Plague Outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo

At least 61 people died in February during an outbreak of the pneumonic plauge in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

About 350 people who worked in a mine in the northern Oriental province were infected with the disesae earlier this year, with at least 61 of them ultimately succumbing to the disease.

The pneumonic plague is the rarest and most deadly of the three types of plague. Unlike bubonic and septicimic plague, the pneumonic form of the disease can be passed from person to person through infected droplets transmitted by coughing or sneezing.

According to the World Health Organization, it is almost always fatal if not treated, but responds well to antibiotics. Unfortunately, the Democratic Republic of Congo is still a relatively chaotic place after the end of its four-year civil war in 2002, and more than 2,000 people who worked at the mine quickly left and dispersed after the outbreak of the disease became widely known.

Plague, of course, used to be a major worldwide killer, famously wiping out a significant proportion of the European population in the late medieval period. The World Health Organization reports that in 2003 there were only about 2,000 cases of the disease worldwide, but almost all of those occurred in Africa.


Plague outbreak kills 60 in Congo. The BBC, February 18, 2005.

DR Congo plague outbreak spreads. The BBC, February 23, 2005.

Plague Outbreak in Eastern Congo. Cynthia Kirk, Voice of America, March 2, 2005.

Deadly Plague Outbreak Feared in Congo . Craig Timberg, Washington Post, February 18, 2005.

Locust invasions on West Africa. IRIN News, December 2004.

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2 thoughts on “Plague Outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo”

  1. MJPC to MONUC and Kabila: Enforce the ICC Arrest Warrant Against Ntaganda

    MJPC calls upon the Congelese Government and MONUC to act decisively to enforce the outstanding arrest warrant against Bosco Ntaganda.

    The Mobilization for Justice and Peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MJPC) today called on the Congolese Government and the UN’s peacekeeping force in DR Congo, which is known as MONUC to act decisively to enforce the outstanding arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Bosco Ntaganda.

    Shocked and outraged by recent report by BBC that an indicted ICC war criminal is playing a leading role in the UN mission in the DR Congo, the MJPC is strongly urging the UN Security Council and the entire international community to put pressure on the Congolese Government and MONUC to enforce the ICC outstanding arrest warrant against Ntaganda as soon as possible. “While it seems absurd that the 17,000 UN troops in Congo have not yet taken steps to enforce the ICC arrest warrant against Ntagada, it is alarming and even horrifying that they are engaged incoordinating military operations with someone accused of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity of inconceivable magnitude”, said Amede Kyubwa, Executive Director of MJPC.

    “Unlike other countries where there are ongoing investigations on cases of war crimes and crimes against humanity, the ICC has the power to enforce its arrest warrants in the Democratic Republic of Congo because of the 17,000 peacekeeping soldiers of the UN in the country, but so far these troops have not yet made attempts to arrest Ntaganda despite knowing his whereabouts and coordinating military operations with him. Warrant issued by the ICC must be respected and enforced by MONUC and Government of Congo” added Mr Kyubwa.

    Ntaganda is accused of several war crimes and crimes against humanity including: the massacres of 150 people in the town of Kiwanja in 2008 in his duties as military chief of staff of the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP), torturing and killing of hundreds of civilians of Lendu and Ngiti ethnicity between August 2002 and March 2003 when he was chief of military operations of the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC), slaughtering of at least 800 civilians on ethnic grounds at Mongbwalu, including the first priest killed in the Ituri conflict, Abbe Boniface Bwanalonga, killing of a Kenyan UN peacekeeper in January 2004 and kidnapping a Moroccan peacekeeper later that year, and recruiting child soldiers in the eastern region of Ituri. The MJPC is strongly urging the Congolese Government and MONUC to execute the arrest warrant issued by the ICC against Ntaganda.

    As part of its global campaign against impunity in Congo, the MJPC has set up an online petition which can be signed at asking concerned citizens around the world to demand the UN in Congo Mission known as MONUC and the Congolese Government to act decisively to enforce the ICC outstanding arrest warrants against Ntaganda.

    About MJPC
    MJPC is a nonprofit organization working to add a voice in advocating for justice and peace in the DRC particulary in the east of DRC where thousands innocent civilian including children and women continue to suffer massive human rights violations while armed groups responsible for these crimes go unpunished

    For more information about the MJPC and its activities, visit or call Amede Kyubwa @ 916 753 5717 or e-mail: [email protected] . The online petition calling on the Congolese Government and MONUC to act decisively in enforcing the outstanding ICC arrest warrant against Bosco Ntaganda can be signed at

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