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Summary

  1. Machel calls for African unity after xenophobic attacks
  2. Row in Togo after family's 48-year rule extended
  3. Inquiry into French troops accused of CAR child abuse
  4. Burundi blocks social media as protests continue

Live Reporting

By Lucy Fleming and Farouk Chothia

All times stated are UK

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Scroll down for all the news. More updates tomorrow

That's it from us today. Listen to the

Africa Today podcast and keep up-to-date with
stories from across the continent on the BBC News website.

We leave you with this picture of sand sculptures of Africa at an exhibition that is opening to the public in Germany next month. Twenty international artists have used around 1,100 tonnes of sand to make their artistic visions of Africa.

Journalists walk through sculptures made of sand during a tour for the press at the "1. Berliner Sandwelt", festival and exhibition of sand sculptures, in Elstal, Germany, 29 April 2015. Twenty international artists used around 1,100 tons of sand to craft their sand sculptures presenting their artistic visions of Africa.
EPA

Ebola figures

The latest WHO Ebola figures are out showing 33 new confirmed cases in the week up to 26 April - the majority in Forecariah in Guinea and Kambia in Sierra Leone.

Liberia will be declared free of Ebola transmission on 9 May, if it continues to report no new cases.

A Liberian worker reacts as he dismantles shelters in an Ebola treatment centre closed by the charity Medecins Sans Frontiers in Monrovia
AFP
Liberia hopes to be able to close more Ebola centres

What's for supper?

After a study showed "rural African food" may reduce the risk of bowel cancer

we asked what is usually on your plate.

Evans Madu Tobe says it is bitter leaf soup and fufu, while Aluoch Aby says ugali and fish.

Michael Nii Lante Lamptey thinks the results of the survey (see earlier post) have more to do with "the fact that in Africa most of what we consume isn't processed".

Leaked report 'prompts sex abuse investigation'

France has launched a preliminary investigation into allegations that French troops sexually abused children in Central African Republic after receiving a UN report, according to the Reuters news agency.

The UK's Guardian newspaper says a senior UN aid worker has been suspended for disclosing to French prosecutors the UN report.

It details the alleged rape and sodomy of starving and homeless young boys by French peacekeepers who were supposed to be protecting them at a centre for internally displaced people in Bangui, capital of CAR, the Guardian reports.

Burning poached ivory

Two African leaders have set fire to five tonnes of seized ivory in Congo-Brazzaville as a conference on the tackling illegal exploitation of wildlife opened.

Chad's President Idriss Deby can be seen wielding a massive torch nearest to the camera. His Congolese counterpart, Denis Sassou-Nguesso, holds the other one.

Congo's President Denis Sassou-Nguesso (C) and Chad's President Idriss Deby (2nd L) light afire a five-ton stockpile of ivory tusks coming from poaching a illegal trafficking, on April 29, 2015 in Brazzaville
AFP

Life sentences for church attack

A court in Egypt has sentenced

69 Islamists to life in prison for setting fire to a church in a town near the capital, Cairo.

BreakingBreaking News

A French prosecutor is carrying out preliminary investigations into allegations of child abuse by French soldiers based in Central African Republic, judicial sources say.

Painting the greats

Caricaturist Drissa Konate
BBC

BBC Bamako reporter Alex Duval Smith has just snapped some photos of caricaturist Drissa Konate painting the portraits of famous Malian musicians on the outside wall of Studio Bogolan - one of the Malian capital's most famous recording studios, which has not functioned for two years.

Caricaturist Drissa Konate painting
BBC

He is among a group of artists who want to restart activities at the legendary studio and they are currently sprucing up the premises at their own expense in the hope of attracting financial support to get it back on its feet, our correspondent says.

Burundi protesters 'going hungry'

Elyse, an anti-third term protester in Burundi, has been complaining about the police's handling of the demonstrations and commending the army.

"If the soldiers weren't here with us, the police would have already started firing at us," he told the BBC's Maud Jullien.

Elyse, an anti-third term protester in Burundi,
BBC
Protesters, like Elyse here, hold up their hands to show the police they are not armed

Police road blocks meant that neighbourhoods were going hungry.

"No-one can come in to bring food, so the protesters are starting to lose motivation. This is part of the government strategy. Telephone credit is no longer available here, so we can't communicate and social networks have been cut off.

"We would like to at least be able to talk, why doesn't the government come here to talk with people?"

Togo's 'rival president'

Abdourahmane Dia

BBC Afrique

Togo's main opposition leader Jean-Pierre Fabre has declared himself president after rejecting official results from Saturday's elections as fraudulent.

