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Summary

  1. Malala pleads for release of Chibok girls
  2. Kenyan opposition politician shot dead
  3. Amnesty demands 'mass graves' in Nigeria be sealed off
  4. Malawi declares national disaster over drought
  5. Deadly US drone strikes in Somalia
  6. China to 'investigate' Taiwanese deported from Kenya
  7. Get Involved: #BBCAfricaLive WhatsApp: +44 7341070844
  8. Email stories and comments to africalive@bbc.co.uk - Wednesday 13 April 2016

Live Reporting

By Naziru Mikailu and Farouk Chothia

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Scroll down for today's stories

We'll be back tomorrow

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

A reminder of today's wise words:

No matter how tight a monkey's trousers are, he has to leave space for his tail.

A Krio proverb from Sierra Leone sent by Sigismond Wilson, Oklahoma, US.

And we leave you with a photo of South Africa's Sylvester the lion, which is being sent to a new game park to bond with lionesses and to learn how to become a dominant male:

Lion
SANParks

Thousands flee DR Congo fighting

Mary Harper

Africa editor, BBC World Service

The United Nations says five camps for the displaced in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo have been emptied as people flee fighting in the area. 

More than 35,000 people have left the camps in Mpati in North Kivu province in the past three weeks. 

The UN says it is worried about what has happened to them. 

It says it is having problems accessing the area because of ongoing clashes between the army and armed groups.

Displaced people in DR Congo
Getty Images
The conflict in eastern DR Congo has displaced tens of thousands of people

Get Involved: Will the Chibok girls ever be found?

#BBCAfricaLive

ne of the mothers of the missing Chibok school girls wipes her tears as she cries during a rally by civil society groups pressing for the release of the girls in Abuja on May 6, 2014
AFP
Parents have struggling to cope with the abduction of their daughters

Followers of the BBC Hausa Facebook page have been commenting on the struggle to find the Chibok girls abducted two years ago by Nigeria's militant Islamist group Boko Haram: 

There are no indications that they are still alive. We have to be patient and hope God will intervene and prevent it from happening again in the future."

Umme Ibrahim Sabo

"As long as there's life, there's hope. We pray fervently that God brings them back."

Sa'ad Kagarko

I have given up all hope that those Chibok girls would be found. With the latest spate of suicide attacks, one can only pray they are not among the bombers."

Abba Sa'ad Mahuta

There is hope since no dead bodies have been found as yet of any of them. This surely means they are kept hidden somewhere for a purpose."

Ali Mohammed Bularafa

Malala pleads for Chibok girls

Nobel peace laureate Malala Yousafzai has written an open letter about the abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls in Nigeria by militant Islamist group Boko Haram.

The letter comes a day before the second anniversary of the abductions of the girls from their dormitories in the north-eastern town of Chibok.  

She writes: 

As I did last year, I call on President Buhari of Nigeria – and everyone who can help rescue the Chibok girls – to act now.

Would a president give up the fight for his own daughter? These girls are just as precious to their families.

My dream is that one day they will come home, finish their education and choose their futures for themselves."

View more on twitter

Darfur polls shut

Sudanese election staff seal a ballot box at a polling station in North Darfur"s state capital El Fasher as the polls closed across Sudan"s Darfur on April 13, 2016
AFP

Polls have closed across Sudan's Darfur after a three-day referendum on the restive area's status, with officials hailing the vote as a success despite US criticism and a boycott by some rebel groups, AFP news agency reports. 

The referendum commission did not yet have turnout figures as many centres were in remote areas where communication was difficult, its chairman, Omar Ali Jomaa, told AFP. 

"The centres are closed now and the operation went well," he added. 

A 13-year conflict has left 300,000 dead in the region.

The referendum was over whether it should remain as five states or form a single region.

On Monday, the US said the vote would not be credible but President Omar al-Bashir said it would be free and fair.

Mr Bashir, whose ruling National Congress Party supported the five-state system, insisted the ballot take place as it was stipulated in a 2011 peace agreement signed with some rebel groups. 

Read: Bashir defiant on Darfur tour

Kenya's ODM condemns killing

Kenya's opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) has condemns what it calls cold-blooded murder of its youth leader in the capital, Nairobi. 

Stephen Mukabana was shot dead outside his home last night.  

In a statement, the ODM said: 

His murder is suspect and raises a lot of questions that can only be answered through thorough forensic investigations by the police.

