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Terrorist group Boko Haram is now virtually eliminated, says Nigeria’s Army Chief

The Nigerian military has been successful in diminishing Boko Haram's capabilities and virtually eliminating them from the face of the land

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FILE PHOTO - Nigerian soldiers hold up a Boko Haram flag that they had seized in the recently retaken town of Damasak, Nigeria. Source: VOA
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Africa, Sept 18, 2016: The Nigerian military has made tremendous progress against the Boko Haram terrorist group, the country’s chief of army staff told VOA Daybreak Africa.

Visiting our Washington studio, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai praised the collaboration with troops from neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

“It is interesting to note that the ability of the Boko Haram terrorist group to move freely as they were doing before, the ability to hold ground, the ability to take on territories or ransack large communities and towns has been virtually eliminated,” he said.

Boko Haram released a video this week that shows hundreds of supporters, suggesting the group is still potent.

Buratai dismissed the video as propaganda.

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“Virtually they want to show that they are still around. To the best of our knowledge and all well-meaning Nigerians who know the happenings in the northeast, they know that those are just empty, boastful positions of the Boko Haram terrorists. They have nothing to show and indeed they are just trying to show their prowess in terms of propaganda,” Buratai said.

Boko Haram, which pledged allegiance to Islamic State last year, has been embroiled in an apparent leadership struggle. The military claimed to have wounded the sect’s longtime leader, Abubakar Shekau during an air raid in August.

Buratai said the army continues to receive leads on the whereabouts of people kidnapped by Boko Haram in the northeast, including the more than 200 Chibok schoolgirls still missing more than two years after their abduction.

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The terror group released a video in August that featured as many as 50 of the Chibok girls, prompting renewed pressure on the government to bring the girls home.

The army chief told VOA they are pursuing a “holistic approach” aimed at freeing all those abducted by Boko Haram (VOA)

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  • Antara

    Nigerian military performed a great job for the nation!

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Thousands of Africans Fatally Affected Due To Fake Drugs

In Ivory Coast, many cannot afford to shop in pharmacies.

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Drugs, Africa
A street vendor sells illegal and false drugs in a street of Adjame in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. VOA

When Moustapha Dieng came down with stomach pains one day last month he did the sensible thing and went to a doctor in his hometown of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso’s capital, Africa.

The doctor prescribed a malaria treatment but the medicine cost too much for Dieng, a 30-year-old tailor, so he went to an unlicensed street vendor for pills on the cheap.

“It was too expensive at the pharmacy. I was forced to buy street drugs as they are less expensive,” he said. Within days he was hospitalized — sickened by the very drugs that were supposed to cure him.

Africa
Able Ekissi, an inspector at the health ministry, told Reuters the seized goods. Pixabay

Tens of thousands of people in Africa die each year because of fake and counterfeit medication, an E.U.-funded report released on Tuesday said. The drugs are mainly made in China but also in India, Paraguay, Pakistan and the United Kingdom.

Almost half the fake and low-quality medicines reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) between 2013 and 2017 were found to be in sub-Saharan Africa, said the report, also backed by Interpol and the Institute for Security Studies.

“Counterfeiters prey on poorer countries more than their richer counterparts, with up to 30 times greater penetration of fakes in the supply chain,” said the report.

Substandard or fake anti-malarials cause the deaths of between 64,000 and 158,000 people per year in sub-Saharan Africa, the report said.

Africa
Opiates have some of the most cases of addiction due to their accessibility and intense ‘high’ – mostly beginning from something as simple as painkillers.

The counterfeit drug market is worth around $200 billion worldwide annually, WHO says, making it the most lucrative trade of illegally copied goods. Its impact has been devastating.

Nigeria said more than 80 children were killed in 2009 by a teething syrup tainted with a chemical normally used in engine coolant and blamed for causing kidney failure.

For Dieng, the cost can be measured in more than simple suffering. The night in hospital cost him more than double what he would have paid had he bought the drugs the doctor ordered.

“After taking those drugs, the provenance of which we don’t know, he came back with new symptoms … All this had aggravated his condition,” said nurse Jules Raesse, who treated Dieng when he stayed at the clinic last month.

Fake drugs also threaten a thriving pharmaceutical sector in several African countries.

Africa
Misuse of antibiotic drugs have lead to the threat of antimicrobial resistance, Pixabay

That has helped prompt Ivory Coast – where fake drugs were also sold openly – to crack down on the trade, estimated at $30 billion by Reuters last year.

Ivorian authorities said last month they had seized almost 400 tonnes of fake medicine over the past two years.

Able Ekissi, an inspector at the health ministry, told Reuters the seized goods, had they been sold to consumers, would have represented a loss to the legitimate pharmaceutical industry of more than $170 million.

“They are reputed to be cheaper, but at best they are ineffective and at worst toxic,” Abderrahmane Chakibi, Managing Director of French pharmaceutical firm Sanofi’s sub-Saharan Africa branch.

Also Read: Trump Presents Proposal To Lower the Price of Specific Drugs

But in Ivory Coast, many cannot afford to shop in pharmacies, which often only stock expensive drugs imported from France, rather than cheaper generics from places like India.

“When you have no means you are forced to go out onto the street,” said Barakissa Cherik, a pharmacist in Ivory Coast’s lagoon-side commercial capital Abidjan. (VOA)