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Summary

  1. Mugabe condemns corruption in Zimbabwe
  2. Anti-foreigner violence hits Zambia and South Africa
  3. Nigeria fighter jets attack Boko Haram
  4. Ethiopia accuses 'primitive forces of killing 208'
  5. 'Alarming rise' in Burundi torture
  6. Get Involved: #BBCAfricaLive WhatsApp: +44 7341070844
  7. Email stories and comments to africalive@bbc.co.uk - Monday 18 April 2016

Live Reporting

By Naziru Mikailu and Farouk Chothia

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Scroll down for today's stories

We'll be back tomorrow

That's all from BBC Africa Live today. Keep up-to-date with what's happening across the continent by listening to the Africa Today podcast or checking the BBC News website.  

A reminder of today's wise words:

You can wash the basket in the stream but you can't carry water home with it."

Michael Dikibugerere Sisejubomiema Orupabo and Francis Obiorah, both from Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

We leave you with this photo of Zimbabweans celebrating 36 years of independence in the capital, Harare:

Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU–PF) women"s league members sing before the 36th independence celebrations at the National Sports Stadium in Harare, Zimbabwe, 18 April 2016.
EPA

Drownings in Mediterranean

Many people are feared to have drowned after the boat they were being transferred to by traffickers capsized in the Mediterranean, survivors say.

The 41 survivors, migrants mainly from East Africa, spoke to the BBC in the southern Greek city of Kalamata, where they are being held after their rescue.

They said up to 500 people had died in the incident, though there has been no official confirmation of these figures and a Somali official from the Somali embassy in Egypt, who was widely quoted after giving details of the incident, has since told the BBC that he does not have direct confirmation of the boat capsizing.  

Earlier, six bodies were found after a separate incident off the Libyan coast.

The boats used by migrants are often overcrowded and unseaworthy
Jason Florio/MOAS

Ready for a special day of coverage

'Deadly' Boko Haram attack on Nigeria's army

Boko Haram fighters
Boko Haram video
Boko Haram is affiliated to the Islamic State group

Fighters from Nigeria's militant Islamist group Boko Haram have inflicted heavy casualties on Nigerian forces after launching an early morning attack on their position in the north-eastern state of Borno, a soldier and a resident have told the BBC.

The militants stormed the base in Kareto village in large numbers with "heavy weapons which we didn't have", said the soldier who spoke to the BBC Hausa on condition of anonymity.

"We lost some men. I don't know how many, and many others were injured. Some of us fled in disarray. We realised that we were outnumbered and outgunned," another soldier is quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.

However, a resident of Kareto, some 60km (37 miles) from neighbouring Niger, told the BBC Hausa service that troops managed to regain control of the village with the support of fighter jets.

Several of the militants were killed in the fighting which lasted for several hours, the resident added. 

Read: IS ties broaden Boko Haram threat

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela 'recovering' in hospital

WinWinnie Madikizela-Mandela, ex-wife of former South Africa President Nelson Mandela
Getty Images

South Africa's anti-apartheid veteran Winnie Madikizela-Mandela is recovering in hospital in the main city, Johannesburg, after back surgery for spinal stenosis, a spokesman for the Nelson Mandela Foundation has said.

In a statement, Neeran Naidoo said: 

Her first surgery, for compression of the spinal nerve and pain relief took place on 8 March. It was followed by a second procedure on 14 April to assist with her recovery.

The family wishes to express its appreciation of the support they have received. They are grateful for the continuing respect for their privacy."

Twitter reactions on Zimbabwe independence

There is lots of reaction on Twitter about Zimbabwe celebrating 36 years of independence from colonial rule. 

Here are some of the tweets:

Let us take our independence seriously. Let us work hard to make Zimbabwe a greater place. Happy independence day. #ZimbabweMustGrow

Proud to be a Zimbabwean, angry at what has become of the country #Zim36 #ZimbabweIndependence

Proud to be a Zimbabwean, angry at what has become of the country #Zim36 #ZimbabweIndependence

Bob Marley's live performance of the song #Zimbabwe at the first independence celebrations in 1980 youtube.com/watch?v=JnpBtR…

Protest against foreign forces in Mali

Map
BBC

 At least one civilian has been killed during a protest against the presence of UN and French troops in the north Malian city of Kidal, multiple sources have told AFP news agency. 

It also quotes a UN statement as saying that the airport in the city has been damaged. 

Rwandans 'live in fear' in Zambia

Rwandans own many of the shops in neighbourhoods where anti-foreigner violence broke out of in Zambia's capital, Lusaka, reports the BBC's Meluse Kapatomoyo from the city. 

People have accused Rwandans of being behind recent ritual killings, but they deny this. 

"We are living in fear," one Rwandan is quoted by AFP news agency as saying.  

