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  1. First Chibok girl rescued
  2. Mother 'shed tears' when she saw her
  3. #BringBackOurGirls activists celebrate
  4. Uganda's Besigye in court on treason charge
  5. Video emerges of men calling for jihad in Tanzania
  6. South African diamond sells for record price
  7. Get Involved: #BBCAfricaLive WhatsApp: +44 7341070844
  8. Email stories and comments to - Wednesday 18 May 2016

Live Reporting

By Clare Spencer and Farouk Chothia

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Scroll down for Wednesday's stories

We'll be back tomorrow

That's all from BBC Africa Live today. Keep up-to-date with what's happening across the continent by listening to the Africa Today podcast or checking the BBC News website.  

A reminder of today's wise words:

If a poor person has nothing else, he has at least a sweet tongue with which to defer the payments of his debts."

An Akan proverb sent by Emmanuel Donkor, Accra, Ghana.

Click here and scroll to the bottom of the page to send your proverb.

And we leave you with a photo from Hargeisa, the capital of the breakaway state of Somaliland which is celebrating 25 years of what it calls its independence: 

People wave flags as soldiers and other military personnel of Somalia"s breakaway territory of Somaliland march past during an Independence day celebration parade in the capital, Hargeisa on May 18, 2016

You can read our colleague Mary Harper's article about Somaliland here.

Should apps replace Ghana's kings?

Now, for something completely different... Royalty is an important part of life in Ghana. Chieftains have a lot of influence and are the holders of ancestral land rights and privileges.

It’s customary for everyone to pay respects to the chiefs but are they likely to be replaced in the modern digital age?

Satirist Ikenna Azuike has been finding out for the BBC's What's Up Africa:

What's Up Africa: Should apps replace Ghana's kings?

From #BringBackOurGirls to #HopeEndures

The hashtag #ChibokgirlAminaAli has been trending in Nigeria's main city, Lagos, today:

View more on twitter

It's after the news that one of the girls abducted by Boko Haram from Chibok Secondary School has been found.

The abduction over two years ago attracted international attention, with the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls becoming popular.

One of the main criticisms of the #BringBackOurGirls movement was that it was an example of 'clicktivism', online work for a cause that does not actually change anything but allows people to feel they have done something they believe in.

And this is reflected in tweets today:

View more on twitter

But most of the comments online focused on the hope that other abducted women and girls would also be freed.

View more on twitter

Read more on the BBC News website: From #BringBackOurGirls to #HopeEndures.

BreakingFreed Chibok girl's 'husband' arrested

Nigeria's military says it has captured suspected Boko Haram member Mohammed Hayatu, who alleges that he is the husband of the freed Chibok girl.

Preliminary investigations revealed that the girl was Amina Ali - not Falmata Mbalala as earlier reported, a military statement added. 

She is a mother of a four-month-old baby girl, it said. 

Mohammed Hayatu and Amina Ali have been taken to the main city in north-eastern Nigeria, Maiduguri, for  "further medical attention and screening", the statement added. 

Suspected Boko Haram member
Nigeria military
Mohammed Hayatu is in military custody

Freed Chibok girl: 'Please mum, take it easy'

Here are more details of the emotion which swept through the home of the freed Chibok girl when she was taken there by vigilante leader Aboku Gaji: 

When we arrived at the house, the door was closed, I asked the mother to come and identify someone, the moment she saw her, she shouted her name Amina, Amina!

She gave her the biggest hug ever, as if they were going to roll on the ground, we had to stabilise them.

The mother called other relatives to come out and see what was happening.

The girl started comforting the mother, saying, 'Please mum, take it easy, relax, I never thought I would ever see you again, wipe your tears. God has made it possible for us to see each other again'. That’s what this girl, Amina kept telling her mother."

Boko Haram escapee pictured with her baby

The news site Sahara Reporters has published a picture of the woman who escaped after being abducted by Boko Haram.

She is pictured here with a baby she gave birth to while in captivity:

Boko Haram kidnappee

She was kidnapped over two years ago with over 200 other women and girls. 

Anti-slavery campaigner 'angry' after release

Abdourahmane Dia

BBC Afrique

Mauritania anti-slavery activist Biram Ould Dah Ould Abeid (C) is welcomed by supporters as he walks out of jail after the country's supreme court downgraded the crimes they were convicted of last year and ordered their release, on May 17, 2016 in Nouakchott.
Getty Images
Biram Ould Dah was released yesterday

A Mauritanian anti-slavery activist who was freed from prison last night has told the BBC that he is "more determined than ever before" to fight the practice. 

