QUETTA: At least six paramilitary troops were martyred and two others wounded on Monday when their patrol vehicle hit a roadside bomb in the Harnai district of Balochistan – the province plagued by ethnic, sectarian, militant and separatist violence.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the deadly attack in the Shahrag area of Harnai, which came two days after 15 people – mostly military men – were martyred in a bomb attack on an army truck in Quetta.
The Frontier Corps troops were patrolling between Shahrag and Khost areas when their vehicle hit an improvised explosive device (IED) planted on their route, according to security sources.
Six paramilitary troops were martyred and two wounded in the resulting blast that turned the vehicle into a heap of mangled metal. “The vehicle was destroyed in the attack,” said Manak Khan, the tehsildar (administrator) of Harnai.
Khan added that the casualties were driven to the Harnai Hospital, where the deceased have been identified as Lance Naik Yousaf Imran, Sepoys Shahabuddin, Fayyaz, Umer, Naeem, Fazalur Rehman. Hayatullah and driver Saadullah were injured.
A contingent of security forces reached the bombsite and threw a security cordon around the area before mounting a manhunt for the culprits.
Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri condemned the deadly blast. “No effort would be spared to bring the culprits involved in this terrorist act to justice,” he said in a statement issued by his office.
The attack came two days after a suspected suicide bomber drove his explosives-laden vehicle into a military truck in the Pishin Stop neighbourhood of Quetta. Fifteen people – among them eight military men – were martyred and dozens of others wounded.
Elsewhere an FC soldier was martyred and another wounded in a targeted attack in the Naag area of Panjgur district. The paramilitary troops were patrolling the area when gunmen opened fire on them. As a result, one soldier, identified as Shahid, died and another sustained injuries.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the deadly assault, but Baloch separatist and Islamic militants have carried out similar attacks in the past.
Moreover Pakistani military officials have repeatedly claimed that hostile agencies are behind the unending spiral of violence in Balochistan. Last year’s arrest of Kulbhushan Jadav, an agent of Indian intelligence agency RAW, has given credence to such claims.
Jadav has admitted in a video confession that RAW has been stoking terrorism in Pakistan, especially in Balochistan and Karachi.