Four Congo Ebola patients missing after 2nd clinic attack

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — Intruders attacked a treatment centre run by Doctors Without Borders for the second time in four days, leaving four Ebola patients missing and forcing the medical aid group to suspend its operations in the area on Thursday.

The decision was made after unknown assailants burnt tents and other equipment on Wednesday at the treatment centre in the eastern city of Butembo. Assailants also set fire on Sunday to another eastern Congo clinic that Doctors Without Borders operates in Katwa, killing one person and injuring another.

The organisation said it would be temporarily suspending its efforts in both communities.

The latest violence has intensified fears that communities will continue to resist efforts to halt the country’s 10th Ebola outbreak. Health workers in eastern Congo have struggled to win the trust of residents amid attacks by armed groups vying for control of the mineral-rich region.

The Health Ministry said 32 of the 38 people being treated for suspected cases of Ebola fled during Wednesday’s attack, while eight of the 12 patients with confirmed cases remained in bed. Patients who have been located since the violence were transferred temporarily to another treatment centre.

Authorities are searching for the four missing patients confirmed to have Ebola who are highly infectious, the ministry said.