QUETTA, Pakistan (AP) — Separate attacks in Pakistan’s restive southwestern Baluchistan province killed seven troops, officials said Tuesday. An eight soldier was killed in a roadside bombing in the country’s northwest.
In one of the Baluchistan attacks, gunmen used a remotely-detonated bomb to ambush a convoy of Pakistani troops assigned to protect an oil and gas facility on Monday night.
The attack, in a remote area of the town of Pir Ghaib, killed six soldiers and wounded four, intelligence and security officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to reporters.
The casualties were brought to a military hospital in Quetta, the capital of impoverished Baluchistan province.
Pakistan’s military said in a statement the attack happened as troops were returning to camp. It said that later a separate incident in Baluchistan, an exchange of fire with militants killed one soldier.
Hours after the first attack, Mureed Baloch, a spokesman for the separatist United Baluch Army, claimed responsibility. In a statement, he said the group targeted Pakistani soldiers assigned to protect engineers of an oil and gas facility in the region.
Earlier this month, another separatist group targeted troops with a roadside bomb in an area of Baluchistan near Iran’s border, killing six soldiers, including an army major. Pakistan at the time said the attack happened as troops, assigned to look for smuggling routes and militants, were returning to camp from a mountainous border district in the province.
Baluchistan has for years been the scene of a low-level insurgency by separatists who complain of discrimination and demand a fairer share of the province’s resources and wealth. Militants also have a presence in the province.
Police said that at least one soldier was killed and three were wounded in a roadside bombing in North Waziristan on Monday. The police said the attack took place when troops in a vehicle were traveling through the town of Mir Ali, which had until recent years served as a base for local and foreign militants.
Associated Press Writer Riaz Khan contributed to this report from Peshawar, Pakistan.