Nigerian polio clinic assaults leave at least 10 people dead
By Aminu Abubakar, AFPKANO, Nigeria--Gunmen killed at least 10 people in horrifying attacks on two Nigerian polio clinics on Friday that dealt a new blow to the campaign to wipe out the disease.
February 10, 2013, 12:32 am TWN
Seven women were shot dead at one clinic and a man and two women were killed at another. Both attacks were in the northern city of Kano.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan condemned the “dastardly terrorist attacks” that came after a local cleric denounced polio vaccination campaigns and some local radio stations aired conspiracy theories about the vaccine being a Western plot to harm Muslims.
The United Nations also slammed the killings and said the population was being “robbed of basic life-saving health interventions.”
Conspiracy theories against the polio campaign have long been spread in Nigeria's mainly Muslim north. Nigeria is one of only three countries — with Pakistan and Afghanistan — still considered to have endemic polio.
Police spokesman Magaji Majia told AFP that nine people were killed on the spot when gunmen on motorised tricycles “attacked two dispensaries where polio immunization workers were preparing to go out for polio campaigns.”
One woman died later in hospital from injuries suffered, raising the death toll to 10, a doctor said.
Police declined to say whether any group was suspected.
Extremist group Boko Haram has carried out attacks in Kano, though gangs linked to local politics also operate.
The two clinics are about five kilometers (three miles) apart.
At the building where seven women were killed, windows were broken, the front door was blackened by fire and blood could be seen on the floor.
Six people on a big-wheel tricycle pulled up outside the second dispensary as polio immunization workers were gathering for the day's house-to-house campaign, a resident said.
“Two of the men were holding guns. They stormed into the dispensary and began shooting,” the local added.