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Summary

  1. We are trying out a new format for our Africa coverage. This is a test live page.
  2. First top official convicted in Malawi 'Cashgate' affair
  3. A row breaks out in Sierra Leone over the handling of Ebola aid, as the epidemic rages on
  4. Somalia gets its first cash machine in the capital, as a southern offensive against militants continues
  5. Prosecutors ask the International Criminal Court to rule that Kenya's government is not co-operating with investigators

Live Reporting

By Sean Clare and Neil Arun

All times stated are UK

Thank you and goodnight

That's it for today's coverage - thanks for joining us. We'll be back on Wednesday morning to keep you up-to-date with what's happening across Africa. In the meantime, visit the

BBC Africa page for the latest news or download the
BBC Africa Today podcast.

We leave you with this photo of the lilac-breasted roller, taken in Kenya's Naboisho Conservancy by Goran Tomasevic of Reuters.

Lilac-breasted roller in Naboisha Conservancy
Reuters

Africa's 200 million Catholics in 60 secs

The number of Catholics is dwindling in some parts of the world. But not in Africa, which is home to the fastest growing Catholic community on the globe. The number of African followers of the faith has reached almost 200 million - and is still growing.

Find out more in BBC Africa's 60-second video.

Catholic church in the Democratic Republic of Congo
BBC

Malawi: First big 'Cashgate' conviction

Malawi has convicted its first senior official for the so-called "Cashgate" affair - the worst financial scandal in the history of the aid-dependent African country.

A court in Lilongwe sentenced former tourism official Treza Senzani to three years' imprisonment with hard labour, reports BBC Malawi correspondent

Raphael Tenthani.

An audit by a UK firm revealed that 13 billion Malawi kwacha (£20m; $30m) had been skimmed from the government payment system when businessmen and politicians connived with civil servants to make payments for goods and services that were never delivered.

Senzani pleaded guilty to stealing 63 million Malawi kwacha. At least 70 people have been arrested over "Cashgate". Western donor nations and agencies, which provide 40% of Malawi's budget, pulled the plug on vital aid worth around $150m in reaction to the scandal.

Kenya transgender ruling

Emmanuel Igunza, BBC Africa,

tweets: Kenyan transgender Audrey Mbugua tells me today's court ruling is not just a personal but victory for all transgender

The BBC News website has the

full story.

Nigerian arms deals 'legitimate'

Unidentified Nigerian soldiers on patrol in the north of Borno state
Getty Images
The Nigerian military is battling against an insurgency by Islamist militants

Following reports that South Africa has seized $5.7.m (£3.5m) of Nigerian money paid into a bank account for an alleged arms deal, a spokesman for Nigeria's national security adviser has told the BBC Hausa service that the deal was legitimate.

It comes a few weeks after Nigerian government agents were stopped in Johannesburg with $9.3m in cash taken to buy weapons.

South Africa's City Press newspaper says the arms dealers' permits had expired and the company tried to return the money to the Nigerian company.

"There was actually a transaction between a legitimate company in Nigeria and another legitimate company in South Africa… there is nothing illegitimate about the transaction," Karounwi Adekunle said.

Your Ebola questions answered

A health worker sprays disinfectant around the area were a man suspected of suffering from the Ebola virus, sits with a part of his head visible in Freetown, Sierra Leone, 24 September 2014.
AP

Close to 3,500 people have died of Ebola in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Governments are struggling to cope with the outbreak.

Would you like to know more about the deadly disease's impact on daily life in Sierra Leone - and about the authorities' response to it? You can put your questions to the BBC's correspondent in Freetown, Umaru Fofana.

Umaru will be taking part in a live Twitter Q&A on Wednesday 8 October between 10:00 GMT and 11:00 GMT. He will answer your questions directly via his Twitter account:
https://twitter.com/UmaruFofana

Also, the BBC's Michelle Roberts has put together a guide on

how not to catch Ebola - featuring an interactive graphic of a protective Ebola suit.

Does the ICC discriminate against Africans?

President Uhuru's impending appearance at the International Criminal Court in The Hague is just one of the stories sparking a lively debate on the

BBC Africa Facebook page.

Okorey Ucheh asks: "Is it only Africa that appears in the ICC?" Meanwhile, Ngaka Emjay proposes renaming the court the ICCA - or the "International Criminal Court for Africans".

