QUETTA, April 5: Three security personnel and five suspected militants were killed and six other people injured in a clash in Dalbandin, some 350km southwest of here in the Chagai district, on Saturday.

Frontier Corps officials said they launched a search operation in the area, adding that an injured person had been arrested. They said five FC personnel were among the injured.

Independent sources said the people against whom the operation was launched belonged to Jundallah, a group of militants headed by Abdul Malik Reki. The group operates in Iranian Balochistan and was allegedly involved in an attack on a bus of Iranian security forces in Zahidan last year, they added.

According to them, Malik Reki was present in the area at the time of the clash. But, they added, he succeeded in escaping from the scene.

According to official sources, an FC contingent was on a routine patrol in the Hashim Khan village in the outskirts of Dalbandin when some people opened fire on it, killing three FC men.

They said the FC men returned fire and cordoned off the area. The exchange of fire continued for several hours, they added.

They said the security personnel found one body and one injured person in the house from where the militants were firing. The militants took away the other four bodies with them, they added.

An FC spokesman said a large quantity of blood spread in the house showed that more people might have been killed. He said the forces found a huge quantity of arms and ammunition in the house, including nine sub-machine guns, two rocket launchers, two heavy machine guns, one sniper rifle and several pistols.

It may be recalled here that Jundallah had kidnapped 21 Iranian nationals from Chahbar area who were working at the port and had taken them to Pakistani Balochistan. Later, Pakistani security forces had recovered those people by launching an operation in the Mand Ballu area along with the Iranian border.

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