A dozen Nigerian polio workers killed in Kano state
At least 12 Nigerian polio workers were gunned down in two areas in Kano State, shocking residents of predominantly Muslim northern state, according to an All Africa report today.
The Associated Press reports the first attack Friday morning happened in Kano’s Hotoro Hayi neighborhood and saw gunmen arrive by three-wheel taxis and open fire. At least eight female vaccinators died in that attack, witnesses said.
The second attack, in the Unguwa Uku neighborhood, saw another four people killed, witnesses said. The witnesses spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear of angering the radical sect known as Boko Haram.
Nigeria is one of the three polio endemic countries left on the planet and the public is accustomed to polio workers going door-to-door adminstering oral polio drops.
A US State Department spokeswoman condemed the killings saying, “They were engaged in life-saving work, trying to vaccinate children,” she told reporters. “Any violence that prevents children from receiving basic life-saving vaccines is absolutely unacceptable wherever it happens.”
One of the other polio endemic nations, Pakistan, has been battling similar violence against polio workers where groups like the Taliban and others see the anti-polio campaigns as an American tactic against Muslims.