Pakistani security forces have killed at least 30 militants in the southwestern province of Baluchistan and, in a separate incident, at least one person was fatally wounded in a bombing near a Karachi mosque, officials reported Thursday.
Provincial Home Minister Sarfaraz Bugti told reporters the paramilitary Frontier Corps carried out an operation in the Dera Bugti district, where Baluch separatist rebels were targeting trains and destroying gas pipelines.
Bugti said the rebels attacked security forces, killing at least one paramilitary soldier and eight others.
In the subsequent gun battle, the Frontier Corps killed 30 rebels and destroyed eight of their training camps. The minister said two commanders from the rebel Baluch Republican Army were among those killed.
In the city of Karachi, an explosive device had been hidden in an auto rickshaw, the Associated Press reported, citing a senior police officer as its source. No one has claimed responsibility for the bombing.
Baluchistan has been in the grip of a low-level separatist insurgency for years. Nationalist Baluch groups in the poverty-stricken region have long accused the federal government of extracting Baluchistan’s natural resources, but paying no attention to the local population’s plight.
The rebels routinely attack security forces, government installations and civilian targets in Baluchistan and target Pakistanis from other ethnic groups settled in the province.
Security forces have been criticized for alleged human rights abuses such as illegal detentions, torture and the execution of ethnic Baluch, charges that Pakistani authorities reject.
Some information for this report was provided by the AP.