Friday April 26, 2019
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Sudan Suffers From A Chikungunya Outbreak

Activists on social media said the number of people infected by the disease was much higher than the government's figure and that there had been deaths not documented by the government.

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A woman sits inside a mosquito tent in the town of Abyei, Sudan. VOA

More than 11,000 people in Sudan’s eastern state of Kassala have been infected over the past month by Chikungunya, a debilitating mosquito-borne viral disease, but no deaths have been reported, a Sudanese official said Tuesday.

Chikungunya is spread by two mosquito species and can cause severe symptoms, which develop three to seven days after a person is bitten by an infected mosquito. They include high fever, headache, muscle pain, back pain and rash. In rare cases, it is fatal. There are no dedicated treatments or vaccines for Chikungunya.

“So far official statistics say that about 11,000 people were infected, and there haven’t been any documented cases of death because of the Chikungunya fever,” said Magzoub Abou Moussa, a spokesman for the Kassala state administration.

Chikungunya
Omar al Bashir, President of Sudan, wikimedia commons

Heavy rains

The outbreak began in recent weeks when heavy rains pummeled the area, which led to the flooding of a major river in Kassala.

Abou Moussa said his state had received health and technical aid from Sudan’s health ministry, but expressed concern over the spread of the virus and called for further help.

Eyewitnesses said they had seen planes on Monday sweeping over the state, spraying mosquito pesticides.

Sudanese opposition parties have accused the government of failing to deal with the situation in Kassala and called for international organizations’ help.

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Women sit in line on the ground waiting to receive food distributed by the World Food Program (WFP) in Padeah, South Sudan, March 1, 2017. VOA

“We hold the government fully responsible for the spread of the epidemic,” said a statement from the National Umma Party, the largest opposition party. “We call on civil society organizations and the World Health Organization to help the people of Kassala.”

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Activists on social media said the number of people infected by the disease was much higher than the government’s figure and that there had been deaths not documented by the government. (VOA)

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Sudan Delegation to Visit US for Talks to Remove its Name from Terror List

Sudan's army ruler, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, said the delegation could travel as soon as "this week or next week for discussions"

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sudan delegation, terrorism
Protesters shout slogans by a banner depicting former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, in front of the Defense Ministry in Khartoum, Sudan, April 19, 2019. VOA

A Sudanese delegation is expected to visit the United States for talks aimed at getting Sudan removed from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism.

Sudan’s army ruler, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, in his first interview on state television since taking power, said the delegation could travel as soon as “this week or next week for discussions.”

The U.S. government added Sudan to its terrorism list in 1993 over allegations that then-President Omar al-Bashir’s government was supporting terrorism. Al-Bashir was ousted earlier this month by the military after three decades in power.

In 2017, the United States lifted its 20-year-old trade embargo imposed on Sudan, but it left Sudan on its state sponsors of terrorism list along with Iran, Syria and North Korea.

sudan, terrorism
Sudan’s army ruler said said the delegation could travel as soon as “this week or next week for discussions.” VOA

Since al-Bashir’s removal, U.S. officials have praised the country’s new military leader for freeing political prisoners. On Thursday, State Department officials announced it would send an envoy to Khartoum to encourage a transition to democracy.

Burhan took the leadership position after his predecessor, General Awad Ibn Ouf, resigned less than 24 hours after becoming military council chief.

State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said the U.S. will be there to “calibrate our policies based on our assessment of events,” but added that Sudan’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism “remains in effect, and Phase II discussions are suspended.”

“The will of the Sudanese people is clear: it is time to move toward a transitional government that is inclusive and respectful of human rights and the rule of law,” Ortagus said.

 

sudan, terrorism
A Sudanese delegation is expected to visit the United States for talks aimed at getting Sudan removed from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism. VOA

But in Khartoum, Sudanese protest leaders on Sunday broke off talks with the military rulers. Protesters have been demanding a change in regime since December.

The military removed al-Bashir from power on April 11. But since then, it has made no move toward transferring power to a civilian council as demanded by the protesters.

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A spokesman of the protest movement, Mohamed al-Amin, called for “escalating and continuing the demonstrations until the demands are met.”

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on Sunday promised to provide much needed aid to Sudan in the amount of $3 billion. The two nations will deposit $500 million with the Sudanese central bank and send the rest in form of food, medicine and petroleum products. (VOA)