Three Ebola Workers Killed in Troubled Eastern DR Congo, Says UN

Grant Boone
December 1, 2019

Four Ebola workers in eastern Congo were killed and five injured, adding to the toll of people who have died fighting the almost 16-month-old epidemic, the United Nations said Thursday. Overall, health workers and infrastructure have been attacked 386 times with seven people killed and 77 wounded, Ryan said.

The tiresome, no longer participants of World Health Organization crew, integrated a member of the vaccination crew, two drivers and a police officer. 'The world has lost courageous professionals.' Five people were also injured in the attacks, including one WHO employee and staff from the Congo Ministry of Health.

"The world has lost courageous professionals", he said, quoted in a WHO statement issued in Geneva.

"We are heartbroken that our worst fears have been realised", Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Twitter about the attacks in Biakato Mines and Mangina.

"Ebola was retreating and now it is likely to resurge", he said.

WHO's emergencies director Dr. Mike Ryan, however, said neither the attackers' identities nor their motivation had been confirmed but it was "unmistakably a directed attack at the response".

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Ebola has infected more than 3,300 and killed almost 2,200 people in Congo's volatile east, according to authorities. Most of the recent new cases have been reported in the newly targeted communities of Biakato, Mangina and Beni.

The Ebola response work has been locked out in Beni, dismaying health experts who say each attack undermines crucial efforts to contain the deadly virus.

After an emergency meeting on Monday, President Felix Tshisekedi made a decision to authorize joint operations between Congolese and U.S. forces in Beni as a result of protests that also set fire to the city hall. "We call on everyone who has a role to play to end this cycle of violence".

Vast tracts of eastern DRC are in the grip of armed groups, especially a shadowy militia called the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).

"The elements that we have indicate that it was Blue Helmets who were responsible for the death of this young man", said a spokesman for the mission, MONUSCO.

"As seen previously during this outbreak, such disruptions often result in increased transmission and a subsequent rise in the number of cases due to impacts on surveillance and control efforts, such as active case finding, contact tracing and vaccination".

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