Biram Ould Dah was arrested during an anti-slavery rally, accused of belonging to an illegal organisation and committing violence.

He was sentenced to two years in prison but a court ruling yesterday reduced it to one year. 

As he has already been in prison for 16 months, he was released immediately. 

He told the BBC he is enraged:

I am angry because this is proof of an unbalanced judiciary, which depends on the temper and the mood of the executive power. The fight will be more vigorous. We are now more committed than before, more determined than before.”

In December, Mr Ould Dah has been awarded the Human rights Tulip Award while in prison.

According to Biram Ould Dah's abolitionist movement, IRA, there are still about 150,000 slaves in Mauritania.     

In 1981, Mauritania became the last country in the world to abolish slavery but the practice didn't stop and the government criminalised slavery in August.

Mother of freed Chibok girl 'wept'

The leader of the vigilante group in north-eastern Nigeria which rescued the Chibok girl has been speaking about her mother's joy when she saw her 19-year-old daughter for the first time since her abduction more than two years ago.

Aboku Gaji told the BBC Hausa Service: 

The moment this girl was discovered by our vigilantes, she was brought to my house. I instantly recognised her and insisted we should take her to her parents.

Her father is deceased, but her mother is still alive. On seeing her, the mother and other relatives rushed to hug her and started shedding tears.

Afterwards, we had to make them understand that the girl would not be left in their care. She must be handed over to the authorities."

Read: Among the vigilantes fighting Boko Haram

Vigilante fighters in Yola, Nigeria

Tanzania taking jihadi video 'seriously'

Let's move away from the Chibok story for a while.... Tanzania's Home Affairs minister Charles Kitwanga has told the BBC that the security forces are investigating whether a jihadi group is in the East African state. 

The government is taking the issue very seriously, as it affects national security, he added. 

He was commented after a video emerged, showing five militant Islamists who said they were in Tanzania's coastal region of Tanga. 

See our 10:47 post for more details.

Joy over freedom of Chibok girl

A former Nigerian education minister has been spearheading the #BringBackOurGirls campaign, and she has been sharing her joy with her 475,000 Twitter followers after news broke that one of the girls has been rescued: 

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Why are there different names for Chibok girl?

#BringBackOurGirls campaigners have been giving different names of the 19-year-old Chibok girl who they say was rescued last night by vigilantes fighting militant Islamist group Boko Haram in north-eastern Nigeria. 

Chibok town Manaseh Allan has given a possible explanation for this to AFP news agency:

She was brought first to Chibok by the vigilantes who took her to the vice-principal of her school, who immediately identified her as Aisha Ali, which is her name in the school register.

She was presented to community leaders as Amina Ali but her name as it appears in the school register is Aisha Ali.

It is common for children in Chibok to be called with one name in school and another at home."

It's still not clear why she is also known as Amina Ali Nkek. Nor is it clear why the military has given a completely different - Falmata Mbalala, though Mbalala is the town from where she comes.

Who are the Chibok girls?

As the first of the 219 Chibok girls seized by Nigeria's militant Islamist group Boko Haram is rescued, here is a reminder of some of the facts around the abductions:

  • The girls are seen by Boko Haram as "prized assets", and it has been reported that it was prepared to free them in exchange for the release of its members held by the military
  • They are known as the Chibok girls because they were kidnapped from the dormitories at Chibok Secondary School 
  • Many are from Mbalala, a town about 11km south of Chibok
  • The girls at Chibok Secondary School represented the most ambitious young people in their village 
  • In a country where less than half of young people finish secondary school, they were the few in their community pushing for an education. And some had to fight for it.

Read more from the families of five of the missing girls on the BBC News website.

Five of the girls taken from the Chibok school

Why were 276 girls abducted?

The Chibok girls in a Boko Haram video released in May 2014

We have been reporting all day that the first of the so-called Chibok girls has escaped. 

She's one of 276 women and girls who were abducted more than two years ago in Chibok, Nigeria.   

But why were they abducted in the first place?

One of the girls who got away during the kidnap told the BBC Hausa service that the Boko Haram militants had said:  

"You're only coming to school for prostitution. Boko (Western education) is haram (forbidden) so what are you doing in school?"  

Here's more about Boko Haram:

  • Founded in 2002
  • Official Arabic name, Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'awati wal-Jihad, means "People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet's Teachings and Jihad"
  • Initially focused on opposing Western education
  • Launched military operations in 2009 to create Islamic state

Read more about Boko Haram on the BBC News website

How the world has campaigned to free the Chibok girls

A supporter of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign carries a placard showing the missing faces of the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirl during a demonstration in the Nigerian capital Abuja on October 14, 2014.

