At least six policemen were killed and 22 others injured when a blast went off near a police vehicle in Pakistan’s northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on Monday morning, police officials said.
The policemen were en route to provide security for an anti-polio campaign when the explosion occurred in the Mamund area of Bajaur district of the province, District Police Officer Bajaur Kashif Zulfiqar told Xinhua.
He said that the death toll might further rise as at least five policemen are in critical condition, adding that the police officials were targeted with an improvised explosive device planted at the roadside.
Pakistan on Monday kicked off a week-long nationwide anti-polio vaccination campaign across the country to inoculate more than 42 million children aged five or below.
The official confirmed that all the casualties were police personnel. At least 10 seriously wounded cops are being shifted to neighboring Peshawar city for better treatment, he said.
Police and rescue teams reached the site immediately after the blast and transferred the injured to a nearby hospital. A state of emergency has also been declared in hospitals in the district, according to official sources.
Police have launched an investigation into the incident to arrest the culprits, said police.
Caretaker Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Syed Arshad Hussain Shah condemned the blast targeting policemen, saying that the police have given sacrifices to protect the public’s lives and properties.
“The police morale would not be defeated by such cowardly incidents,” the chief minister said.