Summary

  1. Car bombs and gunmen target Mogadishu beach restaurants
  2. LRA rebel commander Dominic Ongwen appears at the ICC
  3. Prosecutors say he gave women to fighters as sex slaves
  4. Al-Shabab used powerful bombs in AU base attack, says Kenyan army chief
  5. South Africa records slight decrease in poaching with 1,175 rhinos killed in 2015
  6. Ancient 'massacre' unearthed in Kenya
  7. Email stories and comments to africalive@bbc.co.uk - Thursday 21 January 2016

Live Reporting

By Hugo Williams and Lucy Fleming

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We'll be back tomorrow

That's all from the BBC Africa Live page today. Listen to the Africa Today podcast and keep up-to-date with the ongoing attack in Somalia and other news stories from across the continent on the BBC News website

And we leave you with this tweet from the BBC's World Service Africa news editor:

twitter: https://twitter.com/mary_harper/status/690245606372216833

Al-Shabab 'behind ongoing Mogadishu attack'

A Somali journalist tweets that pro al-Shabab media are saying the group is behind the ongoing beach attack: 

BREAKING: #AlShabaab claims responsibility for the ongoing attack in Beach veiw hotel in #Mogadishu - Radio Andalus reports. #Somalia

An al-Shabab spokesman, Abdulaziz Abu Musab, also told the Reuters news agency that the group was behind the attack, saying the restaurant targeted was the Beach View Cafe.

Somali eyewitness: 'Gunmen began shooting before bomb'

An eyewitness at the beach in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, has been telling the BBC Somali service how the attack began earlier this evening.

Ali Bashir Abdullahi Abdi, who is the director of the private radio station Mustakball, says he was socialising with colleagues after work on the beach.

He has slightly different version of events from what we understood earlier.

Gunmen on the beachside began shooting first, he says.

People then began running towards the beach’s gates, which is on the other side of the restaurants – and as they headed towards the exit the first car bomb exploded.

He managed to escape by climbing over a restaurant’s wall and headed to the main road.

Mr Abdi said he saw that three people had been wounded and suspects others were killed.

The BBC’s Ibrahim Aden in Mogadishu says the shooting at the beach is ongoing.

Major power cut hits Kenya

Many areas of Kenya have been hit by a major power cut.

The national electricity company Kenya Power says the outage began at 16:33 local time (13:33 GMT) and is affecting the capital, Nairobi, the Coast and Mount Kenya regions.

The BBC’s John Nene took this photo from Mombasa – where the traffic is providing the city’s only lights.

At the moment he says he is eating and drinking the dark.

BBC

Ugandans follows Ongwen ICC hearing from afar

The local community in the northern Ugandan town of Lukodi, scene of a 2004 massacre by the LRA rebels, have spent the day following proceedings at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, where LRA commander Dominic Ongwen has appeared to find out if the charges against him will proceed to trial.  

The BBC's Catherine Byaruhanga was there: 

Read the full BBC News story

Footage of miraculous escape for SA police officer shot in back

South African police have released a dramatic video which shows a Cape Town traffic officer being shot at point-blank range in the back while he tried to give a ticket to a motorist. 

Nizaam Alexander's bullet-proof vest saved him from serious injury from the shooting, which took place in November, but has only recently been made public, South Africa's News 24 website reports. 

Here's a series of screen grabs taken from the video, which was filmed on the officer's dash cam, which show how the attack unfolded. The attacker can be seen walking past on the left in the first frame. 

Western Cape government
Western Cape government
Western Cape government
Western Cape government

You can watch the full video of the incident below: 

youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kUGxPZuSM4

Mr Alexander, who continued issuing the ticket after he was shot, was awarded the City of Cape Town Traffic Services Departmental Officer of the Year Award.  

BreakingSecond car bomb detonates near Somali beach restaurant

Eyewitnesses have told the BBC's Ibrahim Aden in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, that a second car bomb has detonated next to the restaurant on Lido beach about an hour after the first vehicle rammed into it and exploded (see 17:21 post).

Our reporter says shooting is still continuing - up to five gunmen are reported to be firing on the beach.

Why Somalia's Lido beach is so popular

Some background on Mogadishu's long sandy Lido beach as reports of a serious attack come in: 

The beach is especially popular with business people and Somalis from the diaspora who have returned home to the city. 

During the day - especially on Fridays - hundreds of people come to swim in the surf. 

Read Andrew Harding's piece after he visited the beach last year: Sun, surf... and grenades?

AFP

Today's attack started after dark (see 17:21 post), when people would have been socialising at the restaurants and sitting on the beach.  

