DR Congo

Security challenge: Arson attacks - Recommendations for work in the DRC in the context of the Ebola emergency response 2019-20

Manual and Guideline
Originally published
View original


In February in Butembo city, where mistrust in aid workers and rumours about treatment are rampant, unidentified perpetrators set vehicles and parts of an MSF-run Ebola treatment centre on fire, destroying medical wards and equipment, and leaving four patients missing.

Context and key challenges

Using open sources, key informant interviews and data shared by response actors, Insecurity Insight has identified a heightened risk of arson attacks against healthcare facilities in Ebola-affected areas of the DRC, with implications for response actors’ security and access to affected communities.

• More than 40 reports of arson attacks on healthcare facilities in the DRC were reported in 2019.

• The number of reported arson attacks was particularly high between February to May and in October and occurred during wider assaults on the area by armed groups and in areas characterised by community mistrust of Ebola relief efforts.

• Arson attacks are a common security threat facing healthcare facilities in Africa. In 2018, arson attacks on healthcare facilities were also reported in ten other countries, including Nigeria (by Boko Haram) and Cameroon (by Cameroonian forces).