Here are some key facts on the missing 216 girls abducted by militant Islamist group Boko Haram from the north-eastern town of Chibok: 

  • On 14 April 2014, the militants raid a boarding school in the town, kidnapping 276  girls, mostly aged between 16 and 18
  • About 50 of the girls escape but 219 are taken away 
  • Nigeria's government and military are strongly criticised over their failure to protect communities affected by the Boko Haram insurgency launched in 2009
  • A campaign is launched on Twitter under the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls to demand the release of the girls
  • The hashtag is used around 3.3 million times by mid-May 2014 
  • US first lady Michelle Obama and Nobel Peace laureate Malala Yousafzai are among prominent personalities who join the campaign
  • Foreign powers, including China and the US, pledge to help find the girls
  • In May 2014, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau says in a video that some of the girls have been sold, and married off
  • On 18 May 2016, activists say vigilantes fighting the militants find one of the girls in their Sambisa forest hideout
  • Activists say the girl is breast-feeding a baby, but there is no confirmation of this. 

Read: Five facts about #BringBackOurGirls

Vigilantes 'intercepted' Chibok girl

In the previous post we reported that the army said soldiers freed the abducted Chibok girl Falmata Mbalala.

However, activists and community leaders have said that the freed Chibok girl is actually called Amina Ali Nkek, and  taht she was found in Sambisa forest by vigilantes.

The forest is the main hideout of militant Islamist group Boko Haram. 

The chairman of the Chibok Parents Association in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, suggested that the vigilantes were lucky to find her. 

Hosea Abana Tsambido told BBC Focus on Africa:  

She was saying she came out to fetch firewood. That's why the vigilantes were able to intercept her.

She was saying the Nigerian army cannot penetrate [the forest] to get them because they are well secured in the Sambisa forest, and that all the Chibok girls are still there in the Sambisa, except six of them that have already died.

Soldiers 'freed' Chibok girl

The Chibok girl Falmata Mbalala was rescued by troops near Damboa town in north-eastern Nigeria, said army spokesman Col Sani Kukasheka Usman. 

BreakingArmy confirms Chibok girl freed

The Nigerian army has confirmed that one of the Chibok girls has been rescued. 

However, its spokesman named her as Falmata Mbalala - a different name to that given by activists.    

'No doubt that Chibok girl has been found'

Boko Haram video of Chibok girls
Boko Haram abducted 219 girls

In the past, there have been false reports that girls abducted from Chibok by militant Islamists have been found.

But this time there is no doubt that one of the girls has been rescued, says Hosea Abana Tsambido, the chairman of the Chibok Parents Association. 

He told BBC Focus on Africa that the girl, Amina Ali Nkek, had been identified by her family, and other people who knew her. 

Mr Tsambido added:  

"I am absolutely certain because in the past the news was coming from different angles, it wasn't coming from our area.

This time it's coming directly from our people who are affected and they would never lie."

'Freed Chibok girl meets family'

The Chibok girl freed from Boko Haram captivity after more than two years has been briefly reunited with her family, community leader  Ayuba Alamson Chibok has told AFP news agency.

Soldiers brought Amina Ali Nkek to Mbalala town, near Chibok, and took her away after her family confirmed her identity, he said. 

She was 17 when abducted. 

Read: What we know about the mssing girls

'Jubilation over rescue of Chibok girl'

The chairman of the Chibok Parents Association in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, has given more details on reports that one of the girls abducted by Boko Haram more than two years ago has been found.

Hosea Abana Tsambido told Focus on Africa radio that he had spoken on the phone to vigilantes who found the girl, who he named as Amina Ali, in Sambisa forest in north-eastern Nigeria last night. 

Mr Tsambido added: 

As I called the leader of the vigilantes, I heard in the background people were shouting and jubilation."

He said that Amina Ali was found with a baby by vigilantes doing a patrol, and had been handed over to the Nigerian military.  

She was out collecting firewood and her condition was OK, Mr Sambido added.

He said he was hopeful that the other girls abducted in 2014 would be found.

Visiting home of 'rescued' Chibok girl

Nigerian activists say the rescued Chibok girl was from the north-eastern town of Mbalala. 

She had gone to nearby Chibok to do her school examinations when she was among more than 200 girls abducted by gunmen from militant Islamist group Boko Haram in April 2014, in a raid which caused global outrage. 

The BBC's Stephanie Hegarty visited Mbalala last month, to mark the second anniversary of the abductions. 

You can read her piece is here.

