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Policeman escorting polio team shot dead

February 26, 2013

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MARDAN, Feb 26: Gunmen killed a police constable deployed to provide security to health workers administering polio vaccines to children in Khao area of Ghala Dhere union council on Tuesday.

Police and sources said 24-year-old constable Said Mohammad came under attack when he was standing outside a house and a health worker, Farida Begum, was administering vaccines to children inside the house.

They said people of the area came out of their homes after hearing gunshots and found five empty cases of bullets.

The lady health worker fell unconscious after seeing the constable in a pool of blood when she came out of the house. She was taken to hospital.

Mohammad Ayaz, an official of the World Heath Organisation who was monitoring the anti-polio campaign in the area, told Dawn that the team consisted of two members — Farida Begum, and her husband, Sardarul Haq.

He said he or any other member of the team had not received threats from militants.

Senior health officials said the anti-polio campaign in the area would continue.

Police conducted a search operation in the area, but made no arrest. An FIR was registered against unidentified assailants.

Agencies add: The killing of the constable brought the death toll in such attacks to 20 since December.

Rumours about vaccines being a plot to sterilise Muslims have also dogged efforts to tackle the highly infectious disease.