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  1. Twenty abducted in northern Uganda, police say
  2. Zika strain from South America 'found in Africa'
  3. Kenya 'willing to discuss' refugee camp closure
  4. Ghana strike leads to closure of law courts
  5. Tanzania police say three die in "terrorist-style" mosque attack
  6. Doubts over whether Nigeria has rescued a girl kidnapped from Chibok
  7. Rescue teams continue search for missing Egypt plane
  8. Email stories and comments to - Friday 20 May 2016

Live Reporting

By Clare Spencer and Damian Zane

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Scroll down for Friday's stories

We'll be back on Monday

That wraps the week up for us at BBC Africa Live, but while we're off you can 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:

Birds agree when flying down but they do not agree when flying up."

A Kikuyu proverb sent by Kamau Wachira, Kiambu, Kenya

Click here to send us your Africa proverbs.

And we leave you with an image from our selection of the best pictures from Africa this week.

It shows a young girl saving her prized possessions from a building in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, which had been earmarked for demolition.

Girl holding a toy polar bear

British prosecutors accused of cover up over jailed Nigerian governor

James Ibori
Getty Images
James Ibori pleaded guilty to money laundering in 2012

The British Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is being accused of covering up police corruption during the case of jailed Nigerian governor James Ibori.  

Ibori was jailed in the UK for laundering millions by buying properties, a fleet of armoured Range Rovers and a £120,000 Bentley. 

Before Ibori was sentenced, there were claims that police investigating him had received thousands of pounds from private detectives hired by the Nigerian fraudster. 

Prosecutors had previously denied defence accusations that they had not handed over all the key evidence of this alleged police malpractice.

But the CPS has now admitted it does possess intelligence which “supports the assertion” that a Scotland Yard officer received payment in return for information about the Ibori case in 2007.       

Defence lawyers have claimed that the CPS “wilfully misled” judges about the existence of this evidence.  

If the defense case were to be accepted, Ibori’s legal team would seek to have their client’s conviction overturned by the Court of Appeal.

Read more about James Ibori in How a thief almost became Nigeria's president.

Rescued Nigerian girl is 'not among 219 Chibok girls', campaigners say.

A spokesman from Nigeria's #BringBackOurGirls campaign says that a girl who the army rescued on Thursday from Boko Haram and said she was part of the 219 kidnapped from Chibok in 2014, was not one of those taken at the time, the AFP new agency reports.

The girl was among 97 people the army rescued.

The confusion appears to be that she was a student at the Chibok school, but was "abducted by the insurgents in her home in Madagali", AFP quotes campaign spokesman Sesugh Akume.

Thousands of people have been kidnapped by Boko Haram and their whereabouts remain unknown.

Why Tanzania has a sugar shortage

More rice than sugar on the shelves

Over the last month there’s been a sugar shortage in Tanzania.

It started after the president put restrictions on importing the sweet stuff.

They said the imports failed to protect local growers while importers grew rich.

But now local sugar cane growers have even been accused of hoarding stock to justify price hikes.

And to get over the price doubling, the government has decided to, well, import sugar

Read about the whole saga in Sammy Awami’s article on theBBC News website.

Protests greet South African university celebration

We've been posting about the centenary celebrations at South Africa's Fort Hare university (see 15.59 entry).

The university counts many African liberation heroes including Nelson Mandela among its graduates.

But the day has also been marked by student protests:

Protesters at Fort Hare
Protesters at Fort Hare

The AFP news agency reports that at one point police used water cannon to stop the protesters reaching the venue where the celebrations were taking place.

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma and Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe both spoke at the main event.

What does today's proverb mean?

Getty Images
Are they arguing or colluding?

Everyday we pick an African proverb sent in by a reader to start off our day. But some days it isn't entirely clear what the lesson of the words are.

Take today's proverb:

Birds agree when flying down but they do not agree when flying up."

A Kikuyu proverb sent by Kamau Wachira, Kiambu, Kenya

In this instance, we turn to our readers on Facebook to explain.

Diko Alinaitwe from Uganda’s capital, Kampala, says: 

Thieves plan together to steel but they can’t help each other to escape.”

Joseph Otieno from Nairobi in Kenya has one suggestion:

“It means you may strike a deal and when it matures the other partner is allowed to run away with it."

Sipho Mudenda from Livingstone in Zambia suggests a slightly less dramatic interpretation:

When people want to be in partnership they sit down and agree with each other, when they want to stop communication breaks down little-by-little."

