Quetta - The law enforcement agencies on Tuesday launched intelligence based operations (IBOs) in Mekran division of Balochistan and killed two operatives of a proscribed organization in exchange of fire, besides rounding up of two others.

“Frontier Corps Balochistan conducted intelligence based operations in Tump, Turbat on a terrorist hideout in which two militants were apprehended,” said a press release issued by Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).

“During operation, 18 hostages including 2 Pakistani and 16 foreigners (Nigerian and Yemeni) were recovered who were kept hostages by these terrorists,” unveiled the press release.

The security forces also recovered a huge quantity of arms and ammunition including improvised explosive devices (IEDs) from the hideout.

In another operation, the Frontier Corps personnel conducted an intelligence-based operation (IBO) in village Panodi located 25 kms south east of Balnigur in Makran division, in which two terrorists of banned organizations were gunned down, said the ISPR press release, while a Sepoy Nasir Mehmood embraced martyrdom during exchange of fire with terrorists and two other soldiers’ sustained injuries. These terrorists were involved in different activities like destroying of a bridge on M-8, planting of IEDs and attack on security forces, the press release said.

The security sources said 15 Nigerians and 1 Yemeni were among the 16 rescued foreigners’ and efforts were underway to illegally send them to Europe. The spell of operation couldn’t be finalized in view of miscreants’ presence in the area, said the sources. Human trafficking is a daunting challenge for both central and provincial authorities and requires effective measures to successfully cope with the situation.

Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri expressed satisfaction over successful operations by security forces in Turbat against terrorists. He also expressed condolences over the martyrdom of a Frontier Corps Sepoy and injuries to two soldiers during exchange of fire with terrorists.

The chief minister expressed pleasure over recovery of hostages from the clutches of miscreants and reiterated that crackdown against terrorists would continue and all those targeting innocent civilians would be brought to justice at any cost.

He had also directed the security agencies to hunt down and demolish their hideouts so they could not find any place to hide.

FIA BUSTS HUMAN SMUGGLING GANG

INP adds: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) arrested on Tuesday seven people in the Gujranwala’s Sadoke area suspected to be involved in smuggling of labourers whose bullet-riddled bodies were found in Turbat last week.

The suspects include four persons hailing from Balochistan.

The suspects were identified as Muhammad Husnain Khan, Afzaal Ahmed, Iqrar Hussain, Raja Muhammad Farooq Khan, Imran Khan, Faisal Ameen and Rasheed Abbas Khan.

Fake stamps, 142 Pakistani passports, pictures, several original Computerised National Identity Cards (CNIC), medical certificates, a photocopier machine, a laptop and an internet device were also recovered from the possession of the agents, the source said. According to FIA Deputy Director Khalid Anis, the suspects were involved in smuggling of people via Iraq, Iran and Pakistan to Europe.

The main accused, Husnain, was found to be in contact with a wanted suspect, Akhtar Meo, involved in the Turbat killings incident. In a separate operation in Gujrat, the FIA arrested a facilitator of Sohail Shakeel, another suspect in the incident who was nabbed a day earlier from the City.

Authorities have made a number of arrests in Quetta and parts of Punjab after the Turbat incident. On November 15, about 15 bodies were found in Buleda area of Turbat tehsil in Kech district of Balochistan.  The bodies bore bullet wounds and were of people from different parts of Punjab, including Mandi Bahauddin, Gujranwala, Gujrat and Sialkot.

Two days later, five more bodies were found in the same tehsil at a short distance from the same spot. The Balochistan Liberation Front (BLF) had claimed responsibility for the deaths and an alleged BLF commander suspected of involvement in the incident was later killed during an intelligence-based operation by Frontier Corps (FC) last week.

The source claimed the investigation revealed that the suspects allegedly used two main methods to send people to Europe via Iran. They would send the victims to Iran and Iraq on a pilgrim visa from where they would be sent onto Turkey and then to Greece illegally by other operatives, he added.

The other method used was to help people cross all borders from Iran to Greece illegally.

"When the mobile phone of main accused Muhammad Hussain was thoroughly checked, the contacts of some agents were found through calls and WhatsApp, especially of the agent Zafar Mayo who is a brother of Akhtar Mayo, the main accused in Turbat tragedy," the source said.