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  1. Obasanjo says youth unemployment is Africa's biggest problem
  2. South African church body unleashes fierce critique of president's government
  3. Body of Kenyan politician Thomas Minito found in river, police say
  4. Inmates escape from second DR Congo prison in a week
  5. France's President Macron in Mali on first overseas trip
  6. Targeted killings in South Sudan could be war crime, UN says
  7. Gambia issues indictments over killing of journalist Deyda Hydara
  8. Bashir 'will skip' Saudi summit to be attended by Trump
  9. Clashes in Libya kill 60
  10. Email stories and comments to - Friday 19 May 2017

Live Reporting

By Clare Spencer and Damian Zane

All times stated are UK

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Scroll down for Friday's stories

We'll be back next week

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:

The he-goat’s beard and perfume cannot prevent his owner from selling him."

A Dinka proverb sent by Francis Beek in Gogrial, South Sudan

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

And we leave you with this picture of a South African motocross rider wowing the crowd at celebrations for Lagos state's 50th anniversary in Nigeria. It's one of our top shots from this week.

A South African freestyle motor cross rider performs during a carnival to mark 50 month-long celebrations on May 13, 2017 in Lagos. A carnival was held with captivating cultural displays, traditional costumes and folk music to showcase the state rich cultural tradition at the event.

Could presidents give up their motorcades?

Ten motorcycle outriders, a convoy of 20 bullet-proof cars.

It's all necessary for our satirical President Olushambles to get from A to B.

But his counterpart President Kibarkingmad has started to wonder. What's so wrong with just walking?


Olushambles and Kibarkingmad are living the fast life.

Obasanjo: Part of the solution or part of the problem?

A lot of people have been reacting on the BBC Africa Facebook page to the comments from Nigeria's former President Olusegun Obasanjo that Africa's most dangerous problem is the high rate of youth unemployment (see earlier post).

Mr Obasanjo made the comments as an elder statesman taking a bird's-eye view of the continent, but the commenters on Facebook are not very sympathetic and see the former leader as part of the problem:

Anengiyefa Alagoa says:

People like Mr Obasanjo are a major part of the problem! The absence of accountability and people failing to take responsibility for their failures, are the main reasons why Africa is in the mess that is in today."

Akpoka Desmond Akpoka says:

This man has been the person destroying youth in his country. He should be asked how he has helped youth during his eight year reign as president. What platform did he created that's helping youth today?"

Olagunju Kayode says:

Very many of our past leaders jet off to weddings of colleagues and move huge capital investments out of the country. So how do they expect the youth to do well without a good job?"

Olusegun Obasanjo
Mr Obasanjo was Nigeria's president from 1999 to 2007

Tanzanian aims to sell health insurance to poorest

Tanzanian entrepreneur Lillian Makoi was inspired to look into health insurance when her maid’s husband died in a car accident.

She told the BBC’s Sammy Awami that he didn’t die because of the car accident, it wasn’t a bad crash. He died because he couldn’t pay $25 to access the hospital care.

This spurred her on to look into health insurance for people on low incomes and found a big gap in the market in the form of millions of uninsured Tanzanians.

The big insurance players told her the administration costs make it impossible to provide health insurance to people earning less than $100 a month.

Listen to her explain on Focus on Africa how she found a way to charge $1 a month for health insurance:

Parcel bomb injures three in South Africa

Milton Nkosi

BBC Africa, Johannesburg

Three people have been seriously injured by what is believed to be a parcel bomb in the South African coastal city of Durban.

The bomb exploded after it was delivered to a house in an upmarket part of the city.

Police and emergency services were still on the scene on Friday afternoon.

Captain Nqobile Gwala from the South African Police Service said the people were injured when they opened the parcel. They have all been taken to hospital.

Police are investigating the motive behind the explosion.

View more on twitter

The price of the release of 82 Chibok girls

Chibok girls queuing up to meet president

Eighty-two of those kidnapped from Chibok in Nigeria in 2014 were released earlier this month. They were part of group of girls kidnapped by the Islamist militants Boko Haram.

The release of the 82 came with a price, the BBC's Alastair Leithead and Stephanie Hegarty have found.

The details of the deal are sketchy.