It is not known who is behind the attack, but the Islamist militant group al-Shabab often carries out attacks in the city and has previously bombed a restaurant on the beach.

BreakingGunmen open fire at Somali beach

A car bomb has exploded and gunmen are shooting at a beach in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, the BBC's Ibrahim Aden reports from the city.

The attack is happening at the popular Lido beach, which is lined with several restaurants.

A vehicle rammed into the entrance of one of the restaurants, exploding at about 19:30 local time (16:30 GMT) - and up to five gunmen approached from a different direction shooting at those relaxing on the beach.

People tend to sit out in front of the restaurants.

Our reporter says a police operation is continuing - and there is no information about casualties.

Suspected Islamic State militants attack Libyan oil port

Libyan firefighters have been battling to put out a huge blaze after suspected Islamic State militants set fire to oil storage tanks near Libya's Ras Lanuf terminal.

With huge columns of smoke rising from the fires, the state-run oil company has said it was facing an "environmental catastrophe". 

Reuters
Reuters
Reuters

The British ambassador to Libya has been tweeting about the attack by so-called Islamic State, or Daesh: 

Another attack on #Libya's oil installations in Ras Lanuf. #Daesh are destroying Libya's future economic recovery.

An account which provides updates on the security situation in Libya has tweeted this analysis: 

#IS seems to be seeking to destroy, rather than seize and secure, the Libyan Oil Crescent infrastructure at Ras Lanuf and Sidra.

Renewed violent protests in Tunisia over jobs

AFP

More clashes erupted in the Tunisian city of Kasserine between the security forces and protesters demanding jobs.

It's the third day of tension in the area, during which it has emerged that a policeman was killed. The protests have also spread to several other towns.

Reuters
Protesters gathered today outside Kasserine's local government office

The tensions have echoes of the Arab spring uprising of 2011 that brought down the government of long-time leader Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, which was partly fuelled by frustration over the lack of employment.  

Yassine Kahlaoui, a 30-year-old job seeker in Kasserine , told the Associated Press news agency:

We have been waiting for things to get better for five years, and nothing has happened. We're tired of broken promises

According to the Reuters news agency, an unemployed man tried to kill himself by jumping off a building during the protest in Kasserine - but several people came to his rescue:

Reuters

In an effort to calm the situation, the government has promised to find work for 6,000 unemployed young people in Kasserine.  

The Nigerian football star coaching Afghan migrants in Sweden

Nigeria's most celebrated woman footballer has become an unlikely inspiration for Afghan asylum seekers in Sweden. 

Former African Footballer of the year Perpetua Nkwocha, who spent the last seven years of her playing career in Sweden, has taken on a role coaching the group of youngsters, who have recently arrived in the country's far north. 

BBC Africa's Matthew Kenyon packed his hat and gloves and made it all the way up to the town of Skelleftea, where the current temperature is -27C. 

Luckily, they play indoors. 

youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6ZM6Fs1RUQ

Read more about the project and Perpetua's life in Sweden.

Vigil for Kenyan soldiers killed in Somalia

Anthony Irungu

BBC Africa, Nairobi

BBC

Kenyans are holding a vigil in central Nairobi for the soldiers who died in Somalia last Friday.

It is taking place at Uhuru Park in the capital and large numbers of people are carrying candles and flowers.

It is not yet known how many died on when al-Shabab militants overran the African Union base in el-Ade (see 14:32 post).

The militants say they killed more than a hundred Kenyan troops in the attack. 

BBC

The organiser of today’s vigil, activist Boniface Mwangi, condemned the government for its response – and called on officials to ensure that the families whose sons are missing are notified and taken care of.

Families of some of the soldiers who died are also in attendance.

BBC

African leaders discuss future of technology on the continent

African leaders have been discussing the importance of technology to the future of the continent in a debate hosted by broadcaster CNBC at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

The panel, which included Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Akinwumi Adesina, the head of the African Development Bank, discussed the question: How will the Fourth Industrial Revolution impact Africa? 

"The Fourth Industrial Revolution" is a term used to refer to the process, already under way, by which technology transforms the way people live, work and relate to each other.

Some of those in the audience were live tweeting the discussion: 

"No country can develop by concentrating on raw commodities "- @akin_adesina #Davos2016 #DavosOn410 @cnbcafrica

Desalegn: not embracing technology and inaction is not an option @cnbcafrica #WEF16 #DavosOn410

A video of the full hour-long discussion is below:

twitter: https://twitter.com/cnbcafrica/status/690176968516636672

Boxing for Kenya in Mombasa

John Nene

BBC Africa, Mombasa

Olympic boxing trials are taking place in the Kenyan coastal city of Mombasa over the next three days.