More details on 'rescued Chibok girl'

Another campaigner with the #BringBackOurGirls group has been tweeting details about the abducted Chibok girl who has reportedly been found:   

One of the abducted Chibokgirls, Amina Ali Darsha Nkeki from Mbalala have been found in Kulakaisa area at the fringes of Sambisa Forest

by Vigilantes from Chibok on patrol yesterday. That she is already breastfeeding a child, all of them are still in the sambisa forest,

View more on twitter

More reports of Chibok girl being found

Habiba Adamu

BBC Africa, Abuja

Nigerian university don and women's rights activist Hauwa Abdu has told the BBC Abuja bureau that one of the abducted Chibok girls has been found. 

Amina Nkek was found last night by a vigilante group after a fight with suspected Boko Haram militants, she added. 

Ms Abdu told the BBC she got her information from a vigilante who knew the girl and identified her.  

The girl is now apparently with the Nigerian military in Dambuwa town in north-eastern Borno state and will be transferred to Maiduguri, the state capital, Ms Abdu added.  

If confirmed, this will be the first Chobok girl to be found since the 2014 abductions. 

Engineer gets big firm's attention after holding cardboard ad

South Africa's chemical engineering firm Sasol has promised that their HR team will look at an unemployed graduate's CV after her photo went viral.

Anthea Malwandlar resorted to standing by the side of the road advertising her labour on a piece of cardboard:

View more on twitter

Yesterday she told us that she graduated from Vaal University of Technology and has been looking for work, preferably helping to produce fertiliser, for the past year.

Sasol tweeted that people had been contacting them with her picture. 

Now they say that they are looking at her CV:

View more on twitter

Meanwhile, our reporter in Johannesburg has found another chemical engineering graduate who is using the same technique:

View more on twitter

Last week, Statistics South Africa said the unemployment rate in the country is 26.7%, which is a 12-year high.

'No confirmation' that Chibok girl found

The BBC's Damian Zane has just spoken to a member of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign group about reports (see previous post) that one of the Chibok girls has been found. 

The member said the military has not yet confirmed the identity of the girl, and he is unaware of any parent having seen the girl. 

Chibok girl 'found'

One of the more than 200 schoolgirls abducted by Nigeria's militant Islamist group Boko Haram from the north-eastern town of Chibok in April 2014 has reportedly been found, a leading campaigner for the release of the girls has tweeted: 

View more on twitter

Protest against children reciting Zimbabwe pledge

Brian Hungwe

BBC Africa, Harare


About 100 members of a Christian group marched in Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, today to protest against the introduction of a national pledge in schools . 

Parents are saying they were never consulted. 

They handed a petition at the Ministry of Education offices in central Harare. 

The pledge is supposed to be recited by pupils at all public schools every week. 

The government says it's meant to uphold and cultivate human values and dignity in the nation.

Here is the wording of the pledge:

“Almighty God, in whose hands our future lies, I salute the national flag, respecting the brave fathers and mothers who lost lives in the Chimurenga/Umvukela.

We are proud inheritors of the richness of our natural resources. We are proud creators and participants in our vibrant traditions and cultures. So I commit to honesty and the dignity of hard work.”

Chumurenga means revolutionary struggle in Shona and Umvukela means the same thing in Ndebele.

Tribute paid to the man behind Ethiopia's runners

Tributes are being paid to Ethiopian athletics coach Woldemeskel Kostre following his death at the age of 69. 

Ethiopia has been one of the strongest nations in distance running over the last 30 years. Much of that success goes down to Mr Kostre.

Kenyan sports journalist Elias Makori told BBC's Newsday that he helped Ethiopia get 28 of its 38 Olympic medals in athletics:

Dr Kostre coached Ethiopia's great names in distance athletics

Nigerian city 'most polluted' in world

A file picture of students from an Onitsha high school walk past a refuse dump in the old Biafran town of Onitsha in eastern Nigeria on December 6, 2005
Getty Images

Tests by the World Organization show that Onitsha city in eastern Nigeria has the worst air quality in the world, reports Quartz magazine.

Onitsha recorded 30 times more than the WHO’s recommended levels of particulate matter concentration, it adds.    

The article goes on to say that three other Nigerian cities - Kaduna, Umuahia and Aba - also feature on the list of the 20 worst-ranked cities.

Militant Islamists 'in Tanzania'

Tomi Oladipo

BBC Africa security correspondent

Screengrab of masked men

A  poor quality video has emerged of about a half dozen masked jihadists. 

The men allege they are in Tanzania's coastal region of Tanga, and call on Muslims across the East African state to join their campaign. 

