An Ebola outbreak has been declared in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the World Health Organization (WHO) announces.
At least one person has died after contracting the Ebola virus in the DR Congo’s north-east, the WHO says.
Local health ministry had notified the WHO of a “lab-confirmed case” of Ebola, the WHO said on Twitter.
More than 11,000 people died in the Ebola outbreak in West Africa between 2014 and 2015, mainly in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
The last outbreak of Ebola in the DR Congo was in 2014 and killed 42 people.
The case was confirmed from tests on nine people who came down with a hemorrhagic fever on or after April 22 in Bas-Uele province in the country’s far north, a health ministry statement said.
WHO Congo spokesman Eric Kabambi told Reuters: “It is in a very remote zone, very forested, so we are a little lucky. Bu we always take this very seriously.”
The Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo has ended after three months, the country’s health minister says.
The current outbreak claimed at least 49 lives in DR Congo.
Felix Kabange said no new cases had been registered since October 4, though he warned against complacency.
Congo’s outbreak is unrelated to the one in West Africa which has claimed more than 5,000 lives.
Ebola was first detected in 1976 near the Ebola River in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Saturday’s announcement came 42 days after the last new Ebola case in the country – Ebola outbreaks are usually declared over when two full cycles of the virus’ 21 day incubation period finish without further infections.
The outbreak in the DR Congo, which began in August, had a high fatality rate at 74%.
While the epidemic involved a separate strain of Ebola to the one devastating West Africa, Felix Kabange said that his country “remains threatened by the possible import of the Ebola virus disease” from the region.
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is the worst on record.
Democratic Republic of Congo has confirmed two Ebola deaths in the country’s north-west.
They are the first reported Ebola cases outside West Africa since the outbreak there began, although it is not clear if they are directly linked to that outbreak.
So far 1,427 people have died from the Ebola virus.
The speed and extent of the outbreak has been “unprecedented”, the World Health Organization (WHO) says.
An estimated 2,615 people in West Africa have been infected with Ebola since March.
There is no known cure but some affected people have recovered after being given an experimental drug, ZMapp. However, supplies are now exhausted.
Also on Sunday, a British health worker infected with Ebola in Sierra Leone was flown back to the UK on an RAF jet. It is the first confirmed case of a Briton contracting the virus during the current outbreak.
Democratic Republic of Congo has confirmed two Ebola deaths in the country’s north-west
Several people died in the past month after contracting an unidentified fever in the Equateur region of the DR Congo.
On Sunday, Health Minister Felix Kabange Numbi said two of eight fever victims had tested positive for Ebola.
A quarantine zone would be set up in a 62-mile radius in Boende where the cases had been registered.
He said this marked the seventh outbreak in DRC. The virus was first identified here in 1976 near the Ebola River.
Felix Kabange Numbi added that further tests were being carried out.
On Saturday, Sierra Leone parliament passed a new law making it a criminal offence to hide Ebola patients.
If approved by the president, those caught face up to two years in prison.
The move came after the Ivory Coast closed its land borders to prevent the spread of Ebola on to its territory.
The country has already imposed a ban on flights to and from Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.
Gabon, Senegal, Cameroon and South Africa have taken similar measures.
The WHO says travel bans do not work, and that what is needed is more doctors and officials to help trace those infected with Ebola, as well as more mobile laboratories.
The Ebola virus is spread between humans through direct contact with infected bloodily fluids. It is one of the world’s deadliest diseases, with up to 90% of cases resulting in death.
Fighters from the M23 rebel group say they have captured Goma, the main city in resource-rich eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
The rebels exchange some small-arms fire with the army but they otherwise met little resistance.
UN peacekeepers watched as rebels marched past their vehicles, he adds.
President Joseph Kabila, who flew to Uganda for talks, called on people to “resist” the rebels.
Aid agencies say tens of thousands of people have fled their homes in the last five days as conflict escalated.
One camp near Goma, where about 60,000 people from previous conflicts were taking refuge, has emptied as people flee, the agencies report.
This is the first time since the war officially ended in 2003 that rebels have entered Goma, which has a population of about 400,000.
Some five million people died in the war, which dragged in neighboring states – including Rwanda, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Angola.
In a television broadcast, Joseph Kabila called on people to defend the country, AFP news agency reports.
“DR Congo is today confronted with a difficult situation. When a war is imposed, one has an obligation to resist,” he is quoted as saying.
“I ask that the entire population defend our sovereignty.”
He later flew to Uganda to discuss the conflict with his Ugandan counterpart President Yoweri Museveni.
Fighters from the M23 rebel group say they have captured Goma, the main city in resource-rich eastern Democratic Republic of Congo
Rwanda has denied persistent accusations that it backs the M23 rebels.
On Monday, it accused the Congolese army of deliberately firing across the border onto its territory.
