A group of gunmen on motorbikes Tuesday opened fire on police escorting a team of polio workers in northwestern Pakistan, killing two policemen, authorities said.
No polio workers were injured, said Mohammad Imran, a local police official. The four polio workers and the policemen who escorted them all used motorbikes.
The attackers fled the scene and no one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack in the city of Gomal. Gomal is located in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province which borders Afghanistan.
The attack came on the second day of Pakistan’s latest antipolio campaign in the province. Pakistan has registered 14 new polio cases since April, all from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
The outbreak is a blow to the Islamic state’s efforts to eradicate a disease that can cause severe paralysis in children.
Pakistan’s antipolio campaigns are often violent as Muslim militants often target polio teams and the police who protect them. They allege that the vaccination program is part of a Western conspiracy to spay children.
Pakistan and Afghanistan are two countries in the world where polio is still endemic. In 2021, Pakistan reported only one case, raising hopes that the country is close to eradicating polio. [ab/uh]