QUETTA, Pakistan (AP) — A small Pakistani separatist group claimed responsibility Saturday for targeting a security convoy with a roadside bomb that killed six soldiers, including an army major, in the country’s southwest.

Friday’s attack in Baluchistan province took place as the troops, who were assigned to search for smuggling routes and militants, were returning to their camp from a mountainous area near the border with Iran.

Baluchistan has for years been the location of a low-level insurgency by small separatist groups and nationalists who complain of discrimination and demand a fairer share of their province’s resources and wealth.

A statement from the Baluch Liberation Army said one army vehicle was destroyed in the Friday attack when the bomb installed by its members went off near the convoy.

The statement claimed the army major killed in the attack had recently led operations against local residents. The group said it will “continue its struggle until the establishment of an independent homeland and a free society.”

The Baluch Liberation Army has been operating in the province for the past several years. It usually targets security forces and authorities have said it has the support of foreign intelligence agencies.