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  1. Buhari vows "severe punishment" over budget fiasco
  2. Ethiopia's leader warns 'secessionists'
  3. MTN pays Nigeria $250m of $3.9bn fine
  4. South African children sue Nigeria's mega church
  5. UK pilot caught on camera in Kenya denies assault charge
  6. Kenyan-born Qatari athlete to quit
  7. Get Involved: #BBCAfricaLive
  8. Email stories and comments to - Wednesday 24 February 2016

Live Reporting

By Clare Spencer and Farouk Chothia

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Scroll down for Wednesday's stories

We'll be back tomorrow

That's it from today. To keep up-to-date with news from across the continent, listen to the BBC Africa podcast or check the BBC News website.

Today's African proverb has been:

I don't eat the carcass, but I drink the soup made from it

A Somali proverb sent by Abdiweli Hassan, Bosasso, Puntland, Somalia.

Click here to send your African proverbs.

And we leave you with this picture of a de-horned black rhino taken today in Klerksdorp, South Africa:

De-horned rhino

Buhari anger over budget fiasco

Buhari with budget box
Getty Images
Mr Buhari was elected president last year

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed "severe punishment" for officials who embarrassed the government by doctoring the record $31bn (£20.8bn) national budget he tabled in parliament in December. 

"I have been a military governor, petroleum minister, military head of state and headed the Petroleum Trust Fund. Never had I heard the words 'budget padding'," Mr Buhari said in a statement.

He added that Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udo Udoma, had worked so hard on the budget that he "became almost half his size during the time", only for "some people to pad it".

“It is very embarrassing and disappointing. We will not allow those who did it to go unpunished," President Buhari said.    


Changes to the budget - the first presented by Mr Buhari since he took office - were discovered by journalists and lawmakers when it was debated in parliament, fuelling speculation that corrupt officials were behind the move. 

This included a sum of $50m which was "smuggled" into the budget of the ministry of education, while Health Minister Issac Odewale disowned what was presented to the parliament, saying some “rats” had added items into his budget. 

Read: Nigeria's 'budget mafia'

Student's murder: Italy wants evidence from Egypt

Mr Regeni's funeral
Mr Regeni's funeral was held in Italy earlier this month

Italy wants Egyptian investigators to hand over the evidence on the killing of an Italian student killed in Cairo, reports Reuters news agency. 

"Cooperation with our investigative team can be and must be more effective," Italy's Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni said during parliament's question time. 

Giulio Regeni disappeared on 25 January, and his mutilated body was found a week later dumped by a roadside.

Egyptian activists have suggested that Egypt's security forces may have been responsible for his death. He had been researching independent trade unions in Egypt, and had been critical of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's government.

Egyptian officials have denied that the security forces had a hand in his killing. 

Instead, they have suggested that the murder could have been motivated by crime or revenge.

Read more on the BBC News website.

#Budget2016: South Africans react

The South African budget presented by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan is trending on Twitter in the country, with people summing up their views: 

#Budget2016 summary: 1Drive less 2Smoke less 3Drink less 4Don't drink Oros/Coke. 5Don't spend what u haven't earned. 6Sumthin bout tyres.

Boy ain't I glad that the sugar tax is only beverages and not chocolates *addict* #budget2016

That all said - The #SugarTax and Sin tax are both good moves, will hopefully encourage a healthier lifestyle. #Budget2016

I find the market reaction to the #Budget2016 speech quite counter-intuitive. Rand depreciating despite a freeze in VAT and Inc. tax rates.

Everyone is congratulating min Gordhan on a good #Budget2016 under circumstances but look at the rand, it hated the speech… R15.65 / USD

'Joy' in Benghazi after IS lose control

Benghazi residents have been celebrating after Islamist militants lost control of key parts of the Libyan city, where the uprising against former leader Muammar Gaddafi started in 2011. 

Local journalist Rami Musa told the BBC's Outside Source that "the joy is just indescribable".

Listen to him describe what it was like to return to his home for the first time in two years:

Benghazi resident Rami Musa on what it is like returning home for the first time

People are sharing pictures, showing cars driving back into the city, using a hashtag which translates as "Benghazi wins":

View more on twitter

Deadly effect of Ebola outbreak

A health worker carries Benson, 2 months, to a re-opened Ebola holding center in the West Point neighborhood on October 17, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia
The Ebola epidemic was the worst in history

Researchers in the US say the Ebola outbreak in three West African states is likely to have led to nearly twice as many deaths as thought because it diverted health resources away from other deadly diseases. 

