Attack on DR Congo Ebola centre leaves one dead

Modesto Morganelli
Marzo 11, 2019

The mayor of Butemo said a gunman captured during the attack was a member of the Mai-Mai movement.

Another attack has taken place on an Ebola treatment centre in Butembo, in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic Congo, the third of its kind in less than a month by an armed group.

"It breaks my heart to think of the health workers injured and police officer who died in today's attack", Tedros said.

"These are not attacks by the community, these are attacks on the community", Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

Aid workers have faced deep mistrust from locals in some areas as they work to contain the outbreak, which has become the worst in Democratic Republic of Congo's history, killing close to 600 people so far.

"While it broke his heart to hear of the latest casualties, ".we have no choice except to continue serving the people here, who are among the most vulnerable in the world", he added.

The early-morning attack in Butembo came less than a week after the treatment centre reopened following an attack last month that forced aid group Doctors Without Borders to suspend its operations in the city. Mai-Mai rebels attacked the ETC in the early hours of the morning on March 9, 2019, killing one police officer and injuring another.

Butembo major Sylvain Kanyamanda Mbusa said the Mai Mai militants were successfully repelled.

More than 40 percent of deaths had occurred in communities rather than in Ebola treatment centres, MSF pointed out.

Repairs were also set to begin on another North Kivu treatment centre, in Katwa, that was set ablaze on the night of February 24.

"The people of Katwa and Butembo, as in the other communities affected by Ebola, want and deserve a place to receive care and a chance of survival", said Ghebreyesus in his statement.

The visit came as he concluded a three-day mission to the country, along with senior U.S. officials and other World Health Organization leadership.

During his visit he met President Felix Tshisekedi, other agencies working in the field and local organisations tackling the outbreak.

The Butembo centre is now run by the health ministry in collaboration with the WHO and the United Nations children's agency Unicef.

Since August, 853 cases of Ebola have been confirmed and 578 people are known to have died, according to the Congo's ministry of health. Ebola, a hemorrhagic fever, is spread via bodily fluids of those infected, including the dead.

Efforts to contain the virus have been hampered by a plethora of armed groups operating in Congo's lawless east.

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