But they report that five senior Boko Haram militants were moved from a high security unit to be driven to freedom.

Our correspondents' sources don’t want to be named and their version of events is hard to confirm, but they say the men were high-level Boko Haram bomb makers, and that they were accompanied by two million euros in cash.

Governments rarely admit to paying a ransom, and this claim could not be independently verified.

Read our in depth analysis of the fate of the Chibok girls.

South Africans on Twitter rally to help threatened woman

The Twitter handle for South Africa's Police Minister Fikile Mbalula has been trending in the country today as people share what appears to be a desperate cry for help from an abused woman.

It comes as the spotlight has been thrown on the high number of women being murdered in South Africa following the killing of 22-year-old Karabo Mokoena. Her former boyfriend has been arrested in connection with her death.

One Twitter user compiled some of the woman's messages and tagged the minister in a tweet. She alleges that her boyfriend is trying to kill her.

Content of Twitter message

The minister responded by asking for help in getting in touch with the woman:


Later he said contact had been made:


Nigerian officials warned not to take bribes for visas

Muhammad Kabir Muhammad

BBC Africa, Abuja

Getty Images
Officials often demand payments to get anything done quickly

Nigeria's acting President Yemi Osinbajo has warned officials caught soliciting for or receiving bribes for visas will be sacked and prosecuted.

He said this as he signed three executive orders that aim to radically speed up the notoriously slow Nigerian bureaucracy.

One of the orders instructs all government agencies to publish all requirements or conditions for obtaining their services or products, including permits and licences on their websites.

It also says all applications for business registrations, certification, waivers, licenses or permits not concluded on time shall be deemed approved.

This could radically change how things are done in Nigeria.

Currently, when you apply for anything from Nigerian officials, you either pay bribes to get it done as quickly as possible or you wait for the bureaucratic wheel to complete its sluggish turn at an indeterminate period in future.

Nigerian ex-governor to box Holyfield, Soyinka to referee

It sounds like a surreal dream: former heavyweight world champion Evander Holyfield in the ring with ex-Lagos state governor Bola Tinubu and Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka is the referee.

But - according to the event organisers - this is really going to happen next week.

View more on twitter

#RumbleInLagos has been trending on Twitter in Nigeria today as people discuss the fight.

Mr Tinubu is quoted as saying that he "can't wait to knock Evander down".

View more on twitter

The event is part of the Lagos@50 celebrations and is intended to raise awareness of various medical conditions:

View more on twitter

Man jailed for giving away daughter to pay bar debt

A Mozambican man has been jailed for 19 years after he handed over his daughter as a child bride to pay a bar debt of 600 meticais (£6.90; $10), reports Portuguese newspaper Diario de Noticias.

The man who accepted the girl was given the same sentence, the newspaper adds.

The article goes on to say an NGO found out about the girl and took her in.

The sentence was handed out by a court in Manica, close to the border with Zimbabwe, on 18 April but took a month to come to light, Lusa news agency adds.

'We are all sitting on a keg of gunpowder'

The unemployment rate among Africa's large youthful population is potentially dangerous, Nigeria's former President Olusegun Obasanjo told the BBC.

"We are all sitting on a keg of gunpowder," he said in an interview with Africa Business Report when he was talking about his greatest fear for the continent.

He estimated that 60% of the continent's population is under the age of 25 and half of those do not have a job.

He suggested that a better education system was one of the answers to the problem.

His comments came in a candid interview about the state of both Africa's and Nigeria's economy and politics.

Nigerian oil workers union calls strike

An attendant sells fuel to a motorist at a filling station in Lagos, on May 12, 2016.
Getty Images
Nigeria is not yet self-sufficient in petrol

A Nigerian oil workers' union has called a strike over 150 workers who were sacked in December, a union member told Reuters news agency.

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (Pengassan) union called for the shutdown of all Exxon Mobil Corp facilities in the Niger Delta.

Reuters was unable to verify whether union members had shut down the company's facilities and oil sources told them there had been no impact on production.

Madubuezi Azubuike, who chairs the union in Rivers state, said the call followed the breakdown of talks with the company over sackings and was part of a strike that began last week.

