7 die in polio van attack

January 23, 2014 - 12:00:00 am

A rescue services official searches a police vehicle after a bomb attack in Sir Dheri, some 30km north of the main northwestern city of Peshawar, yesterday.

PESHAWAR: At least seven people were killed yesterday in a bomb attack on a police van taking officers to guard polio vaccination teams in restive northwest Pakistan, officials said.

Militant attacks and threats of violence have badly affected efforts to stamp out the crippling disease in Pakistan, one of only three countries where it remains endemic.

Yesterday’s blast in Sir Dheri, some 30 kilometres (20 miles) north of the main northwestern city of Peshawar came a day after gunmen killed three polio workers in Karachi.

Police said that up to five kilogrammes (11 pounds) of explosives were used in the bomb, which was detonated remotely.

“Seven people including six police personnel and a child were killed in a bomb blast in Sir Dheri,” senior police official Shafi Ullah said.

Another senior police official, Sayed Khan, said the van was carrying personnel to a health centre, from where they were to accompany polio vaccination teams for security.

“We will continue providing security to polio workers as scheduled by the provincial government” he said. 

An official of the district administration confirmed that the police team was on its way to provide security to polio workers when it came under attack. 

Yesterday was the second day of an anti-polio drive in the area, senior local administration official Tahir Zafar said. Pakistan is one of only three countries in the world where polio is still endemic, along with Afghanistan and Nigeria.                             AFP

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