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  1. Six African states invest heavily in spying - report

    Six African countries are investing heavily in the latest surveillance technology to spy on activists, business competitors, journalists, and other governments, a new report says.

    The Institute of Development Studies, which published the report, identified Nigeria as the biggest spender, with more than $127m (£92m) invested in surveillance-related activities and equipment in 2017.

    Egypt, Kenya, Senegal, South Africa, and Sudan have also made significant investments on surveillance technology, the report said.

    Internet signal interception, citizens surveillance, and internet eavesdropping often happen despite laws granting the right to privacy of communication and correspondence, it added.

    "Privacy rights in Africa are very well guaranteed in most countries," Tony Roberts, one of the co-authors of the study, told the BBC's Bola Mosuro.

    "However, using this surveillance technology, governments are violating those rights," he added.

    National security and economic interests are cited as the most frequent justifications used by the governments to stretch their surveillance power, often in breach of the rights to privacy of private citizens and civil society organisations.

    Egypt is named as one of the countries with the weakest privacy protection laws. Without an independent oversight body, the state is the only "judge, jury and regulator" says the report.

    "To get governments to value and respect the legislation that does exist. It's important that the public are aware of the rights that they have," Mr Roberts said.

  2. Video content

    Video caption: The ancient African queens who are inspiring young people

    Illustrator Onyinye Iwu has been creating art of ancient queens to show they are still relevant today.

  3. Tigray's capital hit by airstrike again

    Smoke billowing in Mekelle
    Image caption: Witnesses said that Wednesday's strike had hit the property of a company

    Ethiopia's military has carried out an airstrike in Mekille - the main city in the in Tigray region - for the third time this week.

    Government spokesman Legesse Tulu said that Thursday's strike had targeted a military training centre of the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), which controls the city wth a population of more than 500,000.

    TPLF spokesman Getachew Reda told AFP news agency its defence units had "foiled its [the military's] mission".

    Conflict between the TPLF and the federal government broke out almost a year, causing a massive humanitarian crisis.

    The UN said three children were killed in air strikes on Mekelle on Monday.

    Medics said that eight people - including a pregnant mother - were wounded in strikes on Wednesday.

  4. US indicts Black Axe gang over romance scams

    Romance scam

    The US justice department says it has indicted seven leaders of the Nigeria-headquartered Black Axe gang for running internet dating scams from South Africa.

    An eighth person, suspected of conspiring with a gang leader, had also has been indicted, it said in a statement.

    The eight were arrested in South Arica, following a massive international operation involving the FBI and Interpol.

    The US is expected to request their extradition.

    The Black Axe - also known as the Neo-Black Movement of Africa - was headquartered in Benin City in southern Nigeria, the justice department said.

    "The Black Axe is organized into regional chapters known as 'zones' and the defendants were all leaders within the Cape Town, South Africa, Zone," it added.

    Its leaders were also known by names such as Lord Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela and Lord Samuel S Nujoma, an apparent reference to the former Presidents of South Africa and Namibia respectively.

    The gang operated from Cape Town from at least 2011, engaging in "widespread internet fraud involving romance scams and advance fee schemes", the justice department said.

    "The conspirators used social media websites, online dating websites, and voice over internet protocol phone numbers to find and talk with victims in the United States, while using a number of aliases," it added.

    The accused have asked for bail in South Africa, and a full hearing is due to be held next week.

    South African authorities have indicated that they would oppose the request.

  5. Nigerian separatist leader makes court appearance

    Chris Ewokor

    BBC News, Abuja

    Getty Images
    Image caption: Nnamdi Kanu is campaigning for the independent state of Biafra

    The trial of Nigerian separatist leader, Nnamdi Kanu, resumed on Thursday in the capital, Abuja.

    He was charged with terrorism, treason, running an illegal company and publishing defamatory materials.

    The government has amended the charges, but the details have not been made public.

    Mr Kanu, who is the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob) group, has not yet been asked to plead.

    Various routes leading to the Federal High Court were blocked by security agents ahead of his appearance. Security personnel prevented some lawyers from entering the court.

    The government has amended the charges against him, but the fresh details have not been made public.

    Tension heightened in July when the authorities failed to present him in court for trial.

    Mr Kanu was first arrested in 2015, but he fled Nigeria two years later after the Nigerian army invaded his home. He was rearrested in June this year.

    His lawyers said he was being held in solitary confinement in the custody of the Nigerian secret police.

    Members of his separatist group, who are agitating for a breakaway state in the south-east, have remained active in the region.

    They had earlier threatened to impose a month-long curfew in the region if the government refuses to present their leader to court.

  6. Explosives detonated at Kenya activist's property - report

    Ferdinand Omondi

    BBC News, Nairobi

    Police in Kenya are investigating a report that attackers used explosives to partially bring down a house under construction, belonging to a controversial activist.

