A Congolese journalist who had been raising awareness about the Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo has been killed at his home.
The army said unidentified attackers raided Papy Mumbere Mahamba’s home in Lwebma, in the north-eastern province of Ituri, killing him, wounding his wife and burning their house down.
DR Congo is experiencing the world’s second-worst Ebola epidemic on record.
People working to stop the virus are often targets of attacks.
Mahamba’s murder is likely to have been fuelled by deep suspicion of the Ebola virus and mistrust of those who are working to stop it, the BBC World Service’s Africa editor Will Ross says.
Mr Mahamba had just hosted an Ebola awareness programme on a community radio station when the attack took place.
Professor Steve Ahuka, national coordinator of the fight against Ebola, confirmed the reports from the army that a “community worker” involved in the fight against Ebola had been killed.
A journalist at Radio Lwemba, the local radio station where he worked, also confirmed the details. Jacques Kamwina told AFP news agency that Mahamba had been stabbed to death.
What is the situation with Ebola in the DRC?
The DRC declared an Ebola epidemic in August 2018. More than 2,000 lives have been lost amid a total of 3,000 confirmed infections, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The outbreak is affecting the DRC’s North Kivu, South Kivu and Ituri provinces.
Efforts to control the outbreak have been hampered by violence against healthcare workers and Ebola treatment facilities.
Some do not believe that the virus exists or do not trust health workers, leading people to avoid treatment.
Over the last year there have been some 200 attacks on health workers, ambulances and health centres.
What is Ebola?
- Ebola is a virus that initially causes sudden fever, intense weakness, muscle pain and a sore throat.
- It progresses to vomiting, diarrhoea and both internal and external bleeding.
- People are infected when they have direct contact through broken skin, or the mouth and nose, with the blood, vomit, faeces or bodily fluids of someone with Ebola.
- Patients tend to die from dehydration and multiple organ failure.