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Tanzania issue Ebola virus alert after death of Burundi refugee

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzania’s government has issued an alert over Ebola virus following the death of a Burundian refugee in the country’s western region of Kigoma with suspected symptoms of Ebola.

The 39-year-old refugee at Nyarugusu camp died on Tuesday.

The Health Ministry said samples of the suspected case had been sent for tests in the city of Dar es Salaam.

"The outcome of the tests will be made public," a statement by the ministry said.

The statement noted that the deceased had no history of travelling to countries hit by Ebola nor history of fever, and that there was no proof that he had hosted any person from Ebola-hit nations.

The ministry urged the public to remain vigilant and report to relevant authorities if there were suspected Ebola cases.

Health authorities in Kigoma were tracing all the people who might have been in contact with the refugee, and those health workers who had attended him were being closely monitored, the statement added.

Ebola has so far claimed more than 11,000 lives over the past one year. Of the worst hit countries, Liberia has been declared Ebola-free by the World Health Organization.


International envoys call for resumption of dialogue in Burundi

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- International envoys to the Great Lakes Regions of Africa on Wednesday called for the resumption of political dialogue to help find political solution to the crisis in Burundi.

The special envoys from UN, AU, EU, U.S. and Belgium said the ongoing political impasse and instability in Burundi call for restraint, leadership, and vision from all concerned citizens of Burundi to prevent further violence.

"Following months of unrest and the controversial electoral process, the Burundian government can begin to restore credibility through engagement in an inclusive political dialogue with political parties, including opposition and the Frondeurs of the CNDD-FDD, and civil society," they said in a joint statement issued in Nairobi.

The joint statement was issued by Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General to the Great Lakes Region Said Djinnit, African Union Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region Ibrahima Fall, U.S. Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region Thomas Perriello, European Union Senior Coordinator for the Great Lakes Region Koen Vervaeke, and Belgian Special Envoy for the African Great Lakes Region Frank De Coninck.

The envoys call upon the Government of Burundi and other political parties to immediately recommit to a transparent, inclusive, and comprehensive political dialogue, it said.

Civil unrest erupted on April 26 in Bujumbura, Burundi’s capital, after the ruling CNDD-FDD party elected President Pierre Nkurunziza on April 25 as its candidate for the then-scheduled June 26 presidential election, which was postponed to July 15, then July 21.

Nkurunziza has been in office for two terms since 2005, and a broad array of actors warned that an attempt to seek a third term was unconstitutional and contrary to the spirit of the 2000 Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement for Burundi that ended a decade of civil war in the country.

The mounting violence across Burundi has also provoked a widespread humanitarian crisis as refugees have spilled across the country’s borders and fanned throughout the region.

The envoys said crisis in Burundi continues to spill across borders, with over 200,000 people seeking refuge across the region.

According to the statement, the latest numbers show 85,200 Burundian refugees are in Tanzania, 71,600 in Rwanda, 28,300 in Uganda, 14,322 in the DRC, 7,000 in Kenya, and 3,000 in southern Africa.

"The envoys commend these countries for their humanitarian contributions as hosts for refugees. A dialogue that brings about a political resolution to the instability in Burundi is the best route to encourage the safe return of refugees and prevent regional instability," said the statement.

The statement said the Burundian government cannot afford to continue down a road marred by instability, division, extreme economic decline, and humanitarian crisis.

Already one of the most fragile economies in the world, Burundi’s economy has plummeted further in recent months and shows little sign that it can recover in the absence of a resolution to the political crisis.

Donors have made clear that their willingness to continue partnering with the government is dependent on progress towards restoring the country’s democratic credentials through a serious and inclusive dialogue.

The envoys urged the Burundian government to immediately seize the opportunity for dialogue and forge a new path for Burundi—agreed upon by all peaceful political parties, civil society, and the people of Burundi—with the support of the international community.

Burundi coffee appreciated globally because of its quality

BUJUMBURA Burundi (Xinhua) -- Burundi coffee has continued to be appreciated across the world in the last two years due to the progressive reduction of potato taste which is the biggest enemy of coffee.

"We have noticed that international buyers have been increasingly buying Burundi coffee because there is no potato taste in our coffee. Last year, we reduced potato taste from 88 to 8 percent and now we are at 2 percent," the president of Burundi’s National Association of Coffee Farmers Joseph Ntirabampa said on Monday.

He was speaking during a trade fair to taste over 150 coffee packages by both national and international coffee tasters.

The package from Nemba station in Burundi’s northwest province of Kayanza was classified as position one, followed by Kiryama package from the same province.

Coffee is Burundi’s number one export product, even though the country’s produce has been rapidly reducing.

Some Burundian farmers prefer growing foodstuffs which earn them less money than coffee, but the earnings are more rapid and regular.

Burundi government, with financial support from the World Bank, has been doing everything possible to ensure coffee does not disappear from the country.


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