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Polio Vaccinator Killed in Pakistan During Drive-by Shooting Attack

Image: Polio Vaccinator Killed in Pakistan During Drive-by Shooting Attack
Following an attack resulting in the death of a polio health worker, colleagues protest in Faisalabad, Pakistan. (IlyasS Sheikh/EPA/Landov)

By    |   Tuesday, 09 Dec 2014 10:41 AM

A polio vaccinator was killed in Pakistan by two unnamed gunmen on Tuesday, a setback for one of just three countries where the disease remains endemic.

"Gunmen on a motorcycle fired six shots and he died on the spot," senior police official Ali Waseem said of the victim, Muhammad Sarfaraz. Agence France-Presse reported that Sarfaraz, 40, was a schoolteacher volunteering with the vaccination campaign in Faisalabad, an industrial city in Punjab Province.

Waseem said that Sarfaraz had been the subject of two previous murder attempts, and that police were not immediately sure if the homicide stemmed from personal enmity or because the gunmen were opposed to the three-day national vaccination campaign.

It is not uncommon for vaccinators to be accused of being Western spies, and they are often met with suspicion among militant groups in the country.

Not long after the shooting, however, Taliban splinter group Jundullah claimed responsibility for the attack. According to The New York Times, one of the militants' spokesmen, Ahmed Marwat, told news outlets that more vaccinators would be targeted. 

Considering the two previous attacks on Sarfaraz, however, officials said the anti-vaccinator sentiment could have been a pretext to cover up a personal vendetta.

"We are investigating all angles and possibilities," said Waseem

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A polio vaccinator was killed in Pakistan by two unnamed gunmen on Tuesday, a setback for one of just three countries where the disease remains endemic.
polio, vaccinator, killed, pakistan
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2014-41-09
Tuesday, 09 Dec 2014 10:41 AM
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