Four polio vaccination workers have been shot dead and three are injured, following an attack by gunmen in the city of Quetta, southwest Pakistan.
Gunmen in the southwestern city of Quetta, in Pakistan, have killed four medical workers working to fight against the polio disease. Three others were injured in the attack, just one of many recent attacks on Pakistani polio teams across the country.
Three female workers and their male driver were killed by the gunmen. Pakistan is one of just three nations, along with Nigeria and Afghanistan, where the polio disease is still endemic. Anti-polio efforts in the province have been suspended, following the aftermath of the shooting.
Ayesha Raza, Pakistan’s National Co-ordinator for Polio Eradication, called the incident a “cowardly attack”. It reportedly happened, according to Raza, as the team walked the short distance to a rendezvous with their security detail.
“There was going to be security with this team before they went in and started their work. However, no one could have thought that this team would be intercepted,” she said.
Since 2012, more than 60 polio workers – or their drivers or security details – have been killed in violent attacks. Many of these attacks have been attributed to Islamist extremists. Militants have accused the polio teams of being spies, or said that the vaccine causes infertility.