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Two Policemen Escorting Team of Anti-polio Vaccination Drive Killed in Pakistan

PTI

Last Updated: August 16, 2022, 16:56 IST

Peshawar

A police officer stands outside the Khyber Medical College (KMC) morgue in Peshawar, Pakistan (Image: Reuters/File)

A police officer stands outside the Khyber Medical College (KMC) morgue in Peshawar, Pakistan (Image: Reuters/File)

The incident occurred in the Tank district of the province bordering the volatile south Waziristan tribal district

Unidentified gunmen on Tuesday shot dead two policemen escorting a team of polio workers in northwest Pakistan’s restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, police said, the latest such attack targeting security officials. The incident occurred in the Tank district of the province bordering the volatile south Waziristan tribal district.

The gunmen managed to flee from the scene after the attack. A police team rushed to the site and sealed the entire area and launched a combing operation to nab the culprits.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. Polio workers in Pakistan are generally accompanied by armed guards as they have been the target of many deadly attacks by Islamist militants in recent years. Militants oppose polio vaccination, saying it is a Western conspiracy to sterilise Pakistani children.

Chief Minister Mehmood Khan ordered the province’s police chief to arrest the culprits as early as possible. He said, ”Attacks on anti-polio teams are an act of cowardice. The attackers on anti-polio worker teams are enemies of our children.” He vowed that the culprits involved in the attack would be brought to justice and expressed his condolence over the killing of the policemen.

This is the second such incident to have taken place in Waziristan this year. On June 28, three persons, including two policemen, escorting an anti-polio vaccination team were killed by unidentified assailants in the country’s restive north Waziristan tribal district. Attacks on workers of the anti-polio vaccination drives in Pakistan have increased in recent times.

In March this year, gunmen in northwestern Pakistan shot and killed a female polio worker as she was returning home after taking part in the country’s latest anti-polio campaign. In January last year, armed gunmen shot dead a police officer guarding a team of polio vaccine handlers in northwestern Pakistan.

Pakistan, along with Afghanistan, remains the last polio-endemic country in the world, according to the World Health Organisation. There have been 14 cases of polio reported in Pakistan so far this year, The Express Tribune newspaper reported.

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first published:August 16, 2022, 16:56 IST
last updated:August 16, 2022, 16:56 IST