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Summary

  1. Bus accident leaves more than 40 dead in Zimbabwe, police say
  2. Benin president abroad 'for medical checks'
  3. Internet back on in Ethiopia after more than a week
  4. Up to 10,000 to move in South Africa as wildfires approach
  5. Al-Shabab 'kills 61' in army base attack in Somalia
  6. Nigeria governor orders arrest of anti-Igbo activists
  7. Rhino kills conservationist in Rwanda
  8. Email stories and comments to africalive@bbc.co.uk - Thursday 8 June 2017

Live Reporting

By Paul Bakibinga and Damian Zane

All times stated are UK

Get involved

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:

As you bring up a child, so he will be."

A Swahili proverb sent by Wise Alubankudi in New York, United States

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

And we leave you with this picture from the Everyday Egypt Instagram account of two men enjoying a train ride in Upper Egypt:

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South Sudan convoy ambushed 'leaving 14 dead'

Gunmen in South Sudan have ambushed a convoy travelling from Uganda to the capital, Juba, leaving 14 people dead including a number of soldiers, a police spokesperson has said.

A military spokesperson has confirmed the numbers who were killed and added that nine others were wounded. He told the BBC that some of them are being treated in Juba.

The road from the Ugandan border to Juba is a life-line for South Sudan, correspondents say.

Local media are also reporting the ambush:

View more on twitter

Somali officials 'now say 38 died in al-Shabab attack'

Somali officials have now revised their estimate of how many died in this morning's attack in the north-east of the country, the Reuters news agency reports.

The al-Shabab militant group claimed responsibility for the attack on a military base some 70km from Bosaso in the semi-autonomous Puntland region.

It said that 61 soldiers had died.

A military officer who had initially told Reuters that 20 people were killed now says that the death toll was higher.

Major Mohamed Abdi is quoted as saying: "Now we confirm 38 people, mostly soldiers, died and 18 others wounded. I believe some were captured alive and taken away."

Rain and then fire in Western Cape, what's the connection?

You may have been left a bit confused by the fact that there's been heavy rain in South Africa's Western Cape and then wildfires.

The two events are connected but they have not happened in exactly the same place.

The rain storms have been in the east of the province and the fires in the west.

It is the wind that went with the storms that has fanned the fires in the drier part of the Western Cape.

BBC weather expert Stav Danaos has been explaining more to Focus on Africa:

First there was the freezing wind, then the driving rain, huge waves and then wildfire

South Africa calls for safety measures to prevent bird flu

Chickens
AFP

We posted earlier about South Africa banning the import of chickens from Zimbabwe following an outbreak of bird flu there.

At the same time, the government is also urging farmers, particularly those in the border areas, to be extra vigilant.

In a statement it says "keepers of chickens, geese and ducks, including backyard farmers, are encouraged to observe minimum biosecurity measures to prevent this disease in their birds...

"Care should be taken to prevent chickens drinking from common water sources where wild birds congregate."

Earlier, South Africa's poultry farmers had said it was concerned that the country could lose 140 million chickens if bird flu spread, Eyewitness News reports.

'At least 20 foreign journalists' barred from entering South Sudan

At least 20 foreign journalists have been refused permission to enter South Sudan, Elijah Alier from the country's Media Authority told the AFP news agency.

Earlier this week Eye Radio reported that that the journalists were banned for reporting “unsubstantiated and unrealistic stories”.

But Mr Alier did not say why they were refused entry, AFP reports.

According to the AFP foreign journalists who want to visit the country have to be cleared by the Media Authority before being granted a visa.

Alfred Taban, a veteran South Sudanese journalist, is critical of the restrictions.

He says "it gives the impression that South Sudan has something to cover up," AFP reports Mr Taban as saying.

South Sudan"s President Salva Kiir addresses a news conference at the Presidential Palace in Juba, South Sudan May 12, 2017
Reuters
President Salva Kiir's government has been criticised for restrictions on press freedom

Integrity and Kenya's elections - our weekly podcast

Last week BBC Africa launched Kenya Election Watch, a special weekly podcast about the Kenyan elections.

The second episode is out and this week our colleague Dickens Olewe speaks to Sheilla Masinde from Transparency International about a push by civil rights groups to get the electoral commission to block politicians with integrity issues from running in the 8 August election.

For this interview and more, listen here:

South Africa fire brings destruction

The leader of South Africa's Western Cape province has been tweeting pictures of some of the damage wreaked by the wildfires.

View more on twitter

Journalists are also tweeting pictures:

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Nearly 10,000 people had to flee their homes because of the wildfires in the Knysna area of the Western Cape.

Where is Benin's President Patrice Talon?

