Category Archives: Central Africa – Congo

Ebola virus surges to six in DR Congo; 2 dead.

Advertisements

Ebola is named after the DR Congo’s Ebola River, near which the virus was discovered by Belgian microbiologist Peter Piot and his team in 1976.

The number of confirmed cases of the Ebola virus disease in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) has reached six, with two people having died, the health minister of the North Kivu province said.

Advertisements

The new outbreak of Ebola started in DR Congo in early February.

“Today we have confirmed two new cases (of Ebola).

“Now we have six cases, two people have died. The vaccination is underway,” Eugene Nzanzu Salita said on Thursday, as quoted by the 7sur7 news outlet.

The Ebola virus is transmitted to humans from wild animals and is estimated by the World Health Organisation to have a 50-per-cent fatality rate.

Advertisements

Ebola is named after the DR Congo’s Ebola River, near which the virus was discovered by Belgian microbiologist Peter Piot and his team in 1976.

‌The largest Ebola outbreak took place in West Africa in 2014-2015, with more than 11,000 people having died and some 28,000 cases having been reported.

Advertisements

#Newsworthy

16 dead in DR Congo boat mishap.

Advertisements

The flat-bottomed vessel came aground at the village of Malebo, about 100 kilometres (60 miles) from the capital.

Rescue workers have recovered 16 bodies from a crowded vessel that capsized on the Congo River at the weekend, sources in DR Congo’s navy and Red Cross said on Wednesday.

The barge, locally known as a “baleiniere” or whaler, overturned on Sunday after leaving the river port of Maluku near Kinshasa, heading for Mbandaka, capital of Equateur province.

Advertisements

A preliminary toll had given nine dead and an unknown number of missing.

“We have saved 125 people. We have recovered 16 bodies,” rescue operations chief Papy Kamalubanda, who commands a naval unit in the area, told AFP.

Advertisements

The flat-bottomed vessel came aground at the village of Malebo, about 100 kilometres (60 miles) from the capital.

An AFP team saw rescue workers standing in thick river mud, gathered around the inert body of a baby that had been retrieved from the water.

Farther off were the corpses of a man and a woman, roped together, in a mass of debris.

Advertisements

“There are still other bodies trapped inside. We are going to continue to recover the bodies tomorrow,” a local Red Cross worker, Sita Faliala, said.

A survivor of the accident, Mado Tshala, said, “There were lots of us (on board), lots and lots of us.

“Several people drowned when the baleiniere overturned, and those who were downstairs found themselves underneath” the vessel, she said.

A vast country the size of continental western Europe, the Democratic Republic of Congo suffers from an acute lack of paved roads and railways, and rivers and waterways are a major form of transport.

Advertisements

Accidents are common, typically due to vessels that are overloaded or poorly maintained.

Death tolls are tragically high due to a lack of life jackets and the fact that few Congolese learn how to swim.

Advertisements

#Newsworthy

DR Congo begins Ebola vaccination.

Advertisements

The WHO’s office in the Democratic Republic of Congo said four people in Biene had been vaccinated and 334 other contacts would also receive the jab.

Health workers in eastern DR Congo have begun an Ebola vaccination drive after four cases, two of them fatal, surfaced just three months after the country’s last outbreak of the disease, the UN said.

“The authorities today… launched an anti-Ebola vaccination campaign in Butembo just a week after the virus re-emerged,” the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a tweet.

Advertisements

“Workers at Matanda hospital, where the first positive case of Ebola was treated, were the first to be vaccinated,” it said.

The health ministry announced on February 7 that four women in Biene, in the troubled region of North Kivu, had fallen ill with the notorious haemorrhagic fever. Two have since died.

The WHO’s office in the Democratic Republic of Congo said four people in Biene had been vaccinated and 334 other contacts would also receive the jab.

On November 18, DR Congo declared that the country’s 11th documented epidemic of Ebola was over.

Advertisements

The outbreak, in the northwestern province of Equateur, claimed 55 lives.

On Sunday, the West African state of Guinea said it had confirmed seven cases of Ebola — the first resurgence of the disease in the region since a 2013-2016 epidemic that killed more than 11,300 people.

Advertisements

#Newsworthy

DR Congo announces Ebola resurgence.

Advertisements

We have another episode of the Ebola virus in the east,” in the North Kivu province..

Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday announced a “resurgence” of Ebola in the country’s troubled east after a woman died of the disease, just three months after authorities declared the end of a previous epidemic.

Advertisements

“We have another episode of the Ebola virus in the east,” in the North Kivu province, Health Minister Eteni Longondo told state television RTNC.

“It was a farmer, the wife of a survivor of Ebola, who showed typical signs of the disease on February 1,” he said, adding that she died on February 3.

Advertisements

#Newsworthy

DR Congo militiamen ‘denied’ over 10 existence, in fresh attack.

Advertisements

The UN’s human rights office in the DRC said Wednesday that defence and security forces had made “significant efforts to dismantle” the militia.

Fighters believed to belong to the ADF militia have killed at least 12 people in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s east, local sources said Sunday.