And finally Patrick Nwokolo from Port Harcourt in Nigeria just says: 

That's corruption."

Click here and scroll to the bottom of the page to send in your proverb.

A new Uber service in South Africa?

The cartoonists behind South Africa's satirical Madam & Eve strip have imagined that there is an Uber-like service for homework:

View more on twitter

The Uber taxi service has been in the news in South Africa this week as Uber drivers have been attacked near one of the big stations in Johannesburg.

Eyewitness News is reporting that Uber services will not, for time being, be working near the Sandton Gautrain station.

Human remains found by EgyptAir search team

Search teams looking for the EgyptAir plane that crashed into the Mediterranean have discovered human remains. 

Egyptian officials say navy crews also managed to find seats and passengers's belongings. 

Meanwhile, satellite pictures of the sea's surface have shown what could be a fuel slick from the plane. 

The aircraft was en route from Paris to Cairo with 66 people on board when it disappeared from radar screens on Thursday.

Ship in Mediterranean
Search teams are looking for the wreckage

What will rescued Chibok girl be returning to?

In the week that the first girl so-called Chibok girl was rescued, the BBC's Abdullahi Kaura Abubakar asks what her community is like now.

The girls were abducted from their dormitory in Chibok secondary school in Nigeria over two years ago. 

Our correspondent has been to the freed girl's village and met many of the parents there. 

He told the BBC's Fifth Floor that this news will give many of the parents that he met hope about their own daughters.

But he said the girl will be returning to a divided community:

They are Muslims and Christians who were all living happily together until this abduction. This abduction was carried out by people who professed to be Muslims, who say they are carrying out a jihad. They abducted these girls, most of them were Christian. The news that they were forced to convert to Islam made their parents have ill feelings."

Congolese Crystal Palace player wears boots for his mother

Yanick Bolassie after scoring
Getty Images

Congolese Crystal Palace winger Yannick Bolasie could be one of the key players as his side challenges Manchester United in Saturday's FA Cup final at Wembley.

Bolassie grew up in London and says, in a profile piece in the Guardian newspaper, that he could see Wembley stadium from his bedroom.

He also reveals that tomorrow is his mother's birthday and he will be wearing a specially-designed pair of boots in her honour.

He says:

The way I’ve grown up, the manner I am today, reflects on my mother. I’ve seen other people grow up and not have respect for human beings."

Senegal's Pape Souare, Togo's Emmanuel Adebayor, Mali's Bakary Sako and Morocco's Marouane Chamakh are also part of the Crystal Palace squad.

Fort Hare: 'One of the most important universities in Africa'

View more on twitter

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma has called Nelson Mandela's university Fort Hare one of the most important universities in Africa:

View more on twitter

He was talking at the ceremony celebrating the centenary of the university.

Eye Witness News has picked out some keys parts of his speech:

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

We reported in our 10:57 post that this comes after two days of violent protests at the campus.

One of the grievances was the cost of the ceremony, while students have been campaigning for the last year for financial help. 

Ghana's law courts shut following nationwide strike

Thomas Naadi

BBC Africa, Accra

Ghana's law courts have shut because of an indefinite nationwide strike by court workers called today over poor conditions of service. 

They want the government to implement a deal over new salaries which was approved last year.

Last month, members of the Judicial Service Staff Association of Ghana met a presidential committee that was set up to address their concerns. 

But this did not yield any fruitful results. 

Dangerous Zika virus strain reaches Africa 'for first time'

The World Health Organization says that the Zika virus strain linked to neurological defects in new-born babies in South America has been detected in Africa for the first time. 

It was found in a sample taken from Cape Verde.

The WHO has been tweeting:

View more on twitter

The findings are of concern because it's further proof that t/ #Zika outbreak is spreading beyond the Americas & is on t/ doorstep of Africa

The name of the virus in fact comes from a Ugandan forest where it was first identified.

But the strain prevalent in Africa caused flu-like symptoms without the other complications.

Read more: Inside Uganda's forest where the disease originates

The 20 people abducted in northern Uganda thought to be in South Sudan

Uganda's Daily Monitor has more details of a raid in the north of the country earlier this week in which 20 people were abducted (see 12.23 entry).

It says that the authorities do not know the whereabouts of those who were taken, but a local official says that it is likely that they are now over the border in South Sudan.

It is thought that the attackers themselves are from South Sudan.

