Iranian security forces have stormed a Baluch village in the southern province of Hormozgan, leading to the destruction of property and the arrest of 150 people, according to activists and police.
The Baluch Activists Campaign said that the July 12 assault on Kolahi village in Minab district resulted in the arson of fuel tanks and the destruction of several houses.
The group quoted a source as saying that a special force unit and other troops cordoned off Kolahi before the raid and subjected the villagers to hours of travel restrictions.
Some residents attempted to prevent the military forces from entering the village by igniting a fire, the source said.
Human rights lawyer Mohammad Moghimi released several videos showing what he called the "massive deployment of military forces of the Islamic Republic."
Moghimi accused the government forces of "destroying public property" and "employing physical violence during arrests."
The videos shared on social media suggest that the security forces confiscated numerous Nissan cars and other properties belonging to Baluch fuel carriers.
Ali Akbar Javidanfar, the police commander of Hormozgan province, announced that 150 "Afghan citizens” were arrested during the raid, which he said was part of an operation to “eliminate fuel smuggling.”
امروز نیروهای نظامی به روستای کلاهی یورش برده و اقدام به تخریب و جمع آوری مخازن سوخت کردند.— کمپین فعالین بلوچ (@balochcampaign) July 12, 2023
تاکنون ده ها دستگاه خودروی نیسان، پمپ آب و شیلنگ سوخت توسط نیروهای نظامی توقیف شدند.
همچنین سرهنگ لشکری و دادستان میناب همچنان در روستای کلاهی حضور دارند و در حال مدیریت این اقدام هستند pic.twitter.com/hJim6y33Nm
He said that “550 tanks containing 300,000 liters of illicitly transported fuel" have already been discovered since the launch of the operation.
The Baluch Activists Campaign reported multiple attacks on Kolahi in recent years, which led to losses of life and injuries among the village's youth.
The group says that rampant unemployment forces the residents of Kolahi and neighboring areas to become fuel carriers.
Police often use lethal force to crack down on this activity, which the authorities consider as being illegal.
Etemad newspaper recently reported on the dangers that fuel carriers face, including gunfire from border agents and the risk of being burned alive in their vehicles.
Last year alone, at least 168 fuel carriers lost their lives in car explosions around the cities of Iranshahr and Sarbaz, south-eastern Sistan and Baluchistan province.
According to Haalvsh, a news website that covers events in Baluch-populated areas, 82 Baluch citizens involved in fuel transportation were directly or indirectly killed by security forces last year.