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Activists of Baloch National Front chant anti-government slogans during a protest in Quetta on April 10, 2009. — Photo by AFP/File

QUETTA, Dec 26: Activists of the Baloch Human Rights Organisation, Baloch Republican Party and Baloch Republican Students Organisation took to the streets on Wednesday in protest against a search operation launched by security forces in the Mashkay subdivision of Awaran district.

A large number of activists, including women and children, paraded different roads before gathering outside the press club for a demonstration.

Addressing the demonstrators, leaders said the operation had exposed the government lies that no military operation was being carried out in Balochistan.

They alleged that security forces were using helicopter gunships, killing several people, and appealed to international human rights organisations and other institutions to play their role in stopping the killing.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Baloch National Front (BNF) claimed in a statement that 16 people, including nine women and three children, had been killed and six others seriously wounded in Tank, Chutak and other areas.

He said one Auraz Mohammad was killed after being arrested.

The BNF spokesman claimed that the village of Dr Allah Nazar had been destroyed where several houses and huts torched, forcing the families to live in the open in chilly weather.

He said many areas were under siege and shortage of food had been reported from there. He claimed that more personnel of security forces were being deployed in the area to intensify the operation.