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Summary

  1. Niger pilgrims caught up in Hajj stampede
  2. Rwanda accused of locking up vulnerable 'street people'
  3. Nigeria Eid transport ban over Boko Haram fears
  4. Kenya charges 30 officers with serious crimes over the last year
  5. Muslims celebrate Eid al-Adha festival
  6. Email stories and comments to africalive@bbc.co.uk - Thursday 24 September 2015

Live Reporting

By Hugo Williams and Lucy Fleming

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Scroll down for today's stories

We'll be back tomorrow

That's all for today from the BBC Africa Live page. Listen to the

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

Today's wise words: The heart of a fool is in his mouth and the mouth of the wise man is in his heart. Sent by Nati Kele in Ethiopia.

Click here to send your African proverb.

And we leave you with this photo of people dressed up to celebrate the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu:

Girls dressed up in Mogadishu, Somalia
BBC

South African troops recalled from DR Congo

Fifty South African soldiers serving with the UN mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Monusco) have been ordered to return home.

The military authorities in South Africa say they will face disciplinary action as they have broken codes of conduct.

There are nearly 1,400 South African soldiers currently serving in the UN intervention brigade, which is trying to help end the conflict in the eastern DR Congo.

Some of the soldiers are said to have compromised the security of other UN troops in DR Congo.

Tanzanian peacekeeping convoy in eastern DR Congo - Archive shot
AFP

African start-ups vie for investment in Lagos

It was a big day for African entrepreneurs, with startup conference Demo Africa getting under way in Lagos, Nigeria's tech hub. 

Thirty African start-ups are given the chance to showcase their products and ideas, and bid for funding from investors over the two-day event. 

You can follow all the different pitches, like SimbaPay, which wants to make it cheaper and easier to send remittances by mobile, on business website VC4Africa, which is posting live updates of the event:

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Hajj stampede: 'Road blocked'

A Saudi minister has blamed today's tragedy at the Hajj on worshippers failing to obey instructions (see 14:43 post), but an eyewitness has told the BBC that the stampede happened when security at the scene blocked one of roads leading to the Jamrat, where worshippers throw pebbles at pillars that represent the devil.

The man who managed to escape the crush spoke to Yusuf Ibrahim Yakasai, the BBC's reporter in the northern Nigerian city of Kano, who is in Mina attending the Hajj at the moment.

The eyewitness said there were thousands of pilgrims from different countries such as Iran, Cameroon, Ghana and Niger at the Jamrat at the time.

Those who had finished throwing their stones were coming back on the same route as those heading to the place, he said.

There was some kind of collision between the two groups and those in middle were most affected, he explained.

Thousands of Muslim pilgrims make their way to cast stones at a pillar symbolising the stoning of the devil in a ritual called "Jamarat"
AP
These are some of the roads leading to the area where pebbles are thrown

Your reactions: Hajj stampede

The stampede in which at least 717 have been killed in the Muslim holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia is trending on Twitter in Nigeria, with many giving their opinion on the incident:

Trendsmap
Trendsmap

this stampede has become a recurring decimal. Something has to be done to prevent future recurrence @Gidi_Traffic twitter.com/FRANCE24/statu…

View more on twitter

Many of you have also been commenting on the BBC Africa Facebook Page: 

Michael Ojua: Stampedes will continue until believers change their thinking that God is everywhere and not only in one Holy land. God is omnipresent hence let adherents of all religions worship in their countries. RIP to the departed.

Fidel Boboye Eregu: What could have led to the stampede? The Saudi authorities must setup to her responsibilities by protecting these people, in every area possible.  

Kenyan condolences over Hajj stampede

Kenya's president has expressed his condolences to "the Muslim fraternity" and those affected by the Hajj tragedy in Saudi Arabia.

"We mourn with you and are filled with grief at this great loss,"

Uhuru Kenyatta said on his Facebook page.

End of the road in Cape Town

The BBC's Pumza Fihlani is in the South African city of Cape Town collecting material for a feature and snapped this shot whilst in traffic.

Half-finished flyover in Cape Town
BBC

"When you think you're having a bad day, spare a thought for the person whose job it was to build and finish this highway in the centre of town," she says.

