QUETTA: The death toll in the Mastung carnage rose to 22 after security personnel carrying out a search operation found three more bodies on Saturday.
Gunmen on Friday kidnapped about 30 people from two coaches going from Pishin to Karachi in Khad Khocha area of Mastung district and killed at least 19 of them.
The Home Minister of Balochistan, Mir Sarfaraz Ahmed Bugti, told a news conference on Saturday that at least seven militants allegedly involved in the incident had been killed in the operation, which began on Friday night.
He said around 500 personnel of Frontier Corps, Police and Levies Force took part in the operation, which was being backed by four helicopters provided by the federal government.
He claimed that the security personnel had surrounded militants in the mountainous area.
The minister said the operation, which is being supervised by FC Inspector General Major General Sher Afgan, would continue till the arrest or elimination of the militants.
He alleged that the Indian secret agency, RAW, was involved in the Mastung massacre, saying that RAW was providing funds to elements involved in kidnapping and killing of passengers.
Sarfaraz Bugti said that the main aim of people involved in such incidents was to sabotage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.
But, he added, by agreeing on the CPEC project at an all-party conference on Thursday, the political parties of the country had given a clear message that the nation was united to foil all conspiracies against it.
Meanwhile, the banned United Baloch Army claimed responsibility for the killings.
A UBA spokesman Mureed Baloch told newsmen on phone that the incident “is a revenge for killing of militants in Mastung and Kalat areas by security forces”.
Published in Dawn, May 31st, 2015