Congo: Efforts Against Ebola Halted After ADF Kills 25 in Beni

Congolese Army soldiers in Beni after a clash with rebel groups weeks ago.

GOMA – An attack by Ugandan Allied Democratic Front (ADF) in the northeastern Democratic Republic of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) halted efforts to battle Ebola outbreak in the city of Beni, in North Province, a government official and World Health Organization have said.

According to WHO, a hundred people have already died of Ebola, while 149 cases of the disease have been reported, with 118 confirmed and 31 probable.

The mayor of Beni Nyonyi Masumbuko Mwanakawa said Ebola prevention activities have been suspended in DR Congo city of Beni after a deadly rebel attack in which 25 were killed by ADF on Saturday night. The Ebola outbreak is mainly in the North Kivu province of the country.

According to Peter Salama, WHO’s deputy director-general for emergency preparedness and response, the teams on the ground were “unable to move because of security concerns following violence by armed rebel groups over the weekend.

On Saturday, twenty civilians and 5 Congolese army soldiers were killed. Lt Jules Tshikudi, Congolese army FARDC spokesperson in Ituri province told this news website the rebels attacked several towns in Beni.

The attack took place at 18:30 pm till past midnight, saying many people had been displaced by the fighting.

On Sunday, the army said it was still pursuing the enemy.

More than 100 militias operate in North Kivu and Ituri Provinces.

Local human rights groups say more than 800 civilians have been killed near Beni by militias including ADF since October 2014, most in overnight raids by rebels carried out with machetes and hatchets.

The ADF was also accused of killing 15 Tanzanian peacekeepers in the Beni region in December 2017.

Eastern DR Congo is plagued by dozens of armed militias that attack locals and exploit minerals.

DR Congo, Africa’s biggest copper producer and the world’s largest source of cobalt, is preparing to hold presidential elections in December this year.

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