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Karachi polio attacks kill seven policemen

Karachi polio attacks  kill seven policemen

KARACHI: At least seven police officials were killed in two separate attacks as unidentified armed men opened fire at them in Karachi’s Orangi Town on Wednesday.
Seven police officials were guarding polio workers when attacked Wednesday afternoon, officials said.
DIG West Feroz Shah said that eight gunmen riding four motorcycles carried out the killings in two separate attacks in the neighbourhood. “The gunmen first opened fire on three policemen in the streets of Orangi Town, killing them all,” he said, adding, “Later they shot dead four policemen, who were sitting in a police mobile van a few streets away.”
The attacks took place within 600 metres (650 yards) of each other near a market.
“The first incident happened while the police was escorting the polio team,” Shah said.
“A policeman intervened when eight men on four motorcycles came and asked a polio worker for his name. In response, the men opened fire. Although the police fired in response, they were overpowered,” he said.
“The same men killed four members of another police team.”
Abdul Kareem, an official at the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, where the bodies were taken, also confirmed the casualties.
There are no reports of injuries or deaths of polio workers.
Sindh Home Minister Anwer Siyal said eight armed men carried out the attack. “The policemen sacrificed their lives to protect the polio workers,” he told a private TV channel.
Following the attack, polio workers called off the vaccination drive despite the home minister’s order for it to be continued according to schedule.
Talking to Daily Times, Sindh Emergency Operations Centre Coordinator Dr Usman Chachar said that drive would remain active. However, after the reassessment of the security arrangements, campaign could be rescheduled in some of the union councils of the area, which would be taken in next few days, he said, and added Orangi had been a sensitive area in terms of polio attacks.
Heavy contingents of law enforcement agencies, including paramilitary Rangers, cordoned off the area immediately after the attack.
Talking to media personnel on visit to the crime scene, Sindh Police Inspector General AD Khawaja said “polio drops will be administered to our children at all costs”, adding that security for polio teams will be beefed up even more.
He said police was “ready to render more sacrifices if need be” and announced compensation of Rs 2 million for the families of each slain official.
The Sindh IG also announced reward money of Rs 5 million for anyone who helps police nab those behind the attacks.
Sindh Rangers DG Maj Gen Bilal Akbar said a joint investigation into the attacks will be launched by police and Rangers. He said the policemen had laid down their lives to protect polio workers – “a sacrifice that will not go to waste”.
The Rangers chief said it was too early to say who the attackers were affiliated with and where they came from. However, he urged the public to come forward with any information they had on the attackers.
A four-day polio vaccination drive was launched in all six districts of Karachi, Hyderabad and Kotri tehsil of Jamshoro on Monday.
The ‘sub-national polio supplementary immunisation campaign’ in Karachi, being supervised by the emergency operation centre (EOC) for polio, was formally launched by commissioner Asif Hyder Shah when he administered polio drops to children at a maternity home in PIB Colony.
A total of 6,200 health workers were to perform their duty in Karachi’s 188 union councils. To ensure their security, the police provided 5,000 personnel.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif strongly condemned the terrorist attack and said the sacrifices of police in the entire country and particularly in reviving peace in Karachi were unparalleled.
“They have sacrificed their today for securing the future of our coming generations,” the prime minister said in a statement released from the PM House.
He said police and other law enforcing agencies were rendering sacrifices in the entire country and deserved appreciation for fighting terror. “The entire nation will fight against these cowards with unity and resolve,” the prime minister said.
Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only countries in the world which have been transferring the polio virus to each other.

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