NEWS

DR Congo Identifies 'Second Wave' of Ebola in East
A second wave of the Ebola virus has been confirmed in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, where an initial outbreak has already killed 125 people, a minister said Saturday. The latest wave is centred in Beni, a town in North Kivu near the border with Uganda, said Health Minister Dr Oly Ilunga. "We don't yet know the scale of it," he added. "The epicentre, which was in Mangina is now in Beni." The two towns lie about 20 kilometres (12 miles) apart.

This second wave occurred as a result of community resistance to measures taken to tackle the disease, Ilunga said. "The epidemic in Beni is high risk.. and the situation is worrying."

Two new cases were confirmed in the Beni region, according to health ministry statistics published Saturday, taking the total to 127 in the area since August 1. There were 35 other suspected cases.

On Friday, the World Health Organization expressed concern over the growing number of cases in recent weeks, especially in Beni. The latest outbreak is the 10th in DR Congo since Ebola was first detected there in 1976.
Officials in Beni have announced measures to protect health workers after a number of incidents where response teams were assaulted. Fears and misconceptions about the virus have led to widespread mistrust and resistance to Ebola response workers, including those who come into communities wearing hazmat suits to orchestrate burials.

A staff member of the UN peacekeeper mission MONUSCO was among the latest victims of the virus, the UN and health ministry said. The work of health officials is also hampered by violence in a region which has long been ravaged by armed conflict.

First Commercial Flight in 40 Years Links Ethiopia to Somalia
An Ethiopian airline on Saturday made the first commercial flight between Addis Ababa and Mogadishu in 41 years, in yet another sign of warming ties between neighbouring Horn of Africa nations Ethiopia and Somalia.

A plane from the private airline Ethiopia National Airways landed at Mogadishu's Aden Adde airport, and will conduct four flights per week, officials said.

"It's a historical day for us as we launch this direct flight between Addis Ababa and Mogadishu. It has never been easy, we have been trying so many times, but finally we succeeded and this day finally came," said airline owner Abera Lemi at a ceremony in the capital.

Ethiopian Airlines in July launched the first flights between Addis Ababa and Eritrea in two decades in a whirlwind peace process between the two nations after a bloody conflict and extended cold war.

The peace process led by Ethiopia's reformist young Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, has been followed by a flurry of diplomacy in the region that has also seen Somalia mend ties with Eritrea and a move to end tensions between Djibouti and Eritrea.

In June Abiy paid a visit to Mogadishu where he and Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed agreed to strengthen relations.

Somalia and Ethiopia have gone to war several times over disputed territory.

In 2006, Ethiopia sent troops into Somalia to crush the Islamic Courts Union which had seized large parts of the country including Mogadishu.

Counterterrorism experts say this invasion fuelled a full-fledged insurgency by the ICU's radical faction Al-Shabaab, which later allied with Al-Qaeda and continues to stage deadly attacks.

Ethiopia supports the transitional government and has troops in Somalia now forming part of an African Union mission to combat Al-Shabaab.

SHARE