04.2006 - Thirteen people, including seven Levies personnel and two soldiers, were killed and 28 others injured in a series of landmine blasts and attacks on security forces in various parts of Balochistan on Sunday.


The first landmine explosion occurred in Killi Waziran, some 12 kilometers from the Kohlu city, claiming the lives of a woman, a man and a girl. Officials said some children were playing in a Nullah in front of the Government Dairy Farm when three children (all boys) hit a landmine, which was laid under a Katcha path, and received injuries.

As soon as the blast rocked the area, a number of residents, including the parents of the children, rushed towards the scene, where another tragedy was awaiting them. Big explosions occurred as some people struck other landmines hidden around the scene. As a result, an unknown infant girl, a woman (believed to be her mother), Naz Bakht, and Baz Muhammad, also a close relative of the victims, were killed and 22 others wounded, eight of them seriously.

The local administration and security forces first cleared the area of the remaining landmines, suspected to have been laid by miscreants, and then removed the deceased and the injured from the site.

Eight seriously injured persons were taken to the DG Khan Hospital, while eight others were admitted to the local (FC and district) hospitals. The rest were discharged after necessary medical treatment.

Meanwhile, seven Levies personnel became victim of another landmine blast near Sanni Cross in the Dhahdhar area of the Bolan district. According to reports reaching here, a convoy of the Levies comprising six vehicles was on its way when one of the vehicles struck a landmine laid along the road at noon.

The explosion caused damage to the vehicle, killed three personnel -- Abdul Aleem, Raja Khan and Imam Bakhsh -- on the spot and wounded six others. Four of the injured succumbed to their injuries on their way to a hospital. They were identified as Muhammad Noor, Ali Nawaz, Imam Bakhsh and Muhammad Khair.

The local administration and security personnel shifted the bodies and the injured to a hospital. Further investigations are in progress. Officials said the security forces had cordoned off the whole area and started a search for those involved in the terrorist activities.

Agencies add: A blast took place at a field camp of the Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL). A firefight, which erupted between militants and security forces after the explosion at the camp killed two soldiers and wounded eight. "The fighting is still on," a security official told Reuters on condition of anonymity. Naeem Lehri, district coordination officer, said he suspected tribal rebels were responsible.

Elsewhere, a trolley driver was killed in Naseerabad, some 200km southeast of Quetta, when his vehicle hit a landmine. Separately, paramilitary forces defused a remote-controlled bomb planted on the main railway line near Mach Railway Station a couple of hours before two passenger trains were to pass the spot, a paramilitary commander said. "If the bomb had not been detected timely by our men, the blast would have injured or killed several passengers on board the two trains," he said on condition of anonymity.

A spokesman for the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) called local media late on Sunday and said the group regretted the killings of the tribal policemen. BLA spokesman Meerak Baloch said the tribal police were not the target as his group only attacked regular military and paramilitary forces.

Also on Sunday, a protest rally against the Army crackdown on militants drew around 8,000 activists of the Balochistan National Alliance (BNP), who marched on the outskirts of Quetta and chanted anti-Musharraf slogans.

The demonstrators demanded Islamabad end the military operation in the province, and called upon the US to stop the Pakistan government from using US-supplied weapons against tribesmen in Balochistan.

"We will not negotiate with the government until our workers are released from prisons and torture cells and the military operation is stopped," Akhtar Mengal, chief of the BNP, told the rally.

Von: By Muhammad Ejaz Khan, 03.04.2006,

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