Health

At least two police killed in new attack on polio vaccine team in Pakistan

Islamabad, Jan 9 (EFE).- At least two police officers were killed and two others wounded in an attack on a polio vaccination team in Pakistan on Tuesday.

The attack comes a day after five people were killed when a bomb hit a police truck which was transporting medical workers to a local health center where they were due to escort polio eradication teams.

Both attacks occurred in the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

“At 14:15, two terrorists riding a motorcycle opened fire on a police team protecting polio workers” in KP, Ghulam Khan, an officer at Bannu police station, told EFE.

Khan said two members of the security forces were injured, while the team of vaccinators were able to escape unharmed.

Police personnel chased the assailants to a nearby house under construction and, according to Khan, a gunfight broke out in which two members of the security forces were killed.

“The gunfight between security forces and terrorists continues,” he said.

Efforts to eradicate polio have been hampered for years by a number of factors in Pakistan, one of only two countries in the world with Afghanistan where the virus is still present.

Many conservative parents in the country are wary of vaccination drives due to distrust in the government and the belief that vaccines are anti-Islamic or are a Western plot to sterilize their children.

The issue was further complicated when the US conducted a fake vaccination campaign as part of its hunt for Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who was killed by US special forces in 2011 in Pakistan.

The Pakistani government, which reported six cases in 2023 and 20 in 2022, launched a polio campaign to inoculate 44.3 million children on Monday. EFE

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