West Africa

Niger: French tourists among eight killed by gunmen

The gunmen rode in on motorcycles and opened fire, the governor of Tillabéri region, Tidjani Ibrahim, told the French news agency AFP.

They were in the Koure region which attracts tourists who want to see the last herds of giraffe in West Africa.

It is not yet clear who is behind the attack.

The French government warns people against travelling to large parts of the former French colony outside the capital Niamey.

African teenager allegedly held as sex slave in Australia

The 17-year-old girl had been brought to Sydney in early April by a man who offered her work as a cleaner, New South Wales Police said.

She was allegedly taken to a house and sexually assaulted by "a number of men" until her escape on 27 April.

Police officers from human trafficking and sex crime squads are investigating.

The teenager told police she fled the unknown location before being picked up by a woman who drove her to a community centre.

She was taken to hospital for medical treatment.

French forces kill militants in Mali forest

A statement by its regional force said air and ground forces were involved. It did not identify the militant group.

A French soldier was killed in the area earlier this month.

Mali suffers frequent attacks by Islamist militants despite a French military operation in 2013 to drive jihadists from northern cities.

A French military spokesman said the militants had been targeted in the Foulsare forest, in the south-west of Gao province.

UN official: Ebola epidemic could be defeated by end of 2015

Dr. Margaret Chan told the U.N. Security Council on Thursday that there have been no new cases in Liberia, and only three new cases in Sierra Leone and Guinea, in each of the last two weeks, the lowest numbers in well over a year.

She says fears that the Ebola virus could be permanently established in humans in the region have also been defeated, which is "very good news."

But Chan also cautions against "a false sense of security."

Experimental Ebola vaccine could stop virus in West Africa

There is currently no licensed treatment or vaccine for Ebola, which has so far killed more than 11,000 people in West Africa since the world's biggest outbreak began in the forest region of Guinea last year.

"If proven effective, this is going to be a game-changer," said Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization, which sponsored the study. "It will change the management of the current outbreak and future outbreaks."