18 killed in clashes in Balochistan

July 27th, 2008 - 3:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, July 27 (DPA) At least 15 seperatist rebels and three troops were killed in fierce clashes in Pakistan’s troubled south-western Balochistan province, said officials Sunday. Fighting broke out late Saturday when militants ambushed a patrol of paramilitary Frontier Corps near the Loi gas field in Dera Bugti district, said Major General Saleem Nawaz.

Three troops were killed in the ambush, he said.

Following the ambush, the security forces launched a search operation and killed at least 15 insurgents.

Both sides used rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles, Nawaz said.

Ethnic tribal rebels in the impoverished province have been seeking greater autonomy and higher share of profit on natural resources being exploited in the area. They regularly target security forces and infrastructure.

Thirty-eight people including six troops were killed in three days of combat last week in the same district.

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