Author`s name Pravda.Ru

Pakistan: 31 tribal militants killed during the offensive against Baluch tribesmen

An aide of a top Baluch tribal leader, however, denied it, and said his militia had shot down a military helicopter - a claim rejected by the government.

It was not immediately possible to reconcile the conflicting accounts of Wednesday's fighting near Dera Bugti, a remote town about 350 kilometers (210 miles) southeast of Quetta, the capital of restive Baluchistan province.

Thousands of security forces have been deployed to snuff out the long-running insurgency in tribal regions of Pakistan's poorest province, the AP reports.

Tribesmen are demanding more royalties for natural gas extracted from their lands and oppose government moves to establish new military garrisons.

Abdur Raziq Bugti, the provincial government spokesman, said Thursday that security forces on the ground, backed by helicopter gunships, targeted hideouts of militants accused of blowing up gas pipelines and attacking officials.

Security forces also seized a cache of weapons, including rockets and land mines, but did not recover any bodies of dead militants, he said.