- Official sources in the Awdal region of Somaliland said that dead birds had been seen in the coast of Loyaddo, Zeila district, neighbouring Djibouti. Authorities fear that these may be the first cases of bird flu in Africa, although there are still no clinical evidences to support this.
A similar report of dead birds had caused alarm two months ago, but a visit by Somaliland's Environment Minister Fouad Adan Adde and doctors from relief organisations had dissipated any fears of the birds dying of bird flu.
However, with the whole world panicking over the deadly bird flu, people are urging the government of the self-declared republic of Somaliland to take urgent measures to ensure the reason behind the death of the birds.
The 'Awdalnews' staff reporter based in Borama learned from official sources that Minister Fouad would soon head for the Zeila coast with a number of doctors accompanying him to investigate the matter.
Somaliland has recently banned the import of poultry as a preventive measure to stop the pandemic bird flu from reaching the country.
The disease, which has spread over great parts of Asia and started reaching Europe, has so far not been detected in Africa. The UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) however last week said it would only be a matter of time before the bird flu spreads into Africa from the Middle East - Somaliland thus being a possible point of entry.
Due to the poor situation of public health in Africa and poor hygiene, scientists fear that the continent could become a place where the virus is able to spread from birds to humans - or even mutate into a human flu virus of lethal force. In Asia, the virus already has caused tens of deaths among humans, but it has yet to mutate into a virus that can spread from person to person.
Large-scale monitoring programmes have been initiated in Europe and the Middle East to detect the spread of the virus, which follows birds migrating from continent to continent. Many migrating bird species are currently heading to Africa from cooling Asia.
By Hashim Goth, Awdalnews and afrol staff reporters
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