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Summary

  1. Boko Haram captives shown in Nigeria army photos
  2. Historic right to die ruling in South Africa
  3. Burundi university shut as protests continue
  4. France vows no mercy over CAR sex abuse allegations
  5. Nigeria and South Africa leaders talk amid diplomatic row

Live Reporting

By Damian Zane 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 photo of South African tennis player Kevin Anderson returning a ball to Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain in their second round match at the Millennium Estoril Open in Portugal:

Kevin Anderson of South Africa returns a ball to Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain during their second round match at the Millennium Estoril Open in in Estoril, Portugal, 30 April 2015
EPA

Binning plastic bags

Somaliland's President Ahmed Silanyo has introduced a ban on plastic bags to stop the litter and environmental damage that they cause, as can be seen in this photo from the capital, Hargeisa.

Plastic bags in trees in Hargeisa
Mohamed Midhiq

The president has given traders 120 days to use up all their supplies and after that they will be expected to use alternatives to plastic.

The move is part of a wider sanitation drive to help clean up the country.

Plastic bags in the gutter
Mohamed Midhiq

Burundi clashes

The Burundi Red Cross says 15 protesters have been wounded in clashes with police on the fifth day of protests against President Nkurunziza's bid for a third term, Reuters news agency reports.

A car burns in Bujumbura, Burundi on 30 April 2015
Reuters

In one incident, a policeman's car burnt after protesters intercepted him at a barricade in the capital, Bujumbura.

Petrol shortage over?

Nigeria's government says it will make a $790m (£500m) subsidy payment to fuel sellers in an effort to ease the petrol shortage in the country.

For the last few weeks there have been long queues of cars at petrol stations as the sellers have complained they are owed money by the government.

Fuel queues in Abuja
BBC

But it has not had an effect on the waiting yet, reports the BBC's Kaura Abubakar in Nigeria. He says that there is still heavy traffic in some places caused by the long queues for petrol.

'Carelessness' in Kenya

On the

BBC Africa Facebook, people have been reacting to the admission by Kenya's Interior Minister Joseph Nkaissery that security officers ignored intelligence reports warning of an attack by militant Islamists on Garissa University College (
see earlier post).

James Monty Grey-Johnson comments: "One-hundred-and-forty-eight people lost their lives as a result of their carelessness. Such complacency is beyond criminal. These officials should be fully prosecuted and sentenced to long prison terms. They should also be made to apologise publicly to the victims' families."

Gichuki Muriithi adds: "This is gross negligence. Sacking is not enough. Let them be behind bars."

Dead man 'unaware of legal win'

The 65-year-old South African who won a court case giving him the right to commit euthanasia died without being aware of the landmark ruling,

South Africa's Business Day newspaper reports.

Robin Stransham-Ford had been diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer, and had been receiving medical care from a doctor who specialised in palliative care.

SA man dies after court win

The terminally ill South African who won a court case earlier today giving him the right to take his own life has died "peacefully of natural causes", campaign group Dignity SA has said.

Robin Stransham-Ford, 65, was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer in 2013 (

see earlier post).

Chad debt relief

The International Monetary Fund and World Bank have announced $1.1bn (£715m) in debt relief for Chad.

Campaign group Jubilee USA Network welcomed the decision, saying it will free up much needed money for education and health in Chad, one of Africa's poorest countries.

As of 2013, Chad owed $2.2bn to foreign lenders and spent over $100m annually paying off debt, it added.

'Get fit Zambia!'

A fitness revival is taking place in Zambia with people keen to swap health tips, reports the BBC's Meluse Kapatamoyo in the capital, Lusaka.

The fitness teacher Makungo Muyembe has been hosting a 30-day aerobics marathon at the national sports centre.

Zambians exercising
BBC

One of the Lycra-clad participants, Owen Mutali, told our reporter that he had been "quite big" before starting regular exercise 18 months ago. Now, he said, he is "fit and healthy".

Listen to the report

here.

'Resilient' Liberians

Jonathan Paye-Layleh

BBC Africa, Monrovia

A senior US official has praised "the response and resilience" of Liberians in fighting Ebola as he attended a ceremony in the capital, Monrovia, to close a treatment unit that the US had helped set up at the height of the outbreak last year.

Surgeon Gen Vivek Murthy told President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf that the unit's closure was "not the end of our partnership, but it is a milestone in that partnership".

A nurse takes the temperature of a participant in the Ebola vaccine trials, which were launched at Redemption Hospital, formerly an Ebola holding centre, on 2 February 2015 in Monrovia, Liberia.
AFP
The Ebola outbreak was declared a global health emergency

'Quality opposition'

Piers Edwards

BBC Africa sport

Zimbabwe's cricket officials have confirmed that they will become the first test-playing nation to tour Pakistan since the attack by gunmen on the visiting Sri Lankan team in 2009.

