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WHO confirms new case of Ebola in Democratic Republic of Congo

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A report by the World Health Organization (WHO) says a new case of Ebola has been confirmed in the north-western Democratic Republic of Congo

The confirmation has prompted health authorities to enforce urgent containment measures just four months after the previous outbreak came to an end.

The reported case is of a 31-year-old male, detected in the city of Mbandaka, capital of Congo’s Equateur province.

According to a statement by the World Health Organization (WHO), the patient began showing symptoms on April 5, but did not seek treatment for more than a week. He was admitted to an Ebola treatment centre on April 21 and died later that day.

“Time is not on our side,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO’s Regional Director for Africa. “The disease has had a two-week head start and we are now playing catch-up.”

The WHO said that efforts to contain the disease are already underway in Mbandaka, and that a vaccination campaign will begin in the coming days. The WHO statement further revealed that around 74 of his contacts are being tracked.

The last Ebola outbreak in DRC was also in the east and infected 11 people between October and December and killed six of them. In December 2021, the Ministry of Health (MoH) of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) declared the end of the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak that affected Beni Health Zone (HZ) in North Kivu Province, DRC.

The latest report of Ebola in Central Africa country means the December declaration of an end to the outbreak.

Ebola is an infectious and frequently fatal disease marked by fever and severe internal bleeding, spread through contact with infected body fluids by a filovirus (Ebola virus ), whose normal host species is unknown.

Congo has seen 13 previous outbreaks of Ebola, including one in 2018-2020 in the east that killed nearly 2,300 people, the second-highest toll recorded in the history of the virus.

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Nigerian labour union mobilises state chapters for ‘total strike’ that will shut down nation

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The leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) says it has mobilised all state chapters and affiliate unions of the Congress to embark on a “total strike” on Tuesday “that will not only shut down the country but will paralyse economic activities in the nation.”

The union, arising from a press conference on Saturday, said it had resolved to embark on the nationwide strike following the expiration of a 21-day ultimatum issued the Federal Government to provide palliatives to cushion the pains associated with the recent fuel subsidy removal which they claim the government has failed to fulfil.

The organised labour had last week, carried out a two-day warning strike to press home its demands, and after the warning strike, gave the government a 21-day ultimatum within which to meet its demands.

And with the expiration of the ultimatum last Friday, the NLC says it has scheduled an emergency meeting of its National Executive Council for Tuesday at noon after which the strike will commence.

A notice of the meeting issued by the NLC General Secretary, Emmanuel Ugboaja, mandated the Presidents, General Secretaries and Treasurers of its affiliates to mobilise their chapters for “mother of all strikes.”

Speaking on behalf of the state chapters of the NLC, Chairman of the Zamfara State chapter, Sani Halliru, said the state was ready to embark on a strike action if the national body of the union gave a directive to that effect.

“We in Zamfara State are only waiting for the directive and I am assuring you that, as soon as we receive it, we will join the strike.

“We will shut down the state as soon as we are given the go-ahead to embark on strike action. I was part of the meeting. So, I see no reason why I should not join the strike if I receive a directive from the national body of our great union.”

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Sudan War: Gen. Al-Burhan says he’s ready for peace talks

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Sudan’s Army Chief, Gen. Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan says he is now open for peace talks that could bring the war in the country to an end.

Before the surprise announcement on Friday, Al-Burhan had maintained a non-compromising stance and had refused all entreaties to enter into negotiations with his former number two man and main rival, Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, the leader of the Rapid Support Force (RSF).

However, Al-Burhan, in a statement in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), said he had not sought military support on a recent regional tour and that his preference was for a peaceful solution to the conflict that has killed thousands and displaced millions of civilians.

“Every war ends in peace, whether through negotiations or force. We are proceeding on those two paths, and our preferred path is the path of negotiations,” Al-Burhan said.

Al-Burhan added that he believed that talks by Saudi Arabia and the United States in Jeddah which were stalled could still succeed.

In recent weeks, Al-Burhan has made a series of foreign visits after remaining holed up in Sudan for the first few months of the war, often sending representatives for talks.

In one of his visits to Cairo, Egypt, the Army Chief had said the purpose was to seek solutions and not military support, though he had asked other states to block external help that he claimed the RSF was receiving.

“We asked our neighbors to help us monitor the borders to stop the flow of mercenaries,” he had said.

The Sudan war which broke out between the army and the RSF in April 15 over plans for a political transition and the integration of the RSF into the army, has seen thousands of civilians killed and millions of others forced to flee the country.

Several ceasefire agreements entered into by the warring factions have been breached with both sides trading blames on their culpability, while previous claims by both sides that they want peace have failed to stop bloodshed.

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