QUETTA, Pakistan (AP) — Gunmen stormed a tribal police post Sunday in southwestern Pakistan, killing six police officers and wounding three, authorities said.
The attack took place in Wadh area of Baluchistan province’s Khuzdar district, where insurgents have launched previous attacks, said Baroz Khan, a senior government official.
Officers manning the post returned fire and pushed the gunmen back toward nearby mountains, Khan said. Reinforcements from the paramilitary Frontier Corps later reached the post, some 300 kilometers (186 miles) south of Quetta, the provincial capital, he said.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but suspicion immediately fell on Baluch nationalist groups who have claimed responsibility for such attacks in the past.
For over a decade, Baluchistan has been the scene of a low-intensity insurgency by some nationalist groups demanding autonomy or a greater share from mineral and gas resources being extracted from the impoverished province. It is also believed to be home to many Afghan Taliban members.
Residents say a crackdown has sparked disappearances in Baluchistan blamed on security forces. They say the disappearances swelled in the mid-2000s, when Gen. Pervez Musharraf’s government cracked down on insurgents there. Two years ago, the Voice for Baluch Missing Persons organization handed the United Nations a list of 12,000 names they said belonged to people missing in the conflict.
Also Sunday, Pakistan said it was releasing 151 Indian fishermen who were detained on charges of crossing illegally into its territorial waters, a statement from prime minister office said. Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is scheduled to fly to neighboring India on Monday to take part in the oath-taking ceremony for India’s incoming prime minister, Narendra Modi.
Pakistan and India have a history of uneasy relations and they have fought three wars over the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir since their independence from Britain in 1947. Sharif’s visit could signal a further easing of the tensions.
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