Pakistan: Eight soldiers killed, five wounded in attack on convoy

A group of unidentified gunmen open fire on the security forces’ convoy in Balochistan province.

A dparamilitary soldier stands near the site of a bomb blast in the outskirts of Quetta September 23, 2011. Suspected militants detonated a remote-controlled bomb in southwestern
A group of unidentified gunmen opened fire on the security forces’ convoy in the Gichak area killing at least eight soldiers and wounding five [File: Naseer Ahmed/AFP]

At least eight soldiers have been killed and five wounded after a group of unidentified gunmen opened fire on a security forces convoy in the southwestern Pakistani district of Panjgur, the country’s military said.

In Tuesday’s incident, three vehicles were targeted in the Gichak area, about 400km south of the Balochistan provincial capital Quetta, a brief statement by the military said.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Pakistani forces have been fighting an ethnic Baloch armed separatist movement in the region for more than a decade.

Armed separatist groups have waged a guerilla campaign in Balochistan, the country’s largest but least populated province, for years, targeting security forces, government installations and projects associated with the $60bn China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

On June 29, four Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) gunmen stormed the country’s main stock exchange in the southern city of Karachi, killing three private security guards and a policeman.

Violence by Baloch armed groups has increased in the last year, with security forces among targets.

Separatist groups have demanded independence for ethnically Baloch areas of Balochistan, accusing the Pakistani government of extracting the province’s rich natural resources while not investing in the people of the province.

Balochistan’s districts regularly rank near the bottom of Pakistan’s human development indicator rankings, and rights activists say those espousing separatist politics are routinely subjected to enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings.

Additional reporting by Saadullah Akhtar in Quetta.

Source: Al Jazeera