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Four Pakistani Soldiers Killed In Bomb Blast, Officials Say


Balochistan is the scene of an ethnic Baluch separatist insurgency and a brutal state crackdown that has killed thousands of people since 2004. (file photo)

At least four members of Pakistan's paramilitary corps have been killed and five wounded in a bomb blast in Pakistan's southwestern Balochistan Province, officials say.

The incident occurred on January 20 while the soldiers, from the Frontier Corps (FC), were on patrol in Kohlu district, some 200 kilometers southeast of the provincial capital, Quetta, a spokesman for the force said.

"Four soldiers from FC were killed and five wounded, condition of three of them was critical," the spokesman said, adding that the blast that destroyed the soldiers' vehicle was caused by an improvised explosive device.

Two senior government officials in Quetta confirmed the information.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Balochistan is the scene of an ethnic Baluch separatist insurgency and a brutal state crackdown that has killed thousands of people since 2004.

Activists claim Pakistan's powerful military has committed widespread abuses in Balochistan, including enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings of political activists and suspected separatists, arbitrary arrests, and torture.

Pakistan has long blamed India for backing Baluch separatists. The province is home to a sizeable Pashtun community.

Balochistan is also an important element of a China-backed infrastructure drive known as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The CPEC project consists of rail, road, and energy infrastructure and is part of the wider $1 trillion Chinese project known as the Belt and Road initiative.

Baloch separatists have also previously claimed attacks on CPEC projects, and thousands of Pakistani troops are deployed in the region to curb the violence.

With reporting by AFP
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