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March 7, 2010

Polio vaccination campaign targets 85 million African children

Polio vaccination campaign targets 85 million African children

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An electron micrograph of the poliovirus
Image: CDC/ Dr. Fred Murphy, Sylvia Whitfield.

An extensive vaccination campaign across 19 West and Central African countries is to begin today in an attempt to stem a year-long polio epidemic in the region. The United Nations and international aid agencies plan to immunize 85 million children under five. More than 400, 000 volunteers and health workers will take part in the campaign, visiting children in their homes.

The current polio epidemic has been going on for a year and there have been outbreaks in the last six months in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal and Sierra Leone. These countries will be the focus of the campaign, along with Benin, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Niger, Nigeria and Togo.

Efforts last year failed to halt the disease because not enough children were vaccinated. The program failed in part because local religious leaders told parents that the vaccines would sterilize their children, or cause AIDS. As well as targeting more children, today’s campaign features better training for volunteers. Vaccinations will be repeated on 26 March in the six key countries, and again on 24 April for all 19 countries involved. The campaign is funded by Rotary International who have provided $30 million.

In 2009 the World Health Organization reported that approximately 1,600 children were paralysed by the virus worldwide.

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October 3, 2009

Six soldiers killed in Senegal after ambush

Filed under: Africa,Archived,Guinea-Bissau,Politics and conflicts,Senegal — admin @ 5:00 am

Six soldiers killed in Senegal after ambush

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Saturday, October 3, 2009

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Six Senegalese soldiers were killed in an ambush near the country’s border with Guinea-Bissau late on Friday, according to reports. The clashes come after Senegalese rebels in the area started stepping up their attacks.

The soldiers were returning from patrol in the Niagha district along Senegal’s border with Guinea Bissau when they were ambushed in an attack thought to have been carried out by rebels from the Casamance Movement of Democratic Forces (MFDC).

It was one of the deadliest attacks against Senegalese troops in recent years, and comes a day after gunmen killed one person and wounded three others in an attack on a taxi in the region. A reporter for Voice of America in Casamance said that more than 1,000 civilians have fled the area near the Bissau border and are camping along the national highway toward Ziguinchor.

The Senegalese air force last month bombed rebel bases near Ziguinchor after suspected MFDC fighters killed a soldier at an army outpost. Two people were killed in an attack on a bus in August.

The Casamance is Senegal’s southern district, separated geographically from the rest of the country by Gambia. The rebellion there is one of Africa’s longest-running conflicts.

It was originally begun as a separatist movement of ethnic Dioula fighting for greater autonomy from the government in Dakar. A 2004 peace accord restored order in Casamance and led to hopes that the region might once again become a valuable tourist destination. But attacks have grown this year, with rebels accusing President Abdoulaye Wade’s government of neglecting the people of Casamance, who produce much of the nation’s grain.

Local government officials are calling for renewed talks with the MFDC movement. A communiqué last month, attributed to the head of one of the group’s factions, said the rebels prefer negotiations but were provoked by the military in recent clashes. In a nation-wide address last month, the president denounced the recent violence and vowed to pursue peace efforts with the MFDC.

Some analysts have also voiced concerns that recent conflicts in the neighbouring country of Guinea-Bissau, where dozens of anti-government demonstrators were killed by government security forces, could spill over into Senegal and other states such as Liberia and Sierra Leone.



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April 1, 2009

Guinea-Bissau to hold elections this June

Filed under: Africa,Archived,Guinea-Bissau,Politics and conflicts — admin @ 5:00 am

Guinea-Bissau to hold elections this June

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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Guinea-Bissau
Other stories from Guinea-Bissau
  • 7 March 2010: Polio vaccination campaign targets 85 million African children
  • 3 October 2009: Six soldiers killed in Senegal after ambush
  • 3 April 2009: Guinea-Bissau to hold elections this June
  • 2 March 2009: President of Guinea-Bissau assassinated
  • 2 September 2005: West African cholera claims more than 500 lives, more deaths feared
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Location of Guinea-Bissau

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João Bernardo Vieira, the former president of Guinea-Bissau

The prime minister of the western African country of Guinea-Bissau has announced that the country will further postpone elections until June due to increasing violence. Elections are in order to replace the former president, who was assassinated last month. Francisco Jose Fadul, the nation’s former prime minister, says that he has been beaten by men that he claims were in uniform.

“Men in uniform forced their way into my house around 1:00 am (0100 GMT). They hurled abuse at me and beat me repeatedly and dragged me across the floor,” said Fadul as quoted by Agence France-Presse. According to the Agence France-Presse, Amnesty International said the beating followed the arrest and torture of Pedro Infanda, a well known attorney. Infanda was detained for four days, during which he was beaten.

On March 2, renegade soldiers assassinated president Joao Bernardo Vieira, in what is considered a revenge attack after an explosion killed the president’s rival, the military chief General Batista Tagme Na Wai.

“The date of 28 June is set for holding presidential elections, and all the parties, the government, the interim president and political classes are agreed,” said Carlos Gomes Jr. to journalists late Tuesday.

Under the country’s constitution, National Assembly speaker Raimundo Pereria became Guinea-Bissau’s interim president following Vieira’s death. The constitution states that polls should be held within sixty days of the president’s death, however, the government has delayed the date for another sixty days following Pereria’s inauguration.

Guinea-Bissau is located on the western African coast, north of Guinea and south of Senegal. It has been plagued by frequent civil conflicts and coups. The nation has requested 2.5 billion CFA francs, or US$5.01 million, from the international community to fund for the elections.