Free hospital care for Hajj injured

Bashir Sa'ad Abdullahi

BBC Africa, Mina, Saudi Arabia

I am at the centre in Mina where the bodies of those who died in the stampede are being loaded into ambulances to be taken to hospital.

Nearby relatives are in tears and other pilgrims are trying to console them.

Earlier I went to a hospital where some of the more than 800 people who were injured are being treated for free - the Saudi authorities have waived any need for them to pay hospital fees.

In other parts of Mina some pilgrims are not even aware of this morning's tragedy and the Eid celebrations are continuing.

I passed through the area of the stampede not long before and only heard about it several hours later.

Mina is an area about 5km (three miles) from Mecca, where pilgrims pitch their tents for three days during the pilgrimage to observe several rituals. On the day of Eid they go to a large valley nearby to throw seven stones at pillars called Jamarat, which represent the devil:

Muslim pilgrims throw pebbles at pillars during the "Jamarat" ritual in Mina near the holy city of Mecca, on September 24, 2015.
AFP

Seven lessons from Burkina Faso's coup

BBC West Africa correspondent Thomas Fessy looks at the lessons we can learn from the coup in Burkina Faso, which has been reversed just a week after the presidential guards seized power:

1) The coup was a waste of time - and life

General Gilbert Diendere's mea culpa - however sincere it may be - contains, perhaps, the first lesson of this coup.

"Human lives were lost," he said, admitting that seizing power had been "a waste of time and resources for Burkina Faso."

Between 10 and 20 people were killed (the exact death toll is still unknown) and more than a hundred more were left injured with bullet wounds.

For the other six lessons from Burkina Faso's seven-day long coup,

read his full piece.

Burkina Faso"s loyalist soldiers stand guard at the airport in Ouagadougo
Reuters
Soldiers loyal to the interim government rejected the coup

Top goalkeeper fails in bid to become Cameroon FA boss

Former international goalkeeper Joseph-Antoine Bell has failed in his bid to be the next president of the Cameroon Football Federation (Fecafoot).

One of Africa's best ever goalkeepers failed to send in the correct documents when making his application.

BBC Sport has more.

Joseph-Antoine Bell
Getty Images
Bell has been very outspoken about problems within the Cameroonian game

What happens at the Hajj?

Today's stampede at Mina is the deadliest incident in Saudi Arabia to occur during the Hajj in 25 years.

Every Muslim is expected to make the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in their lifetime if they are able to:

  • What rituals do pilgrims perform? The pilgrimage takes place in several stages over five days, including circling the Kaaba (a cube-like building in the centre of Mecca's Grand Mosque) en masse and throwing seven stones at pillars called Jamarat which represent the devil.
  • How many people go? Well over a million pilgrims from outside Saudi Arabia, and several hundred thousand from inside the kingdom, converge on the site each year.
Hundreds of thousands of Muslim pilgrims make their way to cast stones at a pillar symbolizing the stoning of Satan
AP
  • How do the authorities cope? Authorities have deployed 100,000 security personnel and 25,000 extra health workers this year, as well as providing 100,000 air-conditioned tents for temporary accommodation.

Find out more about why millions gather in Mecca every year.

Namibia ready to face All Black idols

In just over three hours' time (19:00 GMT), Namibia will kick off their first game of the Rugby World Cup against New Zealand, the reigning champions and favourites to win it again this time. 

Namibia are yet to win a World Cup match after 15 attempts, and their squad includes engineers, diamond traders, farmers and construction workers. 

And the team dentist isn't a member of the backroom staff; he's their number eight.   

Read BBC Sport's match preview

After Japan pulled off the biggest win in the sport's history against South Africa last week, can Namibia dream of emulating that feat against the might All Blacks?

Renaldo Bothma, who is playing for Namibia at his first World Cup, has been speaking to Focus on Africa radio's Jenny Horrocks:

View more on Soundcloud

BBC reporter's family caught up in stampede

At least 717 people taking part in the Hajj pilgrimage

are now known to have died in a stampede near the Islamic holy city of Mecca, officials in Saudi Arabia say.

BBC Hausa Service correspondent, Tchima Illa Issoufou, who was on the pilgrimage and was caught up in the crush, says her aunt died in the incident and some members of her group are missing.

Pilgrims converge on Mina to throw stones at pillars representing the devil.