Jean-Pierre Fabre in Lome, Togo on 25 April 2015
AFP
Jean-Pierre Fabre, pictured here on the day of the election, obtained 35% of the vote

He called on people to "take their destiny into their own hands".

Provisional results released by the electoral commission showed that Mr Fabre obtained 35% of the vote compared with President Faure Gnassingbe's 59% (see earlier post for more details).

Stuck in the mud

Residents of the Kenyan town of Narok struggle to rescue a car stuck in the mud after flash floods:

Car stuck in the mud in Kenya
BBC

Forest captives

Most of the nearly 300 women and children freed in north-eastern Nigeria during a military offensive in Sambisa forest are likely to have been residents of the nature reserve, a local senator has told the

BBC's Focus on Africa radio programme.

"These are farming communities and most of those left behind in villages are the elderly ones, women and girls because the youth and the strong ones normally have to run or otherwise they will be conscripted into the Boko Haram insurgent group," Ali Ndume said.

An elderly woman sits on the ground in the recently retaken town of Damasak, Nigeria, 20 March 2015
Reuters
The elderly often remained behind in towns captured by the militants, like this woman in Damasak

He said the Sambisa forest reserve is vast so it was difficult to know how many people were still living in territory controlled by the Islamist militants.

Six of those freed were not from Sambisa and had been transferred to Maiduguri city to a camp for those who lost their homes because of the insurgency, Mr Ndume said.

Plus-sized models

On Focus on Africa on BBC World TV at 17:30 GMT, you can watch a report on plus-sized models in Kenya and whether the modelling industry will ever embrace them fully.

Models in Kenya
BBC

Will the modelling industry ever fully embrace plus-sized women? We'd like to hear what you think - use the hashtag #BBCAfrica.

Reaction to executions

Nigerians have been reacting on

BBC Africa Facebook to the execution of three of their countrymen in Indonesia on drug-smuggling charges.

Olaleye says: "I will never blame the Indonesian government. Greed and making a fast buck syndrome has been our major problem in Nigeria."

Sadiq is more sympathetic: "Even though they got what they deserved, I feel sad for them and their families. Whatever their crimes they are still our countrymen. I pray for their souls and their families."

South African boycott grows

@MozNewsAgency

The Mozambique news agency

tweets that the country will boycott the South African tourism fair due to start in Durban on 9 May.

It is the latest sign of the backlash South Africa is facing over the recent attacks on foreigners, mostly from other African states.

$11m deal

Ivory Coast footballer Serge Aurier has signed a four-year deal to stay at French side Paris St-Germain.

Serge Aurier
Getty Images
Aurier helped the Elephants win the Africa Cup of Nations earlier this year

The 22-year-old defender, who joined on loan from Ligue 1 rivals Toulouse in July 2014,

is believed to have cost the club about 10m euros (£7.2m; $11m).

Where are the rescued girls from?

Military sources in Nigeria have told the BBC that the women and girls rescued from the north-eastern Sambisa forest are largely from Damboa and Gumsuri in Borno state, and Madagali in Adamawa state.

The sources said that each day more Islamist militants were fleeing from the vast forest hideout.

However, a resident of Gwoza, Boko Haram's former headquarters, told the BBC many of the fighters are now moving back towards Gwoza and the nearby Mandara mountains.

Nigerians holding candles during a vigil for the one year anniversary of the kidnapping of hundreds of Nigerian school girls in Chibok, Abuja, Nigeria, 14 April 2015
EPA
Earlier this month campaigners marked one year since the Chibok schoolgirls were kidnapped

Buhari media row

BBC Monitoring

The story of the release of some 200 girls held captive by Boko Haram dominates most papers today in Nigeria.

People reading newspapers featuring a front page article about a group of women being rescued by the Nigerian army, in Abuja, Nigeria 29 April 2015
Reuters

The row between President-elect Muhammadu Buhari and the privately owned media group Africa Independent Television (AIT) is also covered by several papers. Relations soured during the election campaign after the TV station ran a controversial documentary about him.

AIT owner Raymond Dokpesi

told the Premium Times that Gen Buhari's attempt to bar the station from covering his activities was an "attempt by the former military head of state to bring back the era of Decree Four", which forbade any journalist during his rule in the 1980s from reporting information considered embarrassing to government officials.

However Gen Buhari's All Progressives Congress (APC) party has overruled the ban,

the Daily Independent reports.

The world's 'smuggler state'

"Libya doesn't function as a country now. But at trafficking, it is untouchable," says the BBC's Quentin Sommerville in

his feature about people smugglers in the North African country.

He says behind the multi-billion dollar trade is a complex criminal and tribal network - and almost nothing is being done to stop it.