The commander of United Nations peacekeepers in DR Congo, Lt-Gen Chandar Prakash, said the rebels had tried to attack his forces at the airport, but had been repelled.
Some rebels had used the cover of civilian houses to bypass the UN base there and enter the town, he said.
Government forces are no longer at Goma’s airport, but UN forces are still there.
The UN force has not tried to resist the rebel advance, and watched as about a dozen rebels marched past their armored vehicles.
He says the rebels have gone through Goma and have reached the border with Rwanda.
“The town of Goma fell at 11:33 local time [08.33GMT], despite the attack helicopters, despite the heavy weapons, the FARDC [Congolese army] has let the town fall into our hands,” M23 spokesman Colonel Vianney Kazarama told Reuters news agency.
German newspaper Tageszeitung‘s reporter in Goma, Simone Schlindwein, said she saw the bodies of 10 government soldiers lying in a pool of blood.
Residents told her there were many more corpses on side streets and in nearby fields.
Staff at the main hospital in Goma reported that one civilian had died and 90 had been wounded after being caught in the crossfire, Simone Schlindwein said.
Government forces had looted homes in Goma and were now retreating towards South Kivu province, she added.
Various rebels groups have been active in mineral-rich eastern DR Congo since the end of the war in 2003.
The latest conflict broke out after a mutiny in the army in April, when a group of former rebels formed the M23, also known as the Congolese Revolutionary Army.
About 500,000 people have fled the fighting since then.
The M23 is largely made up of ethnic Tutsis, the same group which dominates the government in Rwanda.
The UN has about 22,000 peacekeepers in DR Congo.
Who are the M23 rebels?
- Named after the 23 March 2009 peace accord which they accuse the government of violating
- This deal saw them join the army before they took up arms once more in April 2012
- Also known as the Congolese Revolutionary Army
- Mostly from minority Tutsi ethnic group
- Deny being backed by Rwanda and Uganda
- Believed to have 1,200 to 6,000 fighters
- International Criminal Court indicted top commander Bosco “Terminator” Ntaganda in 2006 for allegedly recruiting child soldiers
- The UN and US imposed a travel ban and asset freeze earlier this month on the group’s leader, Sultani Makenga
An outbreak of the Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo has now killed 31 people and could threaten major towns, the World Health Organization has warned.
An epidemic was officially declared on 17 August in the northwestern Orientale Province.
WHO official Eugene Kabambi told Reuters that the situation was “very serious” and was “not under control”.
An outbreak of the Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo has now killed 31 people and could threaten major towns
Ebola is highly contagious and kills up to 90% of people infected.
There is no known treatment or vaccine for the disease, which is spread by close personal contact and causes massive internal bleeding.
The death toll from this latest outbreak, centred on the towns of Isoro and Viadana, has more than doubled over the course of a week to 31.
Up to five health workers are thought to be among the dead.
“The epidemic is not under control. On the contrary the situation is very, very serious,” Eugene Kabambi warned, speaking in DR Congo’s capital Kinshasa.
“If nothing is done now, the disease will reach other places, and even major towns will be threatened,” he said.
Last month an outbreak of a more deadly Ebola strain in neighboring Uganda killed 16 people, but health workers say the two outbreaks do not appear to be related.
Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga has been sentenced by International Criminal Court (ICC) to 14 years in jail for recruiting and using child soldiers in his rebel army in 2002 and 2003.
Thomas Lubanga was convicted by the ICC in March – the first conviction since the court was set up 10 years ago.
He had protested his innocence and said he had not supported the use of child soldiers.
But in a unanimous decision, the judges said Thomas Lubanga was responsible.
Thomas Lubanga showed no emotion as the presiding judge read out the sentence.
Thomas Lubanga has been sentenced to 14 years in jail for recruiting and using child soldiers in his rebel army
Judge Adrian Fulford told the court in The Hague that, taking into account the time Thomas Lubanga has already spent in jail, he will effectively spend eight more years behind bars.
Campaign group Human Rights Watch says more than 60,000 people were killed in the conflict between Hema and Lendu ethnic groups in Ituri, in north-eastern DR Congo.
In June, ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said he was asking for a “severe sentence” of 30 years.
He said the prosecution was requesting a sentence “in the name of each child recruited, in the name of the Ituri region”.
The conviction of Thomas Lubanga is linked to current unrest in DR Congo.
Rebel forces are advancing towards the country’s main eastern city of Goma.
They are headed by General Bosco Ntaganda, who is also wanted for war crimes by the ICC.
• Leader of the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC), an ethnic Hema militia
• Head of the UPC’s military wing, the Patriotic Forces for the Liberation of Congo (FPLC)
• Accused of recruiting children under 15 as soldiers
• Arrested in Kinshasa in March 2005
• Held by the ICC at The Hague since 2006
• Born in 1960, has a degree in psychology