BAJAUR: Gunmen killed a policeman escorting a polio team in Mamund tehsil here on Tuesday.

They, however, didn’t attack vaccinators and fled.

Constable Azam Khan tasked with guarding polio vaccinators was attacked in the hilly Kitkoot area at around 11am, according to the public relations officer of the local police, Israr Khan.

In a statement, he said the 27-year-old policeman died from multiple bullet wounds at the district headquarters hospital in Khar.

The PRO said a police team rushed to the site of the attack and began searching for the attackers, but no arrests were made until the evening.

No group claimed responsibility for the attack, which came a day after the start of a five-day anti-polio campaign amid tight security.

Funeral prayer for the constable was offered at the police lines in Khar. Deputy commissioner Anwarul Haq, DPO Sajjad Ahmad and other officials of the district administration, police and Bajaur Scouts attended it. The body was dispatched to the deceased’s native Mamund area for burial.

An official of the local health department told Dawn that the polio campaign would continue across the district despite the terrorist attack.

He said the polio workers guarded by the constable were safe and were committed to performing their jobs.

A total of 110 people have been killed in such terrorist attacks in the province since 2012, according to a report.

It added that the attacks injured 162 policemen and polio vaccinators.

The report said that 13 people were kidnapped during vaccination campaigns.

It said the injured and the deceased totalled 284, including 166 policemen, 87 health workers, and 31 civilians, and 255 of them were men and 29 women.

Attacks on polio vaccinators increased after 2012. The year 2014 witnessed the most such deaths (17) followed by a total of 13 in 2013 and 2016. Peshawar recorded six deaths.

In 2019, 10 people became victims of terrorist attacks on polio teams, while the year 2022 recorded 12 killings, including three each in Mardan and Peshawar.

However, just one man was killed in a polio-related attack last year.

PROTEST: Residents of Mamund tehsil on Tuesday protested the death of a young man allegedly in the custody of the counter-terrorism department on Tuesday.

They demonstrated in Laghari Bazaar and blocked the Laghari-Inatat Kallay Road for an hour after the body of Mohammad Abu Bakar was shifted to his native area of Gohatj. The protesters claimed the young man was picked up by a CTD team around one year ago and died in its custody due to torture.

They called the death custodial killing and demanded a fair and transparent investigation into it for strict action against culpable officials.

Meanwhile, local MNA-elect Mubarak Zeb Khan demanded an inquiry into the incident and the provision of “justice” to the family of the deceased.

However, district police officer Sajjad Ahmad claimed in a statement, that the deceased died after suffering a heart attack.

Published in Dawn, May 1st, 2024

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