Their study calculates that this indirectly caused 10,000 more people to die in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia - almost as many as were killed in the Ebola outbreak. 

The researchers from the Yale School of Public Health say treatments for malaria, HIV/Aids and tuberculosis were the worst hit - because of the overwhelming pressure on health systems in the region.

'No surprise' that Compaore has switched nationalities

Tamasin Ford

BBC Africa, Abidjan

Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore arrives with his wife Chantal Compaore at the White House for a group dinner during the US Africa Leaders Summit August 5, 2014 in Washington,
Getty Images
Mr Compaore's wife Chantal was born in Ivory Coast

The news that Burkina Faso ex-president Blaise Compaore is now a citizen of Ivory Coast has sparked rage in some camps and resignation in others.

But one thing for sure: it has surprised few. 

Mr Compaore is a long-time friend of Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara.  

When he fled Burkina Faso after he was ousted by his people in October 2014, he came straight to Ivory Coast and stayed in a government house in the capital, Yamoussoukro. 

Mr Compaore’s wife is also French-Ivorian. So legally his new citizenship is completely normal.  

But the issue is that Ivory Coast does not extradite its citizens.  

And an international arrest warrant was issued in December for Mr Compaore over his alleged role in the murder of his predecessor Thomas Sankara.  

People want to see justice for the murder of the man known by many across the continent as Africa’s Che Guevara.  

But with Mr Compaore enjoying Ivorian citizenship, it is unlikely he will ever go back to Burkina Faso.

He has always denied involvement in the 1987 murder of Sankara.

Beyonce fashion designer on her Ivorian creations

Ivorian fashion designer Loza Maleombho is in the spotlight after one of her designs was spotted in Beyonce's latest music video.

The outfit is worn by a dancer in the video for the US singer's song Formation.

Ms Maleombho started her fashion brand in New York, but later relocated production to Ivory Coast.

Her designs are now stocked in Nigeria, the UK and the US.

As part of the BBC's Women of Africa season, we put together a video of her fashion line: 

Women of Africa: Beyonce fashion designer on her Ivorian creations

Thumbs down for South Africa's budget

South Africa"s Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan delivers his 2016 Budget address to Parliament in Cape Town, February 24, 2016

South Africa's currency fell by 2.25% against the dollar shortly after Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan delivered the national budget, AFP news agency reports. 

"I expected a much firmer austerity budget," Mohammed Nalla, head of strategic research at Nedbank, told AFP. 

"This budget will not be enough to help us avoid a credit downgrade in the near future, but it may have helped us buy a bit of time." 

In his budget, Mr Gordhan promised greater cooperation with the private sector in an effort to boost growth, which he forecast would drop to below 1% this year, AFP reports. 

Increased taxes on excise duties, capital gains, fuel, sugary drinks, alcohol and tobacco, as well as environmental levies, are expected to bring in an extra 18bn rand ($1.18bn). 

Still no deal between MTN and Nigeria

MTN billboard

Mobile phone giant MTN says it is still seeking an "amicable settlement" with Nigeria over the $3.9bn (£2.8bn) fine imposed on it, AFP news agency reports. 

It had withdrawn a legal challenge over the fine, and had paid $250m towards a "settlement, where one is eventually, hopefully arrived at",  AFP quotes an MTN statement as saying. 

Nigeria's telecom regulator imposed the penalty last year after the South African-owned firm missed a deadline to disconnect 5.1 million unregistered Sim cards.

Nigeria is the MTN group's largest market, where it had more than 62.8 million subscribers by the second quarter of 2015. 

See our 13:23 post for more details

South Africa tax on sugary drinks

South Africa will introduce a tax on sugar-sweetened drinks from 1 April 2017,  Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has said.

Eyewitness News called it a "surprise move" by Mr Gordhan. 

Critics will say the new tax is aimed at increasing the cash-strapped government's income, but the treasury said it was intended to tackle obesity:

"Fiscal interventions such as taxes are increasingly recognised as complementary tools to help tackle this epidemic. Countries such as Denmark, Finland, France, Hungary, Ireland, Mexico and Norway have levied taxes on sugar- sweetened beverages."

A men cuts sugarcane on a farm near the Kruger National Park on July 8, 2013 in Komatiepoort, South Africa
South Africa is a big producer of sugar

Kenyan street child defines opportunity

Morris, a 15-year-old street child, has blown the Kenyan press away with his observations about his life.

The Standard says in its headline that he "dazzles Kenyans with his brilliant plea".

