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Summary

  1. Nigerian senators launch investigation into oil deals
  2. Pastor who predicted Mugabe's death fails to get charges dropped
  3. Illegal drink claims nine lives in Tanzania
  4. US and Niger soldiers killed in ambush
  5. Zimbabwe police seize foreign currency in raids
  6. Sudan 'informs US it has cut diplomatic ties with North Korea'
  7. Kenya restarts maize subsidy ahead of elections
  8. Rights group denounces 'sexual slavery' in CAR
  9. Suspected monkeypox outbreak in Nigeria

Live Reporting

By Natasha Booty and Farouk Chothia

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Scroll down for Thursday'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 check the BBC News website.

A reminder of today's wise words:

One hand cannot tie a bundle."

An Oku proverb sent by Clevis Tata in Oku, Cameroon

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

And we leave you with this shot from the Instagram feed of the 1:54 Contemporary Art Fair which opened its doors in London today:

View more on instagram

Germany studies African human skulls

Mary Harper

Africa editor, BBC World Service

Germany has started an investigation to determine the origins of more than 1,000 human skulls from its former colonies in Africa.

Most of them are believed to come from Rwanda. The skulls were shipped to Germany about 100 years ago for an anthropologist who was studying the development of humankind.

They spent decades in storage and became badly damaged.

The skulls have now been reassembled but most of the associated paperwork is missing.

Researchers say the best clues are notes scribbled on the bones themselves.

Igor Cesar (L), ambassador to Germany of Rwanda, and Hermann Parzinger, president of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation (Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz), attend a press conference on October 5, 2017 in Berlin to comment on a provenience research of human skulls
AFP
The Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation will carry out the research

SA actor: 'I was told I wasn't black enough'

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South African soap star Cedric Fourie says casting directors have told him that he doesn't "look black enough" to play certain roles.

The Soweto-born actor told the Times Live news site:

I got to a point where I almost felt like I was wasting my time when auditioning for a black male role. How could I be told that I wasn’t black enough just because I am few shades lighter than what Europeans have tagged as black?"

Fourie, who plays a "shrewd and manipulative" businessman in SABC drama Skeem Saam, says being able to play a breadth of roles is important to him:

I want to sell myself as [a] multi-dimensional actor. One who is able to play anything from a drag queen to businessman.”

Equatorial Guinea banned from 2019 Women's World Cup

A close shot of the winner's trophy
.
Equatorial Guinea team are set to miss the next four major international women's tournaments

Equatorial Guinea have been expelled from the 2019 Women's World Cup in France for fielding 10 ineligible players and using forged documents.

The players all took part in qualifying for the 2016 Olympic women's tournament in Brazil.

The latest sanctions come on top of their ban from taking part in the 2020 Olympics, which was issued last year.

Fifa has also imposed a fine of US$102,000 on the country's football association.

Read the full story on the BBC Sport website.

Nigeria probe into 'oil deals worth $26bn'

Chris Ewokor

BBC Africa, Abuja

The Nigerian senate has launched an investigation into alleged financial mismanagement at the state-owned oil company.

This follows the leaking of a letter from Ibe Kachikwu, the state minister for oil, to President Muhammadu Buhari.

It accuses the managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Maikanti Baru, of awarding contracts worth more than $26bn (£19.8bn) without due process.

There has been no word so far from Mr Baru. The NNPC's spokesman said it was not possible to comment as the company had not received a copy of the letter.

Nigeria's oil sector has been accused of corruption and mismanagement for decades.

A worker inspect facilities on an upstream oil drilling platform at the Total oil platform at Amenem, 35 kilometers away from Port Harcourt in the Niger Delta
AFP
Along with Angola, Nigeria is Africa's leading oil producer

French troops in 'counter-attack' in Niger

French forces are involved in a counter-attack near Niger's border with Mali following the killing of US and other troops by suspected militant Islamists, Reuters news agency has quoted the French army spokesman as saying.

Fighter jets had been sent to the area and French helicopters had been used to evacuate the wounded, Reuters reported Colonel Patrick Steiger as saying.

Niger's President Mahamadou Issoufou said there had been a "large number of casualties" when the joint Niger-US patrol was ambushed, AFP news agency reported.

At a meeting of first ladies of the West African regional group Ecowas in Niger's capital Niamey, Mr Issoufou called for a minute's silence in memory of "our soldiers who have fallen on the field of honour" and in memory of "all victims of terrorism", AFP reported.

