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Summary

  1. Oxfam under fire over report on 'obscene' wealth of Nigeria's richest men
  2. Moji Olaiya dies aged 42
  3. Regulator accuses MTN Rwanda of flouting licensing conditions
  4. Uganda extends deadline for Sim card verification
  5. 'More than 3,000' escaped in attack on DR Congo jail
  6. Ebola risk 'high' in DR Congo
  7. US gives Tanzania $536m to fight HIV/Aids
  8. Email stories and comments to africalive@bbc.co.uk - Thursday 18 May 2017

Live Reporting

By Farouk Chothia and Paul Bakibinga

All times stated are UK

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Scroll down for Thursday's stories

We'll be back tomorrow

That's all from the BBC Africa Live page 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:

In a land where his true nature isn’t known, the hyena demands a leather seat."

An Amharic proverb sent by Birhanu Simegn in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia

Click here and scroll to the bottom to send us your African proverbs.

We leave you with this photo of a morning bread delivery in Senegal's capital, Dakar:

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US wages 'shadow war' in Africa

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US special operators are carrying out nearly 100 missions at any given time in Africa, Vice News reports, citing military documents it has obtained.

It’s the latest sign of the military’s quiet but ever-expanding presence on the continent, one that represents the most dramatic growth in the deployment of America’s elite troops to any region of the globe, it adds.

Nigerian actress dies

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Popular Nigerian actress Moji Olaiya has died in Canada of cardiac arrest at the age of 42, according to local media.

A spokesman for the Theatre Arts and Motion Picture Association of Nigeria, Yomi Fash-Lanso, said he learned with a "heavy heart" of her sudden death.

It came a few days after she gave birth, he said.

In his tribute, the president of the Actors’ Guild of Nigeria, Emeka Ibeh, said:

In her little way she contributed to the development of Nollywood [Nigeria's equivalent of Holywood] and she will be greatly missed by her friends."

Uganda extends Sim card verification deadline

Motion tabled by leader of Ugandan opposition Winnie Kiiza
BBC

Parliament in Uganda has passed a motion to extend the deadline to verify Sim cards as many mobile phone owners battled to meet the deadline of tomorrow.

The extension is for an unspecified period, but cannot exceed a year.

Ugandans were required to re-register their Sim cards with government-issued ID cards, but many people do not have them.

The motion - tabled by Winnie Kiiza, the parliamentary leader of the opposition Forum for Democratic Chang - says that other official documents like passports, driving permits and voters' cards can also be used.

Ugandans have gone on social media to express their relief:

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See earlier post for more details

Zuma: Crisis over rape and murder in SA

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The spate of violent attacks on women and children in South Africa represents a "crisis", President Jacob Zuma has said, as he visited the family of a three-year old girl who was raped and killed.

Mr Zuma said that 19 children had been murdered so far this year in Western Cape, one of South Africa's nine provinces.

"We as the citizens of this country must say enough is enough," Mr Zuma said, following a visit to the family of toddler Courtney Pieters.

She went missing from her home in Cape Town, the main city in Western Cape, on 4 May. Her body was found more than a week later buried in a shallow grave.

"This is one of the saddest incidents I've come across. It's a crisis in the country, the manner in which women and children are being killed," Mr Zuma said.

The bodies of four murdered women were discovered at the weekend in and around Soweto, a famous township near the commercial capital Johannesburg, according to local media.

The killings have sparked outrage on Twitter:

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Read: South Africa 'crippled' by rape culture

Air Zimbabwe responds to being on EU blacklist

Aircraft
BBC
Air Zimbabwe says it has an impeccable safety record

Air Zimbabwe says it is working to rectify problems that have led to it being banned from flying to airports in the European Union (EU) because of safety concerns.

In a statement to the BBC, the state-owned carrier said it was currently not flying to Europe but "we have listened to our customers who have requested direct flights" to the continent.

Air Zimbabwe was modernising its systems "in line with current best practise", it added.

In the past the carrier has said it has an impeccable safety record and has had no fatalities since independence in 1980.

Escaped Chibok girl 'not one of 276'

Nigeria's government has retracted its announcement that the latest girl to escape from Boko Haram captivity was among the 276 Chibok girls whose abduction in 2014 caused global outrage.

The 15-year-old went to the same school as the Chibok girls, but was kidnapped in a separate incident, presidential spokesman Femi Adesina told the BBC.

Yesterday, Mr Adesina said the girl was found by government troops after she escaped, and the news was broken to the cabinet by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo.

The militant Islamists raided a boarding school in the small town of Chibok in north-eastern Nigeria in April 2014, seizing the 276 girls.

