Foreign News


Dapchi schoolgirls Kidnap freed in Nigeria



Nearly all of the 110 Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by militants in the town of Dapchi last month have been returned, the government says.

Officials said at least 101 girls were reunited with their families after being brought back to the town.

The girls were later flown to the capital, Abuja, where they were due to meet President Muhammadu Buhari.

Reports suggest at least five girls died during their ordeal, and that a Christian girl remains captive.

One of the freed girls, in a phone conversation with a relative, said the five had been crushed to death as they were herded into vehicles and driven away.

The girl said she and the others were taken into the bush, to an "enclosed place". When asked whether they were well fed, she said they had to cook their own food.

The government did not make any mention of deaths, or otherwise explain the discrepancy between the 110 abducted and the 101 returned.

The BBC's Tomi Oladipo says the government is likely to have given something in return for the girls' release.

But Nigeria's Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, told Reuters that "no ransom was paid".

Mr Lai Mohammed said the girls were taken to hospital in Dapchi, and they would be quarantined and offered psychological counselling before going back to school.

However, one parent told the BBC the extremists had warned them not to send their daughters back to school, or they would be kidnapped again.


Uber has 'no plans' test flying taxis in Keny




Disappointing news for Nairobi road users who were hoping to avoid the traffic: the ride-hailing app Uber has denied reports it plans to test flying taxis in Kenya.

The US-based company - which has more than 360,000 regular users in Kenya at last count - was reported to be seeking a licence to test the four-seater drones by the Nairobi News.

The newspaper quotes Kenya Civil Aviation Authority head Gilbert Kibe as saying Uber bosses had "requested" permission to use the cars.

But Samantha Allenberg, spokeswoman for Uber Africa, dashed dreams of cars flying over the capital any time soon.

“We have no plans to introduce drones,” she told news outlet Bloomberg over the phone.


Rebels leave defeated Eastern Ghouta town




Syrian rebels and their families have begun leaving a key town in the besieged Eastern Ghouta area as part of an evacuation deal with the government.

State media said 88 rebels and 459 civilians had gone from Harasta so far.

Some 1,500 fighters from the Ahrar al-Sham faction and 6,000 civilians are to be transported from Harasta to the northern rebel-held province of Idlib.

The evacuation deal is the first agreed since pro-government forces stepped up an assault on the enclave a month ago.

A monitoring group says air and artillery strikes have killed 1,500 civilians, while at least 50,000 others have fled the siege on foot in recent days.

The exodus came after soldiers and allied militiamen drove rebel forces out of about 70% of the region, cutting it into three pockets - one of them around Harasta.

The implementation of the evacuation deal, which was brokered by the government's ally Russia, began on Thursday morning with a prisoner exchange.

State TV reported that 13 people held by the rebels were freed. It interviewed a soldier among them, who thanked God and the army for his release.



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