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On this day June 30, 1960

Congo gains independence from Belgium. In May 1960, the MNC party or Mouvement National Congolais, led by Patrice Lumumba, won the parliamentary elections, and Lumumba was appointed Prime Minister. Joseph Kasavubu, of the ABAKO (Alliance des Bakongo) party, was elected President by the parliament.

The Belgian Congo achieved independence on June 30, 1960 under the name “Republic of Congo” . Read More…

Jean-Pierre Bemba arrested near Brussels

One of the Democratic Republic of Congo‘s (DRC) vice presidents and former militia leader Jean-Pierre Bemba, has been arrested in Belgium on charges of war crimes. This comes as United Nations (UN) peacekeepers discovered three mass graves in the nation containing an estimated total of 100 bodies.

Reports say that the warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) was included at least two counts of crimes against humanity and four counts of war crimes which he allegedly committed in the “Central African Republic from 25 October 2002 to 15 March 2003.” Read More…

Ebola outbreak in Congo

The World Health Organization (WHO), non-governmental aid organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have sent experts to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to assist local health authorities with a recent outbreak of Ebola haemorrhagic fever in Kasai Occidental province of DRC. The illness had been unidentified until laboratory test results confirmed the presence of the virus.

WHO is working closely with officials from the DRC Ministry of Health and MSF to improve local facilities in order to better contain the virus. A mobile field laboratory is to be established in order to provide rapid sample analysis and, subsequently, diagnosis of patients. There are concurrent outbreaks of other diseases, such as dysentery (Shigellosis), that have been complicating diagnoses and need to be identified as well.

Ebola haemorrhagic fever generates mortality rates in the range of 50 to 90 percent, typically. There is currently no vaccine or effective treatment for Ebola. WHO describes the symptoms of Ebola as being “characterized by the sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. This is often followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding. Laboratory findings show low counts of white blood cells and platelets as well as elevated liver enzymes.”