DRC resumes battle against Ebola after militia attack

Thursday, September 27, 2018
By Paul Martin

Vaccinations in North Kivu and Ituri set to continue as fears grow over impact of armed groups on disease spread

Jason Burke and Ignatius Ssuuna in Kigali
Wed 26 Sep 2018

Efforts to fight the continuing Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo were set to resume on Wednesday after a 48-hour suspension following a attack by militia in which 21 people were killed.

At least 10 people have died so far from the recent outbreak of the disease, and 150 people are known to have been infected. The decision to resume the effort to vaccinate thousands of people in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri will go some way to reassure worried health officials.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Tuesday that the outbreak could worsen rapidly because of the attacks by armed groups, as well as because of community resistance and the broad geographic spread of the disease.

The outbreak has occurred in one of the most violent parts of DRC, a base for dozens of armed groups that contest government authority and exploit mineral resources in the region.

The militia attack on Saturday took pace on the outskirts of the city of Beni. In a second incident, in the town of Oïcha, about 12 miles north of Beni, armed men burned houses, killed one man and kidnapped 14 children and one woman on Monday night, according to two local officials.

Both attacks have been blamed on a group known as the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), which has a history of targeting civilians and is considered one of the most active and violent of the armed groups operating in the region.

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