A total of 113 of them remain in captivity. The militants released 82 earlier this month in a prisoner swap.

While the Chibok Girls are the most high-profile cases known, aid organisations say that Boko Haram has captured thousands of people in north-eastern Nigeria.

Some of the 82 released Chibok girls wait to meet Nigerian Preside Muhammadu Buhari (not pictured) at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, Nigeria 07 May 2017.
EPA
A social media campaign, #BringbackourGirls, was waged to secure the freedom of the girls

Read: The town that lost its girls

Could Africa's farmers feed the continent?

With parts of Africa hit by drought, experts are looking at ways of helping farmers and food producers find more efficient methods to store crops, to prevent food and grain being eaten by rats, or other vermin.

It is estimated that 30% of food is lost, or wasted, after it is harvested and fruit or vegetables often perish on their way to markets, because trucks are delayed by bad roads.

The challenge of preserving crops is a big problem for farmers and food producers in Kenya, as the BBC’s Michael Kaloki has been finding out.

Keeping food fresh and getting it to market quickly is a struggle for African farmers

Boys in SA court over sex abuse claims

Karen Allen

BBC southern Africa correspondent, Johannesburg

Three teenage boys have appeared in court in South Africa after being accused of sexually abusing a little girl at a school in Johannesburg.

The matter was reported to the police on 4 Apri but the boys were not suspended until nearly three weeks later.

This prompted an angry response from parents who fear sexual abuse is not being taken seriously in South Africa's schools.

A study published in the British Medical Journal last year by researchers in Cape Town, found that one in three young South Africans will experience sexual abuse at some point in their lives.

Child Welfare campaigners in South Africa say they are receiving reports of youngsters being sexually assaulted by other children- often in the playground -on a monthly basis.

APE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA: Women place white flowers outside parliament during a demonstration in Cape Town 25 November 1999, the International Day for the Prevention of Violence against Women
Getty
Many young South Africans are vulnerable to sexual abuse

Ex-Zimbabwe Parks boss charged over missing rhino horns

Shingai Nyoka

BBC Africa, Harare

Edson Chidziya, the former head of Zimbabwe's National Parks, has been charged with criminal abuse of office over a missing consignment of rhino horns.

Mr Chidziya is accused of mismanagement that led to a security breach and the theft from a strongroom of rhino horns worth $3m (£2.3m).

They disappeared between 2012 and 2015 and were never recovered.

Mr Chidziya was released on bail of $200 along with three other parks staff.

Zimbabwe has a massive stockpile of high-value rhino horns and elephant ivory which it cannot sell because of a global trade ban.

Strong room where elephant tusks and rhino horn are kept in Harare, Zimbabwe
Getty Images

Cannes Film Festival focuses on real-life concerns

On its 70th anniversary, the BBC's Talking Movies assesses the significance of the Cannes Film Festival and takes a look at this year’s line-up which features many films focused on real-life concerns, from climate change to animal exploitation to the plight of refugees.

Talking Movies’ Tom Brook reports.

US car giant GM quits South Africa

Milton Nkosi

BBC Africa, Johannesburg

In what some local media has described as a shock announcement, US car giant General Motors (GM) has announced that it plans to pull out of South Africa.

The firm intends to sell its factory in Port Elizabeth city, where it manufactures its Chevrolet brand, to Japan’s Isuzu Motors Ltd.

The sign outside the new General Motors factory in Cape Town, South Africa.
AFP
As this 1956 photo shows, GM has ended a long relationship with South Africa

The Detroit based company said it is following its strategy of focusing cash and engineering effort on fewer, more profitable markets.

This announcement is not limited to South Africa.

GM said it would restructure its operations in India and Singapore as well.

It would cancel most of a planned $1bn (£770m) investment to build a new line of low-cost vehicles in India.

GM sold just 49,000 vehicles in India and South Africa last year.

The firm's president Stephan Jacoby said in a statement:

"After a thorough assessment of our South African operations, we believe it is best for Isuzu to integrate our light commercial vehicle manufacturing operations into its African business.

"We determined that continued or increased investment in manufacturing in South Africa would not provide GM the expected returns of other global investment opportunities."

Kachikwu: Nigeria will boost oil production

Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, is Minister for Petroleum Resources in Nigeria. He tells BBC Hardtalk's Stephen Sackur he wants to ensure Nigeria is self-sufficient in oil by 2019 or he will resign.

You can see the interview in full on Monday 22 May on BBC World News and the BBC News Channel and after on BBC iPlayer (UK only).

Cholera outbreak hits Kenya's capital

DR Congo jail break: 'More than 3,000 escaped'

BBC World Service

Security sources in the Democratic Republic of Congo have told the BBC that more than 3,000 prisoners are believed to have escaped when armed men attacked the country's main prison early yesterday.

