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  1. Congo-Brazzaville bans full-face Islamic veil
  2. Burundi president warns of 'severe sanctions' on protesters
  3. Burundi students spend the night at US embassy for their safety
  4. Ladysmith and Salif Keita release anti-xenophobia song

Live Reporting

By Hugo Williams and Damian Zane

All times stated are UK

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Scroll down for Friday's top African stories as they happened

We're back on Monday.

To ease you into the weekend, we leave you with this photo of an endangered South African penguin, preparing for its release back into the wild.

See here for the full Africa in Pictures collection for this week.

An African penguin with a red mark near Cape Town, South Africa - Friday 24 April 2015

Fleeing Yemen for Somaliland

BBC Somali's Ahmed Said has sent these photos of refugees who have fled the conflict in Yemen arriving this evening in the port city of Berbera in Somaliland.

Our reporter says that there were 220 people on board, and that passengers had told him the boat was overcrowded and nearly capsized at one point during the journey because of the high waves.


Most of those on board were women and children from Somalia, though there were also some Yemenis, and five Ethiopians, he adds. Medics have been treating some of the passengers, who are exhausted after the two-day journey across the Gulf of Aden.


Many of those on the boat had previously fled the long conflict in Somalia. Many will now travel to the Somali capital, Mogadishu.


'Dissent is not insurrection'


The US envoy Tom Malinowski who was in Burundi for talks with President Pierre Nkurunziza over the controversy of his third-term bid has

tweeted this comment: "Left #Burundi this AM. Hoping for dialogue among reasonable ppl on all sides. Peaceful debate & dissent is not insurrection."

He also posted a photo of him talking to students outside the US embassy. Hundreds stayed outside the embassy overnight, saying it was the safest place for them to be.

Tom Malinowski speaking to students
Tom Malinowski

Burundian solution

The head of the East African Community (EAC) has said that the people of Burundi must decide who is and who is not eligible to run in June's presidential election.

EAC Secretary General Richard Sezibera told the BBC's

Focus on Africa radio programme that the organisation is ready to play its part in helping Burundi.

But he emphasised that the controversy over President Pierre Nkunriziza's third-term bid should be sorted out by Burundians.

The other boxing clash

Mayweather v Pacquiao isn't the only big fight happening on Saturday. Zambia's Catherine Phiri is set to take on Ireland's Christina McMahon tomorrow in the Zambian capital, Lusaka, for the WBC bantamweight gold title. The BBC's Meluse Kapatamoyo took this photo of the two fighters at the weigh-in.

Boxers at the weigh-in in Zambia

The tuna economy

The Seychelles is trying to move away from a dependence on tourism and grow other industries like fishing.

The country is home to the largest tuna canning factory in the world, which aims to process 90,000 tonnes of tuna fish a year.

Watch BBC's

Africa Business Report for more.

Canning factory in Seychelles

'Sanctions' for protesters

Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza has warned of "severe sanctions" against protesters who are found to be behind an "insurrectional movement".

In a Labour Day radio broadcast President Nkurunziza said there would be a judicial inquiry into the protests.

The past week has seen demonstrations against the president's bid to run for a third term.

Burundian youths salute as they demonstrate against the president"s bid for a third term on May 1
There have been six days of demonstrations in the capital, Bujumbura

Help for rescued Nigerians

Chris Ewokor

BBC Africa, Abuja, Nigeria

Nigeria's military is handing over the 293 women and children it says it rescued from the militant group Boko Haram to the country's relief agency.

The agency says they will undergo medical checks and get counselling to help them overcome their trauma, before being reunited with their families.

The military says they were rescued earlier this week during an offensive on Boko Haram strongholds in Sambisa forest in the north-east.

freed captives
Nigerian army
The Nigerian army released this photo of some of the captives

Power to the people II

Ghanaians have been taking part in the traditional May Day rally in Black Star Square in the capital, Accra. It's seen as an opportunity for workers to vent their feelings, reports the BBC's Sammy Darko.

Protesters at Ghana's Black Star square

Workers have been complaining about the irregular power supply, or "dumsor" as it's known.