The ODM urges the police to move with speed to unravel the puzzle and bring the culprits of this heinous act to book."

Zimbabwe buries heroines

Zimbabwe funeral
Brian Hungwe

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has presided over the burial of two women at a shrine for heroes and heroines of the country's 1970s war of independence. 

Vivian Mwashita, 58, and Victoria Chitepo, 88, were buried at Heroes Acre following their deaths last week.

The state-run Herald newspaper quotes Mr Mugabe as telling mourners:    

The fight now may not be a military one. It is an economic one."

UN welcomes Somali election agreement

Mary Harper

Africa editor, BBC World Service

The United Nations has described an agreement by Somali leaders on this year's election process as a breakthrough. 

One hundred times more people would be involved in the election of MPs than in the previous election in 2012, the UN special representative for Somalia Michael Keating said.

A mother and a child walk past the wreckage of a car bomb in the Wardhigley District, south of Mogadishu, on February 27, 2015.
AFP
Somalia has been without an effective central government since 1991

Thirty percent of parliamentary seats are reserved for women. 

But serious challenges remain because much of the country is controlled by Islamist and other militias. 

The process of forming a new federal system is incomplete, and the self-declared republic of Somaliland is refusing to engage with the process.

Kenya mobile clinic launched

The office of Kenya's First Lady Margaret Kenyatta has been tweeting photos of her at the launch of a mobile clinic in western Migori County.

The project is aimed at providing accessible care to ordinary Kenyans:

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

Dozens killed in Nigeria attack

Ishaq Khalid

BBC Africa, Bauchi

Forty-four people killed by suspected Fulani herders in the eastern Nigerian state of Taraba have been buried, residents and community leaders have told me.

The burial rites were conducted separately for Muslims and Christians in accordance with their religious beliefs, they added.   

Local police had put the number of people killed in the weekend clashes at 15.

Taraba state government spokesman Sylvanus Giwa told me an investigation has been launched into the violence. 

Additional security forces have been deployed to the area.   

Taraba has seen deadly ethnic and religious clashes, as well as fighting between herdsmen and farmers. However, the cause of the latest fighting is still unclear.

See our 15:12 entry for more details

Emotional funeral for Zambia accident victims

Meluse Kapatamoyo

BBC Africa, Lusaka, Zambia

funeral in Zambia
Thomas Nsama

Hundreds of people have attended the funeral of 12 of the 24 people who died in a road accident on Saturday in central Zambia.

The victims died when a minibus they were travelling in collided with a big bus in Manyumbi town, some 129km (80 miles) from the capital, Lusaka.

Zambia' first lady Esther Lungu broke into tears during the service held at Kabwe Warriors football stadium.

All the victims were in the minibus. 

Deadly attack in eastern Nigeria

At least 15 people have been killed and several home burnt down by suspected Fulani herders in the eastern Nigerian state of Taraba, police have said, AFP news agency reports. 

About 20 people invaded and attacked Dori and Mesuma villages on Sunday forcing people to flee into neighboring villages, state police spokesman Kwaji Joseph said.

"Eight people were killed in Dori while seven were also killed in Mesuma," he told AFP.

The attack is the latest in a long-running dispute over grazing rights in Nigeria between Fulani and farmers in which several people lost their lives.

DR Congo to play Romania

The Democratic Republic of Congo will play Romania in a friendly match next month in Italy, the Romanian football federation has said. 

The match, on 25 May, will serve a build up to Romania's preparations ahead of this year's European championship in France.

Romania take on hosts France in the opening Euro 2016 match on June 10 in Paris. 

Switzerland and Albania are the other teams in Group A.

Africa's hunger crisis

Mary Harper

Africa editor, BBC World Service

With international agencies stretched by humanitarian crises elsewhere in the world, finding the resources to help the hungry in Africa represents a real challenge.

Three million people are currently receiving food aid in Malawi, and President Peter Mutharika said even more need help. 

He has declared a national disaster due to food shortages caused by drought and floods. 

Some will require humanitarian relief for a whole year. 

In Zimbabwe, more than a quarter of the rural population don't have enough to eat. South Africa says its drought is the worst in more than a century. 

Many of this year's problems are due to the El Nino phenomenom. 

The weather system has also affected the Horn of Africa, which has been hit by drought and deadly floods. 