In the video, Morris says that there are a lot of talented people on the streets but they lack opportunity:

View more on youtube

It was filmed by a volunteer of Homeless of Nairobi.

They wrote on their Facebook page that within an hour of posting it somebody offered to pay for a year of school.

Morris said that when he previously went to school he was so bright that he was nicknamed "Illuminati".

Big applause for South Africa's finance minister

A BBC reporter has been tweeting about the finance minister's budget, which he presented in parliament:

Huge applause as finance minister Pravin Gordhan ends his 2016 budget speech with the words "let's be resilient!" After quoting Mandela.

South Africa budget pie chart

The editor-in-chief of South Africa's Mail & Guardian newspaper has been tweeting about the national budget, delivered by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan: 

Wrapping up now. Here's your #budget2016 in pie. Personal income tax shouldering more and more of the burden

Wrapping up now. Here's your #budget2016 in pie. Personal income tax shouldering more and more of the burden

MTN 'pays Nigeria to end dispute'

Getty Images
MTN has 231 million subscribers in 22 countries across Africa

Africa's mobile phone giant MTN says it has paid Nigeria $250m (£180m) to help end a dispute over its failure to cut off unregistered users, AFP news agency reports.

"Pursuant to the ongoing engagement with the Nigerian Authorities, MTN Nigeria has today made a... good faith payment of 50 billion naira ($250m)," MTN said in a statement, it reports. 

Nigeria's telecom regulator had initially fined the South African-owned firm $5.2bn, but the amount was later brought down to $3.9bn. 

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has not yet commented.    

Machar's troops to return to Juba

Mary Harper

Africa editor, BBC World Service

South Sudanese rebel leader and former vice president Riek Machar (C) sits in an army barracks in South Sudan's Upper Nile State on April 14, 2014
Mr Machar (C) has been reappointed vice-president

Peace monitors in South Sudan say forces loyal to the former rebel leader, Riek Machar, will be deployed to the capital, Juba, next month. 

This is the first time the troops will go to Juba since the civil war erupted in 2013. Earlier this month, President Salva Kiir gave back Mr Machar his old job of vice-president. 

Thousands have been killed and more than two million displaced in two years of fighting between forces loyal to Mr Kiir and Mr Machar. 

A string of ceasefire deals have failed to hold.

'Belt-tightening' in South Africa

BBC Africa Business Report presenter tweets about the South African budget being delivered by the finance minster: 

Pravin Gordhan, relaxed despite being weighed down by fact that SA sits on a precipice. Fine line between slow growth & recession +downgrade

Budget deficit to be reduced to 3.2% this year. " Indeed a tightening of the belt" says Pravin Gordhan, SA Minister of Finance #Budget2016

"Fiscal Consolidation" emphasized by PG, says "govt should not borrow what it can't afford to repay" Spending will also be cut #Budget2016

South Africa needs 'agility'

South Africa's Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has been delivering his budget in parliament. Here are some of his comments:

Our economy is not growing fast enough to raise employment or improve average incomes. Investment growth must be substantially scaled up.

We must be bold where there is need for structural change, innovation and doing things differently. We need agility and urgency in implementation.

Nigerian tweeters: 'Stop taking our airtime'

Ummulkhair Ibrahim

BBC Africa, Abuja

Nigerian tweeters are campaigning against phone companies taking their airtime for text messages they did not subscribe to.

They are using the hashtag #NoToTelcommBully in an attempt to pressure the companies to deal with the problem:

View more on twitter
View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Others say mobile phone service providers are continuously deducting their airtime for calls they did not make, unsolicited text messages, and caller tunes they did not buy.  

The telecom regulator has had meetings with Mobile Network Operators and issued warnings against ripping off  subscribers.  

South Africa's 'crisis budget'

Pravin Gordhan
Mr Gordhan is well-respected in financial circles

South Africa's finance minister increased taxes and targeted what he called wasteful and corrupt government spending in a "crisis" budget aimed at preventing a ratings downgrade to junk status, AFP news agency reports. 

"There is no doubt about the fact that we are in crisis," Pravin Gordhan told a media conference ahead of his budget speech.   

Africa's most developed economy is struggling with shrinking growth, unemployment running at 25%, and widespread poverty. 

Children sue TB Joshua's church

Nigerian pastor TB Joshua speaks during a New Year's memorial service for the South African relatives of those killed in a building collapse at his Lagos megachurch on December 31, 2014
TB Joshua has denied any wrongdoing

Two South African children are suing the mega church of popular Nigerian preacher TB Joshua over the death of their father, their lawyer Bolajii Ayorinde has told the BBC. 

