Health officials resume DRC Ebola response despite attack

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Health officials resume DRC Ebola response despite attack
Health workers carry out the body of a patient with unconfirmed Ebola virus on August 22, 2018 in Mangina, near Beni, in the North Kivu province. (Photo by JOHN WESSELS/AFP/Getty Images)

The World Health Organisation has resumed all activities aimed at controlling an Ebola outbreak in the Beni region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, days after a deadly attack took place ‘just metres’ from a local emergency centre.

Vaccination was suspended on Saturday and the operations centre closed, but the WHO said in a statement that teams still went out into the communities to follow up on alerts of potential cases, and to bring sick people to treatment centres.

All response activities, including vaccination, were re-launched on Sunday.

WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “We honour the memory of those who have died battling this outbreak, and deplore the continuing threats on the security of those still working to end it.”

UN peacekeepers from the MONUSCO mission repelled an offensive by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) militia in Beni city’s northern Boikene neighbourhood late on Friday, a ministry statement said.

The ADF, an armed group that has killed hundreds of people since 2014 and at least seven peacekeepers in clashes just this week, wanted to “attack one of MONUSCO’s bases”, the statement added.

“We escaped death thanks to MONUSCO, which is very close to us in Boikene,” a resident told the UN’s Okapi radio.

A ceremony was held on Saturday in Beni for six peacekeepers from Malawi and one from Tanzania who were killed in an operation against the ADF last week.

Ghebreyesus said however that they would continue to work with the DR Congo Health Ministry and other partners to end the Ebola outbreak.

The Ebola response was not affected in areas outside Beni.

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