Three US soldiers have been killed and two others wounded in an ambush in Niger near the border with Mali, the US Africa Command confirmed earlier today.

Another soldier from a "partner nation" had also died in the attack, it said.

Mr Issoufou did not give details of casualties.

US Africa Command soldiers conducting training exercises - Archive shot July 2016
AFP
The US has strong military presence in Africa to tackle militant Islamists

La Niña: Drought and flooding warning

Russell Padmore

Business correspondent, BBC News

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The impact of the La Niña weather pattern usually affects countries of the pacific basin like Australia, Indonesia and Latin America nations.

However, southern Africa could receive heavier rainfall than expected and East Africa could see drier conditions than normal, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) warned today.

Farmers across Africa may find these changes to the La Niña weather pattern hits their crops.

That said, WMO weather experts have stressed that a La Niña occurred last year and if it does develop this year it will be weak.

Cameroon soldier kills superior

A soldier in the Cameroonian army has killed his commander before fatally shooting himself in the head.

It happened in the town of Mora, in the country's Far North region.

It comes three months after a similar incident in the town of Kousseri.

'I build fast and furious vintage cars'

The Shelby Cobra is such a rare vintage car that a South African factory builds replicas to meet demand.

Zandile Dlamini works there welding the car chassis.

She's one of the few women working on the factory floor in an industry dominated by men.

Video producers: Taurai Maduna and Mark Sedgwick

Mugabe death prophecy pastor's court case fails

Shingai Nyoka

BBC Africa, Harare

Patrick Mugadza, the pastor who predicted Mugabe would die in October
Patrick Mugadza
Zimbabwean authorities took a dim view of Pastor Mugadza's death prophecy on President Mugabe

Zimbabwean pastor Phillip Mugadza has failed in his bid to get the country's top court to throw out charges against him for prophesying that President Robert Mugabe will die later this month.

Chief Justice Luke Malaba said the process which led to the case being brought before the Constitutional Court was flawed.

The case would now return to the magistrates court, where Pastor Mugadza - the leader of The Remnant Church - has been charged with "causing offence to persons of a particular race and religion or alternatively causing criminal nuisance".

He got into trouble after predicting in January that Mr Mugabe, 93, would die on 17 October.

At the time of his arrest, his lawyer Gift Mtisi told the BBC:

He's admitting to the facts. He says he didn't lie - that's a message from God. Police will have to prove God didn't say it."

Pastor Mugadza's lawyers asked the Constitutional Court to throw out the charges on the grounds that they violated his right to free speech.

The prosecution alleges that the pastor insulted the Christian religion and African tradition by predicting Mr Mugabe's death.

Predicting the death of a leader is taboo, according to traditional beliefs.

Illegal brew kills nine in Tanzania

Sammy Awami

BBC Africa, Dar es Salaam

At least nine people have died and several others have been admitted to hospital in Tanzania's main city Dar es Salaam after consuming illicit alcohol.

Local authorities believe the liquor contained an industrial chemical called 'GV' or Gentian violet, an antiseptic dye normally used to treat infections of the skin, which is suspected to have caused the deaths.

While local brews are usually made using seeds, grains or vegetables in homes, some brewers are believed to be including deadly chemicals in an attempt to make the liquor more concentrated and attract more customers.

No arrests have yet been made in connection with the incident.

The local brew, gongo, is consumed more than any other liquor because it is cheaper than commercial brews.

Authorities here have struggled to clamp down on illicit alcohol. Some local government officials are believed to be either customers or involved in the business themselves.

A man smashes bottles containing alcohol
AFP
Crackdowns on illegal alcohol have taken place in neighboring Kenya in recent years

Kenya commission opposed to election law changes

Mary Harper

Africa editor, BBC World Service

Kenya's electoral commission says it is opposed to the governing Jubilee Party's proposed amendments to election law ahead of the re-run of August's annulled poll.

One and half year-old male camel "Junior" is decorated with flags as his owner takes part in a voluntary campaign to support Kenya"s president and his Jubilee Party in Nairobi on September 18, 2017.
AFP
President Uhuru Kenyatta is running for a second term on a Jubilee ticket

A commissioner, Roselyne Akombe, told the BBC it would not be possible to hold a credible election if the changes were made, as time was too short.

With just three weeks to go before the re-run, the government has announced it is buying up Kenya's entire maize harvest and selling it at subsidised prices.

