Military Operation in Southwest Balochistan; Houses Destroyed, Body of Abductee Dumped
Pakistani military forces attacked two villages in the southwestern Kech district of the restive Balochistan province Friday, arresting locals, damaging property and dumping the body of a missing civilian according to Baloch rights activists.
Activists who spoke to locals report that 200-300 Frontier Corps soldiers first attacked the small village of Gomazi in the Tump sub-district of Kech near the border with Iran. Locals claimed that FC soldiers came in dozens of vehicles and surrounded the village near dawn. They then proceeded to indiscriminately fire upon building, also using mortar rounds, resulting in over 10 houses being burnt as well as the destruction of several shops and a medical center. Locals also told of the abduction of three villagers by the FC after house searches.
Pictures published on Facebook show the extent of the damage to buildings as well as burnt and smashed belongings.
The FC force later attacked the nearby village of Malant, where activists claim three houses were destroyed as a result of more firing. The soldiers remain in the area according to activists, but have ceased their attacks and searches of houses.
Abductee’s Body Dumped
Baloch blogs later claimed that the FC had left the body of an abducted civilian, Umer Jan Baloch, at the scene of the destruction in Gomazi. Graphic images of Umer Jan’s body published on Facebook by Baloch activists show visible signs of torture and decomposition.
Umer Jan had gone missing in October last year. He was arrested at an FC checkpost near Turbat Airport in Balochistan along with three others, including his brother, but while the others were later released, Umer Jan’s whereabouts remained unknown until Friday.
Claims of More Deaths
Meanwhile a statement by the opposition Baloch National Front’s spokesperson while verifying the attack on Gomazi also claims that three other civilians were killed in a raid by Pakistani military forces in Basima in Washuk district, northeast of Kech.
The almost decade long conflict in Balochistan has left thousands deads and thousands of others internally displaced. Ongoing military operations against militants fighting for an independent Balochistan many times end up targeting civilians as a form of collective punishment. Verifying information about military operations is often impossible because of the military’s strict control on the flow of information and restrictions on journalists.
Courtesy: API Rights