The head of the World Health Organization denounced a deadly attack on Saturday on an Ebola treatment centre in eastern DR Congo, during a visit to the site hours after the raid.
Gunmen attacked the centre at Butembo, North Kivu province, earlier on Saturday, killing a policeman and wounding a health worker, local officials said, the latest in a series of attacks.
WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, speaking after his four-hour visit to the Butembo clinic, told reporters that the violence in the region was undermining the early progress they had made in fighting the outbreak.
In a statement issued later, he said: “These are not attacks by the community, they are attacks on the community.”
While it broke his heart to hear of the latest casualties, “we have no choice except to continue serving the people, who are among the most vulnerable in the world,” he added.
“The army and the police caught one of the attackers,” he said, saying that he was a member of the Mai-Mai rebel group.
“The people of Katwa and Butembo, as in the other communities affected by Ebola, want and deserve a place to receive care and a chance of survival,” said Ghebreyesus in his statement.
“They do not deserve to suffer in their homes while infecting their loved ones, they do not deserve to suffer in inadequately resourced health centres while infecting health workers.”
Ghebreyesus was completing a three-day visit to the country along with other senior WHO staff and US officials.
The Butembo centre is now run by the health ministry in collaboration with the WHO and the UN children’s agency Unicef.