QUETTA - At least six paramilitary soldiers were killed yesterday when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb in Balochistan province near Quetta.

A separatist militant group said it planted the bomb in the Marget area, around 30 kilometres east of the provincial capital.

“Six paramilitary soldiers have embraced martyrdom and one is injured after their vehicle passed over an IED (improvised explosive device),” a local security official told AFP.

A spokesman for the paramilitary Frontier Corps confirmed the incident.

“One of the two injured who was in critical condition died at hospital, taking the death toll to six,” said spokesman Manzoor Ahmed.

Thousands of paramilitary troops are deployed in troubled areas of the country to carry out security checks and help police in maintaining law and order.

The Baloch Liberation Army claimed responsibility for the attack. “We detonated a remote-controlled bomb and then ambushed the security forces personnel,” said group spokesman Meerak Baloch. “This is part of our war against security forces.”

Baloch separatists have been waging an insurgency for years, and the province is also riven by sectarian strife and Islamist violence.

President Mamnoon Hussain Monday strongly condemned the attack on security forces in Quetta and expressed deep grief and sorrow over the loss of precious lives. He said that terrorists could not deter the resolve of the government and people against terrorism through such cowardly attacks.

Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Khan Zehri, provincial ministers, IG Police and senior officials offered the Namaz-e-Janaza of martyred FC personnel. The CM also strongly condemned the incident and ordered law enforcement agencies to arrest armed attackers as soon as possible.