Tuesday, February 08, 2005

New attacks on telecom tower, railway tracks

Quetta (Agencies) - Suspected tribesmen blew up a telecommunications tower in Balochistan Tuesday, disrupting telephone services to thousands in the latest in a series of almost daily attacks.
A blast also erupted outside a dining hall for paramilitary troops in the same area, causing no casualties, a day after tribesmen attacked a key rail link.
A rocket damaged the microwave tower of the Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) in Galungoor, some 115 kilometres west of Quetta, PTCL media officer Mehboob Baloch.
‘The attack caused suspension of some 7,000 telephone lines in three districts of Balochistan and cost millions of rupees in losses to PTCL,’ Baloch said.
A day before tribesmen attacked a key rail link after damaging another track.
A powerful bomb ripped up a two-foot-long piece of track late Monday in Bakhtiarabad, 180 kilometres southwest of Quetta, railway controller Aziz Ahmad said on Tuesday.
It is the main line out of Balochistan, which is in the midst of an escalating unrest among tribesmen demanding a bigger share of the profits from the province’s natural resources.
Another bomb hit a rail track in Killi Almo, on the outskirts of Quetta, at around the same time, causing a crater but only minor damage to the track, which links the city to the Afghan border, said rail official Mohammed Jawaid.
Meanwhile, two bombs detonated within fifteen minutes of each other in separate bazaars in Kalat town, some 145 kilometres southwest of Quetta late Monday. Police said there were no casualties.
Another blast Monday blew up a telephone system in a remote town in Barkhan district near the Punjab border. Bombs targeting railway tracks and government installations have been exploding with increasing frequently in Balochistan.
No one claimed responsibility for the latest bombings but a shadowy group linked to the tribesman called the Balochistan Liberation Army has said it carried out many of the others in the region. Rail authorities last month banned both passenger and goods trains from running after nightfall in the province to guard against further attacks.
The current unrest has flared since the rape in January of a woman doctor at gas field in Sui and subsequent rocket attacks on the facility, which left eight people dead.
On Monday a man claiming to be a Balochistan Liberation Army spokesman threatened to blow up a key oil installation in neighbouring Punjab, marking an apparent attempt to spread the violence further afield.
Officials said they had tightened security around a nuclear plant and other important sites in Punjab.
Baloch Alliance gives strike call: PPI adds: The four- party Baloch Alliance on Tuesday gave a shutter down strike call for February 12.
In a joint statement, member Central Committee Ali Ahmed Baloch, provincial Labour Secretary Takari Shafqatullah Lango and Farooq Ahmed Marri said the strike would prove a symbol of unity of Balochistan.
Damboli section repaired: Railway line near Damboli has been repaired and normal train traffic restored on ths section.
This was confirmed by Divisional Superintendent Railways Quetta Ali Hassan Toori while talking to PPI here Monday.
According to details, terrorists planted five bombs at 70 feet bridge (No. 128-B) near Basti Allah Dami. All these bombs went off around 11 pm last night seriously damaging the track. This section falls in the jurisdiction of Sukkur Division of Pakistan Railways.
This bridge is 3 Km from Damboli and some 55 Km from Sibi Railways teams from Sibi and Sukkur reached the site and started repair. It was completed at 0810 am today. Two trains Bolan Mail and Jaffar Express which were detained resumed their onward journey three hours behind schedule.
Another bomb blast occurred close to railway line near Mushkaf, about 40 Km towards Quetta. It did not cause any damage. Meanwhile, Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Muhammad Yusuf and Provincial Police Officers have directed Sibi Police and Levies for immediate arrest of the culprits.

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