Weekly anb12134.txt #7

WEEKLY NEWS ISSUE of: 13-12-2001      PART #4/7

* Gabon. Fever deaths rise - 7 December: A total of 45 people are known to have died in two outbreaks of fever in two isolated places in the Republic of Congo and neighbouring Gabon. The World Health Organisation has warned that the outbreak in Gabon looks likely to be the deadly disease Ebola, although Congo health officials say the fever is unlikely to be Ebola, as had been earlier feared. There is no known cure for Ebola and 70% of its victims bleed to death within days. So far 17 people have died in Gabon and 28 in Congo. The World Health Organisation (WHO) says a number of its local and international staff are working with the Gabon health ministry to try to establish what the mystery fever is, but warned it was difficult trying to reach the area where the virus had occurred. A spokesman for the WHO said everything was being done to identify the disease. 10 December: The WHO has confirmed that the outbreak of fever in Gabon is Ebola and that two teams of specialists are on their way to Gabon to help deal with the outbreak. The Gabon outbreak is in the remote province of Ogooue Ivindo. A team of epidemiologists and doctors is on its way to carry out further tests and treat the sufferers. The WHO sub-regional Epidemic Response Team has also been sent to Kasai Occidental province, in Congo RDC. In 1995, 265 people died in Kikwit, Kasai Occidental province of DRC. Uganda's New Vision (11 December) reports that Uganda has issued an Ebola Virus alert in areas bordering Congo RDC. (ANB-BIA, Brussels 12 December 2001)

* Gabon. La maladie d'Ebola - 7 décembre. L'Organisation mondiale de la santé va dépêcher le 10 décembre une deuxième équipe médicale au Gabon pour tenter de juguler la maladie d'Ebola qui a été confirmée dans au moins un cas déjà. L'OMS a rapporté dans son bulletin hebdomadaire, avoir reçu des cas de fièvre hémorragique suspecte dans la province d'Ogooué Iveindo, dans le nord-est du Gabon, et avoir envoyé une première équipe enquêter. - 10 décembre. L'OMS a confirmé la flambée de fièvre hémorragique due au virus d'Ebola. Dix personnes de la même famille élargie d'un petit village à 60 km au sud-est de Mekambo, proche de la frontière avec le Congo, sont déjà mortes de la maladie. Les examens spécifiques ont permis d'établir qu'il s'agissait bien d'un virus Ebola. -Dans la nuit du 11-12 décembre, une femme atteinte de la fièvre Ebola a disparu du village de Ntolo. Elle pourrait s'être enfuie en République du Congo, augmentant les risques d'une propagation de la maladie. (ANB-BIA, de sources diverses, 12 décembre 2001)

* The Gambia. Experimental malaria vaccine looks promising - Medical trials in the West African state of Gambia have shown that an experimental anti-malaria vaccine can give a measure of protection against the disease. According to a study published in the medical journal, The Lancet, almost half the men participating in the trials developed immunity to malaria after four doses of the vaccine. The treatment -- developed by a British pharmaceutical company works by stimulating the body's immune system to produce more antibodies against the parasitic organism that causes malaria. Correspondents say the test results are particularly welcome as the malaria parasite has developed increasing resistance to many of the current treatments. Malaria kills several million people world-wide each year, many in Africa. (BBC News, UK, 7 December 2001)

* Ghana. Ex-minister sentenced for fraud - In Ghana, a high ranking official in the government of the former President, Jerry Rawlings, has been sentenced to eight years in prison for fraud. The former deputy finance minister, Victor Selormey, was found guilty of embezzling more than $1m meant to fund a programme to computerise court records. His lawyers said they would appeal against the sentence which also included a $2,500 fine. The current president of Ghana, John Kufour - who defeated Mr Rawlings in January's presidential election - has pledged to fight corruption in what he has called a "zero tolerance policy". (ANB-BIA, Brussels, 10 December 2001)

* Guinée-Bissau. Nouveau Premier ministre - Le 8 décembre, le chef de l'Etat, après consultation des principaux partis d'opposition, a nommé le ministre de l'Intérieur Alamara Nhassé (51 ans) Premier ministre en remplacement de Faustino Fudut Imbali, limogé la veille moins de dix mois après sa nomination. Le limogeage serait lié notamment au scandale de la disparition de 15 millions de dollars du trésor public. Au cours d'une réunion tenue après la nomination du nouveau chef de gouvernement, l'opposition a réaffirmé sa position d'ouverture au dialogue pour favoriser un gouvernement viable en vue de relancer l'économie du pays. - Le 12 décembre, M. Nhassé a annoncé la composition de son gouvernement qui comprend 25 membres, dont 18 du Parti de la rénovation sociale (au pouvoir). (PANA, Sénégal, 8-12 décembre 2001)