The authorities have said only around 50 prisoners got away.

This file photo taken on July 2, 2013 shows Congolese police and UN soldiers standing guard after an incident at the Makala jail in Kinshasa. Rebels from an outlawed political-religious group attacked Kinshasa"s central prison on May 17, 2017,
AFP
Gunmen carried out a raid on the jail at dawn

The security sources also said dozens of people were killed during the attack on the Makala prison. The leader of the political-religious sect Bundu Dia Kongo is among those who escaped.

The police spokesperson told a local radio that the prisoners were dangerous, and called for anyone who saw them to tell the police.

US gives Tanzania $526m to fight HIV/Aids

The US government has approved plans to give Tanzania $526m (£400m) over the coming year to combat HIV/AIDS, its embassy in the East African state has said.

The aid will bring the number of Tanzanians on HIV treatment to up to 1.2 million and the ultimate goal was to "completely eliminate" Aids in Tanzania by 2030, it added.

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DR Congo prison raid 'left six dead'

Scene outside prison in Knshasa
Press Eye
Red Cross officials recovered bodies following the attack on the prison

Officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo say a police officer and at least five attackers were killed in yesterday's raid on the main prison in the capital, Kinshasa.

The government says supporters of jailed sect leader Ne Muanda Nsemi attacked the prison and freed him.

However, the Bundu Dia Kongo movement has told local media that the group had no involvement in the attack and that the whereabouts of Mr Nsemi, their spiritual leader, were unknown.

Local media reports say up to 100 people may have died in the raid while thousands of prisoners may have been able to escape from the prison.

There is no independent confirmation of the figures.

Find out more about DR Congo

Pro-government youth in Burundi 'die in blast'

Three members of the feared youth wing of Burundi's ruling party have been killed in a grenade explosion in the capital Bujumbura, police and witnesses have said, AFP news agency reports.

The perpetrator of the attack on the members of the Imbonerakure is not yet known, municipal police commissioner Bonfort Ndoreraho said, AFP adds.

An unnamed police source told AFP it was unclear whether the explosion was as a result of "an external attack or an accident."

Crirics accuse the Imbonerakure of being a militia which has used violence against opponents of President Pierre Nkurunziza and the ruling CNDD-FDD party.

The explosion happened yesterday evening in a house in the Musaga district, described by residents as a neighbourhood headquarters for the youth wing, AFP reports.

At least 439 people were killed and 240,000 fled to neighbouring states after unrest broke out in 2015 over Mr Nkurunziza's decision to extend his 10-year rule, according to the UN.

Street in Bujumbura
AFP
Bujumbura was worst-affected by the unrest

Read: Burundi's football-loving president

Rush to beat Sim card verification deadline in Uganda

Patience Atuhaire

BBC Africa, Kampala

People at registration
BBC
People have been battling to get ID cards

Long queues have been forming in parts of Uganda's capital Kampala today ahead of tomorrow's deadline to verify mobile Sim cards.

Hundreds are gathered at the Kololo Independence ground and Nakawa Urban Council headquarters, where ID registration has been ongoing.

In April, the Uganda Police and the Communications Commission issued a 7-day ultimatum for Ugandans to verify their Sim cards using their National ID details, as a measure of fighting increased crime in the country.

After a huge outcry this deadline was extended for a month.

Some of the telecommunication companies have already started deactivating cards and people have been venting their frustration via social media.

People at registration
BBC
The process of getting Sim cads verified has been long and arduous

The process has, however, been plagued by glitches.

Some told me they have been coming to the registration point for three weeks without getting their IDs or ID numbers.

Others say they have submitted their biodata more than three times but their names still cannot be found in the electronic system.

Meanwhile, some have started the process all over again and are just filling in registration forms.

If government goes ahead with the planned de-activation of the sim cards, nearly seven out of the 21 million phone subscribers risk being switched off tomorrow.

Many people use their phones to facilitate financial transactions.

Ebola risk 'high' in DR Congo

A total of 18 suspected cases of Ebola have been reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the World Health Organization has said.

There have been two confirmed cases of Ebola and three deaths.

The dead include a 39-year-old man identified as "patient zero" in preliminary investigations, and two others who had close contact with him, the WHO said.

It added that its risk assessment was "high at national level, medium at regional level and low at international level ".

WHO declared an Ebola outbreak in DR Congo last week.

