Three Ebola workers killed in troubled eastern DR Congo

Laverne Higgins
December 1, 2019

Armed groups have attacked and killed three Ebola response workers in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the World Health Organization chief said on Thursday, an alarming development that could cause the waning outbreak to again pick up momentum.

In this most modern round of violence a camp housing Ebola responders within the Biakato Mines location and an emergency coordination centre within the city of Mangina were centered by militia.

"We're heartbroken that folks dangle died within the line of accountability as they worked to place others", he said.

The attacks occurred as the worldwide health organization has been battling to contain the second-worst outbreak of Ebola on record that has seen some 2,200 deaths among 3,309 cases of the disease since August 2018.

The latest rebel attack outside Beni killed 19 people, the United Nations said on Wednesday. Most of the recent new cases have been reported in the newly targeted communities of Biakato, Mangina and Beni. "We call on everyone who has a role to play to end this cycle of violence", he said. "We've seen it time and time again that we have the number of cases declining, and then you have an episode of violence where activities can not continue at full strength for a few days and you see a rise in cases, so it's a major setback".

"Ebola was retreating", said Tedros.

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Over 3,300 people have been infected with the virus since the outbreak began a year ago, while over 2,100 people have died.

Cases have surged after previous attacks on health workers and facilities.

"While the Ebola outbreak, which has claimed more than 2,000 lives in the eastern DRC, has commanded sustained worldwide attention, measles, which has claimed more than twice as many lives, continues to be underreported", said Unicef's Edouard Beigbeder.

After the loss of 19 people and townhall destruction in the Beni attack, President Felix Tshisekedi called Congolese and U.N forces for joint operations to defend the locals.

Far from the capital, Kinshasa, some traumatized residents in the densely populated border region near Uganda and Rwanda are wary of outsiders, further complicating the Ebola containment work in a part of Congo that had never recorded the virus before.

The attacks have made WHO's fight against the disease in the DRC more hard, said Mike Ryan, WHO's executive director for health and emergencies.

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