WHO employees evacuated from Beni after obus explosion

The fight against Ebola in the city of Beni, in eastern Congo, is being suspended since Saturday after the explosion of violence. Some sixteen employees of the World Health Organization (WHO) were evacuated from Beni. After an obus exploded a few meters from the villa where they were staying.

In the area, the battles between the blue helmets and rebels have increased sharply. This is the first time that the WHO has to remove its personnel, albeit preventively. “The attack with the obus did not seem directed against the villa, but happened in the firefight between the rebels and the blue helmets. No one was injured,” said doctor Michel Yao, the coordinator in the fight against the Ebola virus.

The sixteen WHO employees, out of a total of 191 in Beni, were transferred to Goma. Awaiting a solution for their accommodation. Though some are still in shock. Some hotels and an emergency centre were also victims of the blazing violence. The reason why the fight against Ebola is being suspended has been confirmed by the Congolese Minister of Health. It is not clear when the mission will be able to resume. About 200 people have died from Ebola in the region since August.

In Beni the rebel group ADF is active, which has killed hundreds of civilians in recent years. This week seven more blue helmets and twelve Congolese soldiers were killed. The rebels are originally Ugandan Muslims, who have withdrawn in eastern Congo since the 1990s.

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