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UN vehicle fired upon in Pak; two injured

Last updated on: July 17, 2012 21:57 IST

Two persons, including a Ghanaian doctor, were injured when unidentified gunmen fired at an United Nations vehicle near a polio vaccination camp in the southern Pakistani port city of Karachi on Tuesday, officials said.

Two armed men riding a motorcycle intercepted the vehicle as it neared an Afghan refugee settlement in Sohrab Goth area of Karachi and opened fire.

Constant Dedo, a Ghanaian doctor working as a consultant for the World Health Organisation, was visiting a polio vaccination camp at the time.

Dedo was hit by two bullets in the stomach while the driver of the vehicle was injured in the arm and neck. A WHO spokesperson said they were taken to a nearby hospital and their condition was stable.

No group claimed responsibility for the attack.

The gunmen escaped before police reached the spot. Police officials told the media that the attackers were Afghan men.
This was the first time that the staff of WHO have been attacked in Pakistan but the UN agency said it would not suspend its operations.

In a statement, WHO described the shooting as "a serious security incident". "At this point, there is no evidence to suggest that this was a deliberate or targeted attack against polio eradication efforts or WHO," the statement said.

"Incidents like these highlight the incredible bravery of the more than 200,000 mainly Pakistani volunteers who run every vaccination campaign," it said.

The WHO, UNICEF and all partners in the polio campaign "remain committed to supporting" the government and people of Pakistan in their efforts to eradicate the disease. "This incident will not distract from the progress Pakistan is making this year, as the country is closer than ever to eradication," the statement said.

The Taliban, who have issued threats against the polio campaign, are active in the Sohrab Goth area.

Pakistani authorities began a drive to immunise 34 million children against polio on Monday. However, over 3,50,000 children in North and South Waziristan and parts of Khyber Agency will not be covered by the campaign due to threats from the Taliban and fighting between security forces and militants. 

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