Lojaha Enrique in Juba, South Sudan responds: "These crimes were committed by individual African leaders against their own people and these cases were referred to the ICC by our own governments... We Africans seem not to trust our own judicial systems."

The president denies inciting post-election violence in 2007 which left 1,200 dead. Where do you stand?

Join the debate on Facebook.

Burkina Faso talks break down

President Compaore of Burkina Faso
AHMED OUOBA / AFP
President Compaore has been president for two terms

In Burkina Faso, talks between the government and the opposition - over a proposed change to the constitution - have collapsed, reports BBC Afrique's Lamine Konkobo.

The change would have allowed President Blaise Compaore to run for a third term. When news about the proposed change broke earlier this year, there were big demonstrations in the capital, Ouagadougou.

The politicians were trying to work out an agenda for formal negotiations about presidential term limits. Mr Compaore, in power since 1987, has served two terms under the current constitution.

Mogadishu firefight: Two soldiers 'killed'

@AKoronto

The BBC Somali service's Abdirahman Koronto

tweets: At least two government soldiers are reported killed during the fighting. Police and National Security Service agents are reported clashing.

Italian football chief banned for racism

Carlo Tavecchio
Reuters

The president of the Italian Football Federation, Carlo Tavecchio, is banned for six months by Uefa for making racist remarks. The 71-year-old caused controversy during his election campaign in July by referring to African players as "banana eaters". You can read more on this

developing story on the BBC's sport section.

@rakidi

Rachael Akidi

Editor, BBC Focus on Africa

tweets: How first US #Ebola victim became infected in #Liberia, & why it highlights Africa's health challenge
http://bit.ly/1rUh4oI.

The link is to a feature from the African Mail and Guardian, looking at the story of Thomas Eric Duncan, who contracted Ebola in Liberia before leaving for the US.

BreakingBreaking News: Firefight in Mogadishu

Heavy gunfire is being reported at the entrance of Mogadishu port. The clash involves rival security forces, according to the

BBC's Somali service. African Union troops are heading to the area.

Elmohamady out of Egypt squad

Ahmed Elmohamady playing for Hull
Getty Images

Hull City's Egyptian midfielder, Ahmed Elmohamady, has pulled out of his country's crucial 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier double header against Botswana. The first match is in Gaborone on Friday and Cairo hosts the return fixture five days later. The Pharaohs lost their opening two qualifiers.

Boko Haram 'clashes' in northern Nigeria

We're getting reports of intense fighting between Nigerian troops and Boko Haram insurgents in Adamawa state, north-east Nigeria. The army is trying to recapture some towns and villages currently under control of the militants.

The reports were confirmed by a resident of one of the villages, interviewed by the

BBC Hausa service.

Transgender victory in Kenya

A Kenyan transgender activist is celebrating after the country's High Court ruled the name on her school certificates could be changed from Andrew to Audrey Mbugua.

Ms Mbugua - who was born male - has been embroiled in a legal battle since 2010 to be recognised as a woman.

The court ordered Kenya's exams body to make the changes within 45 days, says the BBC's Robert Kiptoo in Nairobi.

"I have never been more hopeful than I am today," Ms Mbugua told the AFP news agency.

Ebola panic reported in Guinea

@KimShingai

@BBCAfrica journalist Kim Chakanetsa
tweets: Reports of patients fleeing a govt hospital in South East #Guinea in droves after the #Ebola related deaths of two senior medical personnel.

Ebola questions

Questions are being asked after a Spanish nurse became the first person outside West Africa to contract Ebola.

The 40-year-old was wearing protective clothing when she treated a Spanish missionary who later died of the disease. So how effective is the protective equipment being used in the fight against the outbreak?

Focus on Africa will hear from professor of virology at the University of Reading Ian Jones at 16:30 GMT.

Kenya is 'not giving the ICC what it wants'

Thursday, Jan. 3, 2008 file photo, a young girl cries as she is carried by a man and woman fleeing post-election violence in the Kibera slum area of Nairobi, Kenya.
AP
Violence erupted in Kenya after the 2007 elections

Are Kenyan authorities withholding key documents relating to President Uhuru Kenyatta's involvement in post-election violence in the country seven years ago?

That is the contention of prosecutors at the Hague who say the government is "not going to give us what we are asking for" - namely phone records and tax returns.

The president has been charged with crimes against humanity for his alleged role in a wave of bloodshed in 2007 which left 1,200 people dead. He denies inciting violence.

