A new Ebola virus has been found in bats in Sierra Leone, two years after the end of an outbreak that killed over 11,000 across West Africa, the government said on Thursday.
It is not yet known whether the new Bombali species of the virus – which researchers say could be transmitted to humans – can develop into the deadly Ebola disease.
“At this time, it is not yet known if the Bombali Ebola virus has been transmitted to people or if it causes disease in people but it has the potential to infect human cells,” Amara Jambai, a senior ministry of health official, told AFP.
“This is early stages of the findings,” Jambai added, calling on the public to remain calm while awaiting further research.
A health ministry spokesperson and a researcher who worked on the discovery confirmed the findings to AFP.
Researchers who found the new virus in the northern Bombali region are now working with the Sierra Leone government to determine whether any humans were infected.
“As precautionary measures, people should refrain from eating bats,” Harold Thomas, health ministry spokesperson told AFP.
The worst-ever Ebola outbreak started in December 2013 in southern Guinea before spreading to two neighbouring west African countries, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
The West African outbreak was caused by the Zaire species, which has historically been the most deadly in humans since it was first identified in 1976.
That outbreak killed more than 11 300 people out of nearly 29 000 registered cases, according to World Health Organisation estimates.
The WHO declared the epidemic over in January this year, but this was followed by flare-ups in all three countries.
Ten Killed In Deadly Somalia Prison Break Attempt
Somalia prison officials say 10 persons have been killed following a failed prison break that led to a shoot-out inside the capital -Mogadishu’s main prison.
State radio reported, another six were injured when Somali security forces beat back an uprising in the prison on Monday.
A senior police officer said mutinous prisoners snatched guns from guards who were on duty on Monday evening, and killed three of them.
There are reports that one of the prisoners managed to get a pistol off a prison warden, then a group of inmates broke into the armoury. The guards and other security forces regrouped and killed the inmates.
A specially trained police unit was deployed to deal with the violence at the prison which holds some of the most notorious al-Shabab prisoners on either life or death sentences.
At Least 10 Dead In Ethiopia Protests Over Autonomy
Ethiopia’s health officials say at least 10 persons have died during clashes between protesters and security forces in the country’s southern region on Monday.
The protests were sparked by Sunday’s arrest of local officials and activists seeking a new autonomous region for their Wolaita ethnic group.
Spokesman for the opposition party Wolaita national movement party- Matheos Balcha says one of their party members was arrested.
Security forces shot dead protesters in Boditi on Monday, a town 295 km southwest of the capital Addis Ababa. A 14-year-old boy was reported to be among the dead. Opposition spokesperson says 34 persons were injured.
Prime minister Abiy Ahmed, who came to power in 2018, and introduced democratic reforms, has struggled to appeal to ethnic nationalism.
France Helps Hunt For Killers Of Aid Workers In Niger
Soldiers from France and Niger are collaborating to find killers of six aid workers, their local guide and driver at a giraffe reserve.
The troops began operations on Monday in the reserve and surrounding areas for signs of the gunmen who killed the French international aid workers along with their local guide and driver.
Attackers on motorbikes ambushed the group on Sunday while driving through the reserve, a popular destination for expatriates, 65 km from Niger’s capital Niamey, in an area considered safe by the government.
A French military source said, “military operations are ongoing including the use of air support to find the gunmen.
France and other countries have warned people against travelling to parts of Niger where militants, including Boko Haram and an affiliate of Islamic State, operate in rural areas.
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