Benin's President Patrice Talon is in France undergoing a complete medical check up, the country's Foreign Minister Aurélien Agbénonci has told the BBC.

The president has not been seen in public for two weeks prompting intense speculation on social media regarding his health.

Mr Talon did not appear at last weekend's Ecowas summit.

Earlier this week, the foreign minister went on TV to reassure the country, denying that Mr Talon was sick and saying that the president had not left Benin in a hurry.

Rumours were further fuelled by the fact that the foreign minister who usually travels abroad with the president has not done so on this occasion.

Mr Agbenonci says President Talon is expected back in Benin over the weekend.

Benin"s President Patrice Talon attends a joint declaration with French President at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, April 26, 2016
Reuters
President Talon has not been seen in public for two weeks

Nine on trial in Mozambique for defrauding army

Jose Tembe

BBC Africa, Maputo

Four Mozambican military officers and five civilians are on trial charged with stealing over $600,000 (£460,000) from the accounts of the country’s army command over a six year period.

According to the prosecution the key figures in the theft were responsible for processing wages for the army.

They used this access to pay themselves and others illicit wages, allowances and other bonuses.

This included depositing large sums in the bank accounts of friends, colleagues and lovers.

Small acts of defiance in Ethiopia

The internet has come back on in Ethiopia more than a week after the authorities shut it down. It was turned off to prevent people leaking exam papers, the government said.

Now that it's back, one activist took the opportunity to tweet pictures of a small act of protest.

Befeqadu Hailu says that in a launch event in the capital, Addis Ababa, for a new series of cartoon characters people were asked to write messages about their heroes.

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He adds that some wrote down the names of imprisoned journalists and politicians, including Eskinder Nega, Bekele Gerba and Andualem Arage.

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Ethiopia has been criticised by rights groups for its restrictions on the freedom of speech.

Reporters Without Frontiers puts the country at 150th place out of 180 countries in its press freedom index.

Befeqadu Hailu has himself been detained by the authorities.

Nigeria kicks off food aid programme for north-east

Nigeria's Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has gone to the north-eastern city of Maiduguri a day after a suicide attack hit the area.

He's there to start the government's food relief programme:

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Nearly two million people need food aid in north-east Nigeria as a result of the Boko Haram insurgency, which has led many people to flee their homes.

The government hopes to distribute 30,000 tonnes of locally grown maize, sorghum and soybeans.

On Wednesday night, 14 civilians were killed and 24 were injured in a suicide attack, police say. Three of the militants were also killed while one was captured alive.

'Major crisis' after South Africa fires

South Africa fire
Sphiwe Hobasi/@MrCow_man

The head of South Africa's Western Cape province Helen Zille says there is a "major crisis" in the areas affected by wildfires where nearly 10,000 people have had to leave their homes, Eyewitness News reports.

It adds that four people have been killed as a result of the fires.

On Wednesday, the western part of the province was coping with a heavy rain storm. The winds from that storm have fuelled the fires in the drier eastern part of the province.

Eyewitness News is also tweeting pictures of the aftermath of the fire:

View more on twitter

South Africa's EFF to open criminal charges against finance minister

Milton Nkosi

BBC Africa, Johannesburg

The leader of South Africa’s radical Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Julius Malema says his party will initiate corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma and the newly appointed Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba.

Speaking at a press briefing that focused on corruption, the fiery leader defended the thousands of leaked emails by local media that show alleged corruption by government officials for private gain.

Mr Malema accused Mr Gigaba of being at the centre of “state capture” (the wielding of undue influence over the government) by issuing lucrative government contracts to family friends of Mr Zuma.

Both President Zuma and Finance Minister Gigaba have denied corruption allegations levelled against them.

South African radical leftist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party President Julius Malema speaks during the party's final rally ahead of municipal elections at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on July 31, 2016
Getty Images
Julius Malema has been at the forefront of criticisms of President Zuma

Trying to escape climate change in Somalia

Photojournalist Nichole Sobecki has put some images on Instagram from a recent trip to Somalia where she was looking at the impact of climate change.

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They've been used to accompany a piece in Foreign Policy magazine.

Nichole says the image below shows "Dheg Mohamed taking apart her home before loading the materials onto a cart to be moved.

"Several successive seasons of low rainfall left the well in her family’s hometown of Aynabo, Somaliland, dry, forcing them to relocate elsewhere."

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Foreign Policy says Somalia is grappling with rapid desertification, increasingly erratic rainfall, and the destruction of coastal waters by foreign fishing fleets.

The photographer says the picture below shows "Muumina Farah and her daughter camping by the side of the road outside the western Somaliland town of Habas.

"Their male relatives remained behind in northern Somaliland with the family’s surviving animals in a desperate attempt to save what was left of their herd."

