Bomb blast kills four Pakistani paramilitary soldiers, official says

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QUETTA, Pakistan, March 15 (Reuters) – A bomb blast hit a paramilitary convoy in southwest Pakistan on Tuesday, killing four soldiers and wounding 10 others, a government official said.

A separatist group, the Baloch Liberation Army, said in an email to Reuters it carried out the attack and said 10 soldiers were killed.

The pipe bomb had been placed along a road in an area about 180 km (113 miles) northeast of Quetta, the capital of the southwestern province of Balochistan which borders Afghanistan and Iran said Deputy Commissioner Sana Mahjbeen Umrani.

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The paramilitaries are made up of local recruits led by Pakistani army officers.

Ethnic Baloch guerrillas have been fighting for a separate state for decades, claiming that the central government is unfairly exploiting regional gas and mineral resources.

Separatists have stepped up attacks in recent months. One of their groups ambushed and besieged the two Pakistani army bases in the area last month. Seven soldiers and 13 assailants were killed. Read more

Baloch insurgents usually attack the military, government officials, gas projects and Chinese interests.

China is involved in the development of a deep-sea port in Gawadar and other projects in the province as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, the development of which will cost more than $60 billion and is part of the Beijing Belt and Road Initiative.

Islamist militants also operate in the region.

An Islamic State suicide bomber blew himself up last week in the same neighborhood as Tuesday’s attack, killing seven paramilitaries and police. Read more

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Written by Asif Shahzad; Editing by Edmund Blair

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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