QUETTA, Dec 29: Security forces on Friday launched a fresh operation in some areas of the Dera Bugti district, using helicopter gunships and targeting camps of tribal militants. According to reports, security forces started their operation at about 9am after receiving information about the presence of militants who had reportedly re-established camps in Toba Nokhani, Zin-Koh and Gundoi areas of the district.

Sources said that over half a dozen helicopter gunships were seen flying in the area, targeting the camps of the outlaws. “Operation continued till late afternoon and helicopters successfully destroyed all the camps in the area,” sources said.

However, there was no report about casualties in the daylong operation.

The spokesman for the Balochistan government, Raziq Bugti, when contacted, did not confirm any operation in the area but said that action against miscreants might have been taken.

He said that security forces had already destroyed all such camps in the troubled areas of Dera Bugti and the situation was completely under control.

Meanwhile, Wadera Alam Khan, a spokesman for the militants, confirmed the launch of a fresh operation in some areas of Dera Bugti and claimed that eight to 10 helicopter gunships took part in the operation that continued throughout the day.

He told newsmen over satellite phone that helicopters fired missiles and dropped bombs in the area. He also claimed that militants of the banned Balochistan Liberation Army shot down a helicopter during the fighting while three vehicles of the security forces were destroyed.

He further claimed killing over a dozen security personnel and injuring many others.

However, sources in Dera Bugti did not support Wadera Alam Khan’s assertions about destroying the helicopter and said that all eight helicopters reached their base safely.

AFP adds: “The helicopters achieved their target by destroying the positions of miscreants,” an official told AFP.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, he said the tribal militants had been active in recent months, including attacking check posts protecting gas fields in the area. “We hit the miscreant positions and destroyed their bunkers,” he said.

It was an early morning operation and “we have no information about any casualties,” he said.

In another incident on Friday, police arrested a tribal militant wanted over bomb blasts and killed his accomplice in a clash on the outskirts of the provincial capital Quetta, senior police official Wazir Khan Nasir said.

In new Kahan camp in the outskirts of Quetta, a man was killed and another injured seriously in an armed encounter with the personnel of law enforcement agencies on Friday.

According to police sources, personnel of law enforcement agencies raided new Kahan Marri camp area on a tip-off about the presence of some wanted people involved in bomb blasts and rocket attacks.

However, when security forces reached the area, armed men started firing. The exchange of fire continued for some time, during which a man who was identified as Asad Marri was killed and another injured.

The deceased and injured were brought to the Bolan Medical Complex.

Injured Ahmed Khan Marri was admitted to the BMC while the body of Asad Marri was handed over to his relatives.

Police claimed that they were involved in rocket attacks and other subversive activities and were members of the banned Baloch Liberation Army (BLA).

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Anjuman Ittehad Marri blamed agencies for killing Asad Marri and injuring Ahmed Khan Marri and said that the security forces wearing plain clothes had opened fire on the camp without any justification, resulting in the killing of Asad Marri.

He denied the claim of the police that the man killed in the firing was carrying weapons along with Ahmed Khan Marri in a vehicle and said that they were innocent and were not involved in any subversive activity.

He said when Marri tribesmen living in the camp went to hospital for receiving the body police beat them up badly and arrested many of them.

The spokesman said that Asad Marri was resident of new Kahan Marri camp and was student while the injured Ahmed Khan was working with the Building and Road department as gang-man.

He said that Asad Marri would be buried in the graveyard of new Kahan Marri camp on Saturday.

He demanded that a case should be registered against Balochistan Governor Owais Ahmed Ghani, Chief Minister Jam Yousuf, Home Minister Shoaib Nausherwani, ISI and police officials.

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