A Twitter account promoting the five-minute-long video says they are the East African branch of the Islamic State (IS) group, but there is no evidence of a direct link and it is unclear how large the group is in the region. 

'Jail DR Congo war criminal for 25 years'

This file photo taken on March 21, 2016 shows former DR Congo leader Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo waiting at a court room of the ICC

Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court have called for a former vice-president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Jean Pierre-Bemba, to be sentenced to a minimum of 25 years in prison after he was convicted of war crimes at a landmark trial at The Hague, AFP news agency reports. 

The sentence would be "proportionate to the gravity of the offences he committed and to his degree of culpability", it quotes prosecutor Jean-Jacques Badibanga as telling judges. 

Bemba, 53, was convicted in March of failing to stop his rebels from killing and raping people in neighbouring Central African Republic (CAR) in 2002 and 2003.

He had sent more than 1,000 fighters to help put down an attempted coup.

It was the first time the ICC has focused on rape as a weapon of war, and the first time a suspect has been convicted over crimes committed by others under his command.  

Strike flops in Abuja?

Chris Ewokor

BBC Africa, Abuja

Traffic is heavy on the roads of Nigeria's capital, Abuja, despite the strike called by a faction of the trade union movement to protest against the removal of fuel subsidies. 

Markets, banks, state schools and many government offices are also open.  

See our 09:40 post and our 09:04 post for more details.

Nigeria government warns workers

Chris Ewokor

BBC Africa, Abuja

Nigeria's government has warned its employees that it will invoke the 'no work no pay' rule if they join the strike called by a faction of the Nigeria Labour Congress.

A  government statement said the strike was illegal. 

Bosses at government offices have been ordered to open an attendance register for employees and security agents have been deployed to respond to acts of harassment and intimidation, including the locking of offices and blocking of roads by union leaders trying to enforce the strike. 

Diamond sells at record price

 A rare pear-shaped vivid pink diamond has sold for a record $31.5m (£21.8m) at an auction in Geneva, Sotheby's auction house said. 

The 15.38-carat diamond was found in South Africa less than five years ago, the AFP news agency reports.  

A model poses with the "Unique Pink", a 15.38 carats vivid pink diamond, at Sotheby"s auction house in Geneva, Switzerland May 9, 2016.

It was mounted on a ring, and sold to an Asian private collector who had bid by telephone.

"It's the highest price ever paid for a fancy vivid pink diamond," said David Bennett, worldwide chairman of Sotheby's international jewellery division.

Nigerian unions split over fuel strike

Chris Ewokor

BBC Africa, Abuja

Man fills fuel in Nigeria (archive shot)
Nigeria is Africa's main oil producer

It is too early to assess what the impact of the national strike against the 67% fuel price increase is, but in the capital, Abuja, some businesses are open and government workers I spoke to say they are going to work. 

The Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) called the strike, but the TUC and one faction of the NLC, representing workers in the key oil and gas sectors, have backed out of it. 

They have expressed support for the government's decision to remove the fuel subsidies which led to the sharp increase in the price of fuel last week. 

Leaders of the NLC faction still pressing ahead with the strike are gathering for a protest rally in Abuja. 

They say they are unaware of yesterday's ruling by an industrial court, ordering that the strike be suspended because of the risk of civil disorder.

See 09:04 post for more details

Ugandan opposition leader in court

Catherine Byaruhanga

BBC Africa Uganda correspondent

Kizza Besigye during election campiagn
Mr Besigye says has rejected Mr Museveni's victoy in elections

Ugandan opposition leader Kizza Besigye has appeared in court in the capital, Kampala, on a charge of treason, amid tight security.

The treason charges were read out to him, and the case was remanded to 1 June. 

Mr Besigye told the magistrate he would defend himself, and did not need a lawyer. 

Police and soldiers lined the streets, as a security convoy transported him to court from his prison cell in Kampala. 

Soldiers were outside the magistrates court this morning

In a surprise move, the case was heard before the usual starting time of 9am.

His supporters said this showed that Mr Besigye was being persecuted and being tried by "stealth". 

He was arrested last week after supporters held a mock ceremony to inaugurate him as president. 

He rejected President Yoweri Museveni's victory in elections in February as a sham. 

Mr Museveni has been in power for three decades. 

Today's wise words

Our African proverb of the day:

If a poor person has nothing else, he has at least a sweet tongue with which to defer the payments of his debts."

An Akan proverb sent by Emmanuel Donkor, Accra, Ghana.

Click here to send us your African proverbs.

Good morning

Welcome to the BBC Africa Live page where we will bring you news from around the continent.