ISLAMABAD – Suspected separatist militants in Pakistan’s southwestern Baluchistan province Tuesday ambushed a military convoy, killing at least three soldiers and injuring eight others.
The army’s media wing said in a brief statement that the “terrorist fire raid” targeted a “routine patrolling party” in the remote Panjgur district.
The statement said the injured soldiers have been evacuated to a military hospital in the provincial capital, Quetta, where five of them were in “critical” condition.
A militant group known as the Baloch Liberation Front (BLF) took responsibility for the deadly ambush, saying it killed more than 20 Pakistani security forces.
The BLF and several other armed groups, which claim to be fighting for Baluchistan’s independence from Pakistan, often issue inflated claims about attacks on government installations and security forces.
The Pakistani province is at the center of a China-funded multi-billion-dollar infrastructure development project known as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor or CPEC. It is an extension of Beijing’s global Belt and Road Initiative.
Militants have lately also targeted projects related to CPEC, which is building power plants and roads in Pakistan, as well as a major port and an airport in Baluchistan.
Late last month, armed men linked to the outlawed Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), which is also designated as a global terrorist group by the United States, attacked Pakistan’s main stock exchange in the southern port city of Karachi.
The ensuing gunfight with security forces resulted in the deaths of the assailants as well as three security guards and a police officer.
Pakistan accused rival India of being behind the attack, charges New Delhi rejected.