Sun, Apr 21, 2019 - Page 5 News List

Congolese kill expatriate doctor due to Ebola fears

AP, BENI, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Attackers stormed a hospital at the epicenter of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DR Congo) Ebola outbreak and killed “a dear colleague,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Friday as he condemned the latest violence against health workers trying to contain the virus.

“We are outraged,” Tedros said after the attack in Butembo, a city in eastern DR Congo.

The response to the second-deadliest Ebola outbreak in history has been hampered by a series of deadly attacks on health centers that have disrupted medical care and vaccination efforts, leading to a rise in new Ebola cases.

The health worker killed was epidemiologist Richard Valery Mouzoko Kiboung, a WHO statement said.

A Congolese Ministry of Public Health staffer and a driver were injured, a separate statement released by the UN’s special representative to the Congo said.

Butembo Deputy Mayor Patrick Kambale Tsiko said that Kiboung was from Cameroon, and blamed a militia group for the attack.

The militia fighters believed that foreigners had brought the disease with them to the nation, he added.

“Witnesses at the scene said that the militiamen wanted all the expatriates to go home because, according to them, Ebola does not exist in Butembo,” Tsiko said. “They said that they will continue if these expatriates do not return home as soon as possible.”

Police were pursuing the attackers, Tsiko said.

The ministry confirmed the assault on the Catholic University of Graben Hospital.

One aid group, the International Rescue Committee, said that the hospital held only non-Ebola patients and that many of them fled during the attack.

Congolese Minister of Health Oly Ilunga Kalenga said on Twitter that local and international health workers were courageously combating the virus, “sometimes at the cost of their lives.”

The attack came three days after Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi visited the Ebola outbreak zone, pledging more military and police protection for health workers and asking residents for their cooperation.

Tshisekedi said that he hoped to see the outbreak contained in less than three months, although some health experts estimate it could take much longer.

Since the Ebola outbreak in the DR Congo was declared in August last year, there have been more than 1,300 confirmed and probable cases, including 843 deaths, the ministry said on Thursday.

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