A total of 49 boxers will fight it out - and 10 men and three women will be chosen to represent Kenya in March at the Africa Olympic trials in Cameroon’s capital, Yaounde.

International lightweight boxer Reba Matanda is one of hopefuls:

BBC

Teams from the armed forces and other regions are doing battle. Today Victor Odhiambo, a serving soldier, fought Ben Omondi from the Coastal region:

BBC
Victor Odhiambo is a Kenyan soldier
BBC
Ben Omondi looked rather dazed after his bout was stopped in round two

  Rebecca Wambui is one of the referees officiating:

b

Dangote and Gates announce $100m health scheme for Nigeria

Africa's richest man Aliko Dangote has teamed up with Bill Gates, the world's richest man, to announce $100m (£70m) of funding to help cut malnutrition in Nigeria. 

Mr Dangote said the partnership between his Dangote Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation would help address the problem, which affects some 11 million children in northern Nigeria. 

The Microsoft founder said their prospects would be "greatly damaged if we don't solve malnutrition", AFP new agency reports.

The announcement was made in Abuja, a day after both men signed a deal to ramp up immunisation programmes in the northern states of Kaduna, Sokoto and Kano, where Mr Dangote is from. 

Mr Dangote (see below, R) and Mr Gates (C) met Lamido Sanusi (fourth from left), the Emir of Kano and former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria:

US Embassy Nigeria

'DNA tests needed' to identify Kenyan soldiers' bodies

Wanyama wa Chebusiri

BBC Africa, Nairobi

The uncertainty surrounding the number of Kenyan soldiers killed last Friday when al-Shabab fighters overran an African Union military base in south-western Somalia last Friday remains (see earlier post at 12:59).

Military chief Gen Samson Mwathethe told a tense press conference in the capital, Nairobi, that given the magnitude of the attack the army would only release figures after the investigation was complete.

DNA tests will have to be done on some of our fallen heroes

Gen Samson Mwathethe

He did give details of the three car bombs used by al-Shabab.

The base is on the outskirts of el-Ade and was made up of two military camps - one housing the Somalia national army and the other for a contingent of Kenyan troops.

The general said one vehicle exploded at by the gates of the Somali section, another at the entrance to the Kenyan side and a third in between the two camps.

The force of each of these three explosions was equivalent to the car bomb that ripped through the US embassy in 1998 - and he asked those present to imagine the scale of the destruction.

AFP

There is growing concern in Kenya, especially among relatives and friends over the whereabouts of their loved ones following the government’s failure to disclose the number of those who may have died, with al-Shabab claiming to have killed more than a hundred.    

Egyptian police killed in Sinai checkpoint attack

EPA

Five policemen have been killed in an attack on a checkpoint in the north of Egypt's restive Sinai peninsula, the interior ministry says.

Three conscripts were also also wounded when gunmen opened fire at the checkpoint in the town of el-Arish.

Security forces were searching for the attackers, who managed to flee.

Jihadist militants, largely based in Sinai, have killed hundreds of security personnel since the military overthrew President Mohammed Morsi in 2013.

For more read the BBC News story

Open letter to South Africa's President Zuma goes viral

Reuters
President Zuma is facing growing criticism at home

An open letter by a South African woman, in which she launches a passionate appeal for President Jacob Zuma "to go for a run" and see the state of the country for himself, has been shared more than 17,000 times on Facebook. 

Here's an extract from Cape Town resident Kim Stephen's letter:

"High five the babies playing in dirt. Steer clear of the children that should be in school. The school with the long drop‚ no text books‚ and an under-paid teacher...

"Greet the doctors and nurses stumbling bleary-eyed on to public transport to return home after a 48-hour shift for pittance. Breathe deeply as you pass the sewerage pumping in to the sea. Smell that?

"Nearly half way now‚ Zuma. Sweating? Run some more...

"Report the water gushing out of an unkempt pipe‚ as you run by. Spare a thought for the farmers suffering through the drought‚ while you do so. 

"Observe the community spirit when a fire breaks out and ravages the shacks of an under-resourced community. Or when a fire ravages part of our precious natural heritage....

"Now run home‚ Zuma. Back to your 20th child. Back to a life of luxury and total lack of empathy. Mind you don’t trip on your shoelace as you go."

