SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) –Uganda has suspended the hunt for fugitive warlord Joseph Kony and his Lord's Resistance Army fighters, blaming hostility towards foreign troops by Central African Republic rebels who seized power last month.
Kony is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes. He and his commanders are accused of abducting thousands of children to use as fighters in a rebel army that earned a reputation for chopping off limbs as a form of discipline.
Uganda provides more than 3,000 troops of a 5,000-strong African Union force hunting Kony and his fighters, who are thought to be hiding in jungles straddling the borders of Central African Republic, South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo.
A separate coalition of rebels in Central African Republic, known as Seleka, toppled President Francois Bozize last month. They swept into the capital Bangui in a lightning offensive which triggered days of looting and drew international condemnation.
The Seleka rebels also killed 13 South African soldiers during their attack on Bangui.
"These rebels have been openly hostile to us and following that, the president (of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni) has ordered us only to be in defensive positions," said Dick Olum, head of Ugandan troops in the force hunting Kony, and also the overall force commander.
"So we've temporarily suspended offensive operations against the LRA for now until we receive further orders," he told Reuters on Wednesday.
It was not immediately clear if troops from other countries in the regional force were also giving up the search. Ugandan media reported that about 100 U.S. special forces helping with intelligence and logistical support had suspended operations.
"We have temporarily paused the operations against LRA to give us time to consult with the State Department," Crane Elise, U.S. embassy information officer in Kampala, told Uganda's Daily Monitor newspaper.
LRA fighters fought the Ugandan government for nearly two decades before being ejected from their strongholds in the north of the country in 2005, forcing them to establish bases in the jungles of other countries in the region.-www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) —Ebola and Cholera epidemics have shattered the dreams of thousands of pilgrims from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda after Saudi authorities banned Muslims from both African countries from marking the life-time journey to the holy city of Makkah.
"The Muslims living in DR Congo and even those in Uganda won't participate in the pilgrimage to Mecca this year," the head of DR Congo's Islamic community, Cheik Abdallah Mangala, told Agence France Presse (AFP).
He said he thought the Saudi government had "made the decision to avoid any contamination from the Ebola and cholera viruses," which have taken a heavy toll on the region in recent months.
Pilgrims have already begun to arrive in Saudi Arabia for the pilgrimage, the world's largest annual gathering.
Muslims from around the world pour into Makkah every year to perform hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam.
Hajj consists of several rituals, which are meant to symbolize the essential concepts of the Islamic faith, and to commemorate the trials of Prophet Abraham and his family.
Every able-bodied adult Muslim who can financially afford the trip must perform hajj at least once in a lifetime.
Hajj starts on the eighth day of the lunar month of Dhul Hijjah, which falls this year on October 24.
Most pilgrims come earlier to visit the holy mosques in Makkah and nearby Madinah, where Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him) was buried over 1,400 years ago.
DR Congo has been battling an outbreak of cholera, a contagious intestinal infection, for over a year, and of Ebola, one of the world's most virulent diseases, since mid-August.
According to the World Health Organization, which has not imposed any travel restrictions on the country, more than 20,000 people in DR Congo were infected with cholera in 2012, with a mortality rate of two percent.
Leodegar Bazira, the WHO official in DR Congo, said the organization had recorded 74 Ebola cases since August, 36 of them deadly, putting the mortality rate at 50 percent.
But he added that the disease was now under control and confined to the northeastern town of Isiro.
In Uganda, Ebola has killed 17 people since July, but officials announced earlier this month that the disease had been brought under control and urged all countries to lift travel restrictions on Uganda.
To date, there is no treatment nor vaccine for Ebola, a rare haemorrhagic disease that kills between 25 percent and 90 percent of patients, depending on the strain of the virus. It is named after a small river in DR Congo.
Cholera, which is caused by ingestion of contaminated food or water, can strike swiftly, causing intense diarrhoea, vomiting and nausea that lead to severe dehydration.— www.shafaqna.com/English
Source: On Islam
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — Resorting to Islamic teachings urging protection of women and children rights, Ugandan officials have called on Muslim scholars to spread a message of gender equality to curb domestic violence in southern Uganda’s Busoga region.
“Gender based Violence cases are ranked high in Busoga sub region,” Joshua Kitakule, the Secretary General of the Inter Religious Council (IRC), told New Vision newspaper on Tuesday, August 28.
“So it is the religious leaders to take on with the opportunity of training their followers the dangers accrued to the vice so that it is reduced in the region.”
Islamic Guidance on Treating Wives
Islam & Wife Beating (Special Folder)
Kitakule made the call during a two-day training for senior Muslim religious leaders in Busoga sub region in Bugiri district on Saturday.
He urged Muslim scholars to advise followers to be kind and considerate to their wives in their homes.
“A lot of women and men seek assistance in domestic violence cases at Police, NGOs and local leaders like village L.C chairpersons,” Kitakule said.
“But it is your duty as Muslim leaders to encourage them to work as a team between husband and wife in their various homes in order to build a good family despite one’s religion.”
Scholars were also urged to encourage parents to inculcate discipline into their children at home right from childhood until they are grown up.