    The police confirmed on their official Twitter account that they had received an official complaint of the attack on Boniface Mwangi's property on Wednesday night.

    The report said men allegedly armed with pistols raided the construction site, robbed the workers of their personal belongings, and tried to destroy the house using detonators.

    View more on twitter

    The police say they have visited the scene and have started investigations.

    There are no reports of any injuries.

    The activist now says he is concerned for his safety and that of his family.

  7. Zambian Daka scores four in Leicester fight back

    Leicester City's Patson Daka celebrates scoring their second go

    Zambian international Patson Daka scored four coolly-taken goals as Leicester boosted their Europa League qualification hopes by brilliantly coming back from two goals down to beat Spartak Moscow.

    Leicester have struggled throughout this European campaign and had looked to be on course for another damaging defeat in the snowy Russian capital as Spartak took a 2-0 lead.

    Alexander Sobolev fired in the first via a deflection before former Chelsea wing-back Victor Moses set up Jordan Larsson - the son of ex-Swedish international forward Henrik - to slot in the second.

    Crucially, though, Leicester responded immediately, with Daka slotting in after getting on the end of Kelechi Iheanacho's chipped-through ball.

    The Zambia international levelled matters soon after the break with another neat finish, again set up by Iheanacho.

    And before the hour mark it was 3-2 as Daka timed his run to perfection to latch onto Youri Tielemans' pass before slotting in low.

    He was not done yet, though, with James Maddison releasing him to seal the win with another side-foot finish with 10 minutes to go.

    There was still time for Spartak to scare City, courtesy of Sobolev's second goal of the game, but the Foxes were able to hold on for the victory.

    It is their first of this season's competition, leaving them second in Group C on four points.

  8. South Sudan hit by worst floods in decades - UN

    Refugee camp in South Sudan
    Image caption: Camps for internally displaced persons, like this one pictured last month, have experienced rising waters

    The United Nations says more than 700,000 people have been displaced by the worst floods to hit South Sudan in decades.

    At least 40 people have died across the country as heavy rains and flash floods destroy livestock, farmlands and homes.

    The floods have mainly affected four states.

    Some of those who have fled have been displaced numerous times over due to conflict and three years of consecutive flooding.

    Scientists have blamed climate change for the flooding in South Sudan and other countries in eastern Africa.

  9. Eswatini orders Facebook closure to curb protests

    BBC Monitoring

    The world through its media

    Public transport workers dance and chant political slogans at the bus rank in Manzini on October 19, 2021
    Image caption: Eswatini has witnessed a wave of protests in demand for political reforms

    The Eswatini government has directed the country's main telecoms operator, MTN, to shut down social media giant Facebook, reports say.

    The move is part of a bid to curb pro-democracy protests that have been going on for months in a country ruled by an absolute monarch.

    Privately-owned Swaziland News website reported on the government accusing social media platforms of "irresponsibly" spreading misinformation, which was "contributing to the violent attacks and events around the country".

    "As government, we have an obligation to restore peace and order to bring a stop to the violence currently taking place,” the website quoted a letter from Information Minister Princess Sikhanyiso to the communications regulator as saying.

    MTN also sent a message to its users informing them of the decision to shut down Facebook.

    “Yello Valued Customer, Please note that MTN received a directive from the regulator to suspend access to Facebook until further notice and the directive has been implemented. We regret the inconvenience caused,” the message said.

    The latest development comes as protests continued on the streets of the capital, Mbabane, on Thursday.

    Since late June, Eswatini has experienced a wave of protests by demonstrators calling for major constitutional reforms that will allow them to elect their own leaders.

    King Mswati has ruled the kingdom since 1986 following the death of his father.

  10. UN warns over state threats to South Sudan activists

    Nichola Mandil

    Juba

    South Sudanese in living UN shelters
    Image caption: Many South Sudanese have been displaced by conflicts

    The UN says threats against civil society activists in South Sudan violate the revitalised peace agreement signed in 2018 to end five years of conflict.

    The UN Commission on Human Rights says it has noted “with alarm and dismay the ongoing threats, harassment and intimidation” of human rights defenders, journalists among others.

    It says credible threats by the state’s National Security Services (NSS) on the lives of the activists had forced them to flee the country.

    It noted that the NSS had continued to harass colleagues and families of the activists - many of whom played a key role in the country’s peace and justice processes.

    The UN commission says bank accounts of the activists, and those of the non-government organisations they lead, are among those recently blocked on government orders.

    “The State’s targeting of high-profile human rights defenders will have a chilling effect on civil society, and will discourage public participation and corrode confidence in the important processes of transitional justice, constitution making and national elections,” it said.

    South Sudan’s government has not commented on the latest UN report.

