Gunmen kill 6 anti-polio workers in Pakistan



ADIL JAWAD | AP

Published — Tuesday 18 December 2012

Last update 18 December 2012 5:10 pm

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

KARACHI, Pakistan: Gunmen killed six people working on a government polio vaccination campaign in two different Pakistani cities on Tuesday, officials said. The attacks were likely an attempt by the Taleban to counter an initiative the militant group has long opposed.
The attacks came a day after an unknown gunman killed a volunteer for the World Health Organization’s anti-polio campaign in Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi.
Five of the polio workers killed Tuesday were also gunned down in Karachi, said Sagheer Ahmed, the health minister for surrounding Sindh province. Four of the dead were women. Two male workers were wounded, and one eventually passed away, said Ahmed.
The attack on the polio workers was well-coordinated and occurred simultaneously in three different areas of the city, said police spokesman Imran Shoukat.
The government suspended the vaccination campaign in the wake of the shootings, said Ahmed. The campaign started on Monday and was supposed to run until Wednesday, he said.
Gunmen on a motorcycle also shot to death a woman working on a government anti-polio campaign in a village near the northwestern city of Peshawar, said Janbaz Afridi, a senior health official in surrounding Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
The Taleban have spoken out against polio vaccination in recent months, claiming the health workers are acting as spies for the US and the vaccine itself causes harm. Militants in parts of Pakistan’s tribal region have also said the vaccination campaign can’t go forward until the US stops drone attacks in the country.
The shootings in Karachi on Tuesday all took place in areas mainly populated by ethnic Pashtuns. The Taleban are a Pashtun-dominated movement, and many militants are reported to be hiding in these communities in Karachi.
Pakistan is one of only three countries where polio is endemic. The virus usually infects children living in unsanitary conditions, attacks the nerves and can kill or paralyze.
The government, teaming up with UN agencies, is on a nationwide campaign to give oral polio drops to 34 million children under the age of five.
But vaccination programs, especially those with international links, have come under suspicion in the country since a Pakistani doctor ran a fake vaccination program last year to help the CIA track down Osama Bin Laden.
Also Tuesday, two men on a motorcycle hurled hand grenades at the main gate of an army recruiting center in northwestern Pakistan on Tuesday, wounding 10 people, police said.
The injured in the attack in the garrison town of Risalpur in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa included civilians and security personnel, senior police official Ghulam Mohammed told The Associated Press. The police have launched a manhunt to trace and arrest the attackers, he said.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, the latest in a string of assaults in recent days that illustrate the continued challenge Pakistan faces from militants despite military operations against the Pakistani Taleban and their supporters.
Tuesday’s attack came a day after a car bomb exploded in a crowded market in Pakistan’s northwestern town of Jamrud near the Afghan border, killing 17 people and wounding more than 40 others.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is located on the edge of Pakistan’s tribal region, the main sanctuary for Al-Qaeda and Taleban in the country. The province has witnessed scores of attacks, most of them blamed on the Taleban.
Ten Taleban fighters armed with rockets and car bombs attacked the military section of an international airport in the northwestern city of Peshawar on Saturday night, killing four people and wounding over 40 others. Five of the militants were killed during the attack and the other five died Sunday after hours-long shootout with security forces.
____
Associated Press writer Jamal Khan contributed to this report from Peshawar, Pakistan.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: The Al-Haramain Train project is described as the largest public transportation project in the Middle East. This vital and strategic project is one of the implementation schemes of the mass expansion of the Saudi railway across the country.Th...
JEDDAH: The number of marriages between expatriates and Saudis has dropped 84 percent to 1,928 since the start of this Islamic year that began on Oct. 24, compared to the same period the previous year.The Ministry of Justice said that there were 12,0...
JEDDAH: Unofficial marriage is a refuge for a divorced mother to lead a married life while keeping her children in her custody but without the knowledge of the former husband who could demand the custody of the children if he learned about the ex-wif...
JEDDAH: Makkah’s health department has set up a committee to verify the sick leave certificates of employees.The department stated it would apply government regulations on sick leave, which includes people providing the address of the facilities wher...
RIYADH: The directorate of roads and transport has registered 20 cases of violations worth SR24,500 in Al-Qassim, where the transport ministry continued its surveillance drive against the companies in the transport business.According to the directora...
RIYADH: Muslims must cut traditionally high electricity use during Ramadan in line with the principles of austerity and self-control they are supposed to adopt in this month, economists say.Economist Al-Sadeq Idris said energy use increases during Ra...
RIYADH: The implementation of an integrated health plan to combat MERS has resulted in a sharp drop in cases, with only one out of 736 samples testing positive for the contagion in the Kingdom in the last six days. Health Ministry spokesman Dr. Khal...
RIYADH: Muslims must cut traditionally high electricity use during Ramadan in line with the principles of austerity and self-control they are supposed to adopt in this month, economists say.Economist Al-Sadeq Idris said energy use increases during Ra...
JEDDAH: The Ministry of Commerce and Industry will begin next Tuesday to check whether companies are complying with new laws requiring them to place proper price labels on all their products.It is mandatory for companies to stop using phrases such as...
RIYADH: Minister of Islamic Affairs Saleh Al-Asheikh chaired the first meeting with Yemeni scholars to exchange ideas on how to strengthen their role in restoring peace in their country.The first Saudi-Yemen scholars meeting, dubbed the “outreach sch...
RIYADH: To cope with the growing number of applicants (boys and girls) at technical colleges that reached 126,023 last year, a state-run organization launched an online unified portal to ease the enrolment procedures.According to the Technical and V...
RIYADH: A senior government official from Dhaka, who visited Riyadh last week, has sorted out technical issues to expedite issuing 1.5 million machine readable passports (MRP) to Bangladeshi expatriates in the Kingdom. Information and Communication T...
JEDDAH: Jeddah municipality is keen to provide health and food security to residents and visitors of the city, and they are continually conducting inspections of food stores, restaurants, markets and food storage facilities to avoid any violations by...
JEDDAH: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman has been awarded a top international prize for his contribution to the propagation of the Qur’an.He was named the “Islamic Personality of the Year” by the Holy Qur’an International Memorization Or...
JEDDAH: Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, second deputy premier, minister of defense and chairman of the Economic Affairs and Development Council, held a meeting in Jeddah on Monday with Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed, deputy national security advis...

Stay Connected

Facebook