Four health workers fighting the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have been killed and five injured in an attack by rebel militia.
The attacks occurred overnight on a shared living camp in Biakato Mines and an Ebola response coordination office in Mangina.
“We are heartbroken that people have died in the line of duty as they worked to save others. The world has lost brave professionals” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, World Health Organization Director-General.
The dead include a member of a vaccination team, two drivers and a police officer. No WHO staff are among those killed, one staff member was injured.
“My heart goes out to the family and friends of the first responders killed in these attacks,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.
“We are doing everything possible to bring the injured and front-line workers in the impacted areas to safety. These constant attacks must stop. We will continue to work with the DRC Government, partners and MONUSCO to ensure the security of our staff and other health workers.”
In the last week, there were 7 cases of Ebola, down from a peak of over 120 per week in April 2019.
“Ebola was retreating. These attacks will give it force again, and more people will die as a consequence,” said Dr Tedros.
“It will be tragic to see more unnecessary suffering in communities that have already suffered so much. We call on everyone who has a role to play to end this cycle of violence.”
Insecurity has complicated efforts to combat the epidemic in DRC from the outset. More than 300 attacks on Ebola health workers have been recorded in 2019, leaving six dead and 70 wounded, some of them patients.
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