Saudi emergency personnel and Hajj pilgrims load a wounded person into an ambulance at the site
AFP

Here is Tchima's personal account:

"It happened around 09:00 local time, when people were going towards the place where you throw the stones; others were coming from the opposite direction, which is when it then became chaotic and suddenly people started going down.

"There were Nigerians, Nigeriens, Chadians, Senegalese, among other nationals. People were just climbing on top of others in order to move to a safer place and that's how some people died.

"People were just chanting Allah's name, while others were crying, including children and infants. People fell on the ground seeking help but no-one was there to give them a helping hand. Everybody seemed to be on their own.

"I lost my aunt as a result of the stampede and at the moment two women from our entourage - a mother and her daughter - are still missing."

The BBC has started a live page on the Hajj stampede, which you can follow for more updates.

Kenya buses upset by teachers' strike

Matatu bus operators in Kenya's Embu county have called on the government and teachers' unions to quickly resolve the ongoing teachers' strike saying it is hurting their industry,

reports Kenya's Daily Nation newspaper.

More than 600 of them said they were incurring huge loses since the strike started as most of their customers were teachers and students.

The strike began three weeks ago with teachers demanding that the government respects a court ruling ordering a pay rise of at least 50%.

But the president has said that teachers are well paid already and a salary increase would damage government finances.

Revising students in Kenya
Reuters
The government ordered the closure of all schools from Monday

'Paths closed' before Hajj stampede

Saudi-owned al-Arabiya TV has reported that the head of the central Hajj committee, Prince Khaled al-Faisal, has blamed the stampede at the Hajj on "some pilgrims with African nationalities".

But the head of Iran's Hajj organisation, Said Ohadi, told the Iranian state news agency that two paths close to the scene of the incident had been inexplicably closed off by the Saudi authorities, resulting in the build-up in pilgrims.

At least 717 people have been killed - including some people from Niger.

Read the BBC News story for more

A Muslim pilgrim searches for a relative who was injured in a stampede in Mina, near the holy city of Mecca, o
AFP
About 863 people were also injured in the incident at Mina

Push-ups trending in Tanzania

Pictures of people doing push-ups in Tanzania are trending along with the hashtag #magufulika, "meaning doing what Magufuli did".

They are imitating the ruling party’s presidential candidate John Magufuli, who wanted to show voters at a rally in Karagwe in north-western Tanzania how fit he was, says the BBC’s Tulanana Bohela.

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

The 55-year-old politician, nicknamed "the Bulldozer", because of his no-nonsense attitude in getting work done, will face the voters on 25 October. 

Pharrell plays Jo'burg

Taurai Maduna

Africa Business Report, Johannesburg

Grammy award-winning musician Pharrell Williams performed with students from Colin Mann Primary School and the Soweto Gospel Choir at a private concert on Wednesday, ahead of his sold-out gig at Johannesburg's TicketPro Dome.

pharell in south africa
Eddie Mtsweni

The RnB star has collaborated with South African retailer Woolworths to highlight educational advancement, environmental awareness and social cohesion in South Africa.

pharell with break dancers
Eddie Mtsweni

Several hundred pro-Palestinian demonstrators were outside his first gig in Cape Town on Monday, protesting against his partnership with Woolworths, after it was criticised for stocking items from Israel in its shops.

Protesters clean up Burkina Faso city

The streets of Burkina Faso's capital, Ouagadougou, are being cleaned up by those who were protesting over the last week about the coup, says the BBC's Charlotte Attwood in the city.

People cleaning up the streets of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
BBC

The interim President Michel Kafando was formally reinstated yesterday after the intervention of regional mediators.

These men, who are happy with the outcome, said they now wanted to tidy up. They had set up barricades and burnt tyres in anger at the takeover by the presidential guard last week.

Someone cleaning a street in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
BBC

BBC Africa's Lamine Konkobo, who is from Burkina Faso, says the tradition of street cleaning, known as "operation manamana", goes back to the rule of Thomas Sankara - the president who was assassinated in a coup in 1987.

The anti-imperialist revolutionary ruler used to make residents go out every weekend to clean up the streets.

By sweeping up after the demonstrations, the protesters want to show their allegiance to the man they see as "Africa's Che Guevara", he says.

Someone cleaning a street in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
BBC
Someone cleaning a street in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
BBC

Can you predict (and prevent) mass killings?

