The Straits Times
www.straitstimes.com
Published on Dec 18, 2012
 

5 female UN polio vaccination workers killed by gunmen in Pakistan

 
 

KARACHI (AP) - Gunmen shot dead five women working on U.N.-backed polio vaccination efforts in two different Pakistani cities on Tuesday, officials said, a major setback for a campaign that international health officials consider vital to contain the crippling disease but which Taleban insurgents say is a cover for espionage.

The women were all shot in the head at close range. Four of them were gunned down in the southern port city of Karachi, and the fifth in a village outside the northwest city of Peshawar. Two men who were working alongside the women were also critically wounded in Karachi.

The attacks in Karachi were well-coordinated and occurred within 15 minutes in three different areas of the city that are far apart, said police spokesman Imran Shoukat. In each case, the gunmen used 9 millimeter pistols. Two of the women were teenagers, aged 18 and 19, and the other two were in their 40s, he said.

Two of the women were killed while they were in a house giving children polio drops, said Shoukat. The other two were traveling between houses when they were attacked, he said.