Rebels blow up Pakistan gas pipeline

Suspected rebels blew up a gas pipeline in southwest Pakistan and fired a rocket that hit a hotel and a residential compound for army medical staff in the city of Quetta on Sunday, police said.

    Tribal rebels are fighting for greater autonomy

    One person was wounded in the rocket attack in the suburbs of Baluchistan's provincial capital, while the pipeline attack disrupted gas supplies in the east of the province.
      
    "The rocket hit a hotel and a residential compound but fortunately just one person was wounded," Ghulam Mehmud Dogar, a senior police officer, said.

    Militant groups and tribal rebels are fighting for greater autonomy and more control over mineral resources in Baluchistan.
      
    A poor, sparsely populated, arid land bordering Afghanistan and Iran, Baluchistan's gas fields provide supplies for much of the country. It is also rich in uranium and copper.
       
    Sunday's pipeline attack took place at Dera Bugti, the stronghold of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, a rebellious chieftain who has gone into hiding since fighting escalated following a rocket attack on a town during a visit by President Pervez Musharraf in December.

    Ceasefire call
       
    Pro-Taliban militants meanwhile called a month-long ceasefire on Sunday in a Pakistani tribal region on the Afghan border to give tribal elders a chance to broker a settlement after months of fierce fighting.
       
    "We decided that there will be a total ceasefire in the area from our side for one month, as the government wants to set up a tribal jirga here," Abdullah Farhad, a commander of the Islamist militants in North Waziristan, said.
       
    Security forces have killed more than 300 militants, including 75 foreigners in North Waziristan since last year, after the military switched its offensive from South Waziristan.
       
    Several Arab lieutenants of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden have been killed in North Waziristan, and US drone aircraft have carried out missile strikes on al-Qaeda targets from across the border in Afghanistan.
       
    Pakistan has some 80,000 regular army troops on the border with Afghanistan, most of them deployed in North and South Waziristan where al-Qaeda linked militants have been operating alongside Taliban and tribal sympathisers.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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