South Asia

2 policemen escorting polio workers gunned down in Pakistan

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Two policemen who were guarding a polio vaccination team were gunned down on Monday by militants in Pakistan’s restive northwestern tribal region, the latest attack on medical workers trying to eradicate the disease.

The incident occurred in Buner district, a remote and mountainous area in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Police officials said the bodies of two policemen were recovered in Pir Baba area, where they had arrived to escort polio workers.

Police and security forces, meanwhile, cordoned off the area and launched a manhunt to nab the culprits.

Local health officials said the anti-polio campaign, which was kicked off today to provide medicine to 35 million children in the country, would be continued across Buner district despite the attack on police team.

No one has taken responsibility yet but the country faces massive resistance to its anti-polio efforts by Taliban militants, who consider the vaccines a conspiracy to sterile Muslims and regularly attack polio workers and their police escorts to discourage immunisation campaigns.

Militants have killed at least 64 health workers and their escorts as Pakistan suffered record 276 polio cases this year.

Polio is still endemic in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria. The World Health Organization in May imposed travel restriction on Pakistan.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2020 1:46:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/south-asia/2-policemen-escorting-polio-workers-gunned-down-in-pakistan/article6673298.ece

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