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German Foreign Minister Visits Ebola-Hit Area in Congo

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The German Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas, was scheduled to tour areas hard-hit by the Ebola virus in Congo on Wednesday, during the second leg of his two-country Africa trip.

Maas will meet UN Emergency Ebola Response Coordinator, David Gressly in the eastern city of Goma, near the border with Rwanda, to discuss the fight against the latest outbreak of the disease.

Like all other visitors to Congo, Maas had his body temperature measured upon his arrival in Goma, the capital of North Kivu province, on Tuesday.

A high temperature is one of the first indicators of a potential infection with Ebola, which has caused more than 2,000 deaths in the central African nation in the past 13 months.

North Kivu province, in Congo’s east, has been hit particularly hard by the epidemic.

Efforts to curb the outbreak have been hampered by fighting in the region, where various militia are operating, and health workers and facilities have been targeted.

Maas will also be meeting with Nobel Peace Prize winner Denis Mukwege, who has been campaigning for decades in support of victims of sexual wartime violence.

Mukwege runs a hospital in the city of Bukavu in South Kivu province, about 200 kilometres south of Goma.

The German government named the prevention of sexualised violence in conflict as one of its main priorities when it became a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in January.

On Tuesday, Maas visited the volatile East African nation of Sudan where he pledged an additional 5.5 million dollars in humanitarian aid to support its transition to democracy.

The pledge is in addition to 11 million dollars in humanitarian aid Germany already paid this year.

Maas also promised the German Bundestag would discuss a resumption of development aid for Sudan, which was stopped during the reign of former president Omar al-Bashir, ousted in April after 30 years in power.

Maas was the first top European diplomat to visit Sudan’s new leadership since the new government took office in late August./NAN



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