Issued on: Modified:
Militia fighters in eastern Congo killed four people and injured several others in attacks on two Ebola response centres on Thursday, in what the United Nations described as a setback to efforts to contain the disease.
Violence and unrest have hampered the health authorities response to the second worst Ebola epidemic on record, which has killed 2,199 people since it was announced in August 2018.
Mai Mai militia fighters and local residents have attacked health facilities, sometimes because they believe Ebola does not exist, in other cases because of resentment that they have not benefited from the influx of donor funding.
In the latest such violence, Mai Mai fighters simultaneously attacked Ebola centres in Mangina in North Kivu and Byakoto in Ituri, according to Jean-Jacques Muyembe, head of Ebola response for the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“It is a blow to the Ebola response because we were eradicating the disease. These attacks are challenging the efforts to date,” Muyembe told Reuters.
The World Health Organization said the dead included a member of a vaccination team, two drivers and a police officer. It said none of its own staff were killed and that most of the five people injured were from Congos Ministry of Health.
“This is the first time we have had an actual attack on our bases,” said Margaret Harris, a WHO spokeswoman.
“Weve seen it time and time again that we have the number of cases declining, and then you have an episode of violence where activities cannot continue at full strength for a few days and you see a rise in cases, so its a major setback.”
Attacks by armed groups in Biakato Mines and Mangina in #DRC have resulted in deaths and injuries amongst #Ebola responders. We are heartbroken that our worst fears have been realised. Our focus is caring for the wounded and ensuring staff at other locations are safe.
— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) Read More – Source