Violence in Beni in the Democratic Republic of Congo is hindering the Ebola response in the region, where World Health Organization workers remained on lockdown Monday after 21 people died over the weekend, most of them civilians.
Authorities say Ugandan rebels with the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a group that opposes President Yoweri Museveni and has lived near Beni for more than two decades, launched an attack in the city. That’s added to the precarious situation for aid workers in the North Kivu and Ituri regions.
It’s also where Ebola has now claimed 100 lives, and the disruption comes at a bad time with news that the virus has spread to Tchomia. Peter Salama, the WHO Deputy Director-General for Emergency Preparedness and Response, expressed concern that Ebola has popped up in the new area bordering Uganda, and that the patient was uncooperative and refused care.
There’s now a second case in Tchomia too, according to Monday’s update from the Congolese Ministry of Health. That puts the overall total at 150, with 119 confirmed infections and 31 probable.
Most of the fatalities have been in Mabalako, where 65 people have died. The fatalities rose to 24 in Beni, with four in Butembo and the remaining cases spread across eight other communities. More than 11,500 people have now been vaccinated, most of them in Mabalako and Beni.
People in the region have been asked to suspend all social and economic activity for five days beginning Monday, even the Ebola response efforts, local media said.