More than a dozen dead in Balochistan attack in Pakistan

A Frontier Corps camp in the restive area was attacked, killing at least 13 people.

At least 13 people including soldiers have been killed in an attack on a security facility in southwestern Pakistan.

A Frontier Corps camp in the Muslim Bagh area of northern Balochistan was attacked in the early hours of Friday. The military launched an operation to rescue hostages and clear the area, the military’s media wing, Inter-Services Public Relations, said in a statement on Saturday.

In the process of the operation, “at least six soldiers and a civilian were killed”, it said. Another six people including a woman were wounded.

The dead included all six attackers who the military said were well-equipped and stormed the compound.

“The complex clearance operation involved a hostage rescue operation as well to save three families from a residential block. The terrorists had not even spared children of their horrendous approach,” the statement said.

“The security forces, in step with the nation, remain determined to thwart all attempts at sabotaging the peace, stability and progress of Balochistan,” it said.

Balochistan province, bordering Iran and Afghanistan, is strategically important because of its rich copper, zinc and natural gas reserves. Cities in the province are a constant target of armed groups.

Much of the violence is seen as a reaction by rebels to China’s investment plans in the region to link its Xinjiang province with the Arabian Sea in Balochistan through a network of roads and rail.

Attacks targeting law enforcement officers and workers, especially those involved with projects initiated by China under a $62bn investment plan, are common in Balochistan.

Authorities claim to have quelled the armed uprising, but violence persists. The restive province has seen attacks by both the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and the ISIL (ISIS) armed group.

In February, a blast at a crowded market in Barkhan killed at least four people and wounded 14.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies