BLA Majeed Faction unleashes deadly attack on Balochistan: civilians and security personnel amongst casualties

Terrorists in Pakistan’s Balochistan province, reportedly belonging to the Majeed faction of the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), launched a series of well-planned attacks on Mach town on January 29 to escape the heavily guarded central Mach Jail. Nine extremists were killed by security officers as they retaliated.

In three well-planned acts of terror on January 29, highly armed militants in Pakistan’s troubled Balochistan province killed two civilians and four law enforcement officers in a relentless display of violence. Mach town was the target of the attackers. It is located about 70 km from Quetta, the province’s capital.

Attacks on the Mach and Kolpur Complexes were carried out by individuals who were reportedly part of the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) Majeed faction, a proscribed separatist organisation, according to officials. In the early mornings of January 29 and 30, there was an attempt by militants to break into the high-security central Mach Jail, which holds death row inmates and dangerous terrorists.

On January 30, a statement from the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) verified that the attacks were effectively stopped by security personnel. Nine extremists were killed in the operation, while three more were hurt and taken into custody by security personnel.

Two civilians and four security officers were killed in the ensuing gunfight. “Nine terrorists, including three suicide bombers, were sent to hell till now while three were injured,” the ISPR said, praising the security forces’ prompt response. At least fifteen rockets were fired at the Central Mach Jail during the attack, according to a senior police official.

The attacks were declared the bloodiest by militants in Balochistan this year, with the BLA Majeed group taking responsibility for them. The incident comes after another attack in November that claimed the lives of 14 soldiers in the port town of Gwadar due to an ambush.

It is believed that Pakistani raids on purported militant hideouts in Iran earlier in January are what sparked the attack. Baloch nationalists have been engaged in a low-level insurgency in Pakistan’s Balochistan province for more than 20 years. Tensions increased following the January 18 attacks on BLA camps in Iran, which claimed at least nine lives.

The operations were retaliation for an earlier Iranian attack on a different Baloch militant cell with similar separatist objectives in Pakistan. Iran’s Sistan-Baluchistan region borders Balochistan province by 900 km of mostly ungoverned territory, which serves as a haven for militants and smugglers alike.

Jan Achakzai, the acting information minister for Balochistan, confirmed that the last approval process is still in progress in Mach. His social media posts stating, “The situation in the area has been stabilised,” demonstrated the active involvement of security forces in maintaining the area’s security.

As the government struggles with a continuous insurgency and cross-border tensions in the unstable region, Monday night’s attacks serve as a sobering reminder of the continued challenges faced by security forces in Balochistan.