4 suspected Baloch separatists killed in SW Pakistan

 21 May 2017 - 11:17

4 suspected Baloch separatists killed in SW Pakistan
File Photo.

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KARACHI, Pakistan: Pakistan army have killed four suspected Baloch separatists in a clash in southwestern Balochistan province on Saturday, according to the military.

The clash occured during an intelligence-based operation in the mountains of far-flung Awaran district, a Pakistani army spokesman said in a statement, adding that two militants were also arrested during the operation.

The clash follows the killing of 13 laborers working on projects relating to multi billion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in two separate incidents in Gwadar and Turbat districts of Balochistan in the past week. Balochistan Liberation Army, an outlawed separatist group, had claimed the responsibility for both incidents.

The large Balochistan province, which is also considered to cover parts of neighboring Iran and Afghanistan, is strategically important due to its rich resources of copper, zinc, and natural gas but has been riddled with violence for over six decades, with separatists claiming that it was forcibly incorporated into Pakistan at the end of British rule in 1947.

The province, especially its capital Quetta, has also been facing a deadly wave of sectarian violence over the past decade. Over 2,000 people -- mostly Shia -- have been killed in targeted attacks and suicide bombings in Quetta and other parts of the province.