Gunmen kill 14 soldiers in attack on convoy of Pakistan’s state oil firm
Islamabad, Oct 15 (EFE).- Gunmen killed 14 paramilitary soldiers in an attack on an escort convoy of Pakistan’s state-run oil and gas company in the restive southwestern province of Balochistan on Thursday, according to official sources.
The attack occurred on two vehicles of the Frontier Corps force, which were a part of the escort convoy of Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL) along the Makran Coastal Highway in Ormara area of Gwadar district.
“Unknown terrorists opened fire on two vehicles providing security to the convoy at 13.30 pm today. All 14 personnel in two vehicles were killed,” Noor Bakhsh, an official at the headquarters of the paramilitary law enforcement organization Levies Force in Gwadar, told EFE.
The spokesperson added that one of the two vehicles caught fire in the ambush, which resulted in several of the escorting security personnel getting charred.
While Noor claimed that no armed group had claimed the attack, Baloch Raaji Aaajoi Sangar (Baloch National Freedom Movement, or BRAS), an alliance of four Baloch separatist organizations, claimed responsibility of the attack on Twitter.
“BRAS fighters eliminated more than 15 enemy personnel and agents of exploitative company in today’s ambush,” BRAS said in a tweet. However, the claim could not be verified independently.
Prime Minister Imran Khan in a statement expressed condolences to the families of those who lost their lives, and condemned the attack on the OGDCL convoy. He also sought a report into the incident.
In a separate incident, six soldiers including one officer were killed in an attack using an improvised explosive device on a security forces convoy near Razmak area of tribal North Waziristan district in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, the military’s media wing said on Thursday.
Balochistan, the largest and least populated region of the Asian country, bears witness to regular attacks by secessionist groups, as well as armed Islamist groups and mafia networks that operate across the country, making it one of the most unstable and unsafe regions in Pakistan.
The region, which is also one of the country’s least developed, is the location for a Chinese project worth millions that will connect Kashgar in western China with the Pakistani port of Gwadar in Balochistan under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor framework.
The Baloch Liberation Army, which seeks independence for Balochistan province, had claimed an attack in late June on the Stock Exchange at Karachi, capital of Sindh Province, which had left seven dead, including four insurgents.
In recent years, terrorism has decreased considerably in the Asian country, however attacks still continue to take place. EFE