Attacks on DR Congo Ebola teams kill four since outbreak: govt

Kinshasa (AFP) –


Scores of attacks on health teams tackling an Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo have killed four people and wounded dozens in the last ten months, the government said on

The UN has reported teams helping fight the second deadliest Ebola outbreak on record after the epidemic in West Africa in 2014-2016 have come under attack and even been killed.

The outbreak declared in eastern DR Congo last August has killed more than 1,200 people in two provinces -- Ituri and North Kivu -- and new cases have surged in recent weeks.

But efforts to tackle the crisis have been hampered by militia fighting in affected regions and assaults on teams as well as by locals who view the international prevention effort with suspicion.

"Between August 2018 and May 20, 2019, there were 132 attacks against health teams since the state of the epidemic in the east," the health ministry said in a report. "They include health workers and patients."

Health teams and nurses have reported death threats and destruction of medical centres because of their role in fighting the outbreak, it said.

Local medical teams on Thursday threatened to strike if the government did not take measures to better protect them from violence.

"Because of the violence, a number of doctors and nurses in the Beni and Lubero areas have had to move or temporarily quit, forcing some health centres to close their doors," the ministry said.

WHO has accused political leaders in the affected region of manipulating the Ebola issue to turn people against health workers.

The UN on Thursday named a pointman to coordinate the global response to the Ebola epidemic in the DR Congo, as it ramps up efforts to contain the outbreak.

David Gressly, currently serving as the UN's deputy special representative in DRC, will take charge of the anti-Ebola effort, the World Health Organization said.