See our 15:10 post for more details

UK offers financial aid to Libya

National Transitional Council (NTC) fighters take part in a street battle in the center of the city on October 14, 2011 in Sirte, Libya
AFP
A five-year conflict has caused widespread destruction in Libya

The UK has announced a $14m ( £10m) funding package to support the new UN-backed administration in Libya. 

Britain's Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, who made a surprise visit to the country, said it included $2m to tackle illegal migration, smuggling and organised crime.

A further $2.5m would be used to support counter-terrorism activities.

Mr Hammond also discussed the administration's plans for rebuilding the economy and restoring public services, his office said in a statement.

Serbia's Nikolic fired over racial slur

Nick Cavell

BBC Africa Sport

Marko Nikolic
Getty Images

The coach of Slovenia's league leaders has been sacked for racially abusing one of his own players.

Olimpija Ljubljana boss Marko Nikolic has been widely reported as calling Blessing Eleke a "black idiot" after he felt the Nigerian, 20, spent too long celebrating an equaliser.

He has apologised to Eleke. The Slovenian soccer association earlier suspended Nikolic for seven matches.

Get involved: African identity abroad?

#BBCAfricaLive

View more on twitter

Many of you have been commenting on BBC Africa Facebook on our theme of the day: Do Africans living abroad have a stronger sense of identity?

Peter Goch Anyang-majongdul in South Sudan says:

I'm proud of my Dinka tradition. Wherever the Dinka are they keep telling people living with them about Africa and South Sudan in particular. So kudos to my fellow Dinka men across the globe."

Mugajju Ronald in Uganda says: 

African are weak minded and can't stick to their traditions as opposed to their Western counterparts who are inseparable from their traditions. We have seen the likes of Michael Jackson who renounced being African to the extent of opting for plastic surgery to change his looks."

'Alarming' rise in Burundi torture cases

A protester stands in front of a burned barricade during a protest against Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza's decision to run for a third term in Bujumbura, Burundi May 13, 2015
Reuters
Burundi plunged into turmoil about a year ago

The UN human rights chief has described as shocking the sharp increase in the use of torture in Burundi, with nearly 400 cases recorded so far this year, the AFP news agency reports. 

The UN team in the country had registered "at least 345 cases of torture and ill-treatment" since January, and nearly 600 since the conflict began a year ago, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said, warning the actual numbers were likely higher.

Mr Al Hussein  said most of the incidents were taking place in facilities run by Burundi's intelligence service. 

"These shocking figures are a clear indicator of the widespread and growing use of torture and ill-treatment by government security forces," he added in a statement.

The country descended into chaos last April when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced a controversial plan to run for a third term, which he went on to win.

The violence has killed more than 400 people and displaced more than 250,000 from their homes.

Zambia police move to stop looting

Meluse Kapatamoyo

BBC Africa, Lusaka, Zambia

Riot police have been deployed in parts of Zambia's capital, Lusaka, where shops belonging to foreigners were looted over suspicion that they were involved in ritual killings. 

Police spokesperson Charity Chanda said a total of four shops had been broken into and officers were ready to stop the looting. 

See our 12:39 posts for more details

When will Machar be in Juba?

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
AFP
Mr Machar (C) has signed a peace deal with President Salva Kiir

There's been a lot of confusion about whether South Sudan's rebel leader Riek Machar will arrive in the capital, Juba, today, after fleeing at the outbreak of a civil war two years ago. 

The latest is that he will  be flying in tomorrow from neighbouring Ethiopia, reports the BBC's Charlotte Attwood from Juba. 

Read: The city that vanished

Chad 'deports' French author

A French author who is a strong critic of Chad's President Idriss Deby has been expelled from the central African state, a day after his arrival, AFP news agency reports. 

Before boarding a flight to Cameroon, Thomas Dietrich alleged that he had been beaten up and deprived of his money and mobile phone after his arrest, AFP adds.

It says that Mr Dietrich had announced his visit to Chad on Facebook, and had criticised "the dictatorship that oppresses Chad".

Idriss Deby arrives to cast his vote at a polling station in N"djamena for the presidential election on April 10, 2016
AFP
Mr Deby ran for re-election on 10 April

He is the author of "Les enfants de Toumai" ("The Children of Toumai"), a love story between a Chadian Muslim girl and a Maoist student from a Christian background. 

Chad is still awaiting the official results of a 10 April presidential election in which a dozen candidates challenged Mr Deby's 26-year rule. 

'Deadly bombings' in Congo-Brazzaville

Residents of the southern districts of Brazzaville flee clashes between Congolese security forces and unknown assailants on April 4, 2016
AFP
Residents fled the capital after violence broke out on 4 April

Congo-Brazzaville's military has carried out air strikes in residential areas in the south-eastern Poole region, reportedly causing deaths and destroying churches, schools and medical facilities, Amnesty International has said. 

