SECURITY personnel examine the area around the damaged vehicle after the attack in Ormara on Thursday.—PPI
SECURITY personnel examine the area around the damaged vehicle after the attack in Ormara on Thursday.—PPI

• Seven OGDCL guards among victims
• TTP, Baloch militants claim responsibility for assaults

QUETTA / GWADAR / NORTH WAZIRISTAN: Twenty security personnel, including six Army men, were martyred in two terrorist attacks in Balochistan’s Ormara area and North Waziristan tribal district on Thursday and late Wednesday.

Fourteen security men — seven personnel of the Frontier Corps and as many civilian guards employed by the OGDCL — were martyred in an armed attack on their convoy on the Coastal Highway in the Ormara area of Gwadar district on Thursday.

Six troops, including a Pakistan Army captain, were martyred and one suffered injuries when two improvised explosive devices (IEDs) struck their vehicles in North Waziristan tribal district on Wednesday evening.

According to a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), an encounter took place between security forces and a large number of terrorists on the Coastal Highway near Ormara when a convoy of the Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL) staff was being escorted from Gwadar to Karachi.

Security forces responded effectively, ensured security of the OGDCL staff, and managed their safe exit from the area.

During the clash, substantial losses were also incurred to the terrorists, the ISPR said. As a result of this encounter, seven brave soldiers of FC Balochistan and as many security guards sacrificed their lives and embraced martyrdom.

The martyred FC personnel were identified as Subedar Abid Hussain, resident of Layyah, Naik Muhammad Anwar of Sibi, Lance Naik Iftikhar Ahmed (Dera Ghazi Khan), Sepoy Muhammad Naveed (Chakwal), Lance Naik Abdul Latif (Pishin), Sepoy Muhammad Waris (Mianwali) and Sepoy Imran Khan (Lakki Marwat); and security guards Havaldar (retired ) Samandar Khan and Muhammad Fawad Ullah (Lakki Marwat) Atta Ullah (Dera Ismail Khan), Waris Khan (Tank), Abdul Nafay and Shakir Ullah (Kohat) and Abid Hussain (Bannu) Security forces cordoned off the area and search for terrorists was underway

The ISPR said that such cowardly acts by inimical elements to sabotage peace, stability and economic development in Balochistan would never be allowed to succeed. Moreover, these acts cannot subdue resolve of the armed forces which are determined to defend motherland, even at the cost of their lives.

The Baloch Raji Ajoi Sangar (BRAS), a banned militant organization, has claimed responsibility for the attack in a tweet.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan has condemned the attack on the OGDCL convoy and sought a report on the incident. He commiserated with families of the martyred security personnel, lauded the services of the martyrs and prayed for the departed souls.

Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan and Home Minister Zia Langove have also condemned the attack and termed it a cowardly terrorist act.

Jam Kamal in a statement expressed sorrow and grief over the loss of human lives and paid rich tribute to the security personnel who were martyred in the attack.

“The nefarious designs of the anti-state elements would not succeed and the elements involved in the attack would be brought to justice soon,” he said.

N. Waziristan attack

The ISPR on Thursday confirmed the martyrdom of six security personnel, including an Army captain, and injuries to one in the Wednesday’s North Waziristan attack.

The military’s media wing said in a brief statement that a convoy of security forces was attacked with improvised explosive devices near Razmak which resulted in the martyrdom of a captain and five soldiers.

The martyrs were identified as Captain Umar Farooq, Naib Subedar Riaz Ahmed, Naib Subedar Shakeel Azad, Havaldar Younas Khan, Naik Mohammad Nadeem and Lance Naik Asmat Ullah.

The banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has claimed responsibility for the attack.

TTP spokesperson Mohammad Khurasani said in a brief statement that members of his group carried out the attack in Shaktoi area.

Various militant groups had announced their merger in August and vowed to launch attacks on security forces under the umbrella of the TTP.

Sources said that the security forces’ convoy comprising two vehicles was attacked in the Shaktoi area of South Waziristan which is adjacent to North Waziristan. The incident occurred at 6pm on Wednesday. They said that the convoy was going from Shaktoi to Ladha area in South Waziristan.

The bodies and a wounded soldier were taken to a garrison in Bannu district by a helicopter.

The bodies of Havaldar Younas and Lance Naik Asmat Ullah were later shifted to their hometowns in Lakki Marwat district.

The incident occurred four days after two soldiers were martyred and three others suffered injuries in an attack on a security post in Shawal valley near the Afghan border.

Violence has intensified in the merged tribal districts, particularly in North Waziristan and South Waziristan.

The surge in violence has resulted in the martyrdom of several officers, soldiers and civilians.

Published in Dawn, October 16th, 2020

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