Italy's first black minister 'vindicated' by racist slurs verdict

Italy's first black minister has said she feels "vindicated" after winning a four-year court battle against a far-right MEP who made repeated racist slurs against her.

Mario Borghezio has been ordered to pay Cécile Kyenge 50,000 euros ($55,690; £42,895) by a court in Milan.

Among other comments, Borghezio said she "took away a job from an Italian doctor" in a 2013 radio interview.

The Northern League MEP must also pay Ms Kyenge's legal fees.

Ms Kyenge, who was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, told the BBC's Newsday radio programme: "At the end of the day this is a strong message against impunity. those who believe there is no justice should think twice.

Read more from BBC News Online.

Macron arrives in Mali for visit to French troops

Emmanuel Macron has arrived in Mali to meet French troops, less than a week after his inauguration as France's president.

Mr Macron's plane touched down at a French airbase in Gao in the north of the country just before 10:00 GMT (11:00 BST).

French soldiers have been fighting Islamic militants in the north of the former French colony since 2013.

He has been tweeting tributes to those troops.

This says French troops will continue fight alongside Mali.

View more on twitter

He also said that France will be uncompromising in its struggle against Islamist militants in the country.

He was greeted in Gao by his Malian counterpart, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita,

French President Emmanuel Macron (L) talks with Mali's President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita (R) during a visit to the troops of France's Barkhane counter-terrorism operation in Africa's Sahel region in Gao, northern Mali, 19 May 2017

Thousands of French soldiers have been fighting jihadists in the Sahel region since 2013, when they led a military intervention to drive out Islamist groups that had seized large parts of Mali.

But attacks by militants continue, killing 300 people last year.

Read more on the BBC News website.

Politician's body identified by documents in pocket

Ferdinand Omondi

BBC Africa, Nairobi

We've been reporting on the death of a politician linked to the raids on private ranches in Kenya (see earlier entry).

Police believe the body retrieved from a river this morning belongs to Thomas Minito, who was being investigated for possible involvement in the shooting of Italian-born Kenyan conservationist Kuki Gallman.

The body was found floating in a river in Machakos county, 50km east of the capital, Nairobi.

Police said they identified him from the documents found in his pockets and they think he was murdered because of an injury they have observed to his head.

But his family is yet to confirm the identity.

Mr Minito was arrested on 30 March and accused of inciting violence in Laikipia county, including raids on private ranches.

Ms Gallmann was shot in an attack linked to that violence.

Thomas Minito
Baringo County

South Africa turning into 'mafia state'

BBC World Service

A church panel in South Africa has warned that corruption is fast turning the country into a mafia state.

Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana, the head of the influential South African Council of Churches (Sacoc), said President Jacob Zuma's government had lost its moral legitimacy.

The Reuters news agency quotes him as saying:

We have come to recognise that South Africa may just be a few inches from the throes of a mafia state from which there may be no return, a recipe for a failed state."

Sacoc has been carrying out a commission looking into corruption in the country and witnesses told commissioners that government officials around Mr Zuma had diverted budgets, rigged tender processes and tailored regulations to benefit a select few.

The church council said it would send its findings to the governing African National Congress.

Last year, a report by the country's anti-corruption investigator found evidence of possible corruption at the top level of Mr Zuma's government.

The president has launched a legal process to challenge the findings.

South African President Jacob Zuma
South Africa President Jacob Zuma is coming under increasing pressure over allegations of corruption in his government

Second jail-break in DR Congo

BBC World Service

There has been another jail-break in the Democratic Republic of Congo two days after more than 3,000 inmates escaped from the country's main jail.

This time, about 60 people broke out of Kasangulu prison, some 40km from the capital, Kinshasa.

The jail is located in the heartland of the Bundu Dia Kongo religious sect.

In the previous incident, the sect's jailed leader was among those who escaped when armed men attacked the prison.

The authorities are discussing the possibility of deploying the military to guard jails.

Scene in front of jail where prisoners escaped on Wednesday
Cars parked at the front of the prison were burnt during Wednesday's jail-break

Salomon Kalou recalled to Ivory Coast squad

Salomon Kalou
Getty Images

New Ivory Coast coach Marc Wilmots has persuaded Salomon Kalou to come out of international retirement.

