Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Pakistani policeman escorting polio vaccination team shot dead | Police News

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The incident brings the number of people killed in attacks on polio vaccination teams and those providing them security since 2012 to 102, according to an Al Jazeera tally.

A policeman was shot dead in northwest Pakistan when a polio vaccination team he was escorting was attacked in a drive-by shooting.

Tuesday’s attack in Karak, a town in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, marked the second day of a five-day national vaccination campaign.

A local police official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, told Al Jazeera that the attack took place at 10:10 am local time (5:10 GMT) in the region of Latumbar, about 20 km (12 miles) west of the town of Karak.

“Our gendarme Junaidullah was on the polio security service […] in the area of ​​Latumbar. The attackers came by motorbike and opened fire on him, and the polio vaccination team was in the van, ”said the police official.

No one else was injured in the attack and the polio vaccination campaign continues in the region.

Last year, Karak and its neighboring districts witnessed 15 of 22 polio cases in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, according to official data.

The incident brings to 102 the number of people killed in attacks on polio vaccination teams and those providing them with security since 2012, according to an Al Jazeera tally.

A health worker administers polio vaccine drops to a child during a door-to-door polio vaccination campaign in Karachi on January 11, 2021 [Rizwan Tabassum/AFP]

The United Nations says endemic polio has been eliminated in every country in the world except Pakistan and neighboring Afghanistan, where vaccination teams are viewed with suspicion.

Opposition to polio vaccines grew after the CIA staged a bogus vaccination campaign that helped them track down Al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad.

Great security details are now frequently deployed with vaccination teams – particularly in the turbulent northwest.

The challenges facing polio teams have raised concerns that any attempt to inoculate the population with the coronavirus will also run into problems.

The latest polio effort aims to immunize more than 40 million children under five across Pakistan with the help of around 285,000 frontline workers.


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