Six military personnel died and at least four more were wounded when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb while on patrol in an overnight attack in the Bolan area of Balochistan.
“Six [paramilitary] Frontier Corps personnel were killed in a roadside bomb blast while four others were wounded and have been sent to hospital,” Deputy Commissioner Bolan Murad Kasi told the media.
The incident happened some 80 kilometers southeast of the provincial capital, Quetta, late on May 17.
Mureed Baloch, a spokesman for the separatist United Baloch 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.
One soldier was killed later in an exchange of fire with militants in the Mand area of the Kech district of the same province, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the military’s media wing, said in a statement.
Separately, police said that at least one soldier was killed and three were wounded in a roadside bombing in the country’s northwestern North Waziristan tribal district on May 17.
Attacks on Pakistani security forces in the restive Balochistan region bordering Afghanistan and Iran and the tribal districts bordering Afghanistan have increased over the past few months.
Six Pakistani soldiers were killed in a roadside bomb attack in Balochistan near the border with Iran on May 8.
On May 7, the military reported the death of two Pakistani soldiers in the town of Mir Ali in the country’s North Waziristan tribal district.
Pakistan conducted a massive military operation in North Waziristan in June 2014 and later the country’s security forces declared that the area had been cleared of militants.
In Balochistan, Pakistan is struggling with ethnic Baloch separatists while the Waziristan region has recorded a spike in incidents of violence involving Taliban remnants.
The violence in Balochistan, Pakistan’s largest and most volatile province, is seen as a reaction by separatists to China’s investment plans in the region linking its Xinjiang Province with the Arabian Sea through a network of roads and rail tracks.
The proposed $60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor plan is meant to give Beijing access to markets in the Middle East, Europe, and Africa through the shortest overland and sea route.