Militants killed 15 paramilitary troopers and injured 12 more in an attack on four security posts in the restive Balochistan province of southwest Pakistan, officials said today.
The militants attacked the security check posts at Margat, a coal-rich area near Quetta, the capital of Balochistan, last night.
The rebels used light and heavy weapons during the attack, which continued for five hours, officials of the Frontier Corps said.
The militants also targeted additional forces sent to the area with a remote-controlled explosive device.
A total of 15 security personnel were killed and a dozen more injured in the fighting, the officials said.
A spokesman for the Baloch Liberation Army claimed responsibility for the attack in phone calls to journalists in Quetta.
The Frontier Corps had set up eight check posts to protect coal mines in Margat after armed militants kidnapped four workers of the Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation last year.
Reports from Quetta said security forces used a helicopter to airlift bodies and seriously injured troopers from the site of the attack.
Additional security forces were sent to the area for a search operation but no one was arrested.
Baloch insurgent groups have been waging a violent campaign for greater autonomy and a say in the exploitation of the province's abundant natural resources.
The insurgents have stepped up attacks on security forces in Balochistan in recent weeks.
At least 14 Frontier Corps personnel, including two junior commissioned officers, were killed and nine more injured in an armed attack by Baloch militants close to the Iranian border in Turbat district last month.