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Bridge blown up in SW Pak; 2 killed, 17 injured

Unidentified men blew up a railway bridge in Pak's troubled southwestern Balochistan province.

world Updated: Dec 31, 2005 19:52 IST

Unidentified men on Saturday blew up a railway bridge in Pakistan's troubled south-western Balochistan province, where escalating violence left two security personnel dead and 17 civilians injured.

The blast destroyed more than 150-feet portion of the bridge located near Sibbi, a major town in Balochistan, Station Master Riaz said. Train services on the route were suspended after the attack.

Reports from the province said that situation is tense in the town of Dera Bugti as Bugti tribesmen and paramilitary forces have taken position against each other.

A government officer Abdul Samad Lasi said tribesmen have established bunkers in government buildings and they will be ejected from the buildings. Locals people began leaving the area and the bazaars have been shut.

The government says that paramilitary forces are taking action against miscreants in the town of Kohlu. The operation was launched last week after rockets were fired near the site of a public meeting, being addressed by President Pervez Musharraf.

Meanwhile, provincial leaders said security forces yesterday opened fire in Dera Bugti town leaving 17 people injured.

Agha Shahid Hasan Bugti of the Jamhoori Watan Part told reporters in Quetta yesterday that security forces perched on surrounding mountains started firing at the house of Nawab Bugti and the Dera Bugti town, local daily 'Dawn' reported on Saturday.

However, officials said an exchange of fire took place when tribesmen occupied government buildings in which a wanted person was killed.

District Coordination Officer Dera Bugti Abdul Samad Lasi said armed tribesmen over the past few days had occupied buildings of Model School, social welfare department and the stadium and had established trenches inside their boundaries.

He said Nawab Bugti had been requested to ask the tribesmen to vacate the buildings but there was no response.

According to him firing erupted on Friday between militiamen and tribesmen and the exchange continued for several hours in which one wanted criminal was killed and several other people were injured.

He said the government was ready to provide protection to Nawab Bugti if he so desired.

Asking Nawab Bugti to cooperate with the government to restore peace in the area, he said the government was ready to provide protection to Nawab Bugti, if he so desired.

In a separate incident, unidentified gunmen shot dead two Pakistani paramilitary soldiers in the provincial capital Quetta on Friday.

Baluch nationalist outfit, the Baluchistan Liberation Army, claimed responsibility for the attack."We will continue to target the security forces unless they stop killing innocent Baluchis," the group said.

First Published: Dec 31, 2005 19:52 IST