More than 11,000 people died in the outbreak in West Africa in 2014-2015, mainly in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Health workers in West Africa (archive shot)
AFP
The world's deadliest Ebola outbreak hit West Africa in 2014-2015

Read: Why Ebola is so dangerous

Nigeria row over billionaires' wealth

Halima Dangote (L) and Honoree Aliko Dangote attend the TIME 100 Gala, TIME's 100 most influential people in the world, at Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 29, 2014 in New York City.
AFp
Nigerian Aliko Dangote, here with his daughter Halima , is Africa's richest man

The combined wealth of Nigeria’s five richest men - $29.9bn (£22.9bn) - could end extreme poverty in the country, the charity Oxfam has said.

Nigeria's Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, hit back at the charity, saying she was concerned about the "language, tone and style" of Oxfam's report, Inequality in Nigeria.

Oxfam's Good Governance Programme Coordinator for Nigeria, Celestine Okwudili Odo, said:

It is obscene that the richest Nigerian has amassed more money than he can ever hope to spend in a country where five million people will struggle to feed themselves this year. Extreme inequality is exacerbating poverty, undermining the economy, and fermenting social unrest. Nigerian leaders must be more determined in tackling this terrible problem.”

Oxfam said its research found that:

  • Nigeria’s richest man earns 8,000 times more in one day than a poor Nigerian will spend on basic needs in a year.
  • More than 112 million people are living in poverty in Nigeria, yet the country’s richest man would have to spend $1m a day for 42 years to exhaust his fortune.
  • Despite a rapidly growing economy, Nigeria is one of the few countries where the number of people living in poverty increased, from 69 million in 2004 to 112 million in 2010 - a rise of 69%.
  • The number of millionaires increased by 44% during the same period.

In her response, Ms Ahmed said:

The methodology used in the report also raises some questions: is it for empirical or theoretical purposes? Oxfam needs to tell us in the report what it intends to achieve, what data was gathered, where it was gathered, the sample size and the uses of the data.

When I looked at the report, I was worried about certain concepts, such as ‘Who are the elites?’"

Oxfam cited Forbes magazine, which listed the five richest Nigerians as:

  • Aliko Dangote (net worth $14.4bn)
  • Mike Adenuga (net worth $9.9 billion)
  • Femi Otedola (net worth US$1.85 billion)
  • Folorunsho Alakija (net worth $1.55 billion) and
  • Abdul Samad Rabiu (net worth $1.1 billion).

The five have not yet commented, but the MD of Nigeria's FSL Asset Management Limited was quoted by the Vanguard newspaper as saying:

The report is not too far from the truth. There is no doubt that there is so much poverty in the country, but I don’t think it is fair to the people mentioned in the report because they are private businessmen, who have built their wealth through hard work. The level of poverty is something that should be addressed to the government.”

Danny Boyle searching for South Africa's township talent

Filmmaker Danny Boyle has travelled to the townships of Johannesburg to search for talented dancers.

Those he chooses will perform as part of a large production in New York.

Video journalist: Barnaby Mitchell

Danny Boyle searching for South Africa's township talent

Corruption 'weakens fight against Boko Haram'

BBC World Service

The campaign group Transparency International says corruption in the Nigerian military is weakening the country's efforts to fight Boko Haram insurgents.

It accuses officials of creating fake defence contracts and stealing money meant to provide vital equipment. It says this has left the army under-resourced and insufficiently trained.

A Nigerian defence spokesman Major General John Enenche, said the allegations did not apply to the current crop of military officers.

He said much had been done to improve training and boost the morale of troops.

A photo taken on July 4, 2015 shows houses burnt by Boko Haram fighters at Zabarmari, a fishing and farming village near Maiduguri, northeast Nigeria.
AFP
Boko Haram has waged a brutal insurgency in Nigeria since 2009

Read: The man who persuaded Boko Haram to release Chibok girls

Rwanda fines MTN $8.5m

Rwanda's telecom regulator says it has fined South African-owned mobile phone giant MTN about $8.5m (£6.6m) for breaching its licensing conditions by hosting its IT services outside the country.

MTN Rwanda pressed ahead with hosting IT services in neighbouring Uganda despite being warned that it would constitute a "serious breach of licence obligations and appropriate measures would be taken”, the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority added in a statement.

MTN said it has been notified by the regulator about the penalty and that the parties were discussing the matter.

MTN billboard in Lagos, Nigeria
AFP
MTN is the biggest mobile phone operation in Africa

The firm was fined $5.2bn by Nigeria's regulator in 2015 for failing to disconnect all non-registered sim cards.

The fine was reduced to $1.7bn following high-level negotiations between the two sides.

Today's wise words

Our African proverb of the day:

In a land where his true nature isn’t known, the hyena demands a leather seat.

An Amharic proverb sent by Birhanu Simegn in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia

Click here to send us your African proverbs

Good morning

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