View more on instagram

Horrific bus crash 'kills 43' on Zimbabwe highway

At least 43 people in Zimbabwe are reported to have been killed following a bus accident after the driver lost control and crashed into a tree, report the AFP news agency and The Herald newspaper.

"The bus was travelling to Zambia when the driver lost control at a curve yesterday evening," Charity Charamba a police spokeswoman told AFP. She added that the accident happened in an area called Nyamakate near the Zambian border.

Cross-border buses usually carry traders from Zimbabwe who travel to Zambia to stock up on goods to sell back home, AFP reports.

Twenty-four injured passengers have been taken to a nearby hospital,The Herald reports

Crashed KING LION bus Zimbabwe
ZIMBABWE HERALD

South African 'bans Zimbabwe chicken imports'

South Africa has suspended all chicken imports from Zimbabwe following the outbreak of a strain of bird flu there, the Reuters news agency reports.

Mozambique and Botswana made similar moves earlier this week.

In Zimbabwe, to help contain the H5N8 outbreak, tens of thousands of chickens have already been culled.

Chickens
AFP

Libyan academic abducted by militia group freed

Sixty-eight-year-old university professor Salem Beitelmal, who was abducted by a militia group in Libya more than six weeks ago, has been released.

No reason was given for his kidnap.

He was the subject of our colleague Rana Jawad's piece about a spate of kidnappings in the insecure country

Both she and Amnesty International have been tweeting about the news:

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

There are, however, many others who have been kidnapped in Libya.

For more read: Caught in the middle of Libya's kidnapping nightmare.

Differing accounts of death toll from al-Shabab attack

The Somali authorities have been speaking to journalists about this morning's al-Shabab attack on a military base in the north-east of the country (see earlier entry).

The militants withdrew after more than three hours of fighting with government forces, residents told the BBC.

Al-Shabab said it had killed 61 soldiers, but officials have given a lower death toll.

Major Mohamed Abdi told the Reuters news agency that 20 soldiers had been killed. Whereas the AFP news agency quotes a different source saying that 10 were killed.

Al-Shabab fighters
Getty Images
Al-Shabab has carried out a spate of attacks on military bases in Somalia

'Voters want a new generation of leaders'

France's legislative elections this weekend will be a test for President Emmanuel Macron's new Republic on the Move party.

The recently formed centrist party is putting forward several hundred candidates from grassroots movements and civil society.

One of them is 27-year-old Herve Berville.

Born in Rwanda, he was adopted by a French family during the genocide, and has studied and worked in Mozambique and Kenya.

He's been telling the BBC Newsday that he is excited to get involved in politics in France.

The Rwandan-born parliamentary candidate is a political novice

Zambia's opposition leader to be tried for treason in High Court

Zambia's main opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema is to go on trial for treason at the High court, a Lusaka magistrate has ruled.

Mr Hichilema and his party have been tweeting the news:

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View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Mr Hichilema, and five others, were charged with treason after the motorcade in which he was travelling allegedly obstructed President Lungu's presidential motorcade in April.

Mr Hichilema's lawyers had previously questioned the authority of the officer who issued the trial papers.

Before his detention the opposition leader was forcefully evicted from his residence in Lusaka.

Conservationist killed by rhino in Rwanda

A conservationist who was helping to reintroduce the black rhino into Rwanda has been killed by one of the animals, the organisation leading the project has said in a statement.

African Parks says that Krisztian Gyongyi was killed by a rhino in Akagera National Park in Rwanda "while out tracking animals" in the park.

But it gives no details about exactly how he died.

Africa Parks' CEO Peter Fearnhead says that Mr Gyongyi was "instrumental in supporting the reintroduction efforts of the black rhino... and was on the ground training rangers how to track and protect them".

He adds that this is "a tremendous loss for all of us, especially for rhino conservation efforts in Africa".

The rhinos were brought to Rwanda from South Africa last month.

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The black rhino is critically endangered sub-species of the African rhino.

By 2007, all the black rhinos in Rwanda had been killed by poachers.

How does Kenya's new railway compare with Ethiopia's?

The first major new railway line in Kenya for more than a century, running between the capital, Nairobi, and the coastal city of Mombasa, faces an immediate challenge of justifying its relatively high cost, reports the BBC's Nancy Kacungira

This is Kenya's biggest infrastructure investment since independence in 1963

At $5.6m per kilometre for the track alone, Kenya's line cost close to three times the international standard and four times the original estimate.

One of Kenya"s newly acquired standard gauge rail locomotive, carrying Kenyan President pulls into Voi railway station on May 31, 2017 in Voi, during an inaugural ride on Kenya"s new standard gauge railway from the coastal city of Mombasa to the capital, Nairobi
AFP

Cost comparisons have been made between this line and Ethiopia's 756km Addis Ababa-Djibouti line launched last year.