People in Malawi
AFP
Three million people are currently receiving food aid in Malawi

US still helping in search for Chibok girls

The US says it is still providing Nigeria's government with "intelligence and advisory support" in its efforts to find the more than 200 girls abducted from a boarding school in north-eastern Nigeria's Chibok town. 

Tomorrow marks two years since the girls were kidnapped by militant Islamist group Boko Haram, in an incident which sparked global outrage.

young South African student at a primary school in Durban writes a message on a blackboard during a 'BringBackOurGirls' school project calling for the immediate release of over 200 abducted Nigerian school girls, on May 15, 2014
AFP
An international campaign was launched to draw attention to the plight of the girls

Kenya censors Coca-Cola advert

Abdinoor Aden

BBC Africa, Nairobi

Coca-Cola has been forced to withdraw a television advertisement with kissing scenes because it violated family values in the East African state, the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) has said. 

KFCB CEO Ezekiel Mutua said the "Taste the Feeling" advertisement had caused a public outcry, and a meeting was held with Coca Cola's management in Kenya to discuss the issue. 

James Quincey, Imad Benmoussa and Rodolfo Echeverria during the the Coca-Cola Launch of 'One Brand' Strategy & 'Taste The Feeling' Creative Campaign at Palais De Tokyo on January 18, 2016 in Paris, France
AFP
The "Taste the feeling" campaign was launched in January

The drinks company has agreed to release a new version of the commercial without the kissing scenes, he added.

The KFCB has in the past written to Google Africa seeking the removal of a YouTube music video "Same love", alleging that it breached Kenyan values by promoting same-sex marriages.  

'Deadly' blast at Somali livestock market

An explosion at a busy livestock market in Somalia has killed at least three people and wounded six others, security official Abdukadir Mohamed has said, Reuters news agency reports. 

The blast, the latest in a spate of  attacks in the Horn of Africa nation, took place in the Afgoye district, some 30km (20 miles) south of the capital, Mogadishu. 

"There was chaos, people were running for shelter, several bodies were strewn around - including two soldiers," local resident Ahmed Gure said, Reuters reports. 

Mahrez nominated for PFA award

Algeria and Leicester City's player Riyad Mahrez
Getty Images
Riyad Mahrez is a key figure in Leicester's title-chasing team

Algeria and Leicester City's player Riyad Mahrez has been nominated for the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) player of the year award.

It celebrates the best of English football by recognising outstanding performers in every division.

The shortlist is completed by Mahrez's teammates Jamie Vardy, and N'Golo Kante as well as West Ham's Dimitri Payet, Tottenham's Harry Kane and Arsenal's Mesut Ozil.

The winner, to be selected by professional footballers from across the country, will be announced at the PFA Awards on 24 April in London.

Zambia lifts ban on maize exports

Zambia has lifted the ban it imposed last week on the export of maize after a physical verification exercise showed it had enough stocks to last until August, a government official has said, Reuters news agency reports. 

Southern Africa has been gripped by one of the worst drought in decades (see 10:51 and 10:25 posts). 

Uganda opposition leader charged

Patience Atuhaire

BBC Africa, Kampala

Uganda's opposition leader Kizza Besigye
AP
Mr Besigye has been repeatedly arrested several times since February's election

Uganda's opposition leader Kizza Besigye has appeared in court in the capital, Kampala, to answer charges of "disobeying lawful orders".

This is in regard to an incident last week when Mr Besigye tried to attend a weekly "Black Tuesday" prayer session at his party's head office to protest against the outcome of February's election, which he lost to President Yoweri Museveni.

Police told Mr Besigye to follow a designated route but he insisted on going through the city centre. His car was then blocked and towed away.

The court gave Mr Besigye bail, and postponed the case to 27 April.

This is the first time Mr Besigye has been charged since the disputed election, although he has been arrested several times. 

Helping Boko Haram victims

A Catholic bishop in north-eastern Nigeria says his church has become a safe haven for some of the thousands of people who fled the advance of militant Islamist group Boko Haram last year.

Steven Dami Mamza told the BBC Newsday programme that his St Theresa camp in Yola, the capital of Adamawa state, is housing more 400 people because the state government could not cope with the  influx of  people fleeing the conflict.

Bishop Mamza says the people are now comfortable and happy:

A safe haven from Boko Haram

US strikes in Somalia killed 'civilians'

Rage Hassan

BBC Africa, Nairobi

Some of the people killed in US drone strikes in southern Somalia's port city of Kismayo were civilians, local residents have told the BBC.

