Bomb kills 2 soldiers on quake relief duty in Pak

  • AFP, Quetta
  • |
  • Updated: Oct 02, 2013 13:39 IST

A bomb on Wednesday killed two soldiers and wounded three others working to help survivors of a deadly earthquake that hit Pakistan's restive southwest last week, officials said.

The explosion came in Jhalvari area, eight kilometres (five miles) from Mashkey town, one of the many areas of Balochistan province devastated by the September 24 earthquake.

Infrastructure in the rugged, sparsely populated province is minimal and the army and paramilitary Frontier Corps have been heavily involved in relief efforts, along with non-governmental organisations.

But many of the areas hit by the 7.7-magnitude quake are strongholds of ethnic Baloch insurgents fighting for greater freedom for the province, and military relief teams have come under attack several times.

"An improvised explosive device went off near a military vehicle, killing two soldiers and wounding three others," a senior security official told AFP.

He said that the troops were busy in relief operations at the time of explosion, which was confirmed by the top local administration official, Hari Pal.

Insurgents have launched several attacks on rescue teams, fired rockets at army helicopters and issued threats since the quake hit the province.

Balochistan is Pakistan's largest province, and is believed to have large oil and gas reserves, but it remains very poor and deeply unstable.

On top of the separatist insurgency, which began in 2004, the province is also the focus of rising sectarian violence as well as suffering Islamist militancy.

Last week's deadly quake is known to have killed at least 376 people and made more than 100,000 homeless. Another 6.8-magnitude tremor struck the area again on Saturday, killing at least 22 more people.


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