QUETTA/GWADAR: At least 13 suspected militants, believed to be involved in Saturday’s killing of 20 labourers, died and several others suffered injuries in a clash with security forces in Turbat area of Kech district on Monday.

“A key commander of a banned organisation, Hayat, was among the dead and another commander identified as Zareef was arrested,” a spokesman for the Frontier Corps (FC) claimed.

He said that the slain militants were involved in the killing of 20 construction workers in Gogdan area, 15km off Turbat. The banned Baloch Liberation Front (BLF) has claimed responsibility for the killings.

Official sources said that FC troops and personnel of intelligence agencies, police and Levies Force moved into Ghbain area, some 50 km from Turbat, on information about the presence of militants there.

They cordoned off the hideouts of militants and asked them to surrender. But they opened fire on FC personnel who fired back.

A heavy exchange of fire continued for several hours and 13 militants were killed and many others injured.

The FC spokesman said that a large quantity of arms and ammunition was found in the hideouts.

He said that the militants were also involved in attacks on security forces, kidnapping for ransom, destroying government installations and killing common men in Turbat area.

The bodies of five militants were taken to the district hospital in Turbat where one of the dead was identified as Hayat, son of Shahsawar. There was no information about eight other bodies.

It is learnt that Hayat was injured in a clash with security forces last year and has since been relying on a wheelchair. His brother Aslam Shahsawar, a local commander of the BLF, was killed in the clash.

According to an FC press release, FC Inspector General Maj Gen Sher Afgan was present in Turbat and supervised the joint operation of the paramilitary force and intelligence personnel.

During a visit to the place where the 20 workers were killed, Gen Sher Afgan had said that elements involved in the massacre would not be spared.

Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch was given a briefing on the anti-militant operation launched on Monday. He was informed that the operation continued in some areas of Kech district.

Provincial Home Minister Mir Sarfaraz Bugti and IG of Balochistan Amlish Khan arrived in Turbat on Monday.

Published in Dawn, April 14th, 2015

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