That's what the team at the Early Warning Project, an initiative run by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, are aiming to do.

They've created a tool, which they've been testing for two years, to see which countries in the world at most at risk of experiencing mass atrocities.

Six out of 10 of the countries which it says are most at risk, based on "state-of-the-art statistical analysis" and "analysis from regional experts" are in Africa, although there is of course no way of knowing how accurate their predictions.

The world map shows a country's risk for an episode of state-led mass killing
EWP
The world map shows a country's risk for an episode of state-led mass killing

Here's the list in order:

  1. Myanmar
  2. Nigeria
  3. Sudan
  4. Egypt
  5. Central African Republic
  6. South Sudan
  7. Democratic Republic of Congo
  8. Afghanistan
  9. Pakistan
  10. Yemen.

Cameron Hudson, from the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, told the

BBC's Newsday programme that despite the rankings, "these are extremely low probability events".

"An ounce of prevention can be worth a pound of cure... we can take preventive action now at lower cost to have a lasting impact in these countries before the first shot is even fired."

Get involved: Email africalive@bbc.co.uk with your comments.

Playtime in Mogadishu

The BBC's Ibrahim Mohamed Adan snapped these photos of families in Somalia enjoying today's Eid holiday at Mogadishu's Entertainment Centre, a newly opened playground for children:

Children at a playground in Mogadishu, Somalia
BBC
Children at a playground in Mogadishu, Somalia
BBC

This is one of three play areas for children that have opened up in the Somali capital over the last year, as efforts continue to revamp the city after years of civil war.

Children at a playground in Mogadishu, Somalia
BBC
Children at a playground in Mogadishu, Somalia
BBC

Parents told our reporter that they were very happy to have somewhere safe to bring their children to play.

Children at a playground in Mogadishu, Somalia
BBC
Children at a playground in Mogadishu, Somalia
BBC

Niger pilgrims involved in Hajj stampede

The stampede outside the city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia that has killed at least 310 people has affected many pilgrims from Niger.

BBC Hausa correspondent Tchima Illa Issoufou, who was with some of the affected people, said there are many Nigeriens among the dead, but she was unable to give a figure.

Muslim pilgrims gather around the victims of a stampede in Mina, Saudi Arabia, during the annual Hajj pilgrimage on Thursday 24 September 2015
AP
Here Muslim pilgrims gather near to those affected by the stampede

For more, read the BBC News story.

Uganda's opposition fails to unite

Uganda's veteran President Yoweri Museveni may be breathing a sigh of relief this morning, as the opposition coalition has failed, after a week-long meeting, to agree on a joint presidential candidate for next year's elections.

Yoweri Museveni - 15 September 2015
Reuters
Yoweri Museveni has been in power since 1986

The BBC's Patience Atuhaire in the capital, Kampala, says the Democratic Alliance coalition brings together opposition parties, pressure groups and civil society.

It had been expected to choose either Kizza Besigye, from the Forum for Democratic Change, or former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi.

Kizza Besigye - 2 September 2015
AFP
Long-time opposition figure Kizza Besigye used to be President Museveni's doctor
Uganda's former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi
Reuters
Amama Mbabazi fell out with the president

A joint opposition candidate would have meant that votes would be pooled - but with several opposition candidates in the running, the vote will be split, our reporter says.

Libya ex-PM: Act now, before it's too late

"There's a difference between watching the fire from a distance and feeling the heat," says Libya's ex-prime minister.

Mahmoud Jibril was giving his assessment of how Europe was now being directly affected by the refugee crisis. 

He told the BBC's Newsday programme that it was vital to create stability in Libya, which is one of the main departure points for those making the treacherous journey across the Mediterranean to Europe. 

Mr Jibril said that if the current state of violent instability and political chaos were not addressed in the next six months, it could be too late:

'National dialogue is the only solution.'

Kenya police officers charged with serious offences

Odhiambo Joseph

BBC Africa, Nairobi

More than 30 police officers in Kenya have been charged with serious offences, including murder over the last year, a police watchdog has said.

Kenyan police officer
AFP

The Independent Police Oversight Authority (IPOA) said they were arrested and charged after the agency received and investigated about 3,000 complaints.

It is not clear how many of the officers have been convicted.

It is unusual for the police to be charged in Kenya - despite allegations made against some officers of involvement in crime. They are arrested, but tend to be released later.