The three-year-old and six-year-old have filed papers in court in Nigeria's main city, Lagos, demanding compensation of more than 8m rand ($521,000; £375,000) from the Synagogue Church of All Nations, Nigerian media reports.  

Their father was among 116 people killed when a hostel owned by the church collapsed in Lagos in 2014. 

A coroner ruled last year that TB Joshua should be prosecuted over the collapse of the building, saying the church was culpable because of criminal negligence.

The pastor and church have consistently denied any wrongdoing.      

Kenya closer to missing the Olympics

Emmanuel Igunza

BBC Africa, Nairobi

Kenya is facing a race against time in its attempts to convince the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) that it will tackle doping in athletics. 

This week, Wada said Kenya's efforts were not good enough and it demanded that legislation be passed to establish an anti-doping agency within the country.

And so today, the government, Athletics Kenya and sports federations have been meeting in the capital Nairobi to amend the draft law they had proposed, before presenting it to the cabinet and parliament later next week. 

Kenya has already missed one crucial deadline set by Wada and is facing another one on 5 April when Wada will decide if Kenya is complying with its demands to clean up athletics . 

One of the authors of the proposed law, sports scientist Moni Wekesa, told me that he was concerned that Kenya was not taking Wada's demands seriously:

We were told as far back as far back as 2013 that a new law should be in place by January 2016. You can now understand Wada’s frustration.

If they miss the deadline, Wada could recommend Kenya is banned from taking part in the Olympics later this year.

Compaore becomes Ivorian citizen

Blaise Compaore
Mr Compaore was in power for 27 years

Ivory Coast has given Burkina Faso's ousted ruler Blaise Compaore citizenship, reports the BBC Afrique's Valerie Bony from Abidjan. 

Ivory Coast does not extradite its nationals so it is unlikely that Mr Compaore will be sent back to Burkina Faso to stand trial for his alleged role in the 1987 murder of ex-President Thomas Sankara.

He has always denied involvement in the murder. 

man wears a shirt depicting former Bukinabe President Thomas Sankara and meaning 'He is still unsettling' in Bobo Dioulasso, after a protest against de military coup on September 18, 2015

Mr Compoare fled to Ivory Coast in 2014 following a popular uprising against his bid to extend his 27-year rule. 

Read: Sankara's legacy

Ghanaian footballer moves to Russia

A BBC sports reporter tweets: 

DONE.. Ghana defender Jonathan Mensah has signed a two-and-a-half year deal with Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala.

DONE.. Ghana defender Jonathan Mensah has signed a two-and-a-half year deal with Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala.

BBC launches 2016 Komla Dumor award

The BBC is seeking a future star of African journalism for the BBC World News Komla Dumor Award, now in its second year.

The winner will work with teams across BBC News in London for three months.

The award was established to honour Komla Dumor, a presenter for BBC World News, who died suddenly aged 41 in 2014.

Komla Dumor Award 2016

Find out more about the award and if you are eligible to enter

Why the world is watching South Africa's budget

Lerato Mbele

BBC African Business Report

When South Africa’s finance minister delivers the 2016 Budget today it will be watched closely both locally and internationally.

That’s because South Africa could tip into a recession.

The recent global slump, caused by the fall in commodity prices and the Chinese slowdown, has seen foreign investors pulling back from emerging markets.

South Africa has been one of the biggest casualties.

Credit ratings agencies have given South Africa an ultimatum – improve the economy or face a downgrade to so-called junk status.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan will have to make all the right noises about reducing government debt, tackling corruption, stabilising the currency, promoting growth and creating jobs.

Then, the markets need to convinced that he’s sincere. Otherwise,  the downgrade will be unavoidable, experts say.

A white South African begs for money, 02 August 2000, while two blacks are passing through, on a street in Johannesburg

South Africa to withdraw from Darfur

File picture dated 24 October 2007 shows General Martin Luther Agwai, commander of the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) and soon-to-be deployed AU-UN Hybrid force UNAMID, salutes at newly arrived Nigerian protection force peacekeepers at the Mission Group Site (MGS) in Graida, southern Darfur
UN-backed forces have batted to end conflict in Darfur

South Africa will withdraw its peacekeeping troops from Sudan's Darfur region from 1 April, President Jacob Zuma's office has said in a statement, Reuters news agency reports. 

The troops have been in Darfur since 2008 as part of a force set up by the UN and African Union to end violence in the region.

Last year, South Africa's government defied its courts by refusing to arrest Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of genocide. 

Mr Bashir denies the charges.    