Eyewitnesses told the organisation that on 5 April, helicopters dropped at least 30 bombs on residential areas, including in the town of Vindza where the target was a house which used to be the residence of Pastor Frederic Ntumi, the leader of the Ninja militia group.  

“Government forces have deliberately and unlawfully attacked people. It is shocking that they bombed residential areas in response to the violence that occurred in Brazzaville on 4 April," Amnesty said in a statement.

Pastor Frederic Bitsangou 'Ntumi,' a former ninja rebel fighter who fought the Congolese government from 1998 to 2003 and who recently converted his rebel movement into a political party, poses 20 June 2007 in the southeastern Congolese town of Kinkala
AFP
Pastor Ntumi's whereabouts are unkown

Militia fighters raided the capital, Brazzaville, on 4 April, attacking an army position and four police stations, the government said at the time. 

The Ninjas were a major anti-government force in the 1997-99 civil war in Congo-Brazzaville, but disbanded after a peace deal was signed in 2003.

They were loyal to former Prime Minister Bernard Kolelas, the father of Guy-Brice Parfait Kolelas, who stood in the presidential election in March and got 15% of the vote.  

Guarding Mugabe

Brian Hungwe

BBC Africa, Harare

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe inspecting guard of honour
Brian Hungwe

The 92-year-old President Mugabe inspected a guard of honour at the stadium in the capital, Harare, where celebrations to mark 36 years of independence are being held. 

Before he stepped off the vehicle, his security entourage formed a tight ring around him to make sure he did not fall, and if he did the moment will not be captured by cameramen. 

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe inspecting guard of honour
Brian Hungwe

After he got off, the security officers loosened their ring, allowing him to walk back to the dias. 

Mr Mugabe has increasingly looked frail, and has stumbled and fallen before in public:

Robert Mugabe
BBC

Mugabe: 'Shun corruption'

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe speaks during the burial of two national heroines, Victoria Chitepo and Vivian Mwashita, at the National Heroes Acre on April 13, 2016 in Harare
AFP
Mr Mugabe's critics accuse him of being authoritarian

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has called on people to shun corruption, tribalism, and nepotism, in a speech he delivered in the capital, Harare to mark 36 years of independence from white rule, the state-owned Herald newspaper reports.

Mr Mugabe apologised for late payments to pensioners, as well as delays in paying salaries and bonuses to government employees, it adds.

Future payments would be "more predictable and on time", he is quoted as saying. 

Mr Mugabe also praised the security forces, saying they had been "resolute" in defending Zimbabwe's sovereignty, the Herald reports.

Mr Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe, which is gripped by an economic crisis, since independence.  

TP Mazembe in danger as they host Wydad

Fans of TP Mazembe
Getty Images

TP Mazembe of DR Congo face a difficult task in their bid to retain their African Champions League crown as they bid to overcome a 2-0 deficit against visiting Wydad Casablanca of Morocco.

The two clubs meet on Wednesday in the second leg of their tie with the winners progressing to the group stages of the tournament.

For the first time continental club matches are being played in midweek. 

On Tuesday ex-Birmingham City and Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish guides Egypt's Zamalek as they defend a 2-0 lead over Mouloudia Bejaiain Algeria.

Also on Tuesday,  Zambia's Zesco United host Stade Malien of Mali holding a 3-1 advantage.

Another Algerian club Entente Setif, who won the title in 2014, scored two vital away goals in a 2-2 draw in Sudan against Al Merreikh.

'Foreigners attacked' in Zambia

Hundreds of people have hurled stones and broke into shops owned by foreigners in Zambia's capital, Lusaka,accusing immigrants of being involved in ritual killings, police have said, Reuters news agency reports. 

"Four shops have been looted so far on suspicion that they (the owners) were involved in the recent murders which have been happening in area," police spokeswoman Charity Munganga-Chanda is quoted as saying.   

At least six people have been killed in Lusaka in the past four weeks and police said some body parts including ears, hearts and genitals had been removed, raising suspicion of ritual killings, Reuters reports. 

Police detained four suspects on Sunday for questioning on suspicion of carrying body parts, which were being put through forensic tests to establish whether they belonged to humans, it adds. 

How identities are changing

The BBC World Service is today running a full day of live programming exploring what it is to be human as part of its Identity series.

Focus on Africa radio will explore issues of identity amongst the African diaspora and people of mixed heritage living in the UK.

Nigerian poet Joshua Idehen will read his poem live at 15:15 GMT.

The World Service has been tweeting about the programme:

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Sierra Leone 'mercenaries' in Iraq

A former senior director at a UK firm says that it employed mercenaries from Sierra Leone to work in Iraq because they were cheaper than Europeans and did not check if they were former child soldiers, the London-based Guardian newspaper reports

James Ellery, who was a director of Aegis Defence Services between 2005 and 2015, said that contractors had a “duty” to recruit from countries such as Sierra Leone, “where there’s high unemployment and a decent workforce”, in order to reduce costs for the US presence in Iraq, it reports.

