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Taliban shoot dead THREE MORE polio aid workers in 'revenge campaign' for fake vaccination ruse that helped capture Osama bin Laden
Horror killings follow earlier murders of five women across countryAid workers were giving polio jabs as part of 3-day vaccination driveTaliban claim the campaign to immunise children is a cover for U.S. spies
19:01 GMT, 19 December 2012
Gunmen shot dead three more aid workers running a U.N.-backed polio vaccination campaign just a day after similar attacks across Pakistan murdered five female polio workers.
The unprecedented killings are a major setback for a campaign that international health officials consider vital to contain the crippling disease but which Taliban insurgents say is a cover for espionage.
Suspicion over the programme follows reports last year that the CIA plotted a fake vaccination programme in Pakistan to snare Osama bin Laden's DNA.
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A polio vaccination worker is brought to a local hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan, after armed men opened fire on him
Pakistani men carry a critical injured polio vaccination worker on a stretcher to a hospital following the attack by gunmen in Peshawar
Anti-polio drive campaign worker Hilal Khan (centre), who was shot and badly injured by unidentified gunmen, lies at Leady Reading Hospital in Peshawar
Injured: A Pakistani injured polio worker is treated at a local hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan
Doctors battle to keep campaign worker Hilal Khan alive in Peshawar
had reportedly started the vaccine drive against hepatitis B in
Abbottabad, where they believed the Al Qaeda leader was hiding out just
before he was killed, according to Pakistan officials and local
In today's attacks, a woman and her driver were gunned down in their car in the north-western town of Charsadda.
men then opened fire on an 18-year-old worker as he was vaccinating
children on the outskirts of the northwestern city of Peshawar.
The worker died of bullet wounds to the head, said Dr. Janbaz Afridi, the provincial director of the polio campaign.
Also in Charsadda, two female workers narrowly escaped when some men began shooting at them.
Pakistani polio vaccination workers shout slogans against the killing of their colleagues during a protest in Islamabad
Pakistani polio workers cross out an anti-polio campaign poster during a demonstration against the killing of their colleagues in Islamabad
In Hyderabad female health workers shout slogans during a protest against the killing of their colleague
Health workers demonstarte against the killings of their colleagues, in Karachi
A mother's grief: A mother mourns beside the body of her daughter killed because she was part of the polio programme
Rukhsana Bibi mourns over the body of her daughter, polio worker Madiha Bibi, at the morgue of local hospital in Karachi
Rescue workers move the bodies of two of the polio vaccination workers to a mortuary after four of the aid workers were killed in Karachi, Pakistan
Attack: Unknown armed men killed four female workers who were on a three-day polio vaccination campaign funded by UNICEF in Karachi
Polio campaign: Female health workers give polio vaccines to a child during a three-day nationwide vaccination campaign in Peshawar, Pakistan
Rescue workers move the body of one of the Polio vaccination workers to a mortuary
Local religious clerics and pro-Taliban lobby are reportedly trying to convince residents that the U.S.-manufactured polio drops were designed to sterilize Pakistanis and reduce the Muslim population
THE GROWING THREAT OF POLIO
Despite The World Health
Organisation’s international vaccination programme, the disease has
never been eradicated and continues to attack children in India, Nepal
After the number of cases spiked sharply
last year, Pakistan stepped up its eradication efforts. The numbers
fell from 173 last year to 53 this year, according to the Global Polio
has also re-appeared in Nigeria because of malicious rumours that the
Western-donated vaccine is harmful, while a renewed threat to Europe
has emerged from with eastern side of the continent.
It is caused by a virus which attacks
nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. It is spread via human faeces
and leads to muscle weakness and painful spasms, followed by paralysis
and sometimes death when the lungs are affected.
syndrome is believed to affect at least eight out of ten of the
survivors. Although the syndrome was first described by doctors in the
Eighties, the scale of the problem is only just emerging, as more polio
survivors live long enough to develop it.
Polio has not been reported in Britain
since the mid-Sixties, but there are a number of celebrity survivors,
including actors Mia Farrow and Donald Sutherland, film director Francis
Ford Coppola, celebrity academic David Starkey, and singers Judy
Collins and Neil Young.
Three other female workers also escaped unhurt when they were shot at in Nowshera district.
Pakistan is one of only three
countries where polio is endemic. Militants accuse health workers of
acting as spies for the U.S. and claim the vaccine makes children
The Taliban in the lawless
northwestern tribal region also blame the U.S. drone strikes for their
opposition to the vaccinations.
On Tuesday, gunmen killed five female
polio workers in a spree of attacks in several southern and
northwestern cities, prompting authorities to suspend the vaccination
campaign in the southern Sindh province.
The victims were shot in the head at close range, two of them as they administered vaccine drops to young children.
Four of the women were gunned down in
the southern city of Karachi, and the fifth in a village outside the
north-west city of Peshawar.
A man working on the anti-polio
campaign was also shot dead down in Karachi.
The Taliban also killed three
soldiers in an ambush of an army convoy escorting a vaccination team in
attacks in Karachi were coordinated and occurred within 15 minutes in
three different areas of the city that are far apart.
In each case, the
gunmen used 9mm pistols. Two of the women were 18 and 19, and the other
two were in their 40s, he said.
The three-day campaign, which started on Monday, continued in the northwest and elsewhere in the country.
Taliban spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan
claimed responsibility for the attacks on Tuesday. There was no
immediate claim of responsibility for Wednesday's killings.
Rukhsana Bibi, center, is supported by a friend after visiting the body of her daughter, polio worker Madiha Bibi
Pakistani relatives transport the dead body of a female polio worker who was killed by gunmen at a local hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan
Conflict: The Taliban argues that the polio drive was just a cover for U.S. spies
The motive for the attacks is unclear
but Pakistanis have viewed polio vaccination campaigns with suspicion
since the death of Osama bin Laden.
CIA's use of a fake vaccination program last year to collect DNA
samples from residents of Osama bin Laden's compound to verify the al
Qaeda leader's presence there. Bin Laden was killed by U.S. forces in
shootings the vaccination campaign has been suspended indefinitely in
the north-west tribal region of Pakistan – Quetta, Killa Abdullah and
Heartbroken: Family members of Nasima Bibi, a female worker of an anti-polio drive campaign who was shot by gunmen, mourn her death at a hospital morgue in Karachi
Amtiaz Khan, centre, brother of Nasima Bibi, comforts other relatives next to Nasima's covered body at a hospital morgue in Karachi
U.S. agents reportedly started a polio vaccine drive against hepatitis B in Abbottabad, where they believed the Al Qaeda leader was hiding out just before he was killed, according to Pakistan officials and local residents
Government spokesman Noor ul Haq Baloch said. 'The reason behind suspension of the campaign is the security threat to workers.'
'At least six people working on a polio vaccination campaign have been reported shot dead in several locations in Pakistan — Gadap, Landi, Baldia and Orangi towns of Karachi city, Sindh Province and Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province,' a statement from the World Health Organisation said.
'Those killed were among thousands who work selflessly across Pakistan to eradicate polio.'
There an estimated 280,000 children living in the tribal area were in need of polio vaccinations.
.VIDEO. WARNING: Graphic images. Protests as polio workers shot in Pakistan
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