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Pakistan kills seven rebels in southwest: officials

12 March 2015, 10:17

Quetta - Pakistani security forces on Thursday said they killed seven rebels in a gunfight in the country's restive southwestern province of Baluchistan, where a separatist insurgency has raged since 2004.

One militant and a civilian were meanwhile killed during an attack on a checkpoint in the northwestern city of Peshawar Thursday, which has borne the brunt of a more than decade-long homegrown Islamist insurgency.

The clash with separatists took place on Wednesday in the area of a gasfield in Pirkoh, some 245 kilometres (152 miles) southeast of Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province which is wracked by a tribal insurgency, Taliban attacks and sectarian violence.

"We killed seven miscreants hiding in the gasfield when they refused to surrender," Manzoor Ahmed, a spokesman for Frontier Corps told AFP.

"They resorted to a fight which lasted for several hours," he said, adding there was no loss on the security forces' side.

Provincial Home Minister Sarfraz Bugti said the militants were members of the Baloch Republican Army (BRA).

"We have evidence that they were members of the BRA and were miscreants," he told AFP.

"We took this action to set up peace in the region and we will act against the miscreants wherever we get an information about them," he added.

Also read: Pakistani arrested in Canada for plot on US consulate

Baluchistan, Pakistan's largest but least developed and most sparsely populated province, has been afflicted for decades by a separatist insurgency that was revived in 2004.

Rights groups allege that Pakistani security forces often arrest rebels and kill them extra-judicially, staging gunfights to cover up the executions.

Thursday's incident in Peshawar meanwhile erupted after military personnel at a checkpoint intercepted a suspicious man and he took out his gun and started shooting, senior police official Omar Rana told AFP.

"The attacker and a passenger in a van were killed and six others were wounded in the exchange of fire," Rana said.

The incident took place close to US consulate at the entrance of Peshawar garrison and just a mile away from the Army Public School where Taliban gunmen killed 154 people, most of them students, in December.

Pakistani troops have been engaged in a full-scale offensive against Taliban and other militants in North Waziristan and Khyber tribal districts since last year.

Attacks in general have decreased since the offensive but security forces still face frequent assaults.


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