Sudan repatriates 26 Nigerians over Ebola fears

Omar Al-Bashir, Sudan President
Omar Al-Bashir, Sudan President

The Sudanese authorities have denied 26 Nigerians entry into their country over suspicion that they were possibly infected by the dreaded Ebola Virus Disease, one of those repatriated has told PREMIUM TIMES.

Hauwa’u Ibrahim Bakori, a second year student of Pharmacy at Al Ahfad University for Women, Omdurman, said she and 25 others were denied entry after arriving Khartoum Airport on Wednesday.

They were detained, and then deported to Nigeria on Thursday, Ms. Bakori said.

Ms Bakori is in her second year at the Sudanese university and had travelled to Nigeria on holidays.

The Nigerians had travelled to Khartoum via an Ethiopian Airline flight ET 910 from Abuja on Wednesday, travelling via Addis Ababa.

But on arrival in Khartoum, authorities seized their passports, and arranged boarding passes for them to return to Nigeria.

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They were sent back to the Nigerian capital via the same Ethiopian Airline on Thursday.

They were not tested for Ebola, Ms. Bakori said.

The Sudanese government took the measure even though the World Health Organisation declared Nigeria free of Ebola since October 20.

The Sudanese authorities and the Nigerian foreign ministry could not be reached to comment for this story at this time.

In declaring Nigeria Ebola-free, the global health body had said Nigeria completed an extended 42 –day observation period and called the country’s ability to contain a deadly virus a “spectacular success”.

“The lines on the tabular situation reports, sent to WHO each day by its country office in Nigeria, have now been full of zeros for 42 days,” WHO said in a statement October 20.

“This is a spectacular success story that shows that Ebola can be contained. The story of how Nigeria ended what many believed to be potentially the most explosive Ebola outbreak imaginable is worth telling in detail.”

Ebola was imported to Nigeria by a Liberian-American man, Patrick Sawyer, July 20.

Mr. Sawyer arrived in Lagos and infected medical staff who attended to him after he fell ill at the airport.

Nigeria recorded 19 cases of the virus, out of which seven died, among them doctors and nurses.

Nigeria has not recorded a new case since October 2, and it is not clear why Sudan acted the way it did.

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