Democratic Republic of Congo

Ebola case found in new DR Congo area

BBC World Service

The Democratic Republic of Congo has suffered a setback in its efforts to contain a year-long outbreak of Ebola, with a new area reporting its first cases.

The local authorities in South Kivu province said a mother and her child had tested positive for the virus.

The woman has since died.

She is believed to have travelled hundreds of kilometres from the eastern Congolese city of Beni, which has been at the centre of the outbreak since it began last August.

In all, more than 1,800 people have died.

Read more:

Ebola: One year on from Democratic Republic Congo outbreak

Ebola survivors rejoin families in DR Congo

Mercy Kandie-Tanui

BBC Africa, Nairobi

Mother and child who survived Ebola
BBC
Both survivors are the wife and child one of the three Ebola deaths in Goma last month

Two people cured of Ebola using two experimental drugs have been released from a treatment centre in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and reunited with their families.

They had been among a group of four diagnosed in Goma, the largest city affected by the outbreak that has so far killed at least 1,800 people. The two others in that group have since died.

Scientists however are hopeful that Ebola may soon be a preventable and treatable disease after promising clinical trials of two drugs which, according to expert Dr Sabue Mulangu, saw 60% of the 681 patients survive.

With early diagnosis and treatment, however, more than 90% of infected people can survive if they are given REGN-EB3 and mAb114, researchers say.

These two drugs were developed using antibodies harvested from survivors of Ebola. Trials were then co-ordinated by the World Health Organization, and its panel has now recommended the treatments for use by all patients.

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Cobalt

Jamie Robertson

Business reporter, BBC News

Despite mine closures, human rights abuses and price crashes, cobalt may still have an electrifying future.

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Rwandans stopped from crossing to Ebola city

Cyuzuzo Samba

BBC Great Lakes

Crowds at the border in Gisenyi, Rwanda
BBC Great Lakes
Crowds at the border in Gisenyi where Rwandans are being prevented from going to Goma in DR Congo

Most Rwandans are not being allowed to cross to Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo over fears of spreading Ebola.

This is despite the two countries’ health ministers agreeing on Tuesday that economic activities should not be hindered by cases of the disease in Goma, a city of about two million people and a regional commercial hub.

The outbreak in eastern DR Congo has killed more than 1,800 people since last year.

On the Rwandan side of the border, only Rwandans with official work IDs are allowed through, which is affecting many of the small-scale traders.

Congolese citizens are not being prevented from crossing into Rwanda.

The closure for Rwandans is impacting lives of thousands, a journalist at the border has told the BBC.

Josephine Nyirahabimana, who lives in Gisenyi on the Rwandan side, said for two days she had not been able to take her vegetables over to sell in Goma.

“Borders are blocked for Rwandans, Congolese are crossing in, we are asking why?" she said.

“If it is about Ebola, aren’t Congolese also going to bring it in Rwanda?”

Matindo Nsengiyumva, a builder from Gisenyi who goes to Goma to work on building sites, is also angry that he has been prevented from making his living: “We live by our arms per day… how do they think we are going to survive?”

Congo medics arrested over death of WHO Ebola doctor

Doctor at an Ebola centre
Getty Images
Efforts to contain Ebola have been hampered by fighting and resistance within communities

Three doctors have been arrested in the Democratic Republic of Congo over the killing of a World Health Organization (WHO) doctor, a military prosecutor has said.

Cameroonian doctor Richard Mouzoko was shot dead in an attack in April at a hospital in the eastern city of Butembo, an Ebola epicentre.

The three will be prosecuted for "terrorism" and "criminal conspiracy", prosecutor Lieutenant-Colonel Jean-Baptiste Kumbu told AFP.

He said militiamen involved in attacking treatment centres, including Butembo hospital, had under interrogation implicated four doctors in planning the raids.

The prosecutor said the fourth doctor was still at large.

He provided no further details about what their motive might have been.

The WHO said DR Mouzoko had been deployed as part of a medical team to help tackle the Ebola outbreak which started last August in North Kivu.

In a letter to the mayor of Butembo, a group representing local doctors said it was "indignant" over the arrests, which it said were crippling vital medical services in the area.

It said the doctors should be released on bail and that medical workers would strike if they were not freed within 48 hours.

But the military prosecutor dismissed their demands as "out of the question".

More than 1,800 people have died from the Ebola virus in the past year.

Health workers' attempts to contain the outbreak has been hindered by mistrust and violence - and according to AFP seven have been murdered and 50 seriously injured.

Lt-Col Kumbu said a total of 54 people are currently under arrest in connection with attacks on Ebola treatment centres.

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Glencore to halt cobalt mining in DR Congo

Will Ross

Africa editor, BBC World Service

The mining company Glencore is planning to halt production at the world's largest cobalt mine at a time when the price for the key metal used in electric car batteries has fallen significantly because of an increase in supply.

The Swiss-based firm said in a statement that the Mutanda mine in the south of the Democratic Republic of Congo was no longer economically viable in the long term.

Glencore has also been affected by a new mining law in DR Congo which has meant a significant increase in taxes.

Cobalt mining
AFP
The price of cobalt has fallen by 40% this year because of surge of supplies from DR Congo