Six cops on polio duty martyred in Bajaur attack

Published January 9, 2024
Paramedics shift an injured policeman to a hospital following the roadside bomb blast in Bajaur district, on Monday.—AFP
Paramedics shift an injured policeman to a hospital following the roadside bomb blast in Bajaur district, on Monday.—AFP

BAJAUR / PESHAWAR: Six cops and a soldier embraced martyrdom in two acts of terrorism in Bajaur and North Waziristan districts on Monday.

An explosive device targeted a vehicle carrying police personnel for escorting polio vaccinators in Mamond tehsil, leaving six cops dead and 28 others wounded.

Police and Rescue 1122 officials said the blast occurred at about 9am in the Billoot area, some 24km northwest of Khar, the headquarters of Bajaur district.

In North Waziristan, a soldier lost his life while an injured militant was arrested following an exchange of fire between security forces and militants.

The truck carrying cops from the police line for deploying them to perform duty with vaccinators on the first day of the anti-polio campaign was hit by a roadside improvised explosive device in the Billoot area, DPO Kashif Zulfiqar confirmed while talking to reporters.

Soldier martyred in N. Waziristan clash; anti-polio campaign put off in Mamond tehsil

Five policemen died on the spot while another one succumbed to injuries at a hospital in Peshawar, police spokesman Israr Khan told Dawn.

Soon after the explosion police and security personnel rushed to the area to trace those involved in the attack.

Rescue 1122 ambulances transported the wounded to the district headquarters hospital Khar where emergency was already declared. Scores of the area residents instantly reached the hospital to donate blood for the wounded.

Senior officials of the hospital and Rescue 1122 told Dawn that some of the personnel were later referred to hospitals in Peshawar owing to their precious condition.

A total of 13 critically injured personnel were referred to hospitals in Peshawar, Dr Wazir Khan Safi, medical superintendent at the district headquarters hospital, told Dawn.

According to the Rescue 1122 statement, the deceased were identified as Habib Raheem, Manasab Khan, Moha­mmad Raouf, Jan Mohammad, Ali Rahman, and Imran Khan.

Senior officials of the district administration, police and security forces, including Deputy Commissioner Moham­mad Anwaarul Haq, visited the hospital in Khar and directed its management to ensure the best treatment facilities to the wounded.

Meanwhile, a police official told Dawn that they had launched an investigation into the incident to find out those responsible for the attack, saying they had collected evidence from the blast site. Funeral prayers for five of the six personnel were offered at the police line in Khar.

Besides family members and friends, government officials and workers of political and religious parties also attended the funeral. Later, the bodies were shifted to their native areas for burial.

Meanwhile, the polio reduction campaign has been postponed in Mamond tehsil.

According to a statement issued from the deputy commissioner’s office, the administration postponed the drive on the directives of Malakand Division Commissioner Saqib Raza.

The outlawed TTP claimed responsibility for the attack, according to media reports.

Waziristan gun battle

A security man was martyred and an injured militant arrested after an exchange of fire between security forces and suspected militants in North Waziristan district.

A statement issued by the ISPR read that security forces effectively engaged the militants’ location and apprehended one militant in injured condition.

“However, during an intense exchange of fire, 41-year-old Havaldar Muhammad Zahir, a resident of district Mardan, having fought gallantly, embraced shahadat,” it said.

Condemnation

Paying tribute to security personnel and polio workers, caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar said, “The terrorists would never succeed in their nefarious designs”.

In a statement, the PM reiterated his resolve to continue the anti-polio campaign till complete eradication of the virus from the country.

Caretaker KP Chief Minister Syed Arshad Hussain Shah strongly condemned the Bajaur blast.

In a statement, the CM expressed grave concern over the loss of precious lives in the terrorist attack and extended heartfelt sympathies to the victim families.

Published in Dawn, January 9th, 2024

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