Two bombers blow themselves up during Zhob operation
QUETTA: Two suicide bombers blew themselves up during a security operation to free a polio vaccination team and their escorts in the troubled Zhob district on Monday, a senior administration official told The Media.
The operation was jointly conducted by the paramilitary Frontier Corps (FC) and Balochistan Levies in the Toda Kibzai area of Zhob, said Deputy Commissioner Nazir Muhammad Kethran.
The polio team – a vaccinator, his driver and two police escorts – went missing while travelling to a remote area of Zhob for an inoculation campaign on January 13. They remained incommunicado until Sunday lending credence to fears that they had been kidnapped. Subsequently, a search operation was launched.
“Two suicide bombers blew themselves up following a brief encounter with the security forces during the search operation in the Toda Kibzai area, close to Murgha Kibzai,” Kethran said. No security official was hurt in the explosions.
He added that the ambulance the polio team was travelling in was also recovered, but the missing polio team or their police escorts were not found. “The kidnappers frequently change their location making it difficult for the security forces to track them down,” Kethran said
A spokesperson for the FC said the search operation has been ongoing in the mountainous Toda Kibzai and Murgha Kibzai areas for the past three days. “As many as 250 FC soldiers are taking part in the operation in which a helicopter is also used for aerial surveillance,” he added. IGFC Major General Sher Afgan said the operation would continue till the kidnapped men were recovered.
Zhob is one of the troubled areas of Balochistan which shares borders with the restive Waziristan tribal region and Afghanistan. Zhob is also one of the ‘high-risk’ areas with regard to polio vaccination.
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