“You probably would have a better force if you recruited entirely from the Midlands of England. But it can’t be afforded. So you go from the Midlands of England to Nepalese etc etc, Asians, and then at some point you say I’m afraid all we can afford now is Africans,” Mr Ellery, a former brigadier in the British army, is quoted as saying.

Henry, a teenaged Revolutionary United Force rebel solider, brandishes his weapon June 9, 2001 in the town of Koindu, Sierra Leone
AFP
A brutal civil war in Sierra Leone ended in 2002

Machar 'due in Juba today'

A spokesman for South Sudan's rebel leader Riek Machar says he is expected to fly into the capital, Juba, in the next two hours, reports the BBC's Charlotte Attwood from there.  

Mabior Garang said final arrangements had now been made for his arrival.

Earlier, another spokesman said Mr Machar's arrival had been postponed to tomorrow. 

See our 09:01 post

UK minister in surprise visit to Libya

UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has made an unannounced visit to Libya in a show of support for the country's new UN-backed unity government.

The government released a picture of Mr Hammond meeting with Prime Minister-designate Fayez Sarraj in Tripoli:

UK's Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and Libya's PM-designate Fayez Sarraj
Getty Images

Britain and its allies fully support Mr Serraj and his government as they try to restore peace and stability to the whole of Libya, a statement from Mr Hammond's office quoted him as saying.

The trip comes days after a visit from the French and German foreign ministers who also gave their backing.

Apart from the new government, Libya has two other governments - one based in Tripoli and the other in the eastern port city of Tobruk - backed by rival militias which are refusing to give up power. 

US President Barack Obama has said the worst mistake of his presidency was his failure to plan for the aftermath of the 2011 ousting of Col Muammar Gaddafi's regime by Nato-backed forces. 

Somali woman: 'My relatives drowned'

A Somali woman has told the BBC Somali service that three of her relatives drowned when their boat capsized in Mediterranean on their way to Europe. 

Fatuma Abdi Dirie, who lives in Egypt, recalled the last time she spoke to them:

“When they boarded the boat and commenced the journey, they called us, that was last Thursday morning. They said we have gone some kilometres from the town and we can still see the light of the town, pray for us, and I told them okay.

Xenophobic attacks in South Africa

Anti-foreigner violence has hit Du Noon township in South Africa's coastal city of Cape Town. 

Here are some tweets about it:

Pics from inside #Dunoon @capetalk
Pics from inside #Dunoon @capetalk
Pics from inside #Dunoon @capetalk
Pics from inside #Dunoon @capetalk

Pics from inside #Dunoon @capetalk

#Dunoon Foreigners are packing their goods into a truck under police guard, helped by some locals. @ThomHolder
#Dunoon Foreigners are packing their goods into a truck under police guard, helped by some locals. @ThomHolder

#Dunoon Foreigners are packing their goods into a truck under police guard, helped by some locals. @ThomHolder

African migrants 'drown'

Many people are feared dead after overcrowded boats carrying more than 400 African migrants capsized in the Mediterranean sea on their way to Europe, survivors say.

The migrants, who were travelling on four rickety boats, were mainly from Somalia, Ethiopia and Syria, Somalia's ambassador to Egypt has told the BBC Arabic. 

They left from Alexandria in Egypt hoping to reach Greece. 

Greek coastguards have so far managed to rescue 29 passengers, Somali media reports say.

'Three activists' killed in The Gambia

rotesters are seen in this April 16, 2016 in Banjul following the death of an opposition figure
AFP
Protesters marched on Saturday to demand the release of those in detention

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is dismayed to learn about the deaths in detention of three opposition members in The Gambia, a UN statement has said. 

United Democratic Party (UDP) member Solo Sandeng and two fellow party members died following their arrest last week over a demonstration in the capital, Banjul, calling for electoral reforms, the statement said. 

Mr Ban called for an independent investigation into the deaths, and the immediate and unconditional release of others arrested. 

"The secretary-general is deeply concerned about the apparent use of excessive force and the arrest and detention of peaceful demonstrators,'' the statement added. 

Main opposition leader Ousainou Darboe was arrested on Saturday with other party supporters who gathered in Serrekunda, near Banjul, to demand the release of people in detention, and the bodies of those who died in detention, his UDP party said in a statement, the Associated Press news agency reports. 

The Gambia's leader Yahya Jammeh has ruled the tiny Western African state, which is a popular tourist destination, since 1994. 

He is expected to seek to extend his term in elections due in December.  

Boko Haram attack Nigerian army

Fighters from the militant Islamist group Boko Haram have attacked Nigerian army positions in the volatile north-eastern state of Borno, the army says