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WHO: Armed groups kill 4 Ebola health workers in eastern DR Congo, 5 injured

Constant attacks must stop

World Health Organisation said two attacks in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have killed 4 workers responding to the Ebola outbreak and injured 5 others. 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,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, World Health Organization Director-General.

“The world has lost brave professionals.”

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.”

The situation is still evolving. WHO will provide updates as new information comes in.

“Attacks by armed groups in Biakato Mines and Mangina in DRC have resulted in deaths and injuries amongst Ebola responders,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Twitter. “We are heartbroken that our worst fears have been realized. Our focus is caring for the wounded and ensuring staff at other locations are safe.”

On his Twitter account, UN Emergency Ebola Response Coordinator David Gressly expressed his sympathy for the families of the victims of the attacks in Biakato and Mangina, “but also to all the families of the recent escalation of violence in the region”.

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