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Tests show E coli killed British tourist couple in Egypt



The deaths of a British couple who were staying at a hotel in Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Hurghada were caused by E coli bacteria, according to test results released by Egypt’s chief prosecutor on Wednesday.

John Cooper, 69, had acute intestinal dysentery caused by E coli, and 63-year-old Susan Cooper had haemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), probably because of E coli, said the Egyptian general prosecutor Nabil Sadek.

He said the couple’s bodies showed “no criminal violence”; other tests on air and water at the hotel found nothing unusual. Thomas Cook evacuated 300 guests from the hotel as a precaution.

Their daughter, Kelly Ormerod, who was with them the night before they died, has said they used perfume to mask a strange odour in the room.

The forensic report denied there had been any leakage of harmful gases into the room. However, it detailed how the “unknown smell” noticed by Ormerod was “due to a leak of insecticide used in the next room”.

The report added that the insecticide, lambda-cyhalothrin, a chemical commonly used to control pests in home gardening or in agriculture to prevent insects eating crops, was safe to use, and denied that it had anything to do with the deaths.

The report added that the postmortems showed John Cooper died from a cardiac arrest after blockages to an estimated 80% of the veins in his heart. He also tested positive for the E coli bacteria, which caused the vomiting and diarrhoea he experienced shortly before his death. The report adds that he had consumed alcohol and hash, a kind of marijuana. There is no indication in the report that either contributed to his death.

Read also: Hundreds of tourists evacuated from Egypt hotel after two deaths

Susan Cooper is detailed in the report as suffering from Hemolytic uremic syndrome, a condition that affects blood vessels and blood, and often occurs after people are infected with E coli. The report mentions that it was suggested that she contracted E coli “as she was staying with her husband and had eaten the same food”.

The report also states that at 11.30am on the day they died, the Coopers’ daughter called doctors in the hotel to examine her parents. John Cooper was experiencing diarrhoea and vomiting and the “doctors gave him medicine they thought was appropriate, this being Ringer’s solution (rehydration salts) and a dexamethasone injection, a corticosteroid”. His condition worsened and he died in his room.

Ormerod said she had “no faith” in the Egyptian authorities’ claims, saying she wanted more transparency and would wait for the results of tests done by the UK Home Office before coming to any conclusions about how her parents died.

“Thomas Cook put a report out that there were high levels of E coli at the hotel. Whether the Egyptians have honed in on that, I have no idea.”

She expressed doubt that anyone could die so shortly after exposure to the bacteria, accusing the Egyptian authorities of seeking a quick answer in order to protect the nation’s tourism industry.

“I don’t know what tests they have done. The report I have seen, from the media, not sent to me, was very, very brief … Exactly what have they tested for?”


Rwandan President, Kagame sacks over 200 military personnel in major shake-up



Rwandan President, Paul Kagame has sacked over 200 soldiers including top military brass and commanders from the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) in a massive shake-up.

The dismissed officers include the former Commander of the Reserve Forces, Maj. Gen. Aloys Muganga, and Brig. Gen. Francis Mutiganda, a former Head of External Security in the National Intelligence Services, as well as 14 senior officers.

The announcement of the sacking of the officers which was contained in a statement released by the RDF on Wednesday, did not give reason for the sackings, but the move come a day after the president reshuffled the top echelon of the country’s military, which saw the firing of the Defence Minister and an Army Chief.

The sacking of the soldiers has further heightened tension between Rwanda and neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, with each side accusing the other of working with rebels to topple one another’s governments, according to reports in local media.

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UN war crimes court declares Rwandan genocide suspect, Felicien Kabuga unfit to stand trial



An 88-year-old Rwandan genocide suspect, Felicien Kabuga has been declared unfit to stand trial by judges at a United Nations War Crimes Court in The Hague.

In a decision published by the court on Wednesday, the judges acknowledged that Kabuga was no longer able to actively participate in his trial, and rather proposed an alternative process that aims to resemble a trial but does not allow for a conviction instead of stopping the proceedings completely.

“The trial chamber finds Mr. Kabuga is no longer capable of meaningful participation in his trial,” the publication said.

“The International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, therefore, finds that Mr. Kabuga is not fit for trial and is very unlikely to regain fitness in the future.

“It is therefore agreed to adopt an alternative finding procedure that resembles a trial as closely as possible, but without the possibility of a conviction,” it added.

Kabuga who was arrested in Paris where he had been in hiding under a false identity for several years, was one of the most wanted suspects of the Rwandan genocide, and was charged at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda with genocide and crimes against humanity.

At his initial arraignment in September last year, the ICC heard that Kabuga was alleged to have been the main financier of the ethnic Hutu militias who slaughtered over 800,000 minority Tutsis as well as political opponents during the genocide in 1994.

According to the UN, Kabuga, a wealthy businessman from the Hutu ethnic group, had established and financed an infamous media outfit, Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM), which was notorious for inciting violence and promoting the targeting and elimination of individuals from the Tutsi ethnic group who were referred to as “Cockroaches”.

Kabuga was arrested in Paris in 2020 after decades on the run and sent for trial in The Hague where he pleaded not guilty to charges of sponsoring the infamous Hutu radical radio station urging people to kill Tutsi “cockroaches”.

He also denied supplying machetes and supporting the murderous Interahamwe Hutu militia.

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