QUETTA, July 20: At least 24 militants and six security personnel were killed and around two dozen others were injured in fierce clashes in the Uch area of Dera Bugti on Sunday.

New casualties raise the death toll in two days of fighting to 38 as eight militants were killed on Saturday. Heavy weapons, including rockets, mortars and machine-guns, have been used in the clashes.

Security forces claimed to have destroyed two camps from where the militants were launching attacks on gas installations and security personnel.

“The operation has been continuing for two days against militants involved in attacks on gas installations in the Uch area,” official sources said.

They said three militant commanders were among those killed.

“We have received information about the death of 25 militants in today’s fighting,” they said, adding that the security forces also suffered casualties.

Sources said the bodies of the six security personnel and nine injured FC men had been brought to the provincial capital.

The fighting started when forces launched a search operation in the area after a rocket attack on a gas plant. An engineer of the Oil and Gas Development Corporation was killed in the attack.

The sources said the search operation was carried out in Zain Koh and Phuleji areas on the basis of information about presence of militants. The forces faced severe resistance from the militants and at least six personnel were killed.

Later, more Frontier Corps troops were sent to the area.

“The security forces destroyed two Farari camps of militants in the mountainous areas of Zain Koh and Phuleji,” the sources said, adding that a huge quantity of arms and ammunition had been found in the camps.

They said most of the militants in the camps were killed or arrested. The operation was under way till evening. “More troops are being deployed and heavy contingents of the FC were seen moving towards the area,” a witness told this correspondent from Dera Murad Jamali.

Baloch Republican Army (BRA) spokesman Sarbaz Baloch accused the security forces of killing innocent tribesmen. He told newsmen that 24 tribesmen had been killed and many others injured.

He said BRA militants had attacked the forces on Saturday in the Uch area, inflicting heavy losses.

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