Two militants were also killed in the shootout and their bodies taken to a local hospital. — Photo by AP

QUETTA: Militants ambushed Pakistani police before dawn on Friday, sparking a gunfight that killed two policemen and two militants in the country's troubled southwest, officials said.

One policeman and a militant were also wounded during the shootout in Balochistan province, which borders Afghanistan and Iran, police said.

A group of militants attacked a police vehicle in the town of Mir Hasan, about 360 kilometres southeast of Quetta.

“Police also returned the fire and the militants ran away after the encounter. Two policemen were killed and one was injured,” Saadullah Khetran, Naseerabad district police chief told AFP.

Two militants were also killed in the shootout and their bodies taken to a local hospital, Khetran added.

Impoverished Balochistan is wracked by an insurgency waged by ethnic Baloch tribes seeking greater autonomy from the federal government and a greater share of profits from the region's wealth of oil and gas resources.

The region has also been hit by attacks blamed on Taliban militants, although sabotage of gas pipelines is a trademark of nationalist militants.

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