The Daily Monitor quotes local army official Lt Andrew Kandiho as saying that the attackers took goats and other provisions.

“We are also working jointly with security operatives in South Sudan to ensure those people are returned,” he added.

Families hold 'symbolic' funerals for loved ones in EgyptAir crash

The BBC's Middle East correspondent, Lina Sinjab, who is in Cairo, says some families have already carried out funerals with empty coffins for their loved ones.

She said: "The rituals here are they have to bury the dead as soon as they die, but they are in a really difficult position because they don't know if the bodies would ever arrive, so they're still waiting at the moment. 

"They did this as a symbolic move to commemorate their lost ones."  

Kenya reassures UN over treatment of refugees

Anne Soy

BBC Africa, Nairobi

The UN Security Council says it has received assurances from the Kenyan government that it will respect its international obligations to refugees, despite announcing that it will close the Dadaab refugee camp, home to more than 300,000 Somalis.

UN ambassadors have been talking about the proposed closure with Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Britain's Ambassador to the UN, Matthew Rycroft, told the BBC that the fate of the refugees will be determined jointly by the Security Council and the Somali and Kenyan governments. 

Kenya said it wanted to close the camp because of security concerns. 

The government says several militant attacks on Kenyan soil were planned in the camp. 

President Kenyatta has been tweeting pictures of him at the meeting:

View more on twitter

Nigeria black market fuel sellers switch to kerosene

Ishaq Khalid

BBC Africa, Bauchi

Young men who sell petrol in jerrycans by the roadside in Nigeria, known as black maketers, have switched over from the petrol business to selling kerosene in the northern city of Bauchi. 

They say they have switched because there are no more petrol shortages since the official pump price rose 67% last week, so motorists no longer need to get petrol on the black market.

Black Marketers in Bauchi

Umar, one of the black marketers, told me that now kerosene is more scarce than petrol.

Most families in Nigeria rely on kerosene for cooking. 

The black marketers say the government should provide more job opportunities so they don't have to resort to selling fuel on the streets.  

Prosecutors to give Haile Selassie's $1m watch back to mystery owner

Geneva's chief prosecutors will release a watch which the family of Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie insist was stolen, reports Bloomberg.

The watch was confiscated by prosecutors who have now told Bloomberg they have found no criminal wrongdoing.  

The family say the watch was stolen from the Imperial Palace by soldiers in the wake of a 1974 Marxist coup that deposed the Ethiopian monarch, or was taken from a safety deposit box shortly thereafter.  

Bloomberg say the 18-carat gold Patek Phillipe watch is expected to get £1m (£690,000) in auction.

Christie's Auction House is not revealing the owner's name.

Emperor of Ethiopia Haile Selassie (1892-1975) review troops 17 January 1973 in Addis Ababa upon Pompidou's arrival for a 3-day state visit to Ethiopia, the last stage of his trip to the Horn of Africa
Getty Images

Cairo filmmaker posts tribute to four family members

Osman Abu Laban, a Cairo-based Lebanese film director, has posted on his Facebook page to say that he lost four members of his family in the crash - his uncle, aunt, cousin and his cousin's wife.  

He posted pictures of the family members and a message praying that they would find peace.


Angolan activist freed

Human Rights Watch campaigner Zenaida Machado has tweeted that an Angolan activist has just been freed:

View more on twitter

She adds more detail:

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Jornal de Angola reports that the Supreme Court made the decision yesterday. 

He was arrested in March after helping organise a demonstration against bad governance in the oil-rich Cabinda region, where there has been a decades-long separatist insurgency.

In March he was sentenced to six years in prison.

Maka Angola reported that the UN had called for his immediate release in January saying everyone should have freedom of expression.

Who are the 97 rescued Nigerians?

The Nigerian army has said this morning that it rescued 97 people from the Boko Haram militant group in an operation on Thursday.

Much of what we have reported on this so far has focused on a dispute over the army's claim that one of the 97 was part of the group of girls abducted in Chibok in 2014.

But there is some more detail on the military operation itself.

The Nigerian army said on its Facebook page that troops "killed 35 Boko Haram terrorists and recovered several arms and ammunitions" in the Damboa Area of north-eastern Borno State. 

Colonel Sani Usman Kukasheka, spokesman for the Nigerian Army, told the BBC's Newsday that the group was mostly made up of women and children.  

An army spokesman says they freed the girl and 97 others held hostage by Boko Haram.

