Pak­istani troops kill 13 sus­pects be­hind deadly dam attack

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY AB­DUL SAT­TAR

Pak­istani troops have killed 13 mem­bers of a mil­i­tant group that claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for a week­end attack on a dam project in the south­west­ern Baluchis­tan prov­ince that left 20 con­struc­tion work­ers dead, an army spokesman said Mon­day.

The sol­diers con­ducted an op­er­a­tion in the Gob­dan area of the Turbat dis­trict in the prov­ince, about 400 kilo­me­ters ( 250 miles) south of the pro­vin­cial cap­i­tal of Quetta, search­ing for “ter­ror­ists who mas­sa­cred” the work­ers, said Ab­dul Wasay, spokesman for the para­mil­i­tary Fron­tier Corps.

The op­er­a­tion fol­lowed the attack on Satur­day, when mil­i­tants stormed a la­bor camp near the dam con­struc­tion site, over­pow­er­ing eight se­cu­rity guards who then took off and ran for their lives, and shoot­ing dead sleep­ing la­bor­ers be­fore flee­ing the scene.

The Baluch Lib­er­a­tion Front claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for the attack shortly af­ter­ward. It is one among sev­eral na­tion­al­ist and sep­a­ratist groups be­hind a lowlevel in­sur­gency in Baluchis­tan de­mand­ing a greater share of gas and min­eral rev­enue for the Baluch mi­nor­ity and com­plete au- ton­omy from Islamabad.

The Baluch sep­a­ratists have fought against the Is­lam­abad­based gov­ern­ment for years in the re­gion, where also other Is­lamic ex­trem­ist groups are ac­tive.

Baluchis­tan home min­is­ter, Sar­faraz Bugti, said the eight se­cu­rity guards have been ar­rested for neg­li­gence.

Most of the work­ers were from Pak­istan’s largest, most pop­u­lous and the most de­vel­oped Pun­jab prov­ince. Pre­vi­ous at­tacks by Baluch sep­a­ratists have also tar­geted peo­ple from Pun­jab, who the mil­i­tants claim are ex­ploit­ing their re­gion.

A se­nior BLF com­man­der was among those killed in the op­er­a­tion by the Fron­tier Corps while an­other wanted com­man­der was ar­rested, the army spokesman also said.

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