South Africa's Sowetan newspaper reports that Ms Stephens has been "overwhelmed" by the response to her post: 

‘I am passionately pro South Africa’ – Capetonian’s ‘Run Zuma’ letter goes viral bit.ly/1ZDUwXI

Read the full open letter to President Zuma here

Al-Shabab used powerful bomb at African Union base

Wanyama wa Chebusiri

BBC Africa, Nairobi

BBC

Kenyan military chief of staff Gen Samson Mwathethe is speaking to the press in Nairobi about the deadly attack on an African Union force base in Somalia last Friday.

Details of the attack are still unclear – with al-Shabab militants saying they killed more than 100 Kenyan soldiers.

Gen Mwathethe says bombs used by insurgents at the base was three times more powerful than that used in the 1998 US embassy attack in Nairobi, which killed 224 people.

Al-Shabab is linked to al-Qaeda which carried about the embassy bombing - one of its first international attacks.

Find out more about what we know so far about the attack.

LRA commander 'distributed women'

ICC prosecutors are still laying out their case to make the point that Dominic Ongwen was responsible for his actions.

Witnesses have said that the LRA commander distributed women and girls among men in his brigade, the prosecutor told the court.

Another witness said Mr Ongwen had the autonomy to do this without the permission of LRA leader Joseph Kony, whom he would inform afterwards.

Earlier, evidence was presented to show how the Ugandan army intercepted communications between the LRA commanders.

A journalist in court has tweeted a photo of one notebook which said: "Kony praised Dominic so much for his hard work he is doing."

twitter: https://twitter.com/Natalia_Ojewska/status/690144439403175936

She also tweeted a timeline shown in court, illustrating his growing influence within the group:

#ICC #Prosecutor : Ongwen as an indirect perpetrator responsible for the crimes committed at #Lukodi #OngwenTrial

The hearing has now adjourned for a lunch break.

Tanzania's ex-President Kikwete appointed university chancellor

Tulanana Bohela

BBC Africa, Dar es Salaam

Tanzania's President John Magufuli has appointed his predecessor Jakaya Kikwete as chancellor of the University of Dar es Salaam.

Mr Kikwete stood down as president last year after two terms in office.

He himself graduated from the University of Dar es Salaam, which was established in 1961, with a degree in economics in 1975.

AFP
Jakaya Kikwete (L) studied to be an economist before entering politics

The appointment may a way to smooth relations between the two leaders as President Magufuli’s brazen actions in his early days of power have brought to light unnecessary spending and allegations of corrupt officials under the former administration.

The hierarchy of the LRA

The International Criminal Court (ICC) hearing about whether LRA commander Dominic Ongwen should face trial has resumed after a break. The prosecution has been looking at the how the rebel leader Joseph Kony and his deputies communicated.

The hierarchy of the group is now the subject of their presentation, showing how senior Mr Ongwen was and his role in commanding attacks.

A journalist at the hearing tweets:

twitter: https://twitter.com/Natalia_Ojewska/status/690143707987906566

Nigerian football star Perpetua Nkwocha on her new life in Sweden

Perpetua Nkwocha, former African Footballer of the year and multiple African champion, played her club football in Skelleftea for seven years.

The Nigerian is now coaching the team and is spending her first winter in town.

She tells us how to cope with the weather and how she has adapted to her new life:

Read more about her life and how she is helping Afghan teenagers settle into life in Sweden by becoming their football coach.

Djibouti signs deal to deepen ties with China

Djibouti's leader has signed agreements with China to set up a trade zone and establish legal backing for Chinese banks to operate, Reuters news agency reports.

President Ismail Omar Guelleh revealed last year that his government was in talks with China over establishing its first official overseas naval base.  

Djibouti, a small country on the Red Sea, is already home to military bases from the US and France, the former colonial power, but China's interest is now becoming increasingly apparent. 

Getty Images
Chinese-led infrastructure projects are already being carried out in Djibouti

Read more: Why are there so many military bases in Djibouti?

South African poaching: '1,175 rhinos killed in 2015'

Latest figures from the South African government says 1,175 rhinos were killed by poachers last year, the AFP news agency reports.

Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa made the announcement.

It is a slight decrease on 2014, but another bad year for rhinos, whose horns are in high demand in Asia.

Rhino hunting in South Africa:

  • Much of the poaching occurs in the Kruger National Park, which covers an area of about 20,000 sq km (7,500 sq miles)
  • Nationwide figures have increased from 13 poached rhinos in 2007 to 1,215 in 2014
  • Criminal syndicates are involved, selling horns on the black market in Asia
  • Rhino horns sells for $65,000 (£43,000) per kg - more than gold - a South African court heard last year
  • Rhino deaths could start overtaking births between 2016 and 2018

Sources: South African Department of Environmental Affairs, Save the Rhino

AFP

Second Ebola case in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone has confirmed its second case of Ebola less than a week since the epidemic was declared over in West Africa.