  11. Mother elephant filmed trampling crocodile to death

    A tourist on safari filmed the moment an unlucky crocodile was trampled to death by a mother elephant after it stalked her calf at a river in Zambia.

    In the video, the elephant violently attacks the crocodile with her trunk and head, before trampling the crocodile in the shallow river as a group of tourists watch.

    The rare sighting was captured by Hans Henrik Haahr and has been shared by Latest Sightings, a YouTube channel that shares wildlife videos recorded across Africa.

    "Elephants are generally peaceful and extremely caring animals; however, females can become very aggressive when protecting a young calf," Latest Sightings said.

    "Hans said he had almost no words to describe the interaction, just that it was 'shocking'."

    The trampling resulted in the death of the crocodile, it said.

    View more on youtube
  12. Libyan minister fires state oil firm's chairman

    Ahmed Rouaba

    BBC News

    Mustafa Sanalla, the ousted chairman of Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC)
    Image caption: Mustafa Sanallah had been suspended and reinstated before as NOC chairman

    Libya's oil minister, Mohamed Aoun, has fired the chairman of the state oil company NOC.

    An interim manager has been named until the board of directors of the company meets to elect a new chairman, a decree from the ministry said.

    This the second time in as many months that the oil minister has taken a decision against the chairman Mustafa Sanallah.

    The minister had suspended Mr Sanallah in September, accusing him of insubordination over his travels abroad without permission from the ministry.

    He was later reinstated by Prime Minister Abdel Hamid Dbeiba who overturned the suspension.

  13. Trial of Nigerian separatist leader set to resume

    Chris Ewokor

    BBC News, Abuja

    IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu at the Federal High Court in Abuja, Nigeria.

    The trial of the Nigerian separatist leader Nnamdi Kanu is expected to resume in Abuja on Thursday.

    Mr Kanu - the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (a pro-Biafra separatist group) - is charged with terrorism and treason.

    He's also charged with running an illegal company and publishing defamatory materials.

    Tension rose in July when the authorities failed to present him before the court for trial.

    Mr Kanu was first arrested in 2015, but he fled Nigeria two years later after the Nigerian army invaded his home. He was rearrested in June this year.

    His lawyers say he's been held in solitary confinement, in the custody of the Nigerian secret police.

    He faces life imprisonment if found guilty.

    More on this topic:

  14. Prosecutors challenge Hotel Rwanda hero sentence

    Paul Rusesabagina
    Image caption: Paul Rusesabagina was sentenced to 25 years in jail last month

    Prosecutors have filed an appeal against the sentence of Paul Rusesabagina, the man portrayed as a hero in a Hollywood movie about the Rwandan genocide.

    Rusesabagina, 67, was sentenced to 25 years in jail last month after being found guilty of backing a rebel group behind deadly attacks in 2018 and 2019.

    Rwandan prosecutors had sought a life sentence against him and had indicated they were not happy with the decision to hand a lesser punishment than they had wanted.

    Rusesabagina had pulled out of the trial, which rights groups, supporters and his family denounced as a sham.

    Neither he nor his lawyers were in court for the verdict, in which his co-defendants were sentenced for between three and 20 years.

    On Wednesday, Rusesabagina’s daughter Carine Kanimba said the prosecution’s move to appeal against the sentence showed the trial was politically motivated.

    It is not clear from the prosecutor's statement on Wednesday whether the appeal is against the jail sentence or the wider ruling.

    It noted that it had filed "an appeal against the judgement of the High Court of 20 September 2021" referring to the case against Rusesabagina and his co-accused.

    The appeal court is to later decide on the date when it will start hearing the appeal.

  15. Nigeria and Turkey trade to rise by more than $1bn

    Chris Ewokor

    BBC News, Abuja

    Turkey has signed several agreements with Nigeria that will see its volume of trade increase to over $1bn (£723m) in a major push to ramp up commercial and economic co-operation with Africa’s most populous nation.

    President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan arrived in Abuja where he met with President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday, as part of a wider trip to the African continent.

    Speaking at a joint press conference President Erdoğan said that the two leaders discussed bilateral relations and opportunities for further cooperation.

    He drew special attention to the importance of what he described as “the common fight against terrorism”.

    He said that Turkey has been closely following the developments in Nigeria, and that his country can offer support for Nigeria's fight against violent jihadists.

    On Tuesday in Togo, Mr. Erdogan said Turkey is ready "to lay the foundation for military cooperation" with West African nations fighting insurgency.

    The trip appears to be a significant step in Turkey's attempts to increase its influence on the continent as it prepares to host two major Africa-focused events in Istanbul: a two-day Turkey-Africa Third Economy and Business Summit which starts on Thursday, and a two-day Turkey-Africa Third Partnership Summit in December.