Saturday, August 26, 2006

Nawab Akbar Bugti Killed by Pakistani Forces: WE AT BFM salute the brave Marytr

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - A prominent rebel leader in Pakistan's gas-rich Baluchistan province has been killed in fighting with government forces, the Pakistani government said early on Sunday.

"It is confirmed, Nawab Bugti has been killed in an operation," Information Minister Mohammad Ali Durrani told Reuters, referring to veteran Baluch nationalist and rebel leader Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti.

An Interior Ministry official said 21 members of the security forces and 37 rebels were killed in fighting in the Bambore district of the southwestern province.

Six officers were among the 21 security force personnel killed, said the official who declined to be identified.

Baluchistan is Pakistan's biggest but poorest province. It also contains Pakistan's main natural gas reserves.

Baluch nationalists have long complained that the province does not get a fair share of the profits from the gas.

Rebels have stepped up attacks on infrastructure, including gas pipelines, as well as security posts over the past year.

Security forces have responded to the rebel attacks with sweeps aimed at rooting out and defeating the militants.