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QUETTA: At least seven personnel of security forces were killed and two others injured in an armed attack on a checkpoint of the Frontier Corps in Makhtair area of Loralai district, some 255km northeast of Quetta, on Monday.

Official sources said a group of 40 to 50 militants launched an attack on the checkpoint in Chichloo area of Makhtair in the small hours of Monday.

“Militants fired five rockets on the checkpoint before opening indiscriminate fire with automatic weapons,” a senior official of Levies force said.

The FC soldiers at the checkpoint fired back, setting off a ferocious gunbattle that lasted several hours and led to the death of four FC men.

The armed men later fired at a truck carrying FC troops in aid of their beleaguered colleagues on the checkpoint, killing yet another three FC personnel.

However, the militants took flight upon sighting fresh contingents of the Frontier Corps.

The paramilitary force fanned out in pursuit of the militants, believed to have fled to the mountains nearby.

“There are reports about deaths and injuries among attackers in the operation carried out by the security forces,” a source said. However, there was no word from the FC or the administration.

Security officials identified the victims of the armed attack as Naib Subedar Muhammad Afzal, Hawaldar Samiullah, soldiers Muhammad Ramzan Atiqur-Rehman, Tasawar Hussain, Shahid Gul and Samiullah. .

Balochistan Chief Minister Dr Malik Baloch and Home Minister Mir Sarfaraz Ahmed Bugti have condemned the attack on Frontier Corps and offered condolences to the bereaved families.

Although no organisation has so far claimed responsibility for the attack on FC checkpoint, some officials said the involvement of outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan could not be ruled out.

The TTP had recently claimed the kidnapping of nine people from a passenger bus and a private rented car in Qila Saifullah. The two vehicles were bound for Quetta and Zhob.

The group later said it had killed an officer of Pakistan Air Force (PAF) and dumped his body in Gawal area of Qila Saifullah. They released a driver and a student while six other people, including some government officials, were still missing.

Published in Dawn, January 13th, 2015

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