Hertha Berlin's Kalou quit the Elephants after the defending champions crashed out of the Africa Cup of Nations this year.

Wilmot had also persuaded four former France youth internationals to swap national allegiances and play for Ivory Coast.

Ivory Coast face the Netherlands in a friendly on 4 June and Guinea in a 2019 Nations Cup qualifier five days later.

Read more on the BBC Sport website.

Ugandans warned unregistered phones will be cut off tonight

Patience Atuhaire

BBC Africa, Kampala

Mobile phone
Getty Images

The Uganda Minister for Communications Frank Tumwebaze has warned that all unverified Sim cards will be switched off midnight tonight.

This is in spite of a motion passed in parliament to extend the deadline.

He says voice services on unverified Sim cards will first be turned off, but mobile money services will stay on for people to withdraw any credit they have may if they don't intend to have that Sim card verified.

Mr Tumwebaze says at least 92% of all active Sim cards had been submitted for verification by close of business yesterday.

Long queues were seen on Thursday in parts of Uganda's capital Kampala as people were trying to get national identity cards to be used to verify the Sim cards.

Suspected Ebola cases in Congo rise to 29

Health workers wearing protective gear at the Nongo Ebola treatment centre in Conakry, Guinea, on August 21, 2015
Getty Images
The world's deadliest Ebola outbreak hit West Africa in 2014-2015

The number of suspected Ebola cases in Congo has risen to 29, up from 21, Reuters News agency reports World Health Organization spokesman Christian Lindmeier as saying.

Three people have died so far and 416 peolpe who may have had contact with sufferers were being chased up in case they also developed symptoms, he said.

People began to get sick on or after 22 April in Bas-Uele province in the country's far north.

The region affected lies 1,300km (800 miles) north-east of Kinshasa, close to the border with the Central African Republic, in a remote forested area.

CAR comes bottom of global healthcare list

The Central African Republic has the worst healthcare standards in the world, according to a study of 195 countries by the medical journal The Lancet.

With the exceptions of Afghanistan, Haiti and Yemen, the 30 countries at the bottom of the ranking of healthcare quality were all in sub-Saharan Africa.

The 32 diseases for which death rates were tracked included tuberculosis and other respiratory infections; illnesses that can be prevented with vaccines such as diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus and measles; several forms of treatable cancer and heart disease; and maternal or neonatal disorders.

The country at the top of the list was the tiny European country Andorra.

baby in incubator
Getty Images
Neonatal care was among the features measured

Politician's body 'found in river'

BBC World Service

Police in Kenya say they have found the body of a politician linked to violence in the Rift Valley region.

They say Thomas Minito's body was found floating in Athi River, south of the capital Nairobi.

He appeared to have been struck on the head with a blunt object.

Mr Minito was arrested in March in connection with a wave of attacks on farms and safari lodges.

Much of the violence has been blamed on drought-affected livestock herders who have been moving their animals onto private land.

But it is also said to be political as elections due in August draw closer.

South Sudan killings 'may amount to war crimes'

A UN report into violence and human rights abuses in and near the South Sudanese town Yei says they "may amount to war crimes".

Yei is 150km south-west of the capital, Juba.

Researchers investigated what happened between July 2016 and January 2017 as pro-government forces clashed with supporters of Riek Machar in the ongoing civil war there.

They found that there was:

Indiscriminate shelling of civilians; targeted killings; looting and burning of civilian property and cases of sexual violence perpetrated against women and girls, including those fleeing fighting."

Cover of UN report

The report says 114 people were killed by pro-government forces, but adds that researchers did not have access to areas controlled by opposition forces so could not find out what happened in those places.

The violence divided people along ethnic lines and turned a peaceful town into one in which thousands were forced to flee.

South Sudan's civil war began in December 2013 when forces loyal to the former Vice-President Riek Machar clashed with those loyal to President Salva Kiir.

Map of area

Guinea teenager allegedly held as sex slave in Australia

A teenager from Guinea has escaped from an Australian house where she was allegedly being held as a sex slave, according to police.

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.

Read more from BBC News Online

#DearSouthAfricanWomen trends in South Africa

Hashtags concerning violence against women have been a theme over the past week on Twitter in South Africa.