The new case is the aunt of the 22-year-old student who died of the virus last week.

She "was a primary caregiver during the young woman's illness", WHO Health Organization spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told the AFP news agency.

She had developed symptoms on Wednesday while being monitored at a quarantine facility and is now being treated, he said.

AP

Nigeria ex-security adviser in court over 'theft'

Reuters

A former senior security adviser to the Nigerian government, who is accused of looting funds earmarked for fighting Boko Haram, has appeared in court in the capital, Abuja, to face a separate criminal case - a charge of possessing illegal weapons.

Sambo Dasuki was charged with that offence in August - and then in December he was charged over an alleged $68m (£48m) fraud.

He was accused of awarding phantom contracts to buy helicopters, fighter jets and ammunition.

He has previously denied the allegations and said they are politically motivated.

The reporter for AFP news agency is tweeting from the court: 

#Dasuki now appears in court, packed full of spectators, with case looking to be adjourned until tomorrow (Friday) morning

#Dasuki is one of three high profile prisoners been controversially kept in custody by Buhari's government

Yesterday, Dasuki's lawyer said that the government's continued detention of #Dasuki was a "brazen affront" to the rule of law in Nigeria

Ancient 'massacre' unearthed in Kenya

Reuters
The dead included male and female adults, as well as children

Archaeologists say they have unearthed the earliest evidence of human warfare to be scientifically dated, at a site in northern Kenya.

The 10,000-year-old remains of 27 people found at a remote site west of Lake Turkana show that they met violent deaths.

They were left to die there rather than being buried.

Many experts have argued that conflict only emerged more recently, as humans became more settled.

These people, by contrast, were apparently nomadic hunter-gatherers.

Read the full BBC News story 

ICC hearing stops for break

Patience Atuhaire

BBC Africa, Kampala

The live stream of the ICC hearing for Dominic Ongwen is being broadcast with a half hour delay. 

The prosecutor has finished speaking and there is now a break.

The BBC's Patience Atuhaire in northern Uganda says representatives of the ICC in Lukodi are using the time to summarise what was said at the hearing to the community in Acholi, the local language. 

BBC
About 200 people are watching proceedings at this school

UN Security Council delegation due in Burundi this evening

AFP

The delegation from the UN Security Council, which is due to arrive this evening in the capital, Bujumbura, is expected to number 30 people, including security council delegates, experts and journalists. 

The Burundian authorities have been very unhappy with statements made by the US ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, who has been highly critical of President Pierre Nkurunziza's decision to run for a third term. 

She will be among the delegation arriving tonight, and from her tweets last night, it doesn't look as though she intends to back down over her criticism of the authorities here: 

UNSC travels to #Burundi today, at a critical moment: over 230k ppl have fled since April, troubling reports of mass graves & gang rapes

We've seen escalating violence, climate of fear and tension before in Burundi. Immediate, inclusive pol dialogue held outside Burundi vital

Important to press Burundi govt to let in human rights observers & crucial intnl force to protect civilians before situation spirals further

The BBC's Prime Ndikumagenge in Bujumbura says although it hasn't been officially confirmed, it may be that support for President Nkurunziza from China, Russia and others on the Security Council has lessened the impact of pressure from other members. 

That could explain why the UN's actions, combined with pressure from Europe and the African Union, appear to have had little impact on the president, he says.

'My child was killed by the LRA'

Patience Atuhaire

BBC Africa, Uganda

BBC

Sixty-year-old Geraldino Alirri was shot in the mouth and injured during the LRA attack on Lukodi in northern Uganda in 2004.

She lost her eight-year-old child in the raid in which about 60 people were killed.

Ms Alirri says she wants to see justice for what happened to many others in her community – and is watching the broadcast of ICC hearing of Dominic Ongwen live at one of the viewing centres that has been set up in the area.

Video of shallow graves shown at ICC

Prosecutor Benjamin Gumpert has been talking at the ICC hearing for nearly an hour about Dominic Ongwen.

"For well over a decade until his arrest in January 2015, Dominic Ongwen was one of the most senior commanders in the LRA," the AFP news agency quotes him as saying.

"This was not just a civil war between people in uniform... the LRA attacked ordinary Ugandan citizens who wanted no more than to live their lives."

A lawyer following the hearing tweets:

twitter: https://twitter.com/DanyaChaikel/status/690107063259783170

And a journalist at the ICC tweets:

twitter: https://twitter.com/Natalia_Ojewska/status/690112725675065344