Polio vaccinator shot dead in Pakistan: officials

December 9, 2014 7:30 am


A child receiving polio vaccine/AFP
A child receiving polio vaccine/AFP
Pakistan, Dec 9 – Gunmen on Tuesday killed a member of a polio vaccination team in Pakistan, as Taliban insurgents claimed the killing of two policemen assigned to protect an immunisation team the day before.

Tuesday’s attack — the latest of many on the teams — occurred in a residential area of Faisalabad district in Punjab province, where workers were immunising children on the second day of an anti-polio drive.

The victim was Muhammad Sarfaraz, 40 a schoolteacher working as a volunteer in the campaign, senior police official Ali Waseem told AFP.

“Gunmen on a motorcycle fired six shots and he died on the spot,” Waseem said.

He said it was not clear whether Sarfaraz had been attacked by militants opposed to polio vaccination or because of personal enmities, which had led to two previous attempts on his life.

Doctor Rana Waqar Sadiq, a senior health official, confirmed the killing of a member of his polio team.

Pakistan is one of only three countries where polio remains endemic. Attempts to stamp it out have been badly hit by opposition from militants and attacks on immunisation teams that have claimed 67 lives since December 2012.

The militants claim that polio vaccination is a front for espionage or a conspiracy to sterilise Muslims.

Mohammad Khorasani, main spokesman for the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, on Tuesday claimed responsibility for the killing of two policemen in northwest Pakistan they day before.

They were killed in the town of Buner near the Swat Valley while on the way to protect a polio vaccination team.

“Police are our target and both the men were killed because they were from the police force,” Khorasani told AFP by telephone from an undisclosed location.


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