More polio aid workers killed in Pakistan

Bushra Arian, head of the All Pakistan Lady Health Workers Welfare Association, leads a protest against the attacks on polio vaccination volunteers.
Bushra Arian, head of the All Pakistan Lady Health Workers Welfare Association, leads a protest against the attacks on polio vaccination volunteers.
From The Associated Press and Dawn.com

Attacks on polio teams in northwest Pakistan on Friday killed a polio worker and two police officers assigned to protect one of the teams, the police and a government official said.

No group claimed responsibility for the attacks, but Pakistani militants have killed more than a dozen polio workers and police officers protecting them over the past year.

The militants accuse health workers of acting as spies for the United States and claim that the polio vaccine is intended to make Muslim children sterile.

The first attack was about 60 miles northwest of Peshawar,  where unknown motorcyclists shot down two policemen on their way to provide security cover to a polio team, local police said. Hours later, a gunman killed a polio workers on his way home after vaccinating children in Kamrud, on the outskirts of Peshawar.

The first incident took place in the provincial capital of Swabi in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province.  Hours later, a gunman killed a polio worker on his way home after vaccinating children in the Jamrud district of the Khyber tribal region on the outskirts of Peshawar.

Pakistan is one of only three countries in the world where the polio virus still is endemic, but efforts to stamp out the crippling disease have been hit by repeated attacks on health teams.

Officials blame the violence and suspicions about the vaccine for a surge in cases. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Pakistan recorded 72 cases of polio this year compared to 58 in 2012.

The Indian federal government in New Delhi on Wednesday announced it would require citizens from Pakistan and other polio-affected nations travelling to India to take a mandatory polio vaccination at least six weeks prior to their departure.


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