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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Uganda deports 46 Democratic Republic of Congo
fishermen arrested over suspected militia links   

KAMPALA Uganda (Xinhua) -- Uganda has deported 46 Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) fishermen who were arrested over suspected links with a militia group that captured six Ugandans last month, said a military spokesman on Friday.

Brig. Richard Karemire told Xinhua that the Congolese fishermen have been handed to the DRC authorities at the common border town of Kasese late on Thursday.

The deportation came merely hours following a court decision in Kasese to release the fishermen and give back their fishing boats and engines, after each of them paid an 83-U.S.-dollar fine.

The fishermen were arrested on May 19 on Lake Edward, shared by Uganda and DRC. The authorities accused them of having links with the Mai Mai militia, a rebel group based in eastern DRC.

“This is a good will gesture by Uganda that should be reciprocated to by releasing the six Ugandan fishermen held in the DRC,” said Karemire

“DRC authorities should exert influence or pressure that should lead to their freedom,” he added.

Karemire said security agencies have stepped up water patrols on the Ugandan side of the shared lake to stop further abductions.

Fishery and security officials of both countries have previously agreed to conduct joint operations to prevent clashes.

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EARLIER REPORTS:

WHO issues advice for international travellers about
Democratic Republic of Congo Ebola outbreak

GENEVA (Xinhua) -- The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued travel advice for international travelers in relation to the current Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), following the latest disease development as of Wednesday.

Generally, risk of contracting Ebola disease to travelers to the DRC is low, the WHO said, as people are only infectious after they have developed symptoms, including fever, weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat.

The UN health agency advises that travelers to the DRC consult a travel medicine clinic or medical practitioner at least four to eight weeks before the journey. The consultation should include information about the most important health risks, determine the need for any vaccinations and antimalarial medication, and identify any other medical items that the traveler may require.

To minimize the risk of infection, travelers in the affected areas should practice regular hygiene, especially hand hygiene with soap and water, and if not available, with an alcohol-based hand rub solution (hand sanitizer). They also need to practice hand hygiene especially before touching eyes, nose or mouth, and after using the toilet or touching objects at high risk of being contaminated. Safe sex is required too.

If symptoms consistent with Ebola disease develop, travelers should seek immediate medical attention. According to the WHO, first symptoms are the sudden onset of fever, fatigue, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash, symptoms of impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding.

The latest WHO statistics show that from April 4 through May 27, 2018, a cumulative total of 54 Ebola virus disease (EVD) cases including 25 deaths have been reported from three health zones in Equateur Province of the DRC. The total includes 35 confirmed, 13 probable and six suspected cases. Since the launch of the vaccination intervention on May 21, a total of 462 people have been vaccinated.

Despite the current situation, the WHO has decided that the conditions for a Public Health Emergency of International Concern have not currently been met in the DRC. It continues to advise against the application of any travel or trade restrictions.

The WHO has assessed the public health risk to be very high in the DRC, and high at the regional level. At the global level the risk currently remains low.

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More awareness urged to stem Ebola spread in Democratic Republic of Congo

KINSHASA Democratic Republic of Congo (Xinhua) -- More awareness is being urged among the population of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) amid the rising number of suspected and confirmed cases of Ebola in the northwestern part of the country.

The number of cases of the hemorrhagic fever in the DRC reached 54 last Thursday, including 35 confirmed cases.

“We have lost many of our family members so far in Bikoro and other villages,” a resident of Mbandaka, Michel Bokungu, told Xinhua.

Many of the victims died before the arrival of doctors, Bokungu said.

Efforts to contain the spread of the deadly virus have been hampered by poor road conditions and the lack of other logistical means.

The non-cooperation of some members of the community with the medical professionals also helped propagate the virus, observers said.

Last Wednesday, three patients were whisked from an isolation site to return to their families. Two were found dead later.

“We need to tell more to people to understand how the Ebola virus is contagious,” Minister of Health Oly Ilunga said.

Many experts and health observers say the local and international response has been swift to the outbreak in northwestern DRC.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has shipped over 4,000 doses of vaccine to stop the spread of the virus, in collaboration with international partners, including Doctors Without Borders (MSF), which has set up treatment facilities.

Serge Moka, a doctor at a hospital in Kinshasa, the DRC capital, has expressed concern over the reported presence of the Ebola virus in the town of Mbandaka, fearing it could trigger a new, perhaps uncontrollable, phase of the epidemic.

“We need more programs and case studies of people who have died from the epidemic so that people can understand the seriousness of the epidemic that is already in a city like Mbandaka,” said Mark Bolakofo, a Mbandaka resident, from Bikoro village, 130 km south of Mbandaka.

On the ground in the affected areas, in Equateur province, mistrust and misinformation are the biggest risks for the spread of the epidemic, observers say.

They cite such factors as the way care is given to the sick; religion; superstition; and funerary rites that help spread the virus.

People are hoping for the upcoming vaccination drive would help ease the spread of the Ebola virus.

Vaccination is expected to start in Bikoro on Monday, targeting people who have been in contact with confirmed Ebola cases and contacts of these contacts.

For now, medical teams are continuing their field work, reminding the public that vaccination is effective only if other hygiene measures, monitoring, and follow-up procedures are well taken.

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Namibia translocates 205 wild animals to Democratic Republic of Congo

WINDHOEK Namibia (Xinhua) -- Namibia translocated 205 wild animals to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for tourism and nature education purposes, according to an official.

The animals will be released into strictly non-hunting reserves in the DRC and the children from Kinshasa will be able to see non-indigenous animals for the first time, said Immanuel Hanabeb, Acting Commercial Executive at Namibia Ports Authority on Thursday.

Hanabeb said the decision of translocation was made following experts consultations in the industry.

The animals comprise of nyala, eland, impala, hartebeest, oryx and waterbuck, which were captured on various game farms in Namibia while the blesbuck was imported from South Africa.

The translocation was done by Wildlife Vets Namibia, a company with years of wildlife veterinary experience in game capture and translocations in the country. 

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