Congo's Mai Mai militiamen attack Ebola treatment centre

Police officer killed, several injured in attack on Ebola treatment center

WHO Director-General reiterates commitment to Ebola response despite another attack - Democratic Republic of the Congo

One of the militiamen was wounded in Saturday's attack and is in custody, Kanyamanda Mbusa said.

Disinfected healthcare workers' gear dries outside a hospital in Bwana Suri, Ituri province of Democratic Republic of Congo, December 10, 2018.

Armed assailants attack Ebola treatment centre in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, killing a policeman before being repelled by security forces, the local mayor says.


The brazen attack came hours before the World Health Organization's director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus' visit to the centre, who surveyed the place nevertheless. "We have no choice except to continue serving the people here, who are among the most vulnerable in the world". Mai-Mai rebels attacked the ETC in the early hours of the morning on March 9, 2019, killing one police officer and injuring another.

The violence comes less than a week after the center reopened following a previous attack last month that led the aid group Doctors Without Borders to suspend work in parts of the region.

It was the third attack on the centre, said the mayor of the city of a million people.

"Shooting started at about six in the morning (0400 GMT) and resumed 30 minutes later with resistance from the army and the police", Butembo mayor Sylvain Kanyamanda Mbusa told AFP of the latest attack.

The president of Doctors Without Borders Joanne Liu said the Ebola outbreak cannot be beaten unless the community trusted the authorities and Ebola responders and were treated humanely, NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports.

Doctors Without Borders or Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) revealed that 40 percent of Ebola deaths had happened in communities rather than in the treatment centres.

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. Doctors Without Borders suspended its operations there.

The Butembo centre is now run by the health ministry in collaboration with the WHO and the United Nations children's agency Unicef. A total of 561 lives have been claimed out of the 894 reported ones. Ebola, a hemorrhagic fever, is spread via bodily fluids of those infected, including the dead.

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

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