Nawab Bugti's men surrender
Dozens of alleged supporters of a renegade tribal elder Nawab Akbar Bugti laid down their arms and surrendered to authorities in Pakistan.india Updated: Apr 08, 2006 15:30 IST
Dozens of alleged supporters of a renegade tribal elder laid down their arms on Saturday and surrendered to authorities in Pakistan's insurgency-wracked southwest, an official said.
The 40 men said they had been fighting government forces and damaging gas facilities in Balochistan province on the orders of Nawab Akbar Bugti, an influential tribal elder, said Abdul Samad Lasi, the top government official in the region.
They officially surrendered at a public ceremony in Dera Bugti, 300 kms southeast of the provincial capital Quetta, Lasi said.
Lasi said he hoped other members of "Bugti's private army will also follow the same path of peace and give up arms to ensure peace in Balochistan".
Bugti's spokesman, Agha Shahid, denied the allegations, and said the 40 men were "robbers" and had no links with the tribal elder.
Sparsely populated Balochistan has in recent years seen escalating bomb, rocket and land mine attacks, most blamed on Bugti and other ethnic Baloch elders, who have been demanding increased royalties for resources, such as natural gas, extracted in their territories.
Tribesmen are also opposed to military garrisons being built in the province, which the government has said are needed to ensure peace, protect gas facilities and the staff working there.