"We need to play more games against more quality opposition - that was the main thrust for me for this tour," Alistair Campbell, the managing director of Zimbabwe Cricket, told the BBC.

Zimbabwe's cricketers leave the field after losing their Cricket World Cup match against India at Eden Park in Auckland, 14 March 2015
Reuters
Zimbabwe will tour Pakistan next month

He added that officials in Pakistan, who made the invitation, have told Zimbabwe that their squad will be given "state-level security".

Zimbabwe will play three one-day internationals and two Twenty20 matches between 22 and 31 May. All the matches will take place in Lahore, which is where the attack took place.

The attack left six policemen and a civilian dead, with several Sri Lankan players injured.

Photos of 'freed' Nigerians

Nigeria's military has published some pictures of the people it says it has rescued from Boko Haram as it battles with the militant group in the Sambisa Forest in the north-east of the country.

People freed from Boko Haram by Nigerian military
Nigeria military

It gives very few details about who is pictured but says that nearly 300 women and children living "under very severe and inhuman conditions" have been freed in the last few days.

Maj Gen Chris Olukolade has said that the operation against Boko Haram will continue and there will be "no sanctuary for them".

Death as a human right

A South African group campaigning for terminally ill people to be allowed to end their lives has been giving more reaction to today's legal ruling on the right to die.

The High Court in Pretoria said that a doctor could help 65-year-old Robin Stransham-Ford end his life.

Sean Davison from Dignity SA told the BBC's

Focus on Africa programme: "Defining how we die is part of defining our humanity and this court has said it's a human right to die with dignity."

South Africa's state prosecutors say they will appeal against the court decision (

see earlier post).

UN 'concern' over Mali attacks

The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed concern over the "serious ceasefire violations" in Mali over the past few days.

Mr Ban has called for an "immediate cessation of hostilities" in northern Mali,

his spokesman says.

Since Monday there have been two rebel attacks on different towns in the north of the country.

A ceasefire was signed in 2014 and a peace process between the government and Tuareg rebels is on-going.

French military in Timbuktu

Alex Duval Smith

Bamako, Mali

A resident of Timbuktu has told me that a French attack helicopter has just flown low over the city several times. French troops are patrolling with the Malian army which is ''out in force'' in the city.

Based at Timbuktu airport, the French special forces had not previously been seen on the ground during the past three days.

The French do not ordinarily have an attack helicopter at Timbuktu, suggesting this has been flown up from the French base in Gao in response to the attempted rebel attack on Timbuktu earlier this week.

Japan Africa fusion

The group Afro-Japanese has been performing at the Harare International Festival of the Arts in Zimbabwe.

The musicians are from Japan, but their song in the Shona language, Runyararo mu Zimbabwe meaning peace in Zimbabwe, drew a lot of interest, reports the BBC's Brian Hungwe.

Afro-Japan entertaining people in Harare
BBC

The festival ends on Sunday with a concert by Malian musician Salif Keita.

'Awesome graffiti'

@nomsa_maseko

The BBC's Nomsa Maseko has been

tweeting photos of "awesome graffiti" from Jeppestown in Johannesburg:

Graffiti in Johannesburg (30 April 2015)
BBC
Graffiti in Johannesburg (30 April 2015)
BBC
Graffiti in Johannesburg (30 April 2015)
BBC

Right to die ruling challenged

South Africa's state prosecutors say they will appeal against a historic court ruling which gives a terminally ill man the right to end his life (

see earlier post).

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesman Mthunzi Mhaga said the NPA was disappointed with the ruling which was "precedent-setting" and had "far-reaching implications" from a health and constitutional point of view.

Campaign group Dignity SA said it would welcome an appeal as a chance to test the right to die against the constitution, the Associated Press news agency reports.

Mali 'crisis meetings'

Alex Duval Smith

Bamako, Mali

Senior officials of the UN mission in Mali, known by the acronym Minusma, are in contact with Tuareg rebels who attempted to enter the ancient northern city of Timbuktu on Tuesday and Wednesday.

UN special representative Mongi Hamd is ''in and out of crisis meetings'', said an employee at Minusma's headquarters in the capital, Bamako.

Elsewhere in northern Mali, there are reports of clashes involving pro-government militias and Tuareg rebels, who are fighting under the banner of the Coordination of Movements for Azawad.

Amid conflicting claims and counterclaims, it is still unclear who is in control of the north-western town of Lere.

