NPR

What Needs To Be Done To End Congo's Ebola Crisis

The surge in attacks on responders obscures a crucial point: The violence is coming from two very different sources. And efforts to combat one could exacerbate the other.
A police officer stands guard by a window riddled with bullet holes in an Ebola treatment center in Butembo, a city in Democratic Republic of the Congo. The center has been attacked twice in the last month. Source: John Wessels/Getty Images

Recent weeks have seen an upsurge in direct, and often deadly, attacks against the health workers trying to respond to the ongoing Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of the Congo.

But the pileup of incidents can obscure a crucial feature of the trend: The attacks actually fall into two very different categories.

In the first bucket are coordinated assaults by organized groups such as criminal gangs or the dozens of rebel militia that have long clashed with the government.

The second category of attacks are spontaneous eruptions of rage by members of the community who mistrust responders when, as in a recent instance, they show up to take suspected Ebola patients in for testing and treatment.

Now there's growing concern that the very steps the government and the World Health Organization are taking to curb the rising violence from

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