DRC: Three medics arrested over killing of WHO doctor

By Doug Mattushek - 09 August 2019Views : 676

Three doctors from the Democratic Republic of Congo were arrested for their alleged role in the murder of a World Health Organisation (WHO) doctor in April.

This was confirmed by military prosecutors, Cameroonian doctor Richard Mouzoko was shot and killed during an attack on a hospital in Butembo, a city in North Kivu province and an epicentre of the Ebola response in the country.

He had been sent to the eastern region as part of the WHO's attempt to stop the spread of the disease's outbreak, the second deadliest on record.

A military prosecutor for Butembo, Lieutenant Colonel Jean-Baptiste Kumbu, told AFP news agency that the arrested doctors will be charged with "terrorism" and "criminal conspiracy".

The three medics are accused of holding meetings on April 14 to plot the assassination of Mouzoko, the prosecutor said. However, it was reported that the fourth doctor suspected to be involved in the April 19 killing is still at large, he added.

Kumbu, said that the captured members of an armed group believed to be behind the killings implicated the four doctors during interrogations.

At this stage, it did not allege a motive for the arrested health workers, but a treatise left behind at the attack site had previously lead prosecutors to believe the assailants belonged to the armed group. The Patriotic Union for the Liberation of Congo, the Reuters news agency had reported at the time.

The arress were decried by doctors in Butembo. In a letter to the mayor of the city, the local branch of the DRC's national doctors council said they would go on strike if their colleagues were not released within 48 hours.

It was reported that the medics in Butembo had previously protested and threatened to strike if security was not increased for health workers in the area.