Row over $500k Ebola aid shipment

A woman prays for victims of the Ebola virus in Saint Anthony's Catholic church in the capital of Sierra Leone, Freetown
EPA
The epidemic has brought health services in West Africa to their knees

The government in Sierra Leone has been accused of

refusing to pay duties on a $500,000 aid shipment for the fight against Ebola - leaving the delivery stranded at Freetown.

Chernor Bah, a fierce critic of President Bai Koroma, says the government did not meet the $6,000 fee required for the container, which contains mattresses, stretchers and health worker protection kits.

But a spokesman for the health ministry claims the payment was made two weeks ago. It remains unclear why the container has not left the port.

The BBC's Umaru Fofana says Sierra Leone's response to the Ebola outbreak has occasionally been hindered by wrangling among state officials and accusations of corruption.

A Somali recipe for Detroit's revival

Can the

Somali diaspora lift Detroit out of the doldrums? The London School of Economics' Karl Muth thinks so. He says the decaying US city's entrepreneurial immigrants need to be encouraged.

"Why the Somalis in Detroit? The answer, it turns out, looks a lot like the Indians in Uganda in the 1970s," he says, citing how both communities shared a co-operative business culture that helped them crush competitors.

South African striker eyes 100th goal

In the London Olympics in 2012, South Africa's Portia Modise

scored this stunning goal, lofting the ball from the centre circle to the back of the Swedish net.

Now the Soweto-born striker is aiming to score her 100th international goal at the African Women's Championship in Namibia, due to kick off on Saturday. The BBC's

Mohammed Allie reports on the star's ambitions to make history.

Portia Modise
Getty Images

'Grim news from the Ebola clinic'

In her latest diary entry, BBC global health reporter Tulip Mazumdar reports on the man who was turned away from an Ebola clinic yesterday because it was full. "His family has called and told us he passed away at an isolation centre a few hours ago," our reporter writes.

"His sister could barely speak when she was delivering the news, she was wailing with sorrow. My heart sinks... and then I hear the presenter in my earpiece saying: 'Tulip, what's the latest?'."

Francis Samuka
BBC
Francis Samuka's family say he was turned away from the Italian-run Emergency clinic in Sierra Leone

Pistorius to Dewani: Murder in South Africa

The trial of Shrien Dewani has been adjourned until Wednesday. The British businessman is accused of arranging the killing of his wife on their honeymoon in South Africa.

BBC Africa correspondent

Andrew Harding has been examining
the inevitable parallels between the Dewani case and the recently concluded trial of the Olympic athlete, Oscar Pistorius.

Kenyatta's departure

Wanyama wa Chebusiri

BBC Africa, Nairobi

Uhuru Kenyatta arriving at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport
Reuters
President Kenyatta (in blue) arrived at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport earlier

Unlike the elaborate send-offs and large entourages for previous presidential departures, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta's was unusually low-key this morning.

He arrived at Nairobi's international airport with a motorcade of just four vehicles, all with private number plates, and a handful of bodyguards. His arrival was met with curiosity from onlookers - who mainly consisted of amused airport workers.

'Hospital ship' odyssey: From Scotland to Lake Victoria

Hospital ship
BBC

A mobile hospital has been launched to bring medical services to remote communities living on Lake Victoria's 3,000 islands.

The ship, provided by a UK-based charity, was launched by the Princess Royal.

The BBC's Anne Soy reports on its extraordinary 100-day journey across land and sea, from Scotland to the shores of the African lake.

Nigerian students flock to UK

An interesting story over at the Guardian,

which cites research suggesting Nigeria will soon leapfrog India to become the UK's second-biggest source of international postgraduate students. China is the biggest source.

The paper cites a forecast by the British Council and says: "The growth rate of internationally mobile postgraduate students is especially high in Nigeria (+8.3%), India (+7.5%), Indonesia (+7.2%), Pakistan (+6.4%) and Saudi Arabia (+5.2%)."

The BBC's Zenaida Machado in Mozambique

tweets: Police in #Mozambique have arrested 4 Mozambicans and a South Africa man with a rhino skull.

#ThingsPresidentRutoShouldAddress

In Kenya, BBC Monitoring's

Moses Rono reports that commentators have been poking fun at acting Kenyan President William Ruto, using the Twitter hashtag #ThingsPresidentRutoShouldAddress.