A serious shortage earlier this year caused prices to double.

See earlier post for more details

'Grace Mugabe underwear reporter' freed

Grace Mugabe
AFP
Grace Mugabe is the second wife of President Robert Mugabe

A Zimbabwean journalist, who was arrested after writing a story alleging that an MP handed out second-hand underwear to ruling Zanu-PF party supporters on behalf of First Lady Grace Miugabe, was freed on $200 (£150) bail yesterday.

Kenneth Nyangani was also ordered to report to police in the eastern city of Mutare once a week.

He denies charges of defamation following publication of the story on the privately-owned NewsDay website.

Police in Mutare detained Mr Nyangani on Monday evening for "allegedly writing and publishing a story over the donation of some used undergarments" by President Robert Mugabe's wife, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said in a statement.

Zanu-PF MP Esau Mupfumi distributed the underwear to Zanu-PF supporters in Mutare, and said Mrs Mugabe had donated it, NewsDay reported.

US confirms killing of soldiers in Niger

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The US military's Africa Command has confirmed that three US soldiers were killed and two others were wounded in an attack in Niger near the border with Mali.

A soldier from a "partner nation" was also killed, it said in a statement, without specifying his nationality.

The US army has been providing training to Niger's army to help combat Islamist militants in the region, including the North African branch of al-Qaeda.

Read more on the BBC News website.

Uber driver sacked over 'kidnap'

Uber logo on a smartphone next to a taxi logo
Getty Images

A taxi driver accused of kidnapping a young motorist after a traffic accident in South Africa has been struck off Uber's roster, eNCA news site reports.

The news site has spoken to the father of the alleged victim.

He says his son was forced to enter another vehicle by an Uber driver who attempted to extort money from him after a minor "bumper-bashing" near Wits University in Johannesburg:

When I heard the news I sped like lightning to my my wife's workplace. The man tells me I need to pay him 1,500 Rand ($110; £85) [because] my son knocked into him."

He says the kidnapper first demanded 2,000 rand ($147; £110) before lowering his demand by 500 rand.

In a statement published by eNCA, Uber said:

There is no excuse for the acts described, the driver’s access to our app has been removed pending a full investigation."

The ride-hailing app has 1.8 million users on the African continent, with South Africa and Kenya being its two biggest markets.

Mozambique mayor killed on Day of Peace

Jose Tembe

BBC Africa, Maputo

The mayor of Nampula city in northern Mozambique was shot dead outside his home yesterday - hours after he led a ceremony to celebrate the Day of Peace, a public holiday to commemorate the 1992 signing of an accord to end a 16-year civil war between the ruling Frelimo party and Renamo opposition.

Mahamudo Amurane was shot three times in the abdomen by an unknown gunman, police said.

The motive for the killing is still unclear.

Mr Amurane was a member of the opposition Mozambique Democratic Movement, but fell out with it.

He plan to run for a second term in next year's municipal elections for another party or as an independent.

The unsung hero of West African photography?

For more than 50 years Sory Sanle has worked as a photographer in Burkina Faso's second city, Bobo-Dioulasso.

But he didn't place any long-term value on his photos, and was unknown outside of his local area.

Now a gallery in London wants to bring him to the world's attention.

More highlights from BBC Newsday.

Bees attack Jubilee supporters in Kenya

Bees disrupted a rally yesterday of Kenya's governing Jubilee Party in a town in Taita–Taveta County, some 360km south-east of the capital, Nairobi, the privately-owned Standard newspaper reports.

Party supporters scampered for safety when the bees struck, but the insects disappeared after prayers were recited by a politician, it reported.

Politicians blamed Satan for the attack on the rally in Wundanyi town, called to galvanise support for President Uhuru Kenyatta ahead of the 26 October election re-run.

The Supreme Court annulled his victory over opposition candidate Raila Odinga in the 8 August election, saying the poll was marred by irregularities.

A swarm of bees attacked police officers and others outside the court in the capital, Nairobi, when judges handed down their full judgement on 20 August.

A man dashes to avoid bees after pouring soapy water on a handicapped begger who were unable to escape when a swarm of bees attacked police officers and journalists and got stung severely before being taken away by an ambulance in front of the Supreme Court where judges are delivering the full judgement on the nullified 08 August 2017 presidential election which declared the President Kenyatta the winner, in Nairobi, Kenya, 20 September 2017
EPA
A man dashes to avoid bees after pouring soapy water on a disabled homeless man - to protect him against a swarm of bees which attacked them outside court

Read: Bible-bashing for votes in Kenya

Kenya restarts maize subsidy ahead of elections

Buyers pick maize at a market in Nairobi
AFP

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta has announced that the government will re-introduce the maize subsidy which had been stopped after the general election in August.

