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Return of Ebola: WHO confirms third case within month in Congo

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Despite the increased number of vaccination, it appears the end is not near with the deadly Ebola virus as a new case of it has just been confirmed in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday said a third Ebola case in the city of Mbandaka in northwest Democratic Republic of Congo.

On 23 April, WHO reported a case of a 31-year-old male, infected with the virus, that was detected in the city of Mbandaka, capital of Congo’s Equateur province. An unnamed WHO official told newsmen that the second recent fatality was a female relative of the first case.

The 48-year-old man is a high-risk contact of the first patient, who died on April 21, said the WHO on Twitter.

Before the case last week, 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.

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.

The current outbreak is Congo’s 14th in the history of the hemorrhagic fever.

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M23 rebels take control of Kitshanga in eastern DR Congo

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The M23 rebels have announced that its fighters have seized control of the strategic town of Kitshanga, in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), after days of intense fighting.

The DRC military authorities also confirmed in a statement late on Friday that its forces have withdrawn from the town in a tactical move to protect civilians in the face of a renewed offensive by the rebel militia.

“We have tactically withdrawn from the city in order to attract these genocidal forces deep into the city and avoid the worst for our people in Kitshanga,” spokesman for the military governor of North Kivu, Lieutenant-Colonel Guillaume Ndjike, said in the statement.

“We are making every effort to dislodge this enemy,” he added.

Videos then emerged on social media showing the M23 fighters celebrating and claiming they had captured the town.

The M23 rebels said it took control of Kitshanga town on Thursday night after capturing several villages on the road linking the town of about 60,000 people to the provincial capital, Goma.

In an earlier statement, M23′s spokesman, Lawrence Kanyuka, has accused government troops of attacking civilians in Kitchanga and elsewhere, and said the rebel group was “obliged to intervene and stop another genocide”.

While condemning the recent development, the UN peacekeeping mission (MONUSCO), said more than 500 people, including women and children, are seeking refuge at its base in the town of Kitshanga.

MONUSCO spokesperson, Ndeye Khady Lo, said civilians fleeing from Kitchanga have been given tents, food, water and first aid.

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237 African migrants rescued off Libyan coast

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Not less than 237 African migrants were on Friday, rescued after their makeshift boat capsized off the Libyan coast while navigating the dangerous Mediterranean Sea, on their way to Europe.

French medical charity, Doctors Without Borders (MSF), which carried out the rescue mission, said the migrants were rescued by its chartered rescue vessel, Geo Barents, which was sailing in the Mediterranean Sea, north of the country’s capital Tripoli, when it received a distress call.

“The Geo Barents ship encountered other overcrowded rubber dinghies with migrants attempting to reach Europe and took them on board,” the NGO said.

“Following instructions by the maritime rescue coordination centre, the ship then sailed towards the northern Italian port of La Spezia.l,” it added.

The MSF and other NGOs operating rescue vessels off Africa’s northern coast have accused the Italian government of deliberately assigning far away ports to discourage their operations, an accusation the Italian Interior Ministry had denied.

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