Twelve Baloch separatist militants, including their two local commanders, were killed in a gun battle with paramilitary troops in Kohlu district of Balochistan on Monday.
Frontier Corps soldiers, along with law enforcers, were conducting a search operation in the Nasau area of Kohlu when they came under fire, a spokesperson for the paramilitary force said.
The FC troops returned fire, and in the ensuing gunfight 12 terrorists from the banned Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) were killed, he added. The commanders were identified as Jamil and Baloch Khan. The slain terrorists were involved in targeted killings, attacks on security forces and extortion in the area.
The FC spokesman added that the operation was ongoing and the paramilitary troops were searching for another notorious commander, named Fazil.
Elsewhere in the troubled province, the FC killed a terrorist from a banned separatist group in Kech district. Paramilitary troops carried out an intelligence-based operation in the Buleda area of Kech when militants attacked them.
One member of a defunct group was killed and guns and ammunition were seized from him after a shootout.
Separately, four suspected militants were arrested in Tump, Turbat, for their alleged links with banned groups. They have been shifted to an undisclosed location for interrogation.
A day earlier, the FC and law enforcement agencies killed two suspected fighters, including a commander of the banned Baloch Republican Army, in Buleda area. A seven-years-old girl was also killed in the shootout.
Security forces have stepped up operations in the violence-wracked Balochistan province since the announcement of the National Action Plan against terrorism last year. The province has been in the throes of a low-key insurgency since 2004, which has become deadlier since the killing of Baloch chieftain Nawab Akbar Bugti in 2006.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 22nd, 2016.