Gunmen kill driver, wound polio worker in northwest Pakistan

AP News
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Posted: Feb 14, 2015 6:26 AM

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — Gunmen killed a driver and wounded a polio worker Saturday in a northwestern tribal region of Pakistan as another vaccination team went missing ahead of a nationwide vaccination drive, authorities said.

The shooting happened in Pakistan's Khyber tribal region bordering Afghanistan, said Manzoor Khan, a government official.

In the country's southwestern Baluchistan province, two male anti-polio volunteers, two guards and a driver went missing Friday after carrying out a vaccination campaign in a remote area of the province's Zhob district, said Nazar Mohammad Kethran, a top government official. He said authorities were trying to find the missing team.

Tahir Hotak, the head of the paramedic staff association in Zhob district, said intelligence suggested the team was abducted by group of armed men. He said members of the paramedic association blocked a main highway to protest and demanded the immediate recovery of the team members.

Kethran said officials did not know for sure the team was abducted.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for either incident, though Islamic extremists have carried out similar previous attacks. Taliban militants active in Zhob district have been accused of kidnapping others for ransom. Zhob borders Pakistan's lawless South Waziristan tribal region.

The incidents came ahead of Monday's anti-polio vaccination drive. Militants oppose the campaign, claiming the vaccine sterilizes children and that Western governments use it to spy on insurgents after the killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria are the only three countries in the world where polio remains endemic. Pakistan detected some 300 polio cases in 2014.

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Associated Press writer Abdul Sattar in Quetta, Pakistan, contributed to this report.