A group of unidentified militants assaulted an Ebola treatment center in Butembo (North Kivu province) on the morning (local time) of Saturday, March 9, days after the facility reopened. At least one police officer was killed and several aid workers were wounded before security forces successfully repelled the gunmen. The attack occurred several hours before the director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO) visited the center. As of Saturday evening, treatment center remains open. Further attacks targeting healthcare workers and facilities in North Kivu province are possible in the near term.
The facility, previously run by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), also known as Doctors Without Borders, is now being operated by the Congolese health ministry, the World Health Organization (WHO), and UNICEF and reopened on March 3. It was immediately closed on February 27 after gunmen set the center on fire and engaged security forces. The government's limited presence in the DRC's eastern provinces, including North Kivu, as well as the presence of numerous armed groups and local self-defense militias have led to continued insecurity in the area. Humanitarian organizations have stated that security conditions in the Kivu regions present a major obstacle to delivering humanitarian assistance to those in need, as kidnappings, including of Congolese and foreign aid workers, are frequent in the area.
Individuals in North Kivu province are advised to monitor the situation, remain vigilant for militant behavior, and take measures to prevent contraction and spread of Ebola virus disease (EVD).
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