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March 2, 2009

President of Guinea-Bissau assasinated

Monday, March 2, 2009

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João Bernardo Vieira

According to officials, João Bernardo Vieira, the president of Guinea-Bissau, was shot to death on Monday in his palace by renegade soldiers.

“President Vieira was killed by the army as he tried to flee his house which was being attacked by a group of soldiers close to the chief of staff Tagme Na Waie, early this morning,” Zamora Induta, a military spokesman, said to Agence France-Presse, insisting that “this was not a coup d’etat.”

“We reaffirmed our intention to respect the democratically elected power and the constitution of the republic,” he said. “The people who killed President Vieira have not been arrested, but we are pursuing them. They are an isolated group. The situation is under control.”

Induta also said that the president was “taken down by bullets fired by these soldiers,” and that afterwards they looted his home. “They were taking everything they could carry, his personal belongings, the furniture, everything,” Induta said.

The assassination is believed to be a revenge for a bomb blast that killed one of Vieira’s rivals, the army chief of staff General Batista Tagme Na Waie, just a few hours earlier.

The constitution says that the nation’s parliament chief, Raimundo Pereira, is to succeed Vieira in the case of his death.

Jean Ping, the chief executive of the African Union, said that the assasination of the president was a “criminal act”.

Guinea-Bissau, located on the western coast of Africa, has had a history of coups, and is one of the world’s poorest countries. It is notorious as being a transit point for the cocaine trade between Europe and South America.

João Bernardo Vieira, born in 1939, came to power in Guinea-Bissau during a coup in 1980, but was forced out in 1999 when a civil war started. In 2005, he returned from his exile in Portugal to participate in the nation’s elections, and won the vote.


Sources

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has more about this subject:
  • “Guinea-Bissau president shot dead”. BBC News Online, March 2, 2009
  • “Soldiers Kill Guinea-Bissau’s President”. CBS News, March 2, 2009
  • “Guinea-Bissau leader killed by army”. The Australian, March 2, 2009
This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

President of Guinea-Bissau assassinated

President of Guinea-Bissau assassinated – Wikinews, the free news source

President of Guinea-Bissau assassinated

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Jump to: navigation, search

Monday, March 2, 2009

Guinea-Bissau
Other stories from Guinea-Bissau
…More articles here
Location of Guinea-Bissau

A map showing the location of Guinea-Bissau

To write, edit, start or view other articles on Guinea-Bissau, see the Guinea-Bissau Portal
Flag of Guinea-Bissau.svg

João Bernardo Vieira

According to officials, João Bernardo Vieira, the president of Guinea-Bissau, was shot to death on Monday in his palace by renegade soldiers.

“President Vieira was killed by the army as he tried to flee his house which was being attacked by a group of soldiers close to the chief of staff Tagme Na Waie, early this morning,” Zamora Induta, a military spokesman, said to Agence France-Presse, insisting that “this was not a coup d’etat.”

“We reaffirmed our intention to respect the democratically elected power and the constitution of the republic,” he said. “The people who killed President Vieira have not been arrested, but we are pursuing them. They are an isolated group. The situation is under control.”

Induta also said that the president was “taken down by bullets fired by these soldiers,” and that afterwards they looted his home. “They were taking everything they could carry, his personal belongings, the furniture, everything,” Induta said.

The assassination is believed to be a revenge for a bomb blast that killed one of Vieira’s rivals, the army chief of staff General Batista Tagme Na Waie, just a few hours earlier.

The constitution says that the nation’s parliament chief, Raimundo Pereira, is to succeed Vieira in the case of his death.

Jean Ping, the chief executive of the African Union, said that the assassination of the president was a “criminal act”.

Guinea-Bissau, located on the western coast of Africa, has had a history of coups, and is one of the world’s poorest countries. It is notorious as being a transit point for the cocaine trade between Europe and South America.

João Bernardo Vieira, born in 1939, came to power in Guinea-Bissau during a coup in 1980, but was forced out in 1999 when a civil war started. In 2005, he returned from his exile in Portugal to participate in the nation’s elections, and won the vote.



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Wikipedia
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João Bernardo Vieira
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September 1, 2005

West African cholera claims more than 500 lives, more deaths feared

West African cholera claims more than 500 lives, more deaths feared

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Thursday, September 1, 2005

Mural in West Africa depicting the effects of cholera.

An outbreak of cholera in West Africa has resulted in the deaths of more than 500 people, and United Nations (UN) health officials are concerned that inadequate health services in the region could result in many more deaths.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday that over 31,250 cases of cholera have been reported so far this year in nine West African countries. It has claimed 488 lives at this point. “If we look at this year’s trends, the figures are still going up in many countries,” said John Mulangu, a senior regional advisor for the WHO. “If cholera is not brought under control in certain regions, we will soon be talking of… 100,000 cases,” he said. “And hospitals and health centres will be overwhelmed. Last year we were not on this scale. The problem is getting worse,” Mulangu said.

The UN says that the increase could also be related to the fact that due to poverty, many West Africans move around, sometimes out of the country, in order to receive higher wages for their work, and the region has been hit with heavy rains. This helps spread the disease, according to the UN.

“We are about to enter the harvest season where people will be moving around,” said Herve Ludovic de Lys, the head of OCHA’s West Africa office. “The main goal is to halt the transmission of this disease,” he said. “It’s not business as usual. This crisis needs a rapid response.”

The following West African nations have all been hit by cholera epidemics: Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, and Senegal. The WHO issued a statement on Thursday that more countries were at risk. “Outbreaks are likely to spread to Central Africa – Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad – in the next weeks,” it said.

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