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Nigeria plans to negotiate for the release of 110 abducted Dapchi girls.

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Nigeria’s presidency said on Monday it plans to negotiate for the release of 110 girls abducted from a school in the northeastern town of Dapchi last month, rather than use a military operation to free them by force.

The kidnapping is one of the largest since the jihadist group Boko Haram abducted more than 270 schoolgirls from the northeastern town of Chibok in 2014. Some of the Chibok girls have been freed after what security sources say were ransom payments; around 100 are still being held.

Nigeria is grappling with an insurgency by Boko Haram that has killed at least 20,000 people since 2009. Members of the group are suspected of the latest kidnapping, which happened on Feb. 19, in the state of Yobe.

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President Muhammadu Buhari, a 75-year-old former military ruler, discussed the use of negotiations during a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in the capital, Abuja, the presidency said.

“Nigeria prefers to have schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram from Chibok and Dapchi back alive, and that is why it has chosen negotiation, rather than a military option,” Buhari’s office said in an emailed statement issued by the president’s spokesman.

“President Buhari added that Nigeria was working together with international organisations and negotiators, to ensure that the girls were released unharmed by their captors,” the presidency statement said.

The issue of security has become politically charged in Nigeria less than a year before a presidential election. Buhari is touring areas hit by security problems and this week will visit the state where the schoolgirls were abducted, the statement said.

Tillerson was in Nigeria for the last stop in a week-long tour of African countries, his first trip to the continent as Secretary of State, during which he has emphasised security partnerships. He visited Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti and Chad before arriving in Nigeria’s capital.

The emailed statement also said Buhari thanked the U.S. for assistance rendered in the fight against Boko Haram, noting that Nigerian forces are good but need assistance with training and equipment.

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Malawi to Consider a New Typhoid Vaccine

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Representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) Aziza Mwisongo has advised the Ministry of health to speedily consider adopting for the new typhoid vaccine.

Mwisongo said Typhoid is an epidemic in Malawi, with research showing that more than 16,000 cases are reported every year.

Mwisongo was speaking in Mponela on Wednesday during a workshop organized by Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH) to brief health practitioners on the importance of the new typhoid vaccine called Typbar-TCV.

She said drug resistance has caused typhoid incidence in Malawi to increase over the past years and an estimated 64 percent of typhoid cases and 67 percent of typhoid deaths occur in children under 15 years of age.

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“While typhoid is rarely fatal, the recovery is long and difficult, the disease takes time, money, and productivity from those infected and their families it is associated with numerous, long-term complications,” she said

She said the Typbar-TCV is a typhoid conjugate vaccine (TCV) and is effective in the sense that it has a longer lasting protection, require fewer doses, and reduces the need for antibiotics, slow further emergence of drug-resistant typhoid strains and save lives.

Mwisongo said the vaccine is suitable for children 6 months of age and older, and offers protection for at least 3 years to adults and infants over 6 months of age.

“In Malawi, TyVAC and project partners are studying how well TCVs prevent typhoid in children between 9 months and 12 years of age as well as the safety, impact, and cost of the vaccine,” she said

She added, “While the WHO already recommends TCV introduction in all typhoid epidemic countries, this additional evidence will help inform ongoing decisions about TCV vaccination in low and middle income countries.”

Deputy Director in the Ministry of Health and population responsible for immunology Matthew Kagoli acknowledged the importance of the typhoid vaccine saying the disease was serious in the country because it affected people in communities as outbreaks.

Kagoli said with the available data it is undoubtedly true that the country needs the vaccine, but further consultations have to be done before adopting the vaccine in the country.

“The vaccine is important and the country will benefit from it but further and thorough consultations need to be done before we take a stand as a country regarding the vaccine,” he said

Typhoid is an enteric fever caused by Salmonella Typhi, it is spread through contaminated food and water and is a substantial public health issue in Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa.

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Nigeria: BOD Okays Hijab for Muslim barred from call to bar

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A female law student barred from the country’s call to bar last year for wearing the Muslim head covering has been asked to attend the ceremony billed for later this year.

Firdaus Amasa was denied access to the call to bar ceremony in the capital Abuja for insisting on wearing her religious head covering in the hall, triggering a backlash from the country’s Muslim community which accused the law school of religious discrimination.

The controversy has led to lawsuits, especially after the parliament called a public hearing on the issue.

But president of the Muslim Lawyers Association of Nigeria (MULAN), Kamal Dawud, told Anadolu Agency on Thursday that Amasa has now been granted approval to attend the legal ritual later this year.

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“The Body of Benchers (BOD) met today to discuss the report of a committee established to look at the call to bar of Amasa,” he said. “To the best of my knowledge, the report was not considered for one reason or the other. But they resolved that the girl should be called to bar with her head covered at the next call to bar event,” according to the law professor.

“It’s a victory because what we are saying is that she has her rights and should not be denied such rights under whatever guise. This is a right donated by the Constitution. The only institution that has the say over interpretation of the constitution and the only institution empowered to make pronouncements on whether any law or act is consistent with the Constitution or not is the court and so far the decisions of the court of appeal are in favor of the hijaab.”

The BOD, an ultra-conservative body of current and retired senior judges and lawyers, has the final say on the codes applicable for the legal profession in Nigeria.

The MULAN, along with the country’s Muslim community, championed the #JusticeForFridaus campaign to have Amasa called to the bar as well as scrap whatever laws that proscribe the use of the head covering at such events.

An appeals court in 2016 held that the head covering is a fundamental human rights of every female Muslim and may be worn anywhere of her choice, striking down a government circular that had restricted its use in the public school.

The government has appealed the ruling at the Supreme Court.

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Opposition leader Bemba expected ahead of DR Congo presidential elections.

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Congolese opposition leader Jean-Pierre Bemba, whose war crimes convictions were quashed last month, is expected to return to Congo next month for a party congress to select a candidate for December’s presidential vote, a party spokesman said on Friday.

Bemba, a former rebel leader and vice president, left Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 2007 and spent the last 10 years in prison in The Hague. He is currently free in Belgium pending a hearing on a separate conviction for witness tampering.



Last week, the Congolese Foreign Affairs Minister Leonard She Okitundu said the former Vice President ‘may return’ to the country if he wishes. Okitundu who did not specify whether Bemba will be prosecuted by the Congolese justice system, said Bemba ‘left on his own will, and that he can return if he wants to’.

Bemba’s return would introduce yet another factor to consider in DRC’s complex political crisis that has seen Kabila stay on as president despite the fact that his second an final term of office ended in 2016.

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While elections have been scheduled for Decemeber this year, the opposition have repeatedly protested Kabila’s refusal to outrightly rule himself out of the contest.

Bemba has since Friday been on bail in Belgium pending a final decision on his punishment, according to the International Criminal Court( ICC).

The ICC acquitted Bemba of crimes against humanity and war crimes but not in the case of bribery of witnesses.

The court issued “specific conditions” for his provisional release after ten years of detention, including “not changing address without notice”.

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