They also called for an end to corruption.

PLacard at the Black Star Square rally

President John Mahama addressed the crowd saying that he shared their pain over the ongoing difficulties.

Mayweather v Pacquiao: Your African proverbs

As the tension mounts ahead of what's being described as the "fight of the century" between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao on Saturday in Las Vegas, the BBC's Farayi Mungazi has asked his followers

on Twitter for an African proverb which best sums up the showdown.

Michael O'Driscoll

tweets: "When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you!"

Stephen Kwesi Assan in Ghana

tweets: "When two elephants fight, it is the ground that suffers."

Floyd Mayweather Jr. of the U.S. and WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines pose during a final news conference at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas
Floyd Mayweather (l) and Manny Pacquiao (r) will divide an estimated $230mn purse for the fight

Tweet us your suggestions on


Carving out a living

Alex Duval Smith

Bamako, Mali

Bamako wood sculptor Mamadou Souaray is carving a giraffe today. It's Labour Day here in Mali and though he's happy for people to have the day off, Mr Souaray says he never stops working.

Wood sculptor in Bamako

On Wednesday, Mali's cabinet voted to increase the legal monthly minimum wage from $70 (£46) to $80 (£53) from January next year.

''The increase is meaningless. Who can live on that?" he asks. "We all know that the real money goes to the people high-up, not the people at the bottom like me."

More than 50 Nigerian hunters killed in attack

In Nigeria, more than 50 hunters gathered for their annual hunting activities have been killed in an attack in the country's north-west. A police spokesman said the attack took place in the Sammaje forest in Kaduna state. The identity of the attackers is not yet known.

map of nigeria

Africa in pictures: 24-30 April 2015

Here's a couple of shots from our selection of the best photos in Africa this week.

For the full gallery, see here:

Habab Hussein serves a ball at the World Table Tennis Championships

Sudan's Habab Hussein takes part in the World Table Tennis Championships in the Chinese city of Suzhou on Monday.

An African penguin with a red mark near Cape Town, South Africa - Friday 24 April 2015

An endangered penguin prepares for its release into the wild near Cape Town in South Africa. A local conservation project cares for birds at risk from urbanisation and rehabilitates them for release elsewhere.

Numbers detained 'rising'

Some 400 people are being detained in Burundi as part of the effort to stop the protests against President

Pierre Nkurunziza's third-term bid, according to a researcher for Human Rights Watch, AP news agency reports.

Carina Tertsakian told AP that the number being held "is escalating all the time".

Students from the University of Burundi, which was shut by the government citing "insecurity",

have spent the night in front of the US embassy saying they were not safe in the city.

Students at the US Embassy in Bujumbura

Law 'bypassed'

Karen Allen

BBC News, Garissa, Kenya

Kenya's security services are facing serious allegations of taking the law into their own hands and bypassing the courts in the search for al-Shabab fighters.

Here in Garisssa, I have spoken to one man, who alleges his brother was abducted by plain clothes policemen three weeks ago and has not been seen since. There are other similar allegations.

It is nearly a month since an attack by the al-Qaeda-linked group al-Shabab killed 148 people at the Garissa University College.

Kenyan mourner
The victims of the Garissa attack were widely mourned in Kenya

Power to the people

Ghana's President John Mahama has told workers at a May Day rally that he shares people's pain over ongoing difficulties in the country, including widespread blackouts. He has also

tweeted that the electricity shortage will be over soon.

Twitter grab

The tweet has already got a lot of sceptical responses with some people sarcastically referring to the president as Mr Promise.

Congo-Brazzaville bans veil

Authorities in Congo-Brazzaville have banned people from wearing the full-face Islamic veil, including the

niqab and the burka, in public places. They've also forbidden Muslims from other countries spending nights in mosques, saying the measures are designed to counter extremism.

Thousands of people, mostly Muslims, have fled violence in the neighbouring Central African Republic and have been taking shelter in mosques.

Ghana power row

A plea from John Dumelo, one of Ghana's biggest actors, for patience with the government over the on-going power cuts has led to a big Twitter backlash led by another famous star.