Both are Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) projects financed by Chinese loans, costing $3.4bn (£2.6bn) for Ethiopia and $3.2bn for Kenya.

Ethiopia's line is more than 250km longer and is electrified, which is typically more expensive; trains running on Kenya's line will be diesel-powered.

The Kenyan government has said the reasons for this high cost include the terrain that required many bridges and tunnels, land compensation and a need for specifications that would handle greater cargo volumes than Ethiopia's line.

Therefore, it says, the two projects are not directly comparable.

For more see Will Kenya get value for money from its new railway?

And Kenya's new Madaraka Express railway in pictures

DR Congo 'rejects' UN investigation ultimatum

The Democratic Republic of Congo authorities have rejected a deadline issued by the UN for the launch of an international investigation into the violence in the central Kasai province, the AFP news agency reports.

The UN has found more than a dozen mass graves in the area saying that at least 400 people have died.

Two UN experts sent to investigate the deaths have also been killed.

Earlier this week, the UN's human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein gave the DR Congo authorites until today to show that it was serious in probing the violence or accept an international investigation.

But AFP quotes Human Rights Minister Marie-Ange Mushobekwa as saying that: "one does not give ultimatums to a sovereign state".

Read more about DR Congo's Kasai conflict.

DR Congo soldiers
AFP
DR Congo's army has been fighting a militia group in the central Kasai region

Tourist area hit by South Africa fires

Pumza Fihlani

BBC News

The fires that have caused thousands to flee in South Africa's Western Cape province were fuelled by gale force winds which swept through the area in the last 24 hours, reports the BBC's Pumza Fihlani.

The fires have hit the picturesque Knysna area, which is a major tourist attraction.

She adds that shelters have been built for some of those who have displaced by the storm.

People have been tweeting videos and pictures from the area:

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Nigeria governor orders arrests over anti-Igbo statement

The governor of the northern Nigerian state of Kaduna, Nasir El-Rufai, has ordered the arrests of youth activists calling for ethnic Igbos, from the south-eastern part of the country to leave, Reuters news agency reports

Members of the Northern Youth Groups coalition on Tuesday issued a statement calling on all Igbos residing in any part of the north to leave within three months.

The statement also advises northerners living in the east to do the same, Reuters says.

A spokesman for Mr El-Rufai said that the governor had ordered the arrest of all signatories to that statement.

Nigeria's Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has reissued a statement he made last month calling for national unity:

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It is 50 years since Igbo leaders started a secessionist rebellion declaring an independent state of Biafra.

The move plunged the country into a civil war, where up to a million people were killed.

Puntland authorities confirm attack but deny death toll

The BBC's Mohammud Ali has been finding out more about the al-Shabab attack in north-east Somalia in which the militant group says it killed 61 soldiers (see earlier entry).

He reports that the early morning attack happened close to the Galgala Mountains which at one time was a base for al-Shabab fighters in the aemi-autonomous Puntland region.

There is no official confirmation of the death toll so far, and while confirming the incident Puntland’s Security Minister Abdiaziz Hirsi denied the al-Shabab claims.

He said the authorities are still investigating the matter and will issue a comprehensive statement later.

Mohammud adds that Puntland has suffered al-Shabab attacks in the past, but this one has been described as the worst in recent years.

Al-Shabab fighter
AFP
Al-Shabab has been beaten back in recent years but still control parts of Somalia

Thousands evacuated over South Africa wildfires

Up to 10,000 people in South Africa's Western Cape province had to leave their homes as wildfires approach their homes, Times Live is reporting.

The worst hit area is around the picturesque town of Knysna.

It quotes a local government spokesman as saying that "the fire... is the largest and most destructive fire in a built up area in the Western Cape in recent memory".

The Democratic Alliance party has tweeted some pictures:

View more on twitter

And journalists are also sharing photographs of the aftermath of the fire:

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EWN is also reporting that soldiers have been sent to the area:

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The fires come after heavy downpours in other parts of the region. The winds, which accompanied that storm, are now exacerbating the fires in the drier parts of the Western Cape.

Al-Shabab 'kills dozens' in Somalia

The Somalia-based Islamist militant group al-Shabab says it has killed in 61 soldiers in an attack on a Somali military base near the north-eastern town of Bosaso, BBC Monitoring reports quoting two pro-al-Shabab sources.

The base is in Somalia's semi-autonomous region of Puntland.

A VOA journalist has also been tweeting about the attack:

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The journalist later quotes sources saying that the al-Shabab fighters have been beaten back:

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