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Pakistani Soldiers Find Body of Baluch Nationalist Leader

Pakistani military officials say soldiers have found the body of fugitive Baluch nationalist leader Nawab Akbar Bugti.

He died Saturday in an explosion that destroyed his mountain cave hideout in southwestern Baluchistan province.

His death during a military operation has sparked large-scale unrest.

Military officials overseeing the work at the cave say soldiers spotted Bugti's body under a pile of rubble. They say it will take days to retrieve it.

Bugti's family has asked the government to return the body for a proper burial.

Protests sparked by Bugti's death continued Wednesday in Baluchistan and Sindh provinces. Police say demonstrators enforced strikes and blocked the main highway connecting the provincial capital Quetta to the port city of Karachi in Sindh province.

Police have arrested 700 protesters in recent days.

The opposition says the army deliberately targeted Bugti and has demanded an investigation. The army denies the charge. It says army officers were entering the cave to negotiate Bugti's arrest when the explosion occurred.

The government had accused Bugti of running a feudal justice system complete with private jails. He led a heavily armed private militia and had been blamed for the deaths of scores of police and soldiers.

Bugti had been fighting for provincial autonomy and more royalties for the region's resources.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.