Last week, people on Twitter were using and then debating #MenAreTrash in the wake of the news about the murder of Karabo Mokoena.

Her former boyfriend was arrested after her badly-burnt body was discovered.

The murder also turned the spotlight on the high number of women being murdered in the country.

Now #DearSouthAfricanWomen has been trending over the past 24 hours as people share advice about how women can stay safe.

View more on twitter
View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Meanwhile, Ms Mokoena is being buried today, and people are sharing photos of the ceremony:

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

South Africa's street Shakespeare

A group of homeless men in downtown Johannesburg, South Africa, have found solace and hope in performing plays written by William Shakespeare.

The city's abandoned buildings have been dubbed "the dark home" by the thousands of men and women who live there.

But Shakespeare has provided a means to start making a viable living.

Suicide bombers die in failed Nigeria attack

Three suicide bombers in Nigeria have been killed while trying to attack a female university hostel in Maiduguri in the north-east of the country.

The city was at one time the centre of the Islamist militant insurgency in the country.

Local reports that four security men were injured, but there were no other deaths.

Sudan's Bashir 'to skip Trump-Muslim summit'

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir attends the Arab League summit in Egypt's Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh on 28 March, 2015.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court, will not join an Islamic summit in Saudi Arabia with US President Donald Trump, AFP news agency quotes his office as saying.

He has apologised to to King Salman of Saudi Arabia for being unable to attend, according to the Suna news agency.

His planned attendance at Sunday's summit of Arab and Muslim leaders in Riyadh had drawn strong criticism from Washington.

Sudan was one of seven included in Mr Trump's proposed travel ban, along with Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.

Economic sanctions were imposed against Sudan in 1997 after the state was labelled a "sponsor of terrorism" by the US.

Mr Bashir has evaded arrest since his indictment by the ICC for alleged genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity related to the conflict in Darfur that has killed tens of thousands.

Macron to visit French troops in Mali on second official trip

New French President Emmanuel Macron is due to travel to Mali in West Africa, at the end of his first week in office.

French soldiers have been fighting Islamic militants in the north of the former French colony since 2013.

He is due to review some of the 4,000 anti-insurgent troops France has deployed in the region.

Emmanuel Macron
Mr Macron chose military transport for his inauguration - a choice reflected in one of his first visits

This is Mr Macron's second foreign trip as president. He visited German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin a day after his inauguration on Sunday.

As president, he is expected to continue his predecessor's policy regarding military presence in West Africa.

Mr Macron has talked about writing a new page in his country's relationship on the continent, and of breaking away from the old neo-colonial networks.

As a candidate, he stirred controversy at home by labelling France's colonial war in Algeria a crime against humanity.

French election: What Emmanuel Macron's win means for Africa - BBC News

'At least 60 killed' at Libyan airbase fight

Rana Jawad

BBC North Africa correspondent, Tunis

Reports from Libya say at least 60 people have been killed in fighting between rival forces in the south of the country.

The death toll could not be independently verified.

A spokesman for the Libyan National Army group said an airbase it controls at Brak al-Shati came under attack.

A faction known as the Third Force said it carried out the offensive.

The area has become a focus of tensions between supporters of Libya's UN-backed government based in Tripoli, and its opponents.

Earlier this month, the commander of the Libyan National Army group, Khalifa Haftar, met the head of the government in Tripoli, Fayez al-Sarraj, to try to calm the situation in the south.

There were hopes that that landmark meeting would pave the way for a wider political and military settlement in the country.

But whatever tentative truce there was appears to have collapsed.

Indictments over murder of Gambian journalist

Two former Gambian army officers have been indicted for the 2004 murder of prominent Gambian journalist Deyda Hydara, the AFP news agency reports.

The two named were former colonel Kawsu Camara and major Sanna Manjang.

Mr Hydara was shot dead on the outskirts of the capital, Banjul, in what was described by human rights groups at the time as a pre-meditated killing by well-organised professionals.

They linked the journalist's murder to his criticism of a media law which he argued restricted press freedom.

Human rights activists list his killing as one of the examples of abuses committed under the rule of the former President Yahya Jammeh.

Mr Jammeh is now living in exile after more than two decades in power. He stepped down in January.

Poster of Deyda Hydara

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