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Death toll in Uganda’s Ebola outbreak rises to 11, as officials trace 58 contacts

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Ugandan health officials have confirmed that 11 people have died in the latest Ebola outbreak in the country, with more than 20 others admitted to a health facility as government officials attempt to stop the disease from further spreading.

According to a statement issued by the spokesperson of the Ministry of Health, Emmanuel Ainebyoona, the government is also tracing around 58 persons who came in contact with the victims, some of whom are believed to have gone into hiding.

“All the new cases and deaths happened in the central Uganda district of Mubende, the epicenter of the outbreak,” Ainebyoona said in the
statement released on Friday.

“The cumulative confirmed cases now stand at 11 and the total deaths attributable to the outbreak also stand at 11, confirmed and suspected.

“A total of 58 contacts of the victims have been listed and they are being followed up by the response team.

“Government officials in the Ebola response team have warned that cases of infections may continue to rise because of the delayed response and limited knowledge about the extent of the spread of the disease.

Health workers, who are leading the investigations into the root cause of the outbreak, have neither determined the source of the outbreak nor the index case, at least by Friday,” the statement added.

Uganda’s Ebola Incident Commander, Dr Henry Kyobe, who also confirmed the figure, said in an interview that the latest statistics from the Health Ministry indicate that besides affecting the accuracy of contact tracing, unsuspecting infected persons could be spreading the disease in communities.

“There is a little bit of a time lag from the earlier cases and the time we confirmed and declared the outbreak. Ebola symptoms are similar to that of malaria and typhoid. The infections can be mistaken for a common illness,” he said.

“It was until the individual (first case) went to the major public facility (Mubende Regional Referral Hospital) that the disease was identified. The person moved from one private facility to another.”

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Rwanda accuses US of inflaming crisis in eastern DRC

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The government of Rwanda on Tuesday, accused the United States as well as the international community of ‘exacerbating and inflaming’ the crisis in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The accusation was made by the Foreign Affairs Ministry after the US urged Kigali to stop any support for the M23 rebels who have a base in a Rwandan territory.

The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, had in a telephone call on Sunday to Rwandan President Paul Kagame, said “it was clear that all external support to non-state armed groups in the DRC must end, including Rwanda’s support for M23.”

But in a press release published on Tuesday, the Rwandan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Vincent Biruta, affirmed that Paul Kagame and Anthony Blinken “had had good exchanges but that differences remain on the understanding of the problem.”

“The erroneous approach of the United States and the international community continues to exacerbate the problem in the east DRC.

“Rwanda’s security problems must be taken into account… M23 should not be equated with Rwanda,” Biruta said.

The crisis in eastern DRC between government forces and the M23 rebels which is made up of mainly Tutsi ethnic group, a predominant tribe in Rwanda, has continued to heighten tensions between the two neighbours with the DRC accusing Rwanda of supporting and encouraging the militia, accusations Kigali has always denies.

Rwanda on its part, has often blamed the crisis in eastern DRC on authorities in Kinshasa and accused the international community of turning a blind eye to DRC’s support for the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), a rebel group made of Rwandan Hutus who were involved in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

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Somali forces, local vigilantes, recapture strategic town from Al-Shabaab terrorists

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The Somali National Army (SNA), alongside local vigilantes popularly called Mo’awisley, on Monday, recaptured the strategic city of Adan Yabaal from the al-Shabaab terrorist group, the military said in a bulletin on Tuesday.

According to the statement, the town located near the border between Hiran and Middle Shabelle regions that comprise Hirshabelle State, which is about 220 kilometres north of the capital Mogadishu, is one of the five federal member states of the Federal Government of Somalia, and had been a strategic location held by the al-Qaeda-sponsored extremist group.

The SNA said in the bulletin that it met no resistance from the al-Shabaab fighters who left the town without posing resistance on getting information about the approach of the federal troops.

Al-Shabaab have lost most of the towns and settlements in Hirshabelle State, both Hiran and Middle Shabelle regions, after the SNA and Mo’awisley vigilantes waged offensive wars.

“Mo’awisley vigilantes, who are mainly composed of nomadic herders, took up arms and rebelled against the jihadists’ confiscation of their livestock and illegal tax collection known as zakawaat.

“Over the last couple of weeks, the government forces and the vigilantes have been gradually inching towards the town which they seized on Monday. The town had been under the full control of al-Shabaab for over a decade,” the bulletin said.

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