Earlier, a Pentagon spokesman said 12 militants from the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group were killed in the strikes carried out on Monday and Tuesday (see 09:01 post).

Al-Shabab militants
AFP
Al-Shabab is fighting for Islamic rule in Somalia

Nigeria and China in currency deal

China's Presidents Xi Jinping and Nigeria's Muhammadu Buhari
Nigerian presidency
President Buhari is on his first visit to China since taking office last year

Nigeria will increase China's yuan currency in its foreign reserves, the two government's have agreed. 

About 10% of Nigeria's reserves are currently in yuan, while most are in US dollars, according to the UK-based Africa Confidential publication.

The deal was struck during a visit by Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari to China, where he held talks with President Xi Jinping on Tuesday. 

Oil-rich Nigeria was the first African state to use the yuan in its reserves, China's foreign ministry official Lin Songtian said, AFP news agency reports. 

Egypt's leader defends giving up islands

BBC Monitoring

Tiran Island
Hady Messaddy
Tiran is the bigger of the two islands

Egypt's President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi has defended his controversial decision to hand over the two Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia. 

In remarks carried live on state TV, Mr al-Sisi countered critics' suggestions that a referendum be held on the ceding of the islands, which have been under Egyptian administration since 1950.

Map
BBC

He said he had consulted "everyone, and I mean everyone" before signing the agreement with Saudi Arabia's King Salman. 

"We have not given up any of our rights and we gave the other party their rights. Egypt has not given up even a grain of sand from its land to Saudi Arabia," Mr al-Sisi said. 

Apparently addressing his critics, he added: "Your way of handling the issue harms us all."

Kenyan politician killed

An opposition politician has been shot dead outside his home in Kenya's capital, Nairobi. 

Stephene Mukabana, a youth leader of the Orange Democratic Movement, was killed last night when he rushed to the aid of a man being robbed by a six-member gang, police are quoted by the local Standard newspaper as saying. 

However, Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero said a "group of assassins trailed and executed" the 42-year-old Mr Mukabana, the Standard reports

AU team flies to South Sudan

A delegation from the African Union (AU) is in South Sudan to push for a government of national unity aimed at ending the country's brutal civil war.

Rebel leader Riek Machar is due to return to the capital, Juba, on Monday to take up the post of vice-president.

More than 1,300 rebel troops were flown to the city on Monday as part of the peace deal signed in August 2015. 

The AU has tweeted some photos of its delegation meeting with President Salva Kiir:

View more on twitter

Mozambique 'red alert' over drought

BBC Monitoring

Mozambique's government has declared a "red alert" to cope with a drought which has hit southern and central areas of the country, the local O Pais newspaper reports.

The red alert was aimed at boosting government intervention, and identifying the assistance people needed, government spokesman Mouzinho Saide is quoted as saying. 

Some 1.4 million people in Mozambique are suffering from hunger because of a drought which has hit the entire region, O Pais reports.

See 10:25 post: Malawi declares national disaster

New home for Sylvester the lion

A lion which twice escaped from a South African game park will be rehoused to bond with two lionesses and learn how to become a dominant male, park officials have said.

The three-year-old lion, called Sylvester, was a good candidate for an alpha role, a status that should also keep him contained, the country's parks service said in a statement.

He left Karoo National Park in South Africa's Western Cape province for the second time last month and a decision to put him down was reversed following a public outcry. 

Sylvester, branded a problem animal by park officials, will now be relocated to Addo Elephant National Park in the Eastern Cape province, where he will initially be bonded with two females in a 200-hectare (494-acre) enclosure.

Last June, Sylvester went on a sheep-killing spree, wandering 300km (180 miles) before he was found taking a nap by rangers and airlifted from the Nuweveld Mountains in Western Cape.

A lion in South Africa
AFP
South Africa has a large lion population

Drought-hit Malawi declares national disaster

Malawian President Peter Mutharika has declared a state of national disaster due to food shortages caused by a severe drought in the southern part of the country, AFP news agency reports. 

The World Food Programme said it was currently assisting nearly three million people in Malawi, with about 23 of 28 districts badly affected. 

A Malawian man carries food aid distributed by the United Nations World Food Progamme (WFP) in Mzumazi village near the capital Lilongwe, February 3, 2016
AFP
Malawi has a population of about 16 million

"The projected drop in maize harvest is estimated at 12% from last year's output," Mr Mutharika said in a statement. 

