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Baluchistan violence escalates; 18 killed

January 14, 2006 20:31 IST

At least 18 people, including six Pakistani security personnel, were killed and many others injured over the past two days in separate violent incidents involving rebels and paramilitary forces in southwest Baluchistan province, a report said on Saturday.

Railway traffic between provincial capital Quetta and the border town of Chaman was also suspended as saboteurs blew up a railway line. Operations were also reported from areas of Kohlu district, local daily Dawn reported.

In a separate development, Jamhoori Watan Party Secretary General Agha Shah Bugti accused security personnel of killing 12 Bugti tribesmen in custody. The party has appealed to the international community and human rights organisations to take notice of the 'extra-judicial' killing of the tribesmen on Eid.

Addressing a press conference at Quetta on Friday, Bugti claimed that security forces had, on Eid day, arrested 12 tribesmen from Paternal, near the Pirkoh area, and killed them in their camp. Their bodies had still not been handed over to their families, he alleged.

"The custodial killing of innocent citizens was the most barbaric act of the security forces ever since the state assault on the Dera Bugti people on December 18. The international community must take notice of the inhuman action of paramilitary forces in this region," he added.

JWP leaders said female members of the families of the 12 victims went to Frontier Corps officials asking them to hand over the bodies for burial but the officials turned them away stating that male members should come to claim the bodies.

Baluch nationalists are opposed to the construction of military cantonments as well as mega projects like Gwadar harbour project in collaboration with the Chinese, saying it would result in massive influx of 'outsiders' from other provinces, specially the dominant Punjab province.

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