QUETTA - At least three dozen alleged Baloch separatists were killed in Kalat district of Balochistan, some 160km southeast of Quetta in a search operation carried out by paramilitary Frontier Corps (FC).

FC also claimed to have dismantled 10 militant dens and recovered heavy cache of arms and ammunitions while ten security personnel also received injuries in the operation.

Provincial Home Minister Sarfiraz Bugti said 30 militants were killed while FC sources claimed the casualties on militants side was 30 to 40. A helicopter providing logistic support made an emergency landing in Kalat district due to technical fault, however pilot and crew remained unhurt.

An FC spokesman said search operation was carried out in Pardoh, a mountainous area of Kalat, and all dead were militants of Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) and Baloch Republican Army. He said IGFC Major M Ejaz Shahid himself supervised the joint operation of FC’s Special Operation Wing and Kalat Scouts.

But a BLA spokesman claimed that commandos were being dropped through helicopters when their fighters attacked them. “One helicopter was completely destroyed while several commandos were killed in the attack,” he claimed, adding that BLA fighters faced no casualty.

However, the home minister said that the helicopter was used for only for providing logistic support had to make emergency landing in Kalat due to a technical fault.