Read: Why South Africa let Bashir go

Kenya cuts sentences of Iranians

Abdinoor Aden

BBC Africa, Nairobi

A Kenyan court has reduced the life sentence of two Iranians convicted of terror-related charges to 15 years.

Sayed Mousavi and Ahmad Mohammed were arrested for planning to execute attacks in Kenya in 2012 and convicted in 2013.

Sayed Mousavi (L) and Ahmad Mohammed in court in Nairobi, Kenya, on 23 July 2012
Mousavi (L) and Mohammed denied the charges during their trial

British pilot pleads not guilty

A British pilot who was arrested in Kenya yesterday for allegedly assaulting a police officer has pleaded not guilty in court, reports the BBC's Robert Kiptoo from the capital, Nairobi.

Alistair Patrick Llewelyn is accused of assaulting the female officer while he had been hired to fly Kenya's Deputy President William Ruto to a political rally last weekend. 

Pilot with police officer
Citizen TV Royal Media Services

A video of the alleged assault went viral in Kenya yesterday, and led to people calling for the pilot's deportation.

Deadly IS attack in Libya

Rana Jawad

BBC North Africa correspondent, Tunis

Reports from Libya say Islamic State (IS) militants and security forces have been fighting overnight in the centre of the western city of Sabratha. 

The mayor of Sabratha, Hussein al Dawadi, told the BBC that the militants attacked a security headquarters in the city, killing several police officers.  

Mr al Dawadi said affiliates of the radical group reached the city centre.  

However, local reports and pictures on social media suggest they withdrew shortly afterwards.  

IS jihadists have gradually established a presence in Sabratha in the past year, and its members are believed to have training centres there for foreign fighters.  

IS's main base in Libya is in the central city of Sirte, where the group has carried out public executions and hangings for months.  

A Libyan officer with the tourist police patrols the Roman Temple in Sabratha on September 6, 2011 as Libyan archaeologists begin to inspect the country's priceless historical sites, hoping part of their cultural heritage and economic future has not been ruined by war.
Getty Images
Sabratha's Roman Temple is a World Heritage site

Steeplechase record holder retiring

John Nene

BBC Africa, Nairobi, Kenya

World 3,000m steeplechase record holder Saif Saaeed Shaheen has told me he is finally quitting athletics because of a nagging right knee injury. 

The Kenyan-born Qatari, known as Stephen Cherono before switching nationality, has been nursing the injury since 2009. 

Shaheen, a two-time world champion, shocked Kenyan officials when he decided to become a Qatari in 2003 in what he says was a protest move to show his dissatisfaction with ill-treatment of athletes in Kenya. 

He still holds the world record of 7 minutes, 53.63 seconds he set in 2004 in Brussels. 

South Africa's spy agency robbed

South Africa banknotes

Thieves stole 17m rand ($1m; £700,000) from the offices of South Africa's spy agency during the festive season in December, State Security Minister David Mahlobo has told lawmakers, the local News24 site reports.

"You can't even say it was a break-in, it was a walk-in," he is quoted as saying.   

"It was an internal job - you cannot even access the facilities without an access card. There was no break-in. People walked-in using an access card. It is one of those incidents where we felt embarrassed," he added. 

Reports at the time said 50m rand was stolen from a safe in an office of the State Security Agency on 27 December. 

Ethiopia warns protesters

eople mourn the death of Dinka Chala who was shot dead by the Ethiopian forces the day earlier, in the Yubdo Village, about 100 km from Addis Ababa in the Oromia region, on 17 December 2015
Rights activists say the security forces are targeting peaceful protesters

Ethiopia's Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has warned that the government will take "decisive action" to prevent a secessionist movement from growing in its Oromia region, state television reports. 

Mr Hailemariam said "destructive forces", backed by neighbouring Eritrea, had launched an armed campaign to promote the region's secession, ambushing security forces and burning government property. 

"The people have understood that these destructive forces are on a mission to subvert the system and change the government," he is quoted as saying. 

"The government has realised that there is need to take a decisive action based on law," he added. 

On Monday, a leading campaign group, Human Rights Watch, said activists had reported that about 200 people had been killed by security forces in Oromia since November. 

The protests were mostly peacefully, it said.


Today's wise words

Our African proverb of the day: 

I don't eat the carcass, but I drink the soup made from it"

A Somali proverb sent by Abdiweli Hassan, Bosasso, Puntland, Somalia.

Click here to send us your African proverbs. 

Good morning

Welcome to the BBC Africa Live page where we will bring you up-to-date news and analysis from around the continent.