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Soldier Killed During Anti-Polio Drive

by Aamir Iqbal
File Photo. A. Majeed—AFP

File Photo. A. Majeed—AFP

Paramilitary Levies soldier was protecting a U.N.-backed team of health workers when unidentified gunmen shot him in Bajaur.

Unidentified gunmen on Wednesday killed at least one paramilitary soldier after they opened fire on a United Nations-backed team of health workers tasked with administering polio vaccines to children in Bajaur Agency.

“A U.N.-backed polio team was traveling to the Dama Dola area of Bajaur Agency when a group of men opened fire on them,” said Rasul Khan, a local government official. “One of the soldiers deployed to assure their security was killed in the shooting, but the volunteers are all safe,” he added.

“[Paramilitary] Levies forces have started a search operation in the area to arrest those responsible,” said Khan.

Health authorities in the tribal areas of Pakistan launched an “emergency” three-day polio vaccination campaign in Khyber, Mohmand, Bajaur, Orakzai and Kurram agencies on Sept. 8 after two new polio cases were found. “After the two cases were found in Khyber Agency and South Waziristan, the health department launched the campaign on an emergency basis to vaccinate children living in the tribal areas,” said Dr. Johar Ali, head of the polio vaccination program in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

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