The IPOA was set up under the new constitution, adopted in 2010, to deal with such complaints.

Heavy rain affects Eid in Kano

Halima Umar Saleh

BBC Hausa, Abuja

A heavy downpour has disrupted celebrations in Kano in northern Nigeria for Eid al-Adha, the Muslim festival of sacrifice known here as Eid el-Kabir.

The rain started at about 09:00 GMT after the Eid prayers.

It might stop people from slaughtering their animals and prevent women from preparing the meat.

Most of the families in the north use firewood to prepare the roasted meat.

Cattle market in Kano
BBC
It is traditional to sacrifice a ram over this Eid holiday

Scores killed in Saudi Hajj stampede

At least 220 people taking part in the Hajj pilgrimage have been killed in a stampede near the Islamic holy city of Mecca, officials in Saudi Arabia say.

Another 450 people were injured in the incident at Mina, between Mount Arafat and Mecca's Grand Mosque.

The nationalities of the victims are not yet clear.

Photo posted on Twitter by Saudi Civil Defence Authority on 24 September 2015 showing medics treating man wounded in stampede at Hajj pilgrimage outside Mecca
Saudi Civil Defence Directorate
The Saudi civil defence authority said rescue operations were under way

The stampede occurred as more than a million pilgrims were taking part in the last major rite of the Hajj.

Read the BBC News story for more.

'East African boy' dies near Channel Tunnel entrance in France

A teenager, thought to be from East Africa, has been killed by a freight train near the Channel Tunnel entrance in Calais, officials have said.

Channel Tunnel in Frrance
Reuters
He is the 11th person to have died in or near the tunnel while trying to reach Britain since late June

A spokesman for Eurotunnel in France said paramedics were called after someone was found unconscious near the railway tracks on Wednesday night.

The boy is thought to have been 15-17 years old.

Read the BBC News story for more.

Human cost of Kigali's new image?

Authorities in Rwanda are rounding up some of the most vulnerable people in society and putting them in a detention centre, alleges Human Rights Watch (HRW)

in a new report.

The US-based campaign group says the rounding up of street vendors, beggars, homeless people, street children, sex workers and petty criminals reflects an unofficial policy of keeping those considered undesirable away from the public eye.

Over the last four years, HRW says it has documented the arbitrary arrest and illegal detention of thousands of people who are taken to an unofficial detention centre in the capital, Kigali, called Gikondo.

kigali
Getty Images
Rwanda has banned plastic bags as part of efforts to keep the streets clean

Daniel Bekele, the group's Africa director, said the city is often praised for its cleanliness and tidiness but its poorest residents have been paying the price for this positive image.

The centre, a vast garage, was used as a place to interrogate genocide suspects after 1994.

People are held there in deplorable conditions for periods ranging from a few days to several months, HRW alleges.

Rwanda's justice minister told HRW that Gikondo was not a detention centre, but existed to provide rehabilitation in the form of social emergency assistance and was a transit point to other rehabilitation centres.

Nigeria vehicle ban in Borno over Eid

Nigeria has banned the movement of cars, public transport, horses, donkeys and camels in north-eastern Borno state to prevent an attack by Boko Haram over the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday.

The ban came into effect on Wednesday evening and lasts until Friday.

Borno is the home of militant group Boko Haram and its main city of Maiduguri was hit by a triple bombing on Sunday which killed at least 54 people.

A car being searched in Maiduguri, Nigeria
AFP
Motorbikes are already banned in Borno state

Eid prayers in Garissa

The BBC's Bashkas Jugsodaay snapped these pictures of thousands of people at the prayer grounds in Kenya's north-eastern town of Garissa:

Garissa prayer grounds, Kenya
BBC

These boys are dressed up for the occasion. Eid al-Adha - the festival of sacrifice - is celebrated by Muslims worldwide:

Garissa prayer grounds, Kenya
BBC

Let us know how you're celebrating Eid. Send your photos and comments to africalive@bbc.co.uk.

Good morning

Welcome to the BBC Africa Live page and Eid Mubarak to our Muslim readers. We'll be keeping you up-to-date on African news stories.

Let us know how you are celebrating Eid - email comments to africalive@bbc.co.uk, or tweet using the hashtag

#BBCAfricaLive.