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Pakistan Says Attacks On Bases Repulsed; Up To 12 Soldiers, 15 Attackers Killed

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Pakistan's military has repelled nighttime assaults on two army bases in the southwestern Balochistan Province that killed up to 12 soldiers and 15 militants, authorities say.

An ethnic separatist group, the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

In a video statement, Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad said on February 3 that nine militants and four soldiers were killed when the assailants raided a security post late on February 2 in the remote Naushki district of Balochistan.

Hours later, six militants and three soldiers were killed when separatists attacked another security post in the province's Panjgur area.


Balochistan Home Minister Mir Zia Langove gave a different military casualty toll during a press conference saying five security forces were killed and 12 wounded in Naushki, while in Panjgur seven soldiers were killed and 11 were wounded.

When asked about the discrepancy in the numbers, Langove said: "The operation in Panjgur is under way and the figures are not final."

Prime Minister Imran Khan paid tribute to the "brave" military for repulsing the attacks as he acknowledged their "great sacrifices."

The BLA said in a statement that its suicide bombers had detonated explosives-laden vehicles at the entrance of the bases and claimed they had killed more than 50 soldiers.

Last week, the insurgents killed 10 soldiers in an attack on an army post near the port of Gwadar on the Arabian Sea.

Ethnic Baluch guerrillas have been fighting the government for decades for an independent state, accusing the central government of unfairly exploiting Balochistan's rich gas and mineral resources.

Pakistan has accused archrival India of covertly supporting the Baluch insurgents, a charge India denies.

With reporting by Reuters and dawn.com

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