THE AFRICAN CONGO ATTACK EBOLA CLINICS PLANTED BY THE ENEMY
On the evening of February 24, unknown assailants descended on the Ebola Treatment Center run by Doctors Without Borders/Medecins San Frontieres (MSF) in the northeastern city of Butembo in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), partially burning the crucial health care facility to the ground.
The brazen attack came just three days after another MSF facility was bombarded and scorched in the nearby district of Katwa and both facilities were immediately shut down for the safety of staff and patients.
Since then, attacks by armed militiamen and locals — who maintain that the harrowing contagion is a scheme brought in from the outside — on Ebola clinics have only escalated as the spread of the disease intensifies.
Dozens of individual medical professionals too have been targeted by community criminals, including leading epidemiologist Richard Mouzako who was shot dead earlier this month as the attackers screamed that “Ebola doesn’t exist.”
“Insecurity is a major impediment to ensuring timely interventions with affected communities. Fundamentally, insecurity leads to lack of access and that is what drives the increase in cases. When we cannot reach people, they do not get the chance to be vaccinated, or to receive lifesaving treatments if they fall ill,” Tarik Jasarevic, spokesperson for the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO) told Fox News.
“We are anticipating a scenario that’s a lot worse than it is now. Violent incidents have a profound impact — creating fear and anxiety in the community, increasing mistrust, making it difficult for us to reach some areas because of security concerns.”
The hemorrhagic fever has now been classified as the second worst Ebola epidemic; having claimed more than 1,000 lives in the African country since August, second to the 2014 eruption that killed more than 11,000 people across the continent and even infiltrated to victims in the United States.
According to WHO data, since January 2019 there have been 130 attacks that have caused 4 deaths and 38 injuries, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Of those, 97 attacks impacted health personnel and 44 incidents impacted health facilities.
Antagonists are also reported to have ravaged handwashing appliances placed in the city over the past week; and are reported even to have unleashed on a security attachment team tending to the remains of a woman who died from Ebola.
Late last month, Reuters also reported that health care workers in Butembo took to the streets with signs reading “Ebola Exists” in protest of the burgeoning counterplots against them and have threatened to go on strike if security is not improved — which would no doubt prove another blow to curbing the latest surge.
More than one hundred anti-government rebel groups are known to operate in the region, which has long been rocked by instability and conflict.
“Identifying specific groups responsible for specific attacks is difficult. Many of these groups resist control by the central gove