Speaking at the Nairobi International Trade Fair yesterday, he said:

As a caring administration, we had to take steps to cushion consumers against the high food prices.

In this regard, we implemented a subsidized maize flour program that lowered the price of a 2kg packet of maize flour from $1.5 to $0.90."

Maize is a key staple food in Kenya and the subsidy, which was introduced in May and repealed after the poll, will come as a relief to an electorate concerned about record food prices.

President Kenyatta's decision to reintroduce the subsidy comes after the Supreme Court annulled his victory and ordered a re-run, due to take place in three weeks.

Scale of jihadist threat in Sahel

Tomi Oladipo

BBC Africa security correspondent

A picture taken on October 19, 2016 shows two members of Niger's security forces standing guard outside the home of a US aid worker who was kidnapped on October 14 by armed men in Abalak in the region of Tahoua
AFP
Niger's security forces are trying to contain the threat posed by militant Islamists

The deadly attack on a joint US-Niger patrol will draw attention to the presence of US troops, not just in Niger but in other countries too.

In a letter to the US Congress in June, President Donald Trump confirmed there were 645 military personnel deployed to Niger to support counterterrorism missions there.

The US has long maintained that its troops play a "train, advise and assist" role with its partners, whether in the Sahel or the Horn of Africa.

Its acknowledgement that the troops in south-west Niger were carrying out a "joint patrol" with local forces is being explained as the US providing "security assistance" but it is not clear how broadly this assistance is defined.

The attack also highlights the scale of the jihadist threat in Niger, a vast nation with a varied jihadist presence - Boko Haram in Nigeria, militants linked to both al-Qaeda and so-called Islamic State in Mali, and uncertainty from unstable Libya in the north.

For as long as the regional jihadist threat remains, the US and other Western powers will continue to strengthen their presence on the ground. Their target, the jihadists, will also be motivated to take them on.

See earlier post for more details.

Zimbabwe's first donkey abattoir angers conservationists

Donkeys standing together
Getty Images
Donkey hides are prized in China for supposed medicinal properties

Animal rights groups are angered by a $150,000 (£114,000) "state-of-the-art" donkey meat abattoir" due to open in Zimbabwe at the end of the month, the government-owned Herald news site reports.

In a joint statement, five groups - Aware Trust Zimbabwe, Veterinarians for Animal Welfare Zimbabwe, Lupane Youth for Development Trust, the Zimbabwe National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Spana - said:

Housed in unhabituated groups, Donkeys suffer from a stress-induced condition called hyperlipemia, which can kill them.

There currently is no ethically acceptable method of intensively farming donkeys, and the demand for the skin trade far exceeds the rate at which they can be produced.

Some local farmers may benefit from the short-term sale of their donkeys [but] they are unlikely to be aware of the long-term consequences. The importance of the working donkey to communal farmers cannot be overstated."

Donkey meat is considered a delicacy in China, and the country's dwindling donkey population has drawn buyers to Africa.

The animal's skin is also boiled to produce gelatin, a key ingredient in a traditional Chinese remedy called ejiao which is used to treat coughs, anaemia and heavy menstruation and can sell for up to $388 (£300) per kilo.

Other African countries - including Uganda, Tanzania, Botswana, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Senegal - have banned China from buying their donkey skins because demand has become unsustainable.

KPMG apologises over South Africa mistakes

BBC World Service

The new head of the auditing firm KPMG South Africa has apologised for mistakes in the work of the troubled company.

Mhalamu Dlomu was testifying in parliament about the firm's involvement in an influence-peddling scandal linked to controversial business associates of President Jacob Zuma, the Gupta family.

The offices of auditors KPMG are seen in Cape Town, South Africa, September 19, 2017
Reuters
KPMG has admitted that work done for the Guptas "fell short of our standards"

She said that people would be held accountable if they had failed in their duties, but that no systemic problems have been found in the company.

The Guptas are accused of improperly influencing South African government contracts - allegations they and President Zuma deny.

Read: Zuma and the Guptas.