#BurundiIsAfricaToo

BBC Monitoring

The hashtag #BurundiIsAfricaToo is trending in Kenya as people condemn African leaders for failing to speak out against President Pieere Nkurunziza's third-term bid.

User @ChrisRambo_ says other African leaders never want to get involved.

Twitter grab
Twitter

Another user @IamLaleti says the world should not ignore what is going on.

Twitter grab
Twitter

And @MonicMukami thinks that young people will prevail against presidents extending their rule.

Twitter grab
Twitter

Trade fair 'disaster'

The international trade fair in northern Nigeria's Kaduna city seems to be a disaster this year, reports the BBC's Nura Mohammed Ringim from there.

c
BBC

Usually, companies from around the world attend the annual event but many of them stayed away this year because of security concerns and the devaluation of Nigeria's currency, he says.

Mobile network to close

BBC Monitoring

Zimbabwe's telecoms regulator is closing down mobile network provider Telecel, which has a market share of 19.5%, for "failing to comply with licensing and indigenization requirements",

Zimbabwe's Herald reports.

Screen grab from Herald
Herald

The regulator says it is giving the company a 30-day "dispensation" to continue providing telecommunications services as it winds down its operations.

'Let us study'

Maud Jullien

BBC Africa, Bujumbura

Students at University of Burundi are angry that the government has shut the campus, as protests against President Pierre Nkurunziza's third-term bid continue (

see earlier post).

Student at Bujumbura university
BBC

Student Roger Irambona says the authorities are punishing them for something they are not involved in.

"Those who are protesting are not students," he said. "It is the people in Bujumbura who are against the third term. Students are here to study."

Nigeria army 'frees more than 160'

A Nigerian army spokesman has told BBC Hausa that more than 160 people were freed from Boko Haram-controlled territory in the Sambisa Forest on Wednesday.

They included more than 100 girls and boys and more than 60 women and girls during the military operation in the Sambisa Forest, Sani Usman said.

The mental health condition of those freed is being checked and they are being kept at a secure location, Col Usman said.

He added that eight of the women injured in the operation were in a critical condition (

see earlier post).

'No mercy for child abusers'

France's President Francois Hollande has vowed to punish peacekeepers in Central African Republic (CAR) if they are found guilty of sexually assaulting children.

"If some soldiers have behaved badly, I will show no mercy," he told reporters.

A leaked UN report suggested that orphaned boys as young as nine were were subjected to sexual abuse by some French peacekeepers in CAR (

see earlier post).

A file picture taken on 19 January 2014 shows a French soldier taking part in "Operation Sangaris" standing guard as Muslim people wait to seek refuge at the Boali church, in Boali, north of Bangui
AFP
France sent troops to CAR in 2013 to help end religious and ethnic conflict

Decapitated eagle

Protesters are marching in Burundi's capital, Bujumbura, with a decapitated eagle. The bird is a symbol of the ruling party:

Protesters in Bujumbura, Burundi
AP

Students have been forced to leave the main university after the government shut it down in an attempt to quell protests against President Pierre Nkurunziza's bid to extend his decade-long rule in elections in June:

Students with their belongings in Bujumbura, Burundi (30 April)
AP

The police were out in force in volatile areas:

Police in Bujumbura, Burundi (30 April 2015)
AP

Right to die ruling welcomed

A South African campaign group has welcomed a court ruling giving a terminally ill man the right to end his life with the help of a doctor.

Dignity SA board member Willem Landman described it as a "fantastic ruling",

the local News24 website reports.

Right to die victory

Milton Nkosi

BBC News, Johannesburg

A South African court has granted a terminally ill man the right to die.

Robin Stransham-Ford, 65, was granted an order by the Pretoria High Court allowing a doctor to help him end his life.

The justice and health ministers, as well as the Health Professions Council of SA, opposed the application.

Mr Stransham-Ford, a former advocate, was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer in 2013.

Intelligence 'ignored'

Kenya's Interior Minster Joseph Nkaissery has told parliament that security officers in Garissa ignored intelligence prior to the attack on Garissa University College. He also admitted that the response was poorly coordinated.

The Somali Islamist group al-Shabab carried out the 2 April attack in which at least 148 people died.

Kenya Red Cross team members light candles among crosses on the ground as they attend the second day of candlelight vigil held for the 148 people killed in an attack on Garissa University College
EPA
The victims of the Garissa attack were mourned across Kenya

Burundi at 'boiling point'

@MaudJullien

The BBC's Maud Jullien in Burundi is following the talks between an American diplomat and President Pierre Nukurunziza.

She

tweets: "US assistant secretary @Malinowski told #Burundi President Nkurunziza 'there needs to be a space for opposition + peaceful protest'".

