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BENI (DR CONGO) – Patients being monitored as possible Ebola patients fled a camp in eastern DR Congo on Thursday after it was attacked by demonstrators protesting further delays to the country’s election, the health ministry said.
Around 20 patients fled the center during the incident, at a holding center in the Beni region, the epicenter of this latest outbreak of Ebola.
The incident followed the announcement that elections planned for Sunday in the region had once again been postponed because of local unrest, as well as the Ebola outbreak.
At least three tents were ransacked on the edge of the site, run by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and a heavy police presence was patrolling the site after the incident, an AFP correspondent noted.
“Of 24 patients, 17 had tested negative (for Ebola) once. They had to be tested a second time before being discharged,” said a health ministry spokeswoman.
“Four of them went home. Three other suspected cases were in too serious a case to flee,” the spokeswoman added.
But some of the demonstrators went into contaminated zones of the camp, according to one aid worker.
“The demonstrators wanted to attack the transit center” and burned some of the tents, the health ministry said.
The city and region of Beni has also been the target of deadly attacks on civilians by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), an armed group blamed for hundreds of killings since 2014.