“Uganda will soon celebrate 50 years of existence so things you do must show that you are elders and respectable in your homes,” Kitakule said.
Offering Muslim scholars a testing and counseling session, secretary of the Inter Religious Council called for applying new trends in counseling.
“Catholic priests are preaching against domestic violence at mass, and the Church of Uganda has also spoken out against abuse,” Kitakule said, insisting that religious leaders have more sway on people than civil societies.
Ugandan Muslims comprise some 14 percent of the predominantly Christian country's 32-million population, according to the CIA Factbook.
In Islam, marriage is a sacred bond that brings together a man and a woman by virtue of the teachings of the Qur'an and the Sunnah.
Each partner in this sacred relationship must treat the other properly and with respect.
Woman is recognized by Islam as the full and equal partner of the man in the procreation of humankind.
By this partnership, she has an equal share in every aspect. She is entitled to equal rights, she undertakes equal responsibilities, and she has as many qualities and as much humanity as her partner.
Moreover, the relations between the spouses in Islam should be based on tranquility, love and mercy.—www.shafaqna.com/English
Source: On Islam
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — The Ugandan president has called on people to limit physical contact with each other, after a victim of a deadly outbreak of the Ebola virus was reported in Kampala, the country's capital, for the first time.
"The Ministry of Health are tracing all the people who have had contact with the victims," Yoweri Museveni said in a state broadcast on Monday, adding that 14 people had died in total since Ebola broke out in western Uganda three weeks ago.
Two cases have been reported in the capital since the outbreak began, he said, and one victim is reported to have died in Kampala's Mulago Hospital.
He called on people not to shake hands, to avoid the spread of the killer virus.
"Ebola spreads by contact when you contact each other physically... avoid shaking of hands that can cause contact through sweat, which can cause problems," Museveni said.
"Do not take on burying somebody who has died from symptoms that look like Ebola. Instead, call health workers because they know how to do it...avoid promiscuity because this sickness can also [be transmitted] through sex," he added.
Seven doctors and 13 health workers at Mulago hospital are in quarantine after "at least one or two cases" were taken there, with one later dying from the virus.
The latest outbreak of the disease started in the country's western district of Kibaale, around 200km west of Kampala. The district is located about 50km from the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Stephen Bayaruhanga, health secretary of Kibaale, said on Monday that six more patients suspected to have contracted Ebola had been admitted to hospital.
He said that the cases had at first been concentrated in a single village, but are now been reported in multiple villages.
Rukia Nakamatte, the spokesperson of the health ministry, told Al Jazeera a facility had been set up to isolate people in affected areas.
“We have set up an isolation facility at one of the hospital in the affected areas ... Currently we're having seven patients in the facility. They're receiving treatment and responding positively to the treatment being given," she said.
"We're also working with [the US] Centre for Disease Control and the WHO [World Health Organisation]. We have dispatched a team to the affected area to continue monitoring people who got into contact with the sick and the dead."
She said samples from the patients would be delivered to the Uganda Virus Research Institute for further investigation. "Massive sensitisation programmes on radio stations advising people on what they should do" had been launched, she said.
'Evil spirits' blamed
Officials said many sick people with suspected Ebola were unwilling to be taken to the hospital fearing that they will contract the disease while there, if they do not already have it.
According to a health ministry statement released on Monday, some people also refused to seek treatment "because they believed that the cause of the illness was due to 'evil spirits'".
If the six new cases are confirmed as Ebola, it would bring to 26 the number of Ugandans infected with the virus this month. A national task force has been set up to control the spread of the disease, and the Ugandan health ministry is co-ordinating with the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Centre for Disease Control and other international partners.
The health ministry has urged people to report any suspected cases of Ebola to the nearest health centre, to avoid direct contact with those suspected to be suffering from it and to avoid public gatherings in affected districts.
The rare hemorrhagic disease, named after a small river in DR Congo, killed 37 people in western Uganda in 2007 and claimed the lives of at least 170 people in the north of the country in 2000.
There is no vaccine or cure for Ebola, but experts say its extreme virulence makes it more containable, as it kills victims faster than it can spread to new ones.
It has a fatality ratio of between 23 and 90 per cent, according to the WHO.
Ebola is characterised by the sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat, often followed by vomiting, diarrhoea and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding, according to the WHO.
It spreads by direct contact with the blood or other body fluids of infected persons.—www.shafaqna.com/english
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — Reuters reports that there is a an outbreak of the Ebola virus in Uganda. The World Health Organization (WHO) says efforts to contain the virus are already underway with WHO and CDC experts in the field.
20 people are suspected to have contracted Ebola and 13 have died so far in the outbreak. 18 of the suspects have been linked to a single family. The cases have been reported in the Kibaale district of Uganda, which is 100 miles west of the capital city of Kampala. The BBC reports that there is a suspected case at at Kampala's Mulago hospital.
The CDC says initial Ebola symptoms include fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, sore throat, and weakness. Other symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, rash, red eyes, hiccups and internal and external bleeding.
Ebola outbreaks have a very high fatality rate. However, they have been stopped from spreading fairly quickly in the past using containment. Uganda's deadliest outbreak occurred in 2000 when there were 425 infected and 224 deaths.—www.shafaqna.com/english