Gunmen have killed seven Pakistani paramilitary troops after attacking their checkpoint in the southwestern province of Balochistan.
The deadly assault took place on Monday in Loralai area, located some 310 kilometers (200 miles) east of the provincial capital, Quetta.
“Seven soldiers embraced shahadat (martyrdom) when a post of the FC (Frontier Corps) came under attack in the early hours of Monday,” Manzoor Ahmed, a spokesman for the paramilitary force, said.
One soldier is said to have suffered injuries, but is in stable condition.
As the biggest but least developed and most sparsely populated province of Pakistan, Balochistan has long witnessed militancy that was revived in 2004.
Pro-Taliban militants and some Baloch militant groups often carry out attacks against security forces as well as civilians in Pakistan and have managed to spread their influence in various regions of the country despite frequent offensives by the Pakistani army.
A number of Baloch militant groups say they want greater political autonomy and a share of the province’s natural resources. This comes as rights groups accuse the government of extra-judicial detentions and killings of activists.
According to Pakistani rights group Defense for Human Rights, up to 2,000 people have disappeared from across the country, many from Balochistan.
The Pakistani Supreme Court and high courts have also been investigating cases of missing people. They have warned Islamabad to recover those who have vanished.