* Guinea-Bissau. Going through a constitutional crisis - 8 December: President Kumba Yala of Guinea-Bissau has given the job of prime minister to his interior minister Alamara Ntchia Nhasse, a day after sacking the previous incumbent, Faustino Imbali. An agronomist educated in the former Soviet Union and Cuba, Mr Nhasse served as agriculture minister in the previous administration and is a member of the political bureau of Mr Yala's Party for Social Renewal (PRS). PRS parliamentary group leader Sola Nkilim said the appointment was welcomed with "rejoicing.There's no doubt Faustino Imbali was a disappointment to us all," he said. Mr Nhasse is the third prime minister to be appointed in the tiny West African state in less than two years. 12 December: President Yala names a new 25-strong government by decree. All but six members are from Yala's Party for Social Renewal. (ANB-BIA, Brussels, 13 December 2001)

* Horn of Africa. Health concerns - Ethiopia: The number of AIDS orphans in Ethiopia has reached the one million mark, according to the Ministry of Health, placing an even greater strain on the country's already limited and stretched social services. Ethiopia has the third largest population in the world with the HIV virus. Only India and South Africa have a greater number. "Tackling AIDS is the most serious problem that Ethiopia now faces," says a Ministry of Health spokesperson. "The situation is very severe with all the associated social and economic problems that follow. We now have around one AIDS million orphans. It places a burden not only on the health system and families but also has a severe impact on industry because it affects the workforce. The Ethiopian Government needs international help to help deal with the crisis". Also it has been reported that an outbreak of meningitis has reportedly killed six people in Gambella regional state, western Ethiopia, since early October, the pro-government Walta Information Centre (WIC) reported on 11 December. The disease which was originally reported in three districts over the last 10 days is now spreading to other districts, the head of the state's health bureau, Kor Patch said, according to WIC. WIC quotes Kor as saying that in the last few days 17 new cases have been reported. Somalia: An outbreak of meningitis has been reported in Hargaysa, the capital of the self-declared independent state of Somaliland, northwest Somalia, according to the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO). Since 13 October, 49 cases of the disease have reported with 6 deaths, said WHO. Laboratory tests have confirmed and identified the disease as Neisseraia meningitides serogroup A. This type of the disease if not controlled quickly can spread rapidly and become an epidemic, "specially in a crowded setting of a city like Hargaysa", a local doctor in Hargaysa, said. (IRIN, 12 December 2001)

* Kenya. Clashes in Nairobi - 6 December: Women's groups in Kenya have urged the government to take action on claims that hundreds of women and children were raped during the clashes in the Nairobi slum of Kibera. They have accused both police and rioters of raping women during the fighting. A police spokesman says the allegations are untrue, and no evidence of rape has been presented to them. The same day, a peace march and interfaith prayers are held in the city's Uhuru Park, with speakers appealing to Kenya's leaders to restore calm in all the troubled areas of the country. (ANB-BIA, Brussels, 7 December 2001)

* Kenya. Fresh land clashes - The authorities in Kenya say at least 20 people have been killed in fresh ethnic fighting over land and river rights in the south east of the country. The ongoing dispute is between the Orma pastoralists and Pokoma farmers in the Tana River District. The 6 December violent confrontation was the deadliest since the two sides resumed hostilities this week. The death toll is being put at 38 for the week with more than 100 people estimated to have died this year. The assistant police commissioner for the area has confirmed the figures, and added that on the night of 6 December, over 100 houses were set on fire. (ANB-BIA, Brussels, 8 December 2001)