The Daily Nation is reporting that a lawyer has gone to court to compel the chief justice to swear in Mr Ruto as president.

According to the newspaper, the lawyer argues that Uhuru Kenyatta's "surrender of the instruments of power" amounts to a resignation.

@mary_harper

Mary Harper, BBC Somalia expert

BBC News

tweets about 'safe-ty' in Somalia: I wonder if there will be less of a need for these big safes now that #Mogadishu #Somalia has its first ATM machine?

Pile of safes in Somalia
Mary Harper

Meanwhile,

@MoMukhtar10 asks: Which currency will the ATMs operate? Somali currencies died, financial institutions are not functioning and recovery plan not visible now!

The answer,

according to the BBC News website, is US dollars.

Al-Shabab retreat

a man standing in the one-time al-Shabab stronghold of Barawe
EPA

Islamist group al-Shabab has withdrawn from Jamaame - a southern farming town - as pro-government and African Union (AU) forces seek to recapture territory from the militants.

Mohamed Moalimu, from the BBC's Somali Service, says the AU-backed forces are advancing from opposite directions to regain towns between the coastal areas of Barawe and Kismayo.

The AU says it has also taken the town of Bula-Gaduud.

Acting head of AU in Somalia Lydia Wanyoto said: "The fall of the town... will provide opportunity to its residents to access government services and enjoy the freedom they have been denied for years."

Genius Kenyatta?

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta (2nd-R) and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta checking in at the Kenya Airways counter at the airport in Nairobi before departing to the Hague on October 7, 2014
AFP

#BBCNewsday presenter

Alan Kasujja tweets on President Kenyatta's Hague trip: A friend who has never been a fan of President U Kenyatta's says that the move before heading to the Hague 'was genius'

@UbuntuWriters responds: genius as in the interest of the country and justice? or as a publicity 'look i am the willing lamb' stunt?

BBC Focus on Africa editor @rakidi asks: The #ICC has always insisted that he'd been indicted as an individual & he's always argued 'but I'm now president'..... Now??

Bidders for 2017 Africa Cup of Nations revealed

Seven countries have bid to host the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, the Confederation of African Football confirms. The winner will replace Libya, which withdrew from hosting the competition due to continued security concerns in the country. The bidders are Algeria, Egypt, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Sudan and Zimbabwe.

Anna Holligan

BBC News, The Hague

tweets: President Kenyatta #ICC hearing going round in circles - prosecution concedes, 'It appears we are at a deadlock.' #Kenya

Moving 2022 Fifa World Cup 'could help Guinea'

young boys playing football soccer on the outskirts of Harare in Zimbabwe
AP

Europe's top football clubs say the 2022 Winter Olympics may have to be moved to accommodate the World Cup in Qatar that year, so the tournament can go ahead in January/February. That could be good news for Guinea, who are due to host the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.

Find out more from the BBC's sports editor Dan Roan.

Somalia's first ever cash machine

People queuing for the ATM
@MOALIMUU

Somalia's first cash machine has been launched in the capital Mogadishu. The Salaam Somali Bank has installed the machine in the troubled city's upmarket Jazeera hotel.

The BBC's

Mohamed Moalimu says people in the queue are confused and looking for instructions on how to operate the machine. But Omar Hassan, a UK visitor says: "This is a big step forward."

The machine is only dispensing US dollars at this stage but the bank says it has plans for more cash points and more international currencies.

Boko Haram conflict

'Casualty numbers worse than Iraq and Afghanistan'

The Washington Post has

examined the numbers behind the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigera. The paper says the number of people killed in the conflict this year is outstripping the numbers over similar periods recently in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"These statistics firmly place the Boko Haram insurgency as one of the most significant conflicts in the world," the paper says.

"The worsening conflict in northern Nigeria already has suffered more casualties this year than the world's most publicised contemporary wars."

'No airline flies direct from the UK to Sierra Leone anymore'

Ebola outbreak diary

The BBC's

Tulip Mazumdar is reporting on the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone. In her diary, she describes the battle ahead - and meets the doctors and aid workers determined to win it.

Today's African proverb

"To give a monkey a cup of water is easy, but it's difficult to get the cup back."

Welcome

Good morning and welcome to Africa Today.

We'll be here until 17:00 GMT with all the latest news from across Africa.

You can stay in touch using #africatoday.