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Six killed in Pakistan landmine blast

The blast happened at around 9:30 am in the remote Kharcha village in Balochistan province.

india Updated: Jan 25, 2006 17:10 IST

A landmine planted by suspected tribal rebels exploded beneath a minibus in troubled southwestern Pakistan on Wednesday, killing six passengers and injuring five, an official said.

The blast happened at around 9:30 am in the remote village of Kharcha in volatile Balochistan province, district coordination officer Abdul Samad Lasi told the agency.

"Six people were killed and five injured when a minivan struck a landmine in Kharcha," Lasi said. "The landmine was planted by miscreants."

The rebels are demanding a bigger share of the vast but sparsely populated region's natural resources and gas reserves, jobs in state projects as well as more political rights.

The site of the explosion is 70 miles (112 kilometres) from the town of Dera Bugti, where security forces and tribesmen have been engaged in a month-long standoff.

Another landmine planted by the rebels was defused Tuesday by security forces in Pirkoh, some 18 miles north of Dera Bugti, said Lieutenant Colonel Furqan-ud-Din, of the paramilitary Frontier Corps.

Officials say five troops have died since December, three of them when a landmine or roadside bomb exploded near a major gasfield at Pirkoh on January 11.

Twelve suspected rebels died in a shootout after that blast, officials said, while the tribesmen say dozens of civilians have been killed in shelling by Pakistani forces.

The figures for civilian deaths were not confirmed by officials and have been impossible to independently verify.

The government launched its latest crackdown on the tribesmen in December after rockets hit the remote town of Kohlu during a trip by military ruler President Pervez Musharraf to the region.

Islamabad crushed a tribal revolt in Balochistan in the late 1970s and troubles resurfaced in the area last year with sporadic clashes as well as attacks on government installations, railway tracks and gas facilities.

First Published: Jan 25, 2006 15:31 IST