The debris site and approximate search area for EgyptAir wreckage

Rescue teams are currently looking for more debris from the crashed EgyptAir plane:

BBC map

'Twenty abducted' in northern Uganda

Ugandan police are saying that 20 people have been abducted in the north of the country, close to the South Sudanese border, the AFP news agency reports.

Police blamed the attack, which happened on Tuesday, on "suspected militia members from South Sudan", the AFP quotes a local police chief as saying.

The security forces say they are now working on the rescue.

Eritrea gears up to celebrate 25 years since independence

Eritrea is getting ready to celebrate 25 years since the nation was founded. 

The BBC's Mary Harper is in the country ahead of the celebrations next week.

Decorations have already gone up:

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

Three arrests over Tanzania attack

Police in Tanzania have arrested three people in connection with what it called a "terrorist-style" attack on a mosque in which three people died (see 09:02 entry).

No group has claimed responsibility.

More on doubts cast over identity of freed Nigerian girl

There are more details comings out on the doubts cast over the Nigerian army's claim that a second so-called Chibok Girl has been found. 

The army maintained she was one of the 219 abducted by Boko Haram in 2014. 

Yakubu Nkeki, the head of the Chibok Abducted Girls Parents group, told AFP news agency that the military had not contacted him to identify her. They had done this for the first girl, Amina Ali.

This second girl was said to be Serah Luka. 

But Mr Nkeki said his records showed this name isn't one of the ones on his list of abducted girls. 

She told troops and civilian vigilantes she was a Christian pastor's daughter originally from Madagali, in neighbouring Adamawa state, and had been in Chibok to sit her exams.   

But Mr Nkeki also told AFP that none of the abducted Chibok girls were from Madagali.

Chibok girls
There is some doubt whether the second girl found was one of this group abducted in 2014

Zuma to hear about corruption prosecution on Monday

South Africa's National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) will announce whether it will reopen a corruption case against President Jacob Zuma on Monday, the Reuters news agency reports.

In a court ruling last month Judge Aubrey Ledwaba described the prosecutor's decision to drop the case in 2009 as "irrational".

The NPA was then left to decide if it wanted to reinstate the charges.

Jacob Zuma
President Jacob Zuma could face more than 700 corruption charges

Short words are 'the secret to Nigeria's Scrabble success'

It may be time to revise your Scrabble strategy.

The Wall Street Journal has done a thorough investigation into Nigeria's recent success in international Scrabble tournaments and found the secret is short words.

It's been a long-held strategy to try and get seven letters onto the board to get a 50-point bonus.

But every extra letter on the board is another opening for an opponent and could use up valuable letters.

This short-word approach saw Nigerian Wellington Jighere win the world championship in Australia last year.

Wellington Jighere
Getty Images
Scrabble champion keeps his words short

Wall Street Journal has renamed him the Rachmaninoff of rack management and says he is changing the game.  

The article points out that his winning word - felty - was just five letters long.

Egyptian president expresses 'utmost sadness and regret' over crash

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has offered condolences to the families of victims of the EgyptAir plane crash. 

His office said in a statement:

The presidency with utmost sadness and regret mourns the victims on aboard the EgyptAir flight who were killed after the plane crashed in the Mediterranean on its way back to Cairo from Paris."

VIPs arrive at centenary celebrations for Mandela's university despite protests

VIPs have started arriving at South Africa's Fort Hare University for its centenary celebrations despite two nights of violent protest, South Africa's News 24 has reported.

Students reportedly set fire to some buildings in the campus in protest to the money being spent on the celebrations.

There has been a wave of student protests in South Africa over the last year, demanding financial help to study.

President Jacob Zuma is due to speak at the celebration later today.

This tweet suggests there is a heavy police presence:

View more on twitter

  ENCA journalist Sikelelwa Mdingi tweeted this picture last night:  

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Quartz explains that Nelson Mandela's alma mata Fort Hare was founded in 1916 as the country’s first university for black people under colonialism.

It also educated a number of other anti-apartheid and anti-colonial figures.

Kenya's president discusses refugee camp closure with UN

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has been tweeting about discussions with representatives from the UN security Council:

View more on twitter

Kenya's plan to close the Dadaab refugee camp, home to more than 300,000 Somalis, also came up.

The plan has attracted criticism from the UN's refugee agency and many NGOs.

View more on twitter

Plane debris will be examined by investigators from Egypt, UK and France

When the debris from EgyptAir Flight MS804 is brought ashore it will be examined by air crash investigators from several different countries. 

