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New attack on the Ebola Center in Congo; 1 militia member killed



BUTEMBO, Congo (AP) – Militia members attacked a World Health Organization official hours after an Ebola treatment center attack, a Congolese official said Saturday.

Butembo Deputy Mayor Patrick Kambale Tsiko told The Associated Press that the machete-armed assailants attempted to burn down the center in Katwa district overnight. The military and police guarding the center killed a militia member and arrested five others.

This violence has made the efforts to contain the second most lethal outbreak of the Ebola virus in history all the more difficult. Temporary work and prevention work are disturbed.

An attack on a hospital in Butembo on Friday killed an epidemiologist from Cameroon who had been deployed to the outbreak in eastern Congo. Tsiko quoted witnesses as saying that the attackers wrongfully accused foreigners of bringing the deadly virus to the region.

This outbreak now has more than 1

,300 confirmed and probable cases, including 855 deaths, since its declaration last August. The number of new cases has increased alarmingly in recent weeks after other attacks. The WHO has convened a committee of experts that has decided on the outbreak, while "deeply concerned" is not yet a global health emergency.

Rebel group attacks and popular opposition have posed major challenges to contain Ebola, which is spreading rapidly and can be fatal in up to 90% of cases. The North Kivu region of the Congo has never before been confronted with an outbreak of haemorrhagic fever and health care providers have been struggling with the misinformation. Some residents did not believe in Ebola.

In a hospital attack on Friday, armed men stormed into a conference room and forced people to the ground, bringing along their belongings and "accusing them of holding false rumors about Ebola" statement by IMA World Health, a Washington-based relief group the hospital supports. The armed men then shot and killed the Cameroonian doctor in the abdomen and sent personnel and patients to flight.

Friday's attack was at least the fourth attack on an IMA World Health-backed facility that was involved in the Ebola reaction. Four days earlier, raiders plundered a nearby clinic and briefly abducted a nurse. The clinic remains closed.

While the new attack on the treatment center in Katwa is the first of militia members, he was repeatedly attacked by anxious families who claimed the bodies of relatives who died from the disease.

Ebola is spread through the body fluids of the infected and shows symptoms, including the dead, and some residents have engaged in safe funeral practices that contradict their traditional, practical practices.

Others try to avoid treatment when they become ill.

"The fear of being forcibly hospitalized contributes to the poor image of the Ebola treatment centers," wrote Natalie Roberts, head of emergency for the medical charity "Doctors Without Borders," earlier this month. "These structures are associated with a life-threatening illness, isolation and the use of protective equipment that makes staff unrecognizable and intimidating."

How concerns of the community can be taken into account while keeping Ebola effectively under control remains worrying It is high that the outbreak could spread from the densely populated region to the main crossroads city of Goma or to nearby Uganda or Rwanda ,

The recent attacks occur a few days after Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi pledged the outbreak zone of Ebola and police protection for health workers and requests from residents for cooperation. The president hoped to be able to cope with the outbreak in less than three months, although some health experts believe it could take much longer if the population continues to resist.

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