Six Pakistan army soldiers including an officer died in a landmine blast in southern Balochistan on Friday, according to a Pakistan military spokesperson. The explosion, triggered by a remote- controlled device, went off on the road 14 km from the Pakistan-Iran border. The military spokesperson said the vehicle of the Frontier Corps South Balochistan was attacked when it was returning from Buleda, a small valley north of Turbat in Kech district. The military statement said the soldiers had gone to check possible routes used by terrorists in the mountainous terrain of Mekran.
The officer was identified by the military as Major Nadeem Abbas Bhatti, resident of Hafizabad in Pakistan’s Punjab province.
One local media outlet such as The Balochistan Post said a Baloch armed group that has been fighting for independence, Baloch Liberation Army, has claimed responsibility for the attack. Another website said the Baloch Raaji Ajoi Sangar, coalition of four armed groups, had also claimed responsibility.
The Baloch Liberation Army statement accused the army officer killed in the attack to be “directly involved in the formation and leading of so-called death squads of criminal gangs operated by the army” in the Kech region. The statement also accused the army officer of helping out drug dealers and arming them to take on the rebels.
“The Pakistani military has advanced operations in Tigran and other areas of Turbat over the past several days, targeting Baloch civilians, including harassing women and children,” the Balochistan Post said, quoting a BLA spokesperson.