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Boko Haram is nearly finished," Niger's Interior Minister Mohamed Bazoum told a crowd of refugees seated quietly on dusty, sun-baked flats. Seven years into an insurgency that spread from Nigeria into Chad, Niger and Cameroon, regional armies are now in a final push to defeat Boko Haram, a once obscure Islamist sect turned deadly militant group. "If there's no strategy to attack Boko Haram together, we won't ever finish with them," Mahamadou Liman Ali, an opposition lawmaker from southern Niger, told Reuters in Niamey.
By Ben Blanchard and Manuel Mogato BEIJING/VIENTIANE (Reuters) - China's foreign minister has asked U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to support the resumption of talks between China and the Philippines over the South China Sea, following a ruling against Beijing over the dispute earlier this month. China did not participate in and has refused to accept the July 12 ruling by the U.N.-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration, in which U.S. ally Manila won an emphatic legal victory. Meeting in the Laos capital Vientiane on Monday during a summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told Kerry that China and ASEAN had agreed the dispute should get back onto the "correct" track of being resolved by direct talks with the parties concerned.