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Messi’s name saved kidnapped Argentine engineer’s life

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Buenos Aires: An Argentine agricultural engineer kidnapped in Nigeria and held captive for three days in the west African country claimed using the name of his famous compatriot, footballer Lionel Messi, calmed his violent abductors.

credits: clarin.comThe 28-year-old said he owes his life to the star forward.

Santiago Lopez Menendez had been working in the west African nation since last year, planting soya and corn crops close to Kontagora in the north-west of the country, reports an Argentine website on Sunday.

But he was kidnapped earlier this week and beaten violently by his captors, who hardly spoke any English and thought he was north American.

It was then in desperation that Menendez tried to tell them he was Argentine and he was eventually able to calm down his aggressors with repeated cries of “Messi, Messi, Messi”.

Held captive for three days, the engineer was released after the company who employs him paid an undisclosed ransom to the kidnappers.

Back in Argentina, his brother Jorge said on Sunday, “Tell them I am grateful to Messi, he told me. Naming him is what saved me.”

Menendez is now safe and will return to his homeland. (IANS)

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North Kivu and Ituri, Congo To Welcome More Than 80,000 Children in This New School Year

According to the latest World Health Organization estimates, there have been 116 cases of Ebola, including 77 deaths, in the DRC.

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Congo,ebola
A Congolese health worker administers Ebola vaccine to a boy who had contact with an Ebola sufferer in the village of Mangina in North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. VOA

Government authorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo say 250 schools in North Kivu and Ituri provinces will open their doors to more than 82,500 children when the new school year begins Monday.

These areas are the epicenter of the latest Ebola epidemic in DRC. The Ebola virus is extremely contagious. It can spread quickly through direct contact with blood and other bodily fluids of infected people.

UNICEF says it is scaling up operations in the region to promote prevention measures. It says school principals and teachers will receive training on Ebola prevention and protection and on how to educate children on good hygiene practices to avoid the spread of the virus.

Congo, school
A World Health Organization (WHO) worker administers a vaccination during the launch of a campaign aimed at beating an outbreak of Ebola in Mbandaka, Democratic Republic of Congo, May 21, 2018. VOA

Spokesman Christophe Boulierac said UNICEF and its partners had reached more than 2 million people with Ebola prevention messages since the start of the outbreak on August 1.

“An increasing number of communities are now aware about Ebola and … they know better how to prevent its transmission,” Boulierac said. “The active involvement of concerned communities is key to stopping the spread of the disease. So, we are working closely with them to promote handwashing and good hygiene practices.”

According to the latest World Health Organization estimates, there have been 116 cases of Ebola, including 77 deaths, in the DRC. UNICEF said children make up an unusually high proportion of people affected by the disease. It noted that 24 percent of confirmed cases were in people under age 24.

Congo, school
A family sits outside in a neighborhood where three people died of Ebola in Mbandaka, Congo,
VOA

Also Read: Congo’s New Ebola Outbreak Is A Great Risk: WHO

Boulierac said more than 150 psychosocial workers had been trained to help comfort children infected with the disease in treatment centers. He said they also would support children who were discharged as free of Ebola but were at risk of stigmatization upon returning to their communities. (VOA)