Outgoing Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila pledged at the United Nations on Tuesday “peaceful, credible” elections slated at the end of the year. Kabila has ruled since his father’s assassination in 2001. Last month, he agreed not to defy term limits by running for re-election, opening the door to the central African nation’s first democratic transfer of power. Kabila has stressed that the elections are “irreversible”, and denounced any foreign interference in the electoral process. Kabila warned that the United Nations will not be “an organization for all if the intrusive interference of some governments in matters undoubtedly in the domestic policy of the states” continues. He did not name any countries.
At least 15 civilians and four soldiers were killed on Saturday in a six-hour attack by rebels in the town of Beni, Congo. This attack severely hampered efforts to contain the Ebola epidemic in the area. The latest outbreak of the deadly disease in Democratic Republic of Congo has hit North Kivu and Ituri provinces which have been a tinder box of armed rebellion and ethnic killing since late 1990s. Militants believed to belong to the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Ugandan Islamist group active in eastern Congo, clashed with Congolese troops in Beni. The attack underscores challenges the government and health organisations face in tackling Ebola in an area where years of instability have undermined locals’ confidence in the authorities. Community unrest in the wake of the latest violence prompted the Health Ministry to suspend temporarily the field work it has been carrying out in Beni as part of its Ebola response.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday that the Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo could deteriorate rapidly because of attacks by armed groups, community resistance, and the geographic spread of the disease. At least 100 people have died in the outbreak, out of 150 cases in North Kivu and Ituri provinces. The response was at a critical juncture, and although the weekly number of new cases has fallen from about 40 to about 10 in the past few weeks and more than 11,700 people have been vaccinated, there were major obstacles ahead. Attacks by armed opposition groups had increased in severity and frequency, especially those attributed to the Alliance of Democratic Forces, most dramatically an attack that killed 21 in the city of Beni, where WHO’s operation is based. On Thursday, September 27, 2018, health workers involved in tackling Ebola in the eastern DRC city of Beni resumed their outreach operations following a two-day suspension because of the attack.
The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo will begin what it calls a robust and coordinated response against the Yellow Fever outbreak recorded in some parts of the country. The planned response follows the health ministry’s warning last month of “an emerging event of epidemic proportions”. According to the head of the government’s epidemics unit Lambert Kitembo, 186 suspected cases of Yellow fever have been detected this year, many of which were reported in the western commercial hub of Pointe Noire.