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Calls to #FreeIranianSoldiers Abducted at Iran-Pakistan Border

Categories: Middle East & North Africa, Iran, Digital Activism, Governance, Humanitarian Response, Protest
Five Soldiers kidnapped nera Iran-Pakistan border, source: Jaish al-Adl's Twitter [1]

Five abducted Irani soldiers. Photo released by Jaish al-Adl's Twitter account

Iranians are using the #FreeIranianSoldiers hashtag to spread awareness about five Iranian border guards abducted [2] at the Iran-Pakistan border. The Baloch Sunni Muslim insurgent group Jaish al-Adl (Army of Justice) claimed responsibility [2] and published [1] the above photo of the abducted soldiers through their Twitter account. 

Jaish-al-Adl operate in Sistan-Baluchestan, one of Iran's largest and poorest provinces, which is home to 2 million Sunni-muslims [3]. The ethnic Baloch and Sunni-muslim insurgents in the area have been demanding more autonomy from the Shia-government in Tehran in recent years.

In October 2013,  Jaish-ul-Adl, which is called a terrorist group by the Irani state [4], [4] ambushed and killed 14 Iranian border guards. In response, authorities in the Shia-dominant country executed 16 people from Sistan-Baluchestan allegedly associated with Jaish-ul-Adl. [5]

Mohammad Reza Aref, an Iranian reformist politician, tweeted [6]:

Iranian social media researcher and blogger Narima Gharib tweeted [9]:

Canadian-Iranian Maryam Nayeb Yazdi tweeted [13]:

Iran-based Twitter user Opium called [15] for unity:

Since 2006, Baluchis, who make up 2 percent of Iran’s population [17], have accounted for about 20 percent of state executions, according to the Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation, a US-based group which tracks human rights abuses in Iran.

The Irani government believes Jaish-ul-Adl is hiding in Pakistan's Balochistan province, [4] which borders Iran's Sistan-Baluchestan province. Pakistan is battling its own Baluchi insurgency [18]and has been criticized by Iran for failing to crack down on militant camps in its territory.