Extremely discouraging news.
Nine female polio vaccinators have been killed in two shootings at health centres in northern Nigeria, police have told the BBC.
In the first attack in Kano the polio vaccinators were shot dead by gunmen who drove up on a motor tricycle.
Thirty minutes later gunmen targeted a clinic outside Kano city as the vaccinators prepared to start work.
Some Nigerian Muslim leaders have previously opposed polio vaccinations, claiming they could cause infertility.
On Thursday, a controversial Islamic cleric spoke out against the polio vaccination campaign, telling people that new cases of polio were caused by contaminated medicine.
Three countries still have polio epidemics: Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The reason for this is anti-vaccination sentiment along with the misinformation and propaganda being spread about the disease and means of prevention. Previously, the worst case we’ve reported on violence against vaccination workers was in Pakistan where 8 workers were killed in a short span. This caused the UN to suspend the program temporarily and resume it with armed guards. There has been an incident where the guard was shot.
Analysts believe these attacks may have been the work of a militant Islamist group called Boko Haram who oppose Western ideas and who wish to impose Sharia – Islamic religious law. Let’s just imagine this… back to the days where women were property, people could be beaten and burned, blasphemy means death. Yep, that’s progress.
Addition: Science Insider is reporting up to 11 victims.
Details are murky, and it is unclear who and how many people were killed, says Oliver Rosenbauer, spokesperson for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, at the World Health Organization (WHO), which is following the events closely.
The picture that has emerged so far is that at 9:30 this morning local time, one or several gunmen attacked two health clinics in rapid succession. No one has claimed responsibility.
Tip: @LadyAlissa on Twitter