Baloch militant attacks affecting quake relief

Report
from DAWN Group of Newspapers
Published on 10 Oct 2013 View Original

SALEEM SHAHID

QUETTA: Baloch militants continued their attacks on Wednesday against security forces and government officials engaged in relief operation, badly affecting relief activities in earthquake-stricken areas of Awaran and Kech districts.

Official sources said that Army and Levies personnel were attacked by militants in Mashkay and Awaran areas. The attack in Mashkay area left one man dead and two others injured.

Sources said the armed men opened indiscriminate fire on a vehicle carrying Levies personnel in Jhaljaho area of Mashkay tehsil. They intercepted the vehicle in the area, badly beat up Levies personnel after snatching their weapons and then escaped.

In another attack in Mashkay, militants fired rockets and bullets on army personnel distributing relief goods among earthquake-hit people.

Balochistan Assembly Deputy Speaker Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo said that militants fired two rockets at an army relief camp in Mashkay, but one of the rockets exploded in a house.

As a result of the rocket explosion, one man was killed and two others were seriously injured.

Another rocket exploded away from the camp. No casualty was reported in the second attack.

In some areas, sources said, militants set relief goods, including tents and food items, on fire. These were distributed among earthquake-stricken people.

Mr Bizenjo, who was elected from Awaran district to the Balochistan Assembly in the May 11 elections, expressed concern over the attacks on security forces and urged militant groups to stop attacks on security forces and extend their cooperation in relief and rehabilitation activities. “The earthquake-affected people, especially women, children and the elderly, are facing hardship due to hurdles in distribution of relief goods and rehabilitation work,” he said at a press conference here on Wednesday. Provincial Disaster Management Authority Director General Hafiz Abdul Basit was also present at the press conference.

He said the provincial government, Army and FC were sending and distributing relief goods among the people of Awaran and Mashkay.

But, he said, attacks on security forces and government officials had been badly affecting the relief operation.

He confirmed incidents of burning of relief goods, including food items and tents, in some areas of Awaran and Mashkay.

“There should be a ceasefire from armed militant groups to enable us to complete the relief operation and start rehabilitation work in earthquake-hit areas,” Mr Bizenjo said.

Otherwise, he added, the situation could result in more suffering of earthquake-hit people and even starvation among them.

Despite deadly attacks and serious law and order situation in affected areas, he said, the government, the Army and Frontier Corps had not abandoned the relief work and they were providing all help to affected people.

He said that even in the presence of Chief Minister Dr Malik Baloch, militants fired rockets where he had been staying in Awaran to monitor the relief work. He said that two army soldiers and four FC personnel had been killed in Mashkay and Prom area of Panjgur district recently.

He said that even today Army and Levies Force personnel had been attacked in earthquake-affected areas.

“I appeal to my disgruntled brothers to let the government help earthquake-hit people for the sake of our women and children who are badly suffering because of insecurity in earthquake-affected areas.

“We will continue our efforts to mitigate suffering of the people of Awaran district who have experienced a big tragedy and lost their near and dear ones,” Mr Bizenjo said

PDMA Balochistan Director General Hafiz Abdul Basit said that 620 trucks carrying foods, tents and other stuff had reached affected areas and these had been distributed among earthquake-affected people.

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