Bomb kills nine soldiers in Pakistani tribal area: Military

AFP , Thursday 8 May 2014

A roadside bomb killed at least nine soldiers and wounded two others in a restive Pakistani tribal area bordering Afghanistan on Thursday, the military said.

The bomb exploded as a military convoy passed in the village of Ghulamkhan in troubled North Waziristan, one of seven lawless tribal districts where Taliban and Al-Qaeda linked militants have hideouts.

The military said in a statement that nine soldiers were killed and two others were seriously wounded in the roadside blast.

Local military officials confirmed the incident and said troops called in air support and launched a search operation in the area after the attack.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack but the area is a stronghold of the Pakistani Taliban.

The attack comes two weeks after the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) formally ended a ceasefire called to help peace talks with the government.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's government began negotiations with the TTP through intermediaries in February in the hope of ending their bloody seven-year insurgency.

Since the TTP rose up against the Pakistani state in 2007, more than 6,800 people have been killed in bomb and gun attacks around Pakistan, according to an AFP tally.

Elsewhere in North Waziristan, fresh infighting between rival TTP factions left at least 10 militants dead and 15 more wounded, sources said.

Clashes have been raging intermittently for over a month between supporters of Khan Said Sajna, a senior commander once tipped to lead the group, and those of former leader Hakimullah Mehsud, who was killed by a US drone last November.

The latest violence came in the Shawal area of the district, where a shootout on Tuesday killed at least 12 militants.

Elsewhere Thursday, a bomb planted on a bicycle killed at least two people and wounded 16 others in Quetta, the capital of the insurgency-hit Baluchistan province in southwest Pakistan.

A senior police official told AFP the timed-device exploded in front of a market shop. No one immediately claimed responsibility.

Baluchistan, Pakistan's largest but least developed province, is wracked by a separatist insurgency as well as sectarian violence, Islamist militants and banditry.

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