Rights group denounces 'sexual slavery' in CAR

Rape and sexual slavery have been used "as a tactic of war" across the Central African Republic during nearly five years of conflict, says Human Rights Watch (HRW).

The rights group says army commanders tolerate "widespread sexual violence" committed by their troops and in some cases appear to have ordered it or committed it themselves.

The two main parties in the sectarian conflict are the largely Muslim Seleka group and the predominantly Christian militia known as “anti-balaka”.

HRW reported 305 cases of rape and sexual slavery against 296 women and girls by members of armed groups between early 2013 and mid-2017.

However, it says the true number is likely to be much higher, as victims may not report sexual violence given the stigma. The rights group also says its report was limited by security-related restrictions.

Burundian peacekeepers of the African-led International Support Mission to the Central African Republic (MISCA) patrol near a barricade of burning tyres erected in the Bea-Rex district of Bangui on May 29, 2014
AFP
UN troops have been battling to restore peace in CAR

Zimbabwe arrests 'illegal money-dealers'

Three Chinese nationals and 22 other suspected illegal money-changers have been arrested in Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, and more than $55,000 (£41,500) seized, in a new crackdown on the black market, the state-owned Herald newspaper reports.

The group has been charged with contravening the Exchange Controls Act after they were caught "red-handed ilegally trading money", the newspaper quoted prosecutor Francesca Mukumbiri as saying.

Their activities had a negative impact on a the economy, and if convicted they would face a lengthy prison sentence, she added.

The group has not yet pleaded to the charges.

Zimbabwe is in a deep economic crisis, forcing it to abandon its currency in favour of foreign currencies.

However, it has run out of US dollars and introduced bond notes as a substitute.

The group was allegedly caught with bond notes, dollars, and the currencies of South Africa, Botswana and Tanzania, the Herald reported.

A man holds Zimbabwean bond notes at a till
AFP
Zimbabwe issues bond notes equivalent to the US dollar to ease critical cash shortages

US and Niger soldiers 'killed in ambush'

A map of Niger showing the capital Niamey
BBC

Three US soldiers have been killed and two others wounded in an ambush in Niger near the border with Mali, reports say.

Several Nigerien soldiers are also said to have died in the attack.

US Africa Command said the patrol had come under "hostile fire" and was working to confirm the details.

The US army has been providing training to Niger's army to help combat Islamist militants in the region, including the North African branch of al-Qaeda.

Read more on the BBC News website.

Sudan 'cuts diplomatic ties with North Korea'

BBC Monitoring

The world through its media

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir delivers a speech during a visit to the village of Bilel in South Darfur, near the Kalma camp for displaced people, on September 22, 2017
AFP
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir once gave refuge to killed al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden

Sudan has severed diplomatic relations with North Korea to satisfy US conditions for the lifting of economic sanctions, the UK-based Financial Times reports.

Washington is expected to announce its decision on whether to fully lift the sanctions on 12 October.

A senior Sudanese official yesterday said that they had met all the required conditions and expect the sanctions to be lifted.

In July, US President Donald Trump delayed his decision to permanently lift the economic embargo on Sudan by three months.

Economic sanctions were imposed against the country after the state was labelled a "sponsor of terrorism".

Read: 'We Sudanese feel like pariahs'.

Suspected monkeypox outbreak in Nigeria

Monkeypox patient (archive shot)
Alamy
Monkeypox is a rare smallpox-like disease

A suspected monkeypox outbreak has hit Nigeria's southern Bayelsa State, with at least 10 people quarantined because of fears that they have contracted the viral infection, health officials are quoted by local media as saying.

The 10 include a doctor, and efforts are being made to trace 49 other people who had contact with those thought to be infected by the virus, the privately owned Punch newspaper reports.

Monkeypox is a rare smallpox-like disease, which is not usually fatal to humans.

The Punch quoted Bayelsa State Health Commissioner Ebitimitula Etebu as saying that the outbreak had not yet been confirmed and samples of the virus had been sent to the World Health Organization (WHO) laboratory in Senegal for tests.

The results would indicate whether there was an outbreak, he said, adding:

But from all indications, it points towards it. As the name implies, the virus was first seen in monkey, but can also be found in all bush animals such as rats, squirrels and antelopes."

Today's wise words

Our African proverb of the day:

One hand cannot tie a bundle."

An Oku proverb sent by Clevis Tata in Oku, Cameroon
A man in Zimbabwe moves bundles of thatching grass outside his home
Getty Images

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