Pakistan separatists blow up gas pipeline

Reuters, Friday 14 Jan 2011

Separatists in Pakistan's Baluchistan province blew up a gas pipeline and a gas well early Friday


Separatists rebels blew up a natural gas pipeline and a gas well in Pakistan's restive Baluchistan province on Friday, officials said, the latest in a wave of attacks in the mineral-rich province.

"The 20-inch diameter pipeline was blown up early on Friday which connects 10 gas wells to a major gas purification plant in Dera Bugti district,"

Home Secretary Akbar Durrani told Reuters the pipeline had connected 10 gas wells to a major gas purification plant in Dera Bugti district. It was not clear how much of the plant's production was disrupted or how much gas the wells supplied.

Militants also blew up a gas well in Uch district.

The militant Baluch Republican Army claimed Friday's attack, its sixth in less than a week.

The group is waging a low-scale separatist insurgency for decades in the country's poorest but mineral-rich southwestern province, which supplies much of Pakistan's natural gas.

They want greater autonomy and control of the province's abundant natural gas and mineral resources, which they say are unfairly exploited to the benefit of other provinces.

Attacks on government infrastructure, including gas pipelines and power pylons were frequent in 2006, but have since ebbed after Pakistani forces killed one of the rebels' main leaders, Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, later that year.

Pakistani security forces arrested Bugti's grandson Shahzain last month, but officials say there is no connection between the stepped up attacks and his detention.

Militants have also increasingly attacked teachers, college professors and other school personnel, disrupting the province's education system.

New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) in a report in December said militants killed at least 22 teachers and other education personnel in the past two years.


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