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Militants blow up gas pipeline in Pakistan: officials

Suspected tribal rebels blew up a gas pipeline in Pakistan's insurgency hit southwestern province of Baluchistan, suspending supplies to several areas.

world Updated: Jan 19, 2009 15:27 IST

Suspected tribal rebels blew up a gas pipeline in Pakistan's insurgency hit southwestern province of Baluchistan on Monday, suspending supplies to several areas, officials said.

The pre dawn blast damaged a main pipeline bringing gas from the Pirkoh field to the Sui purification plant in Dera Bugti district, said security and company officials on condition of anonymity.

No casualties were reported, a gas company official said.

"We have started the repair work and hope to resume supplies late in the evening," said the official.

A nationalist group, the Baluch Republican Army, claimed responsibility. "We carried out the attack," Sarbaz Baluch, a spokesman for the group, said in telephone calls to local media.

Impoverished Baluchistan, which borders Iran and Afghanistan, has been wracked by an insurgency waged by ethnic Baluch tribes seeking more political rights and a greater share of profits from the region's natural resources.

Hundreds of people have died in violence ripping through the province since the insurgency flared in late 2004.

The region has also been hit by attacks blamed on Taliban militants, although sabotage attacks on gas pipelines are a trademark tactic of nationalist rebels.

A local official said Pirkoh field produces about 12 million cubic feet of natural gas daily.

It is transported to the main plant at Sui, where Pakistan's main gas field is located.

From there it goes to a distribution plant, which supplies millions of homes and hundreds of industrial units in central, southern and northern parts of the country.

"It will not be a major loss, not many consumers will be affected in on Monday's incident," the company official said.