* Kenya. Female Genital Mutilation banned - Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), traditionally known as circumcision, has been outlawed among young girls in Kenya. In a speech marking independence day, President Daniel arap Moi said the circumcising of girls under the age of 17 was now a crime punishable by at least a year in jail. The practice remains widespread in much of rural Kenya, and President Moi has promised police protection for those at risk. "Anyone found circumcising a girl of 16 will go straight to jail," he told the crowd. He said the prohibition of FGM on young girls was one of the measures contained in the 2001 Children's Bill passed by parliament recently. "But for girls above the age of 16 years, it is their choice to be circumcised or not. Should they not want to be circumcised, they shall also be protected by the new law," he said. According to a 1998 survey in Kenya, 38% of women aged between 15 and 49 years old were estimated to have undergone FGM. (BBC News, UK, 12 December 2001)

* Kenya. Riot over mistaken identity - Demonstrators in Kenya protesting over the arrest of a man whom they say has been wrongly labelled a terrorist suspect have destroyed a Catholic church and a polytechnic in the north-eastern town of Mandera. Police spokesman Dola Indidis announced on Tuesday they were holding Sheilk Ahmed Salim Swedan for his alleged involvement in the 1998 US embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania that killed more than 200 people and injured 5,000. But Muslim leaders insist the man being questioned is Ahmed Hassan Mursal, otherwise known as "Ahmed Sudan", and that the authorities have got the wrong man. The FBI, soon after the 11 September terror attacks on American targets, issued a list of 22 suspected terrorists, including Mr Swedan, wanted in connection with crimes committed since 1985. His supporters have described him as a respected preacher and someone who has been in charge of an orphanage in Mandera for the past decade. Newspapers in Kenya on 12 December said that police had been asked to either produce the man, who has been taken to the capital Nairobi, in court by 14 December or give suitable reasons for his continued detention. An opposition politician Faalim Farah has accused the government of victimising and harassing Muslims in return for development aid from Washington. (BBC News, UK, 12 December 2001)

* Kenya. Eglise détruite - Excision interdite - Le 11 décembre, une église catholique et une école ont été détruites à Mandera (nord du Kenya) par des manifestants qui protestaient contre l'arrestation d'un imam musulman injustement confondu, selon eux, avec un terroriste recherché par le FBI. - D'autre part, le 12 décembre, le gouvernement kényan a annoncé l'interdiction de la pratique de l'excision des jeunes filles de moins de 17 ans. Le nouveau texte de loi prévoit une peine minimale d'un an de prison et/ou une amende de 50.000 shillings ($633) pour les contrevenants. (Le Figaro, France, 13 décembre 2001)

* Liberia. Les rebelles du LURD - Un autre membre du gouvernement libérien a été tué par des présumés dissidents dans la région de Lofa, au nord du pays, ont annoncé le 7 décembre des sources dignes de foi. Emmet Ross, ministre adjoint chargé des opérations au ministère de la Sécurité nationale, aurait été tué il y a trois jours, alors qu'il était en mission officielle à Lofa. Mais le gouvernement, dans un communiqué prudent, a déclaré que Ross et des officiers de rang inférieur était "portés disparus" et qu'une enquête était ouverte. Ils seraient tombés dans une embuscade. Mais le groupe rebelle "Libériens unis pour la réconciliation et la démocratie" (LURD) n'a pas revendiqué cette embuscade. Le premier officiel de haut rang tué dans la région de Lofa était le ministre de la Jeunesse et des Sports, François Massaquoi, qui a été tué il y a six mois. Rien n'a filtré d'une enquête concernant cet incident. -D'autre part, le gouvernement libérien a annoncé avoir tué, dans le nord du pays, un haut commandant et 27 autres dissidents du LURD. Randall Mulbah, chef d'état-major adjoint du LURD et ses hommes ont été tués au cours de combats violents pour le contrôle de la ville de Foya, indique un communiqué. - Selon un communiqué gouvernemental du 9 décembre, les combattants du LURD seraient en train de se diriger vers la localité de Kungbor, dans une région frontalière avec la Sierra Leone, dans le but de se regrouper. Les combattants seraient en "désarroi", coupés de leur base d'approvisionnement près de Kolahun, à la frontière avec la Guinée. Selon le communiqué, des troupes gouvernementales sont déployées à Kungbor pour couper les rebelles de la frontière sierra-léonaise. D'autre part, d'intenses combats continuent à Kolahun (nord) et à Belle Fassama et Geingba (nord-ouest). Selon un communiqué du 11 décembre d'Amnesty International, les civils sont devenus les cibles principales dans le conflit. (ANB-BIA, de sources diverses, 11 décembre 2001)

Weekly anb1213.txt - #4/7