Briefly: Ebola outbreak spreads, kills 15

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DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

GOMA — Local authorities in eastern Congo said that the population’s lack of information on Ebola and the traditional practice of washing corpses before funerals are helping the epidemic to spread.

Fifteen people have died in the current outbreak, which started in mid-August. It started in the village of Isiro and now has spread to Viadana.

Medical experts say increased education is needed to encourage people to use extreme caution when washing the bodies of Ebola victims before burial. The disease is spread by contamination from body fluids, including sweat.

Although this is the ninth Ebola epidemic in Congo, it is the first one in the Haut-Uele territory, in northeastern Congo. Ebola has no cure and is deadly in 40 percent to 90 percent of cases.

The disease causes severe internal bleeding.

SOMALIA

Blasts at home of new president

MOGADISHU — A police official said two explosions near the gate of the temporary home of Somalia’s new president killed at least three soldiers.

Police Cpl. Yusuf Ali said Wednesday that he was guarding the Somalia immigration department near the Jazeera Hotel when the blasts occurred.

An official inside Jazeera Hotel, who asked for anonymity, said President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was safe.

Mr. Mohamud was elected Monday, beating Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, who was seeking re-election after leading a transitional government for three years.

Mr. Mohamud is expected to form a fully functioning government for Somalia, which has not had one since 1991 when a longtime dictator was overthrown.

Al-Shabab, a radical Islamist militia that is waging an insurgency against the Somali government, opposed Mr. Mohamud’s election, saying it had been manipulated by the West.

NIGERIA

China offers $1.1B in loans for rail, airports

ABUJA — China is offering Nigeria $1.1 billion in loans to help the West African nation build airport terminals, a light rail line for its capital city and communication system improvements, the country’s Finance Ministry said Wednesday.

The loans reflect the deepening economic ties between oil-rich Nigeria and China, which already is involved in building major road and railway projects in the nation.

Similar deals with China, however, have fallen apart amid corruption allegations, problems that persist today and could potentially put this new deal at risk as well.

The $500 million light rail project for Abuja, the nation’s central capital, would bring commuters in from suburbs surrounding the city’s distant international airport and from neighboring Nasarawa state, the Finance Ministry said. Another project, valued at $100 million, part of a loan deal already signed involving the light rail, would go toward improving Nigeria’s Internet capability.

The 20-year, 2.5 percent interest loan for the two projects has a grace period of seven years before payment is required, the ministry said.

Separately, another $500 million loan will go toward building airport terminals in Abuja, Enugu, Kano and Port Harcourt, the ministry read.

Airports in Nigeria— Africa’s most populous nation, with more than 160 million people — largely sit in disrepair as most were built in the 1960s and 1970s.

KENYA

Parliament OKs army to crush tribal feud

NAIROBI — Kenya’s parliament Wednesday passed a motion urging the government to deploy the military to the country’s southeast, where a feud between two tribes has killed more than 100 in three weeks, including nine police officers.

Dunson Mungatana, a lawmaker for the Garsen constituency, said Wednesday that police were overwhelmed by the fighting between the Orma, a seminomadic livestock-herding tribe, and the Pokomo, a farming community.

Another lawmaker opposed the measure, saying the army is not trained to deal with such domestic disputes and can be brutal to civilians.

The U.N. and the Red Cross say that, on the surface, the feud between the two communities appears to be over land and water resources, but other causes could be the redrawing of political boundaries and rising tensions due to next year’s general elections.

MAURITANIA

President denounces killings in Mali

NOUAKCHOTT — Mauritania’s president said Wednesday the killing of nine Mauritanians by soldiers in neighboring Mali last week was an “odious crime” but stressed it had caused no diplomatic rift.

“This odious crime was committed because of the difficult political and security circumstances our brotherly neighbor is experiencing,” President Ould Abdel Aziz said, referring to the Islamist takeover of Mali’s north.

“Unfortunately, this crime would not have happened were it not for the deterioration of the security situation in the country,” he told reporters. “We do not want to further complicate the situation.”

He was speaking at Nouakchott airport as the bodies of the nine Mauritanians killed in central Mali on Saturday were being flown back.

The nine were among 16 shot by soldiers, who apparently mistook them for Islamist militants who are occupying the north of the country. The exact circumstances of the incident are still being investigated.

Mauritania said the dead were unarmed preachers.

Al Qaeda-linked Islamists took advantage of the chaos that followed a coup in Bamako to seize northern Mali, a vast desert region larger than France or Texas, together with secular Tuareg rebels.

The Islamists then chased out their onetime allies, and have imposed strict Sharia law, including public floggings for sex out of wedlock and amputations for theft.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports

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