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Quetta: A policeman was killed by suspected militants while escorting a polio vaccination team in the restive Balochistan province of Pakistan on Tuesday.

The policeman was killed when he returned fire at two suspected militants who attacked the polio vaccination team in the Pishin area of the province in the morning, Pishin Deputy Commissioner Muhammad Yasir said.

The members of the polio vaccination team escaped unhurt as the attackers ran away from the scene soon after shooting the policeman, the official said.

This is not the first time that militants have attacked polio vaccination teams. Such attacks have occurred before in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) provinces, and even in the cosmopolitan city of Karachi.

Due to stringent security measures such attacks have come down with the last one taking place in KPK’s Tank district in August where two policemen guarding the team were killed, Yasir said.

No militant group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack.

The government has launched a five-day anti-polio campaign in 19 districts of Balochistan where militants and religious extremists in rural areas run a campaign against children being vaccinated to prevent the dreaded disease.

The militants are scaring the public by telling them that the vaccines caused infertility in their children.

Pakistan along with Afghanistan and Mozambique are the only three countries where poliovirus cases are still being reported.

This year so far 19 poliovirus cases have been detected in Pakistan.

Also read | Being stressed out before you get COVID increases your chances of long COVID. Here’s why

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