2 anti-polio workers killed in FATA

A Pakistani health worker administers polio vaccine drops to a child during a polio campaign in Karachi on March 14, 2018. Pakistan is one of only two countries in the world where polio, a crippling childhood disease, remains endemic. (AFP/Asif Hassan)
Updated 18 March 2018
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2 anti-polio workers killed in FATA

PESHAWAR: An official handout circulated by Mohmand Agency’s political administration confirmed on Sunday that a group of unidentified assailants ambushed a seven-member anti-polio monitoring team in the area on Saturday, killing two of its workers.
The handout announced that five other members of the same team went missing immediately after the incident, adding that the authorities launched an extensive search operation in response and finally managed to recover them.
However, a contingent of security personnel also came under fire while combing the area for miscreants and the lost team members in which a Frontier Constabulary soldier lost his life and two others were injured
The team had gone into Mohmand Agency for post-vaccination campaign monitoring when a group of unidentified assailants ambushed its members, Aqeel Ahmed, an official at the FATA Emergency Operations Center, told Arab News.
Such attacks greatly demoralize anti-polio workers, and vaccination campaigns have often been suspended because of them, he said.
Militants in the restive tribal region have frequently targeted anti-polio workers in the recent past, leaving children vulnerable to the disease.
It is a risky job administering polio vaccinations to children, said Arsalan Ahmed, an anti-polio worker in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
“I came to know about the Mohmand Agency attack in the morning, but I don’t want to reveal it to the vaccinators in our area because it will greatly demoralize them,” he added.
Vaccinators feel unsafe while performing their duty since they do not get a police escort, said polio monitor Akhtar Ali. 
But during anti-polio campaigns, police contingents are deployed at entry and exit points in various localities, he added.


Bosnia arrests Syrian, Algerian migrants with weapons

Updated 57 min 38 sec ago
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Bosnia arrests Syrian, Algerian migrants with weapons

SARAJEVO: Two migrants, a Syrian and an Algerian national found in possession of firearms were arrested in the Bosnian capital at the weekend, police said Monday.
It was the first time that police found weapons with migrants who have been passing through the Balkan country in growing numbers since the start of the year as they head toward western Europe.
“For the time being we do not know what they were planning to do with (the weapons),” a police spokeswoman told AFP.
“The two men tried to flee when police asked them for documents but they were quickly arrested,” spokeswoman Suvada Kuldija said.
The arrests were carried out on Sunday evening.
Police searched several locations linked to the two where they found and seized a “rifle, four guns, a silencer and more than 100 bullets of different calibres,” the spokeswoman added.
The 34-year-old Syrian national was officially registered with the authorities in charge of migrants, while police were verifying the status of the 23-year-old Algerian.
Since the start of the year, 15,000 migrants trying to reach western Europe have been registered in Bosnia, a minister said Sunday.
So far the influx does not compare with the hundreds of thousands who arrived in Europe via the ‘Balkans Route’ in 2015 and 2016, fleeing war and poverty across Africa and the Middle East.
The route was effectively closed in March 2016.
Now, most of the migrants, who enter Bosnia from Serbia or Montenegro, stay for a few days in Sarajevo before heading toward the northwestern town of Bihac.
Bihac is on the border with Europan Union member Croatia, where they try to sneak into the bloc.
Since the 1990s wars that marked the collapse of Yugoslavia, the Balkans have been considered a center for arms trafficking.
Militants who have carried out attacks in western Europe in recent years are also believed to have passed through.