The investigation will be led by Egyptian Ayman el-Mokadam. He will be joined by French and British investigators as well as an expert from Airbus, the manufacturer of the aircraft. 

Where do people live longest in Africa?

We've already posted about the news, based on a WHO report, that average life expectancy in Africa has risen by nearly 10 years since 2000 (see 09:02 entry).

But within the continent (and within countries) there is still a big spread.

Algeria sits at the top of the list with an average life expectancy of 75.6 years.

Sierra Leone is at the bottom with 50.1 years.

North Africa and the continent's island nations seem to be doing particularly well.

Here are the top ten:

  1. Algeria - 75.6
  2. Tunisia - 75.3
  3. Mauritius - 74.6
  4. Morocco - 74.3
  5. Cape Verde - 73.3
  6. Seychelles - 73.2
  7. Libya - 72.7
  8. Egypt - 70.9
  9. Sao Tome - 67.5
  10. Senegal - 66.7

Ethiopia is 16th on the list with an average life expectancy of 64.8 years, Kenya is 22nd with 63.4, Ghana is 25th with 62.4, Somalia is 47th with 55 and Nigeria is 48th with 54.5.

Baby receiving oral medicine
The WHO says mass immunisation is one of the reasons behind why people are living longer

BreakingEgyptian military: Plane debris found

The Egyptian military has issued a statement saying it has found some debris from the missing plane. There's no confirmation from any other source.

AU report recommends international police force for Burundi

An African Union human rights report has backed calls for an international police force to be sent to Burundi, the AFP news agency reports.

Last year the AU's peace and security council proposed an intervention force for the country, where there's been political tension since President Pierre Nkurunziza announced that he would run for a third term more than a year ago.

But African heads of state rowed back on this after opposition from Burundi.

AFP says that the rights report is based on what monitors observed during a visit at the end of last year.

Anti-third term protests rocked the capital, Bujumbura, last year

Campaigners casts doubt that rescued girl was from Chibok

Serah Luka

A spokesman for the Chibok girls' parents has cast doubt on the Nigerian army's claim that a second of the so-called Chibok girls has been rescued. 

Yakubu Nkeki said that the girl's name is not on the families' list of those missing.  

A group of over 200 girls were abducted from Chibok Secondary School in 2014 by the Islamist militants Boko Haram and the campaign to find them garnered worldwide attention under the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls. 

One of the main #BringBackOurGirls campaigners also cautions that care must be taken to establish the girl is indeed one of the group of over 200 who were abducted from Chibok:

View more on twitter

Read more on the BBC News website.

Rescue teams continue search for EgyptAir debris

A full day after an Egyptair plane dropped off the radar close to Cairo, no debris has yet been discovered. 

Rescue teams are continuing to search the eastern Mediterranean Sea for wreckage.

Egyptian officials initially thought wrecked plane parts had been found, but later admitted they were wrong. 

A BBC correspondent there says the authorities are under pressure to respond competently and compassionately to the disaster.

Grieving relatives
Grieving relatives of the 66 people who were on board the plane have gathered at Cairo airport to wait for news

Life expectancy rising faster in Africa

Life expectancy in Africa is rising twice as fast as the rest of the world according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The WHO report says that since the year 2000 life expectancy in Africa has risen by almost 10 years. 

Now the average person on the continent can expect to live to 60 years of age. But that's still 20 years less than a baby born in one of 29 high-income countries.

Dr Ties Boerma from the WHO told Newsday that one of the reasons is that immunisation has decreased child mortality.

Tanzania police say three die in 'terrorist-style' mosque attack

Sammy Awami

BBC Africa, Dar es Salaam

Tanzanian police are saying that three people have died in what they call a "terrorist-style" attack on a mosque in Mwanza, in the north-west of the country.

Mwanza Police Commander Ahmed Msangi told journalists that about 15 people with face masks, machetes, axes and black flags entered the mosque at 20:00 local time (17:00 GMT) on Thursday evening as prayers were under way.

Then they started attacking the worshippers.

Several people were injured, including three who eventually died of their wounds.

The victims include the imam Ferouz Ismail Elias.

The exact motive for the attack is not clear, but the police are saying that those responsible were angry about the police detaining fellow Muslims and the people in the mosque doing nothing about it.

The gruesome attack comes on the back of growing fears of the rise of religious fundamentalism in the country.