The gruesome attack took place overnight Friday-Saturday after a month of relative calm in the area.

Advertisements

“Fighters from the Allied Democratic Forces massacred farmers from the village of Mabule in their fields,” Donat Kibuana, the administrator of the Beni region in North Kivu province, told AFP.

At least eight men and four women “had their throats savagely slit in their fields by these ADF terrorists,” said Roger Masimango, from a local network of civil society groups.

Advertisements

“We’re still searching, because we aren’t hearing from some of the farmers,” he added.

An expert in the area, who asked to remain anonymous, said 14 bodies had been found and more people were missing after the assault.

An army offensive launched in the Rwenzori mountain region had caused a “relative decline” in the number of deadly attacks since early January, administrator Kibuana said.

Advertisements

He added that “many villages are empty” of people who have fled the fighting.

But the ADF — one of the most violent among dozens of armed groups in the eastern DRC — is believed to have killed 21 civilians on February 5 in Rwenzori.

The UN’s human rights office in the DRC said Wednesday that defence and security forces had made “significant efforts to dismantle” the militia.

Nevertheless, it said 468 deaths in the east were attributed to the group in the second half of 2020, including 108 women and 15 children.

Advertisements

Originally Ugandan Muslim rebels, the ADF settled in the DRC in 1995.

In recent years they have given up on attacks in neighbouring Uganda, but have carried out repeated massacres in the Beni region of the DRC, killing more than 1,000 people since October 2014.

Advertisements

#Newsworthy

DR Congo police clashes with protesters.

Advertisements

The Rwandan Ambassador is Not Welcome
A violent clash broke out in Kinshasa on Friday, near the Supreme Court of the Democratic Republic of Congo, as police subdued a rally of protesters demanding the immediate expulsion of new Rwandan ambassador, Vincent Karega.

Many Congolese want Karega out
They are accusing the ambassador of being a history revisionist claiming he has denied Rwanda’s role in the numerous massacres of Congolese citizens by the Banyamulenge militia — i.e. Rwandan Tutsi Congolese, during the wars in the Congo which occurred between 1996 and 2003.

Many Congolese believe these militiamen are supported by Rwanda to control the eastern region of the country whose land is rich in natural resources. Allegations that Kigali denies.

The Famous Doctor Has Local Support
The demonstrators also called to stop the death threats targeting locally celebrated laureate, Dr Denis Mukwege since July after he called for the establishment of an international court to prosecute the perpetrators of the massacres committed in eastern DRC.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner —- whose work with victims of sexual violence in war saw him obtain the honour, continues to provide medical care of the same nature in his hospital near Panzi.


#Newsworthy…

Denis Mukwege calls on EU action against criminalities in DR Congo.

Advertisements

Congolese Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Denis Mukwege is calling on the European Union to implement a system that would allow people to raise the alarm “to prevent atrocities.”

Mukwege spoke to EU lawmakers on Monday via video-link.

“We need to create a system which allows people to raise the alarm. These individuals who are in different parts of the country do fantastic work to protect their populations and communities and to prevent atrocities,” Mukwege said.

Advertisements

He also called on human rights defenders to be protected themselves.

Mukwege is known for founding that is renowned for its work treating survivors of sexual violence.

Congolese Nobel Laureate, Dr. Denis Mukwege

He has faced death threat.

The United Nations human rights chief, Michelle Bachelet, called for a quick investigation into the death threats against Mukwege last week.

He praised him as a “true hero” for his work,

Advertisements

The DRC’s eastern region has seen separate conflicts involving armed groups and government forces for the past year.

Thousands have been killed and half a million people have fled the violence.

In November, the International Criminal Court passed its highest ever sentence when it sent a Congolese warlord known as “The Terminator” to prison for 30 years for crimes including murder, rape and sexual slavery.

Bosco Ntaganda was found guilty of 18 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role as a military commander in atrocities during a bloody ethnic conflict in a mineral-rich region of Congo in 2002-2003.


#Newsworthy…

Congo opposition leader, Mokoko returns from Brazzaville

Advertisements

Congo’s opposition leader Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko returned to Brazzaville on Sunday after a month’s medical attention in Turkey.

The 73-year-old general, who ran against President Denis Sassou Nguesso in the 2016 polls, was imprisoned for 20 years in 2019 on charges for compromising national security and unlawful possession of arms and ammunition.

On July 2, Mokoko was first admitted to a military hospital in Congo due to overall fatigue and loss of appetite. The authorities then allowed him to fly to Ankara on July 30, following weeks of negotiations. A prison source said he would be returned to his cell after being checked by doctors.

Prosecutors had accused Mokoko and several co-defendants of amassing arms as far back as 2005 in the aim of overthrowing Sassou Nguesso’s government. He was arrested later in June 2016 and subsequently tried.

For many of Mokoko’s supporters and observers, the prosecution was an attempt by Sassou Nguesso, who has ruled the central African nation for all but five of the past 38 years, to use the courts to stifle dissent.


#Newsworthy…