Our correspondent also says: "U.S. assistant secretary @Malinowski told Nkurunziza #Burundi is 'like a boiling pot, if you put a lid on it it will continue to boil"'.

Burundi has been by protests since the weekend following Mr Nkurunziza's decision to run for a third term in elections in June.

'Friendly chat'

The presidents of South Africa and Nigeria have spoken for the first time since Nigeria recalled its top diplomats from Pretoria over a spate of attacks against foreigners.

The two men "reaffirmed the warm and cordial relations" between the two countries,

says a statement from the office of South Africa's President Jacob Zuma.

They also "pledged... to work together for the good of their peoples and the continent".

South Africa had said that withdrawing the diplomats last weekend was "unfortunate and regrettable" and added it "would be curious for a sisterly country to want to exploit such a painful episode".

People protesting against xenophobia in South Africa hold placards in front of the South African consulate in Lagos in this April 16
Reuters
There were protests in Nigeria's city of Lagos over the xenophobic attacks in South Africa

Growth slows in Kenya

Standard front page
Standard

Kenya's Standard leads today on economic concerns. The economy grew by 5.3% last year, the lowest figure for five years,

the report says.

The newspaper highlights the problems in the tourism sector, which it says has been hit by "the wave of terrorism".

Senegalese died in shipwreck

Raissa Ioussouf

BBC Afrique, Dakar

Senegal's government has confirmed that at least 200 of its nationals were killed in a shipwreck in the Mediterranean on 19 April.

They were among more than 800 migrants who died while making the treacherous journey from Libya to Italy.

Senegal's foreign ministry official Sorry Kaba said they learned of the deaths from Somali survivors of the wreckage, and other contacts in Libya.

Migrants wait to disembark from the Italian Coast Guard ship Fiorillo, at the Catania harbor, Sicily, southern Italy, 24 April 2015
AP
Thousands of migrants risk their lives to reach Europe

More women 'freed'

Nigeria's army says it has rescued more women and children from Boko Haram camps in an area where the Islamist militant group is active.

During the operation to free them "one woman died and eight other women sustained gun shot wounds", says a military statement. It adds that nine Boko Haram camps were destroyed in the latest action in Sambisa Forest.

On Tuesday the military said it had

freed nearly 300 women and children.

Nigerian troops celebrate after taking over Bama from Boko Haram on 25 March
AFP
The army says it has made gains against the militants in recent months

UN in child abuse row

The UN has defended the suspension of an aid worker who leaked to French prosecutors a report accusing peacekeepers of child abuse in Central African Republic (CAR).

The leak was a "serious breach of protocol" and raised concerns about the protection of witnesses and victims, a spokesman said.

Swedish aid worker Anders Kompass leaked the report, accusing French peacekeepers of rape and sodomy.

Sweden said his suspension was "worrisome" and the UN should show "zero tolerance" towards sexual abuse.

New cars, new money?

Screen grab from Monitor website
Monitor

The new cars that Uganda's ruling party has bought for its officials is one of the stories in

today's Daily Monitor. There are questions over where the National Resistance Movement (NRM) got the $1m (£640,000) for the vehicles, reports the newspaper.

Some are asking if the money came from the electoral commission's fund for all political parties, but the newspaper quotes an NRM official who says the party has many sources of funding.

Burundi university shut

Maud Jullien

BBC Africa, Bujumbura

The University of Burundi has been shut down, as protests against President Pierre Nkurunziza's bid for a third term in June's elections continue for a fifth day in the capital, Bujumbura.

At the campus, students are packing their bags and leaving.

Students in Bujumbura 30 April 2015
BBC

Meanwhile, top US official Tom Malinowski is due to meet President Nkurunziza in Bujumbura today. He has said Mr Nkurunziza's refusal to step down violates the peace accord which officially ended Burundi's civil war in 2005.

A woman carrying her baby joins demonstrators on a barricade during clashes in Bujumbura, Burundi, 29 April 2015
AP
Protesters have vowed to force Mr Nkurunziza out of office

Still searching

A father's search for his missing daughter who he fears was a victim of the Garissa University College attack is one of the stories in today's Kenyan Daily Nation.

Picture of Daily Nation story
BBC

The official death toll from the al-Shabab attack on 2 April is 148 and the authorities say that everyone has been accounted for. But there are a number of families still looking for missing relatives who many have been caught up in the violence.

Wise words

Today's African proverb is: If the frying pan is not heated up, the corn cannot pop. A Yoruba proverb sent by Samuel Fayiah Johnson, Ibadan, Nigeria.

Click here to send us your proverb.

Good morning

Welcome to the BBC Africa Live page. We will be bringing you news updates and other developments from across the continent throughout the day.