"More people will be food insecure and will require humanitarian relief assistance for the whole of the 2016/17 consumption year," he added, AFP reports.  

French soldiers killed in Mali

At least 3,500 French soldiers are deployed to the Sahel region as part of operation Barkhane
AFP
At least 3,500 French soldiers are in the Sahel region

A landmine has killed three French soldiers during a military operation in northern Mali, the French presidency says.

It said one soldier had died immediately from the explosion on Tuesday and two others died later from their wounds.

The defence ministry said a convoy of vehicles was heading north from Gao to the town of Tessalit when a mine exploded under the lead vehicle.

Some 3,500 French soldiers are deployed to five countries in the Sahel as part of Barkhane, a French-led operation against militant groups that began in 2014.  

Deported Taiwanese 'wanted for alleged fraud'

Protesters wave Taiwanese flags in Hong Kong on 17 September 2010.
Getty Images
China does not recognise Taiwan as an independent nation

A group of Taiwanese deported from Kenya to China after being acquitted in a cyber crime case are wanted for suspected fraud in China, the Chinese government has said. 

Their deportation has enraged Taiwan, which has accused Beijing of abducting its citizens. 

China's Ministry of Public Security, in a statement released via the official Xinhua news agency, said Kenya had decided to deport 32 Chinese and 45 Taiwanese to China, of whom 10 had already arrived and another 67 would land on Wednesday. 

Taiwanese had been heavily involved in telecoms fraud in China and had caused huge losses, with some victims killing themselves, the ministry added, Reuters news agency reports. 

The group detained in Kenya had operated out of the capital, Nairobi, and were suspected of cheating people out of millions of yuan (the Chinese currency) across nine provinces and cities in China and, as most of the victims were in China, they would be prosecuted there, the ministry is quoted as saying. 

The Kenyan government said the people were in Kenya illegally and were being sent back to where they had come from. 

Kenya does not have official relations with Taiwan and considers the island part of mainland China, in line with the position of Beijing. 

Amnesty appeals for Nigeria 'mass graves to be protected'

People protesting in Kaduna on 5 January 2016 for the release of Sheikh Zakzaky
Reuters
The unrest sparked global outrage among Shia

Leading rights group Amnesty International has called for suspected mass graves in northern Nigeria to be sealed off for a criminal investigation following the admission by a state government official that 347 people were killed in clashes between the military and a minority Shia Muslim sect in Zaria city in December. 

Balarabe Lawal, secretary to the Kaduna State government, told an official inquiry on Monday that the corpses were taken from an army depot and buried in mass graves, media reports say.

In a statement, Amnesty's Nigeria branch said: "The horrific revelation by the Kaduna State government that hundreds of Shi’ites were gunned down and dumped in mass graves is an important first step to bringing all those suspected of criminal responsibility for this atrocity to trial. 

"It is now imperative that the mass grave sites are protected in order that a full independent forensic investigation can begin." 

Muslim Shiite demonstrators march through the streets of the northern Nigerian city of Kano on January 7, 2009 in protest against the Israeli bombardment of Gaza.
AFP
Shia are a minority in NIgeria

Nigeria's military has previously denied killing anyone. 

It said it acted after members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), the main pro-Iranian Shia sect in the West African state, attempted to kill army chief Gen Tukur Buratai.

The group denies that it tried to kill him.

It is demanding the release of its leader, Sheikh Zakzaky, who was detained following the clashes.   

Read: Investigating the clashes

US air strikes in Somalia

A US military drone
Getty Images

US drone strikes have killed about 12 al-Shabab militants in southern Somalia, a US official has said. 

The "self-defence strikes" were carried out on Monday and Tuesday in an area north of the port city of Kismayo, Pentagon spokesman Jeff Davis said. 

"This was in southern Somalia against al-Shabab targets that were posing an imminent threat to US [and Somali] personnel," he added. 

Today's wise words

 Our African proverb of the day:

No matter how tight a monkey's trousers are, he has to leave space for his tail."

A Krio proverb from Sierra Leone sent by Sigismond Wilson, Oklahoma, US.

Click here to send us your African proverbs.

A red howler monkey (Alouatta seniculus) are seen during its recovery at the Santa fe zoo in Medellin, Antioquia department, Colombia
Getty Images

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