Red Cross condemns attack on volunteers in Congo

The International Red Cross has condemned an attack that injured three of its volunteers, who were trying to bury an Ebola victim in north-eastern Congo.

“While we categorically denounce the attack on our colleagues, we understand the fear and frustration that many communities in north Kivu feel right now,” said Fatoumata Nafo-Traore, the Regional Director for Africa.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ (IFRC) did not say who was responsible for the Tuesday attack or which weapons were used. It however noted that it was not the first time their staff had faced violence since the Ebola outbreak.

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In September, one Red Cross volunteer was injured when people threw stones at a vehicle transporting a safe burial team.

“We call upon the communities in North Kivu to cooperate with volunteers and health workers, who are giving their time to ensure that communities are protected from the Ebola outbreak,” said Gregoire Mbuta, the President of Red Cross Congo chapter.

Government agencies and non-profit groups are battling to curb the spread of Ebola in eastern Congo, which is plagued by conflict. Ebola has claimed 106 lives since the deadly virus outbreak started nearly two months ago in North Kivu, a north-eastern border region where more than 100 armed groups operate.

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In September, 21 people died in an attack by the Allied Democratic Forces rebels in the city of Beni, forcing the World Health Organisation to briefly halt their operations there.

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