Trafficked migrants in Libya
BBC
These people had been smuggled across the desert inside this truck for two days without food or water

Xenophobia debate

Brian Hungwe

BBC Africa, Harare

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma is in Harare for a summit of regional leaders - his first visit abroad since the xenophobic attacks that killed at least seven people and caused a backlash in other African states.

Jacob Zuma in Harare on 29 April 2015
BBC

Mr Zuma is expected to deliver an address on the attacks, although the summit has been called by the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) to discuss industrialisation.

His remarks back home that neighbouring states should take the blame for the influx of immigrants is likely to spark a debate during the closed-door session.

'Created in your image'

Milton Nkosi

BBC Africa, Johannesburg

The memorial service in South Africa for the Mozambican killed in xenophobic violence is drawing to a close.

The congregation has just sung Tswarelo ya dibi tsaka, meaning "Forgive me for I have sinned" - and in the closing prayer the priest says: "Remind us Lord that we are all created in your image."

'You are evil'

Milton Nkosi

BBC Africa, Johannesburg

A family representative of the Mozambican killed in xenophobic violence in South Africa has condemned his murderers.

"You are robbers because you left us broken. You are evil. You didn't hear him pleading for mercy," the representative said at the man's memorial in Johannesburg.

The stabbing to death of Emmanuel Sithole, also known as Manuel Jossias, was

caught on camera and caused global outrage.

Machel in tears

Milton Nkosi

BBC Africa, Johannesburg

Graca Machel, Nelson Mandela's widow, broke down in tears as she walked back to the table after a powerful speech at the memorial for the fellow Mozambican killed in xenophobic violence in South Africa - and she was not the only one.

"We, mothers [and] wives, we have to carry, with courage, the responsibility of teaching our children," she said.

"There will be a time when all of us can enjoy respect, love and care."

Name row

Milton Nkosi

BBC Africa, Johannesburg

Nelson Mandela's Mozambican widow Graca Machel has been dealing with the controversy around the name of the Mozambican killed in xenophobic violence in Alexandra township near Johannesburg.

"We accept that Emmanuel Sithole is not his real identity but for today let's call him Sithole! There are Sitholes here and in Mozambique," she said, at his memorial in Johannesburg.

"Emmanuel Sithole is a citizen of Southern Africa! The whole region is in pain," she added.

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma has said Emmanuel Sithole was a fake name, and the killed man's real name was Manuel Jossias.

'Created by colonisers'

Milton Nkosi

BBC Africa, Johannesburg

Nelson Mandela's widow Graca Machel has strongly argued in favour of immigration at the memorial for a fellow Mozambican killed during the recent anti-foreigner violence in South Africa.

"Migration is in our blood. The borders were created by colonisers. They mean nothing to us because we are one," she told the crowd in Johannesburg.

'Self-hate'

Milton Nkosi

BBC Africa, Johannesburg

Graca Machel, the Mozambican widow of Nelson Mandela, says the recent xenophobic violence in South Africa was an expression of "self-hate" inculcated by the brutal system of apartheid.

"The anger expresses itself as an anger against foreigners but tomorrow it will express itself against South Africans themselves," she said at a memorial for a Mozambican man killed in the violence.

Machel speaks

Milton Nkosi

BBC Africa, Johannesburg

Graca Machel, the Mozambican widow of Nelson Mandela, is addressing the crowd at the memorial for Emmanuel Sithole, the Mozambican killed in xenophobic violence, and also referred to as Manuel Jossias.

"I stand before you as an African mother in pain. I am in pain. I am in deep pain," she said.

Ms Machel received applause and women ululated when she said: "I am South African. I Mozambican. I am Zambian. I am Zimbabwean..."

'One death too many'

Milton Nkosi

BBC News, Johannesburg

Johannesburg mayor Parks Tau has been speaking at the memorial for Emmanuel Sithole, the Mozambican man stabbed to death during xenophobic violence in South Africa earlier this month.

"A single death of a dear brother is one too many," he said.

The funeral costs of Mr Sithole, also known as Manuel Jossias, would be covered by the city, and it would help to repatriate his remains to Mozambique, Mr Tau added.

Immigrant's memorial underway

Milton Nkosi

BBC News, Johannesburg

Choirs are singing at the memorial in Johannesburg for Emmanuel Sithole, the Mozambican man also known as Manuel Jossias, killed during the recent xenophobic violence in South Africa. Graca Machel, the Mozambican wife of South Africa's late President Nelson Mandela, is present.

Choir at memorial 29 April 2015
BBC

'Somali livestock record'

Somalia exported a record five million head of livestock to markets in the Gulf of Arabia last year, the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) says.

