May 19, 2006

Tribal rebels blow up two gas pipelines in Pakistan

QUETTA, Pakistan (Reuters)- Suspected tribal militants blew
up two natural gas pipelines in Pakistan's troubled southwest
province of Baluchistan overnight, officials said on Friday.

One pipeline was blown up at Goh, around 9 km (6 miles)
from Sui, the town where the main production plant for
Pakistan's largest gas field is located.

The second was attacked an hour later on the Loti gas field
supplying the Sui plant.

Baluchistan, Pakistan's largest but poorest of four
provinces, is home to the country's largest gas and oil

Nobody has claimed responsibility for the attacks on the
pipelines, but officials said they believed Baluch militants
were responsible.

Baluch militants resent local resources being used to
benefit other regions and have stepped up attacks in recent
months on gas pipelines, rail links and government buildings
and army bases in the province.

On Wednesday, another pipeline was blown up at Dera Bugti,
the home town of tribal chieftain Nawab Akbar Bugti, who is
leading the movement for greater autonomy for Baluch tribals.

Six police commandoes were killed last week in a series of
land mine blasts at a training school near the provincial
capital of Quetta, an attack also blamed on Baluch militants.

The simmering revolt escalated in December when rebel
tribesmen fired rockets during a visit by President Pervez
Musharraf to a Baluch town.

Musharraf has announced plans for major infrastructure
projects in Baluchistan to win back support but authorities
have vowed to deal sternly with the militants.