Firing on polio team in Mardan kills policeman

Two men on a motorcycle kill policeman who was guarding female vaccinators.

Afp February 26, 2013
Police have been accompanying polio teams in the country. DESIGN: MANAHYL KHAN

PESHAWAR: A policeman was shot dead Tuesday while protecting a polio vaccination team near Mardan, police said, bringing the death toll in such attacks to 20 since December.

No one has claimed responsibility for the killings. But the umbrella Taliban faction last year banned polio vaccinations in the tribal region of Waziristan, alleging the campaign was a cover for espionage.

Rumours about vaccines being a plot to sterilise Muslims have also dogged efforts to tackle the highly infectious disease.

Tuesday's killing happened at Ghalla Dher on the outskirts of the northwestern town of Mardan, on the second day of a three-day local anti-polio campaign.

"The female vaccinators went inside a house to administer the polio drops. A police guard accompanying the team was waiting outside," Mardan district police chief Danishwar Khan told AFP.

"Two people came on a motorbike. They opened fire and shot the policeman dead," he added.

Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria are the only countries where polio is endemic. Polio cases in Pakistan hit 198 in 2011, the highest figure for more than a decade and the most of any country in the world, according to the UN.

In January two polio vaccination workers, a policeman and seven members of a charity involved in polio vaccinations were shot dead in three separate incidents across the northwest.

In December gunmen killed nine health workers carrying out polio vaccinations in Karachi and the northwest.


p r sharma | 10 years ago | Reply

Great effort by Taliban/ extremists to keep the flag of Polio at highest level on the soil of Pakistan. Bravo ???

US Centcom | 10 years ago | Reply

First and foremost, we send our heartfelt condolences to the friends and families of the policeman who was shot dead by the terrorists.

The terrorists continue to add to their long list of crimes. There is absolutely no doubt that they are crossing all lines just to achieve their terrorist agenda. At the same time, it is hard to believe that there are many who choose to side with conspiracy theories and let these terrorists off the hook. The seriousness of the situation requires us to remain vigilant against our common enemies. We must stand united against those who pose a threat to the people of the region. We have to keep in mind that it was our common stance against terrorism that brought us together in the first place. We cannot allow conspiracy theories to deter us from achieving our shared objectives. We must continue to work together to achieve our peace objectives in the region.

Ali Khan DET, United States Central Command

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