This is the highest number of live animals exported from Somalia in the last 20 years,

it said.

camels wait at Mogadishu's seaport to be exported to Saudi Arabia - archive shot
AFP
Many camels are exported to the Saudi Arabia each year

This was thanks to heavy investments in animal disease prevention backed by the European Union and UK.

Abducted UN staff freed

@AU_PSD

Three people working for the UN peacekeeping mission in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, who were kidnapped last week, have been freed, the African Union's department for peace and security has

tweeted.

"GoodNews", it said. They have "been released unharmed" and "arrived safely in #Goma".

Nigeria's muted response to executions

Aliyu Tanko

BBC Nigeria analyst

The Nigerian government's nonchalant attitude towards the execution of three of its nationals in Indonesia on drug-smuggling charges is not surprising.

Many Nigerians are in prison around the world for their involvement in drug-related or other crimes. So, the government seems to be tired of pleading on behalf of citizens who have not been good ambassadors for their country.

Sylvester Obiekwe Nwolise
AFP
Sylvester Obiekwe Nwolise was among the Nigerians executed in Indonesia

African diet tips?

#BBCAfrica

A rural African diet may reduce the risk of bowel cancer, a study co-authored by Jeremy Nicholson of Imperial College London has found.

He told the BBC's Newsday programme that he was prompted to do the study because the incidents of bowel cancer are 60 times higher in African-Americans than it was in Africa.

A maize farmer in South Africa 2013
AFP
A rural African diet is considered high in fibre

It just two weeks the two groups who swapped diets had changed physiologically, he said.

  • 20 African-Americans in Pittsburgh were fed maize meal, beans, mango, fruits and vegetables
  • 20 South Africans in KwaZulu-Natal were fed sausages, hash browns, burgers and chips

"The African-Americans didn't like it very much and the Africans loved it. I'm afraid the Western diet is quite attractive because it is fatty and has a lot of flavour in it," Mr Nicholson said.

Do you agree? Do you think an African diet is healthy? Tweet your diet tips and photos of your favourite meals using the hashtag #BBCAfrica.

New Guinea coach named

@oluwashina

BBC sports reporter Oluwashina Okeleji

tweets: "Ex #France international Luis Fernandez, 55, has been appointed the new coach of #Guinea. He's signed a 20-month contract."

Army vs police?

As diplomatic efforts to end the crisis in Burundi are stepped up (see earlier post) protests against President Pierre Nkurunziza's bid for a third term are continuing for a fourth day. In this photo sent by the BBC team in the capital, Bujumbura, demonstrators are seen raising their hands to avoid being attacked by police:

Protesters in Bujumbura, Burundi, 29 April 2015
BBC

Protesters believe the police are fiercely loyal to the president, and have come down hard on them:

Riot police in Bujumbura, Burundi on 29 April 2015
BBC

The demonstrators say the army is neutral, and police do not attack them when soldiers are present:

Security forces and protesters in Bujumbura, Burundi on 29 April 2015
BBC

Top governors

A survey of Kenya's best governors is published in today's Daily Nation newspaper.

Machakos county and its governor Alfred Muta emerged as the overall winner, with 61.5%

in the poll that surveyed some 28,000 people.

Daily Nation front page
Daily Naton

Meanwhile

President Uhuru Kenyatta is still under fire in the Star over his appointment earlier this week of new board members for state-owned companies.

Star front page
The Star

Deadly attack in Mali

Alex Duval Smith

Bamako, Mali

Tuareg rebels in Mali say they are behind a dawn attack in Goundam, west of the ancient northern town of Timbuktu, that left three people dead.

Goundam residents said two vehicles pulled up at a military camp and headed straight for the divisional commander's house. They shot him dead as well as his son and his deputy. They then stole a military vehicle.

The attack comes in the wake of an offensive on Monday in the east of Mali, where pro-government militias retook the town of Menaka, which had been held by secessionist Tuareg rebels since 2012.

'I love Hitler' row

South Africa's Business Day newspaper reports that the University of the Witwatersrand has referred its main student leader, Mcebo Dlamini, for possible disciplinary action after he said on social media that he "loves Hitler".

The student is refusing to apologise over the controversy.

Flash floods in Kenya

A Kenyan delivery driver caught up in the flash floods that have hit the town of Narok west of the capital, Nairobi, has sent some photos of the town. He was trying to make the delivery for Cola Cola:

Flooding in Narok town, Kenya
BBC
Narok town - Coke kiosk
BBC
Cars in Narok
BBC

The driver says some of the company's drink kiosks were washed away in the gushing waters - and cars are struggling to cope with the rising waters:

Cars in Narok
BBC
Aftermath of flooding in Narok town, Kenya
BBC
Aftermath of flooding in Narok town, Kenya
BBC