QUETTA: Three suspected militants belonging to a banned organisation were killed in an encounter with security forces in the Sariab area on Thursday.

According to sources, the encounter took place after security forces launched a pre-dawn search operation for the arrest of people having links with Wednesday’s killing of four Frontier Corps personnel in the area.

The decision for the search operation was taken at a late-night meeting of civil and military officials. Presided over by Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri, the meeting took serious notice of the killing of four FC personnel and decided to take strict action against elements involved in the attack.

Security forces raided various places for the arrest of people involved in recent killings of security personnel.

Spokesperson for Frontier Corps Khan Wasey claimed that the three militants killed in the encounter belonged to the banned Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, the group which claimed responsibility for the recent killings of security personnel.

He said the gunbattle between the militants and security forces continued for about an hour.

The spokesperson said that the three militants allegedly helped those who attacked security personnel in Quetta.

“The search operation will continue against terrorists involved in attacks on security personnel,” Mr Wasey said.

Security was put on high alert in the provincial capital with deployment of more security personnel and increase in patrolling in and around Quetta.

Gunmen riding motorcycles killed four FC personnel on Wednesday at the double road area.

The deceased FC personnel belonged to Sui Rifle. They came to Quetta to get their vehicles repaired.

Bodies of four FC personnel were sent to their native areas after funeral prayers at the FC headquarters. Chief Minister Zehri, Home Minister Mir Sarfarz Ahmed Bugti, GOCs of 33 and 41 divisions, Inspector General of Frontier Corps Major General Sher Afgun, Inspector General of Balochistan Police Ahsan Mehboob and many civil and military officers attended the funeral prayers. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the banned Lashkar-i-Jhangvi said that members of Ghazi Rasheed brigade carried out the attack.

Published in Dawn, July 1st, 2016