At least 13 die from flu outbreak in Nepal


…As 3 suspected militants killed in Bangladesh raid***

No fewer than 13 people have died in a remote north-western district in Nepal following an outbreak of seasonal influenza, health officials said on Friday.

Ram Bahadur, head of the Nepali district health office, said hundreds of villagers in Junichade and Majkot of Jajarkot district have suffered from the disease, with the elderly and children hardest hit from the outbreak two weeks ago.

“We have already treated 1,555 patients of the flu. We have sent a team of health officials and doctors to the area.

“The victims include seven children, the youngest among them was an infant,’’ he said, adding that they had sent samples from the outbreak sites to Kathmandu for investigation.

The district, one of the poorest in Nepal, is prone to outbreaks of epidemics.

In 2015, no fewer than 24 people died after an outbreak of swine flu.

A cholera epidemic killed 300 people in Jajarkot eight years ago.

In the meantime, three suspected militants have been killed in an exchange of fire during a raid by security forces in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, police said on Friday.

Benazir Ahmed, head of the crime-busting Rapid Action Battalion, said the bodies of the suspects were found on the fourth floor of a residential building after the gunfight in the city’s Tejgaon area.

Ahmed said the raid was conducted based on intelligence information that suspects had been using the building as one of their hideouts to carry out acts of sabotage.

The building is less than a kilometre from the prime minister’s office.

“Police found a suicide vest, improvised explosive devices and a firearm at the scene,’’ Mufti Mahmud Khan, spokesman of the battalion, said without giving any details about the suspects’ identity.

Khan said that the militants fired bullets and threw grenades on the lawmen as they cordoned off the building early in the morning.

He added that the lawmen retaliated with bullets.

Local residents said they woke up hearing sounds of heavy gunfire.

Bangladesh launched a series of anti-militant raids in response to an attack carried out by Islamist militants on a popular cafe in Dhaka that left 22 civilians dead, including 17 foreigners, in July 2016.

Dozens of suspected militants were killed in those raids.