February 22, 2006

Rebels kill soldier in ambush on Pakistan convoy

QUETTA, Pakistan (Reuters) - Tribal rebels ambushed a
Pakistan army convoy on Wednesday, killing one soldier and
wounding five in the latest violence to hit the troubled
southwestern province of Baluchistan, officials said.

The rebels fired rockets at the four-vehicle convoy in
Dadhar district, about 100 km (60 miles) southeast of the
provincial capital Quetta, said the local government officials,
who did not want to be identified.

Attackers also blew up small pipelines feeding natural gas
from two wells to a filtration plant, the second such attack in
two days in Baluchistan's Dera Bugti district, they said.

Officials blamed the attacks on "miscreants," a description
the government uses for Baluch nationalists fighting for more
control over gas and other natural resources in their province
bordering Afghanistan and Iran.

Baluchistan is Pakistan's main gas producing region and
rebel attacks have sometimes disrupted supplies.

The ambush came exactly a week after gunmen killed three
Chinese engineers and their Pakistani driver in the province.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, now visiting China,
has charged that Baluch militants have been receiving help from
rival India and also Afghanistan, another neighbor. Both
countries deny this.

In another troubled region, where the Pakistani army is
fighting tribal militants supporting Afghanistan's Taliban
guerrillas, masked gunmen shot dead a pro-government tribal
elder in a bazaar just before noon on Wednesday, witnesses

They said Malik Arsala Khan was about to drive out of the
bazaar in Wana, capital of the South Waziristan tribal area,
when gunmen in a car shot him dead and wounded another man.

Two days ago, the son of another pro-government tribal
elder was shot dead by unknown gunmen on a road near Wana.