Pakistan

Eight separatists, two soldiers killed in Balochistan gun battle

QUETTA: A fierce gun battle killed at least eight separatists and two paramilitary soldiers during an ongoing anti-terrorist operation in Balochistan on Wednesday, officials said.

The deaths come as a roadside bomb attack in a restive northwestern Pakistani region near the Afghan border claimed three lives, including those of two children, officials said.

The firefight in Balochistan province erupted during a raid, the military said.

“The security forces raided a compound as part of the ongoing operation… which triggered a gunfight between the paramilitary Frontier Corps troops and the terrorists, killing eight rebels and two soldiers,” spokesman Muhammad Manzoor told AFP.

He said three militants were killed in a similar raid on Tuesday. A paramilitary lieutenant colonel and a solider were also injured.

Manzoor said those killed on Wednesday belonged to different proscribed Baloch separatist organisations but did not disclose their names.

Meanwhile, the roadside bomb was the third attack in as many days in the Mohmand tribal region, one of seven such semi-autonomous districts where the military has been battling Al-Qaeda and Taliban-linked militants for over a decade.

Two separate bomb attacks on Monday had killed at least three people and wounded two others including a senior Pakistani army official.

“An improvised explosive (IED) device planted along the roadside exploded as a vehicle carrying five people including a driver passed by, killing two children aged eight and 10 and the driver on the spot,” a senior local administration official, Naveed Akbar, told AFP.

He said two passengers were injured in the attack.

“The security agencies are investigating the incident as the target of the attack is unclear,” Akbar said, adding dozens of IEDs have been planted along roads in Mohmand.

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