Mr Dumelo said that the president should be given more time to sort things out, adding that "Rome wasn't built in a day".

Actress Yvonne Nelson responded on

Twitter: "Ghanaians wake up! We seriously don't deserve this!". And she posted a series of other tweets.

Twitter grab

The actress got hundreds of tweets in response backing her criticism, and it has sparked a new debate about the power shortage in Ghana, reports the BBC's Sammy Darko in Ghana.

Kenyatta: '12% wage increase for Kenyans'

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta has announced plans for a 12% increase in the minimum wage for workers during his Labour Day speech in Nairobi.

Kenya's Central Organisation of Trade Unions had been asking for an increase of 20%.

President Kenyatta
Kenya Presidency

Anger at closure

Brian Hungwe

BBC Africa, Harare

Zimbabwe's main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has arrived at the May Day rally in the capital, Harare.

Morgan Tsvangirai arrives at May Day rally

The biggest concern for workers here today is the announced closure of Telecel, the country's third biggest mobile phone company.

The government says it is closing the network over a failure to comply with licensing and other regulations. The union says 1000 workers could lose their jobs.

Workers at May Day rally

CAR child sex abuse allegations

Soldiers from Chad and Equatorial Guinea have been implicated

in a scandal over allegations of child sex abuse mainly involving French peacekeeping troops in Central African Republic.

Paula Donovan from the AIDS-Free World organisation says she has seen the full leaked UN report. She told the BBC's Newsday programme that child witnesses had given testimony that two soldiers from Chad and two from Equatorial Guinea were directly involved in the alleged abuse.

Trade not aid?

A rare reference has been made to Africa during the British general election campaign.

Leader of the UK Independent Party (UKIP) Nigel Farage

criticised British aid policy and argued there are other ways to help.

"The EU puts huge barriers against Africa selling [their agricultural products] to us. We rape and pillage the fisheries... of Africa. We're behaving in a neo-colonial way," said Mr Farage, whose party wants Britain to pull-out of the European Union.

Nigel Farage on Question Time
UKIP leader Nigel Farage made the comments about aid and trade to Africa in a TV appearance

'United We Stand'

African music giants Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Salif Keita are releasing a special song today in response to the recent wave of xenophobic violence in South Africa.

It's called "United We Stand". Sibongiseni Shabalala from Ladysmith Black Mambazo

has been speaking to the BBC's Newsday programme.

Malian singer Salif Keita writes a message on anti-xenophobia banner during the annual Awesome Africa International Arts Festival held at the Natal Playhouse in Durban
"We love you South Africa" reads the message from Malian singer Salif Keita at a festival in Durban this week

Taking tablets

Image of Standard front page

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta now plans to provide school children with computer tablets instead of laptops according to the Standard newspaper.

The provision of laptops for pupils was a major promise of his campaign in the 2013 election, but it has got bogged down in a tender row and now the president is looking to a tablet supplier, the newspaper reports.

Kenya 'shallow grave'

Screen grab from Star

The discovery of a mass grave near the Kenyan town of Wajir in the north-east of the country, is one of the main stories in the

Star newspaper.

It reports that 11 bodies have been found in a shallow grave and a number of locals are reported missing after being picked up by people posing as policemen.

Students seek embassy protection

Maud Jullien

BBC Africa, Bujumbura

Hundreds of students have spent the night here in Burundi's capital, Bujumbura, in front of the US embassy after the University of Burundi was shut. It was closed down in an apparent measure to prevent the spread of protests against the third-term bid by President Pierre Nkurunziza.

Students queue up at the US Embassy in Burundi

The students say the government forces are targeting them and so it is not safe for them to go home.

Wise words

Today's African proverb is: "It is difficult to throw a stone at a lizard that is clinging to a pot." An Ashanti proverb sent by George Cantreph, Accra, Ghana.

Click here to send us your proverb.

Good morning

Welcome to the BBC Africa Live page. We will be bringing you up to date with the news developments across the continent this May Day.