Armed attackers on Wednesday attacked an Ebola treatment center in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), causing a fire and mingling with a long shootout with security forces, officials said. the health.
The identity and motive of the attackers was not clear. Humanitarian workers faced mistrust in some areas as they struggled to contain an Ebola outbreak.
Dozens of armed militias also routinely attack civilians and security forces in the eastern border regions of Congo with Uganda and Rwanda, which has significantly hindered the response to the disease.
The Ministry of Health said in a statement that 38 suspected Ebola patients and 12 confirmed cases were in the center at the time of the attack. Four of the patients with confirmed cases have fled and are wanted, the newspaper added.
None of the identified patients were injured, any more than staff members, the ministry added.
The French medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF), which runs the center with the ministry, condemned the "deplorable attack" and said its efforts were focused on the immediate safety of patients and staff .
The attack in Butembo town was the second in eastern Congo affected by the Ebola virus this week. On Sunday, unidentified assailants set fire to a treatment center in the nearby town of Katwa, killing a nurse.
The current outbreak of Ebola, first reported last August, is the second most deadly of hemorrhagic fever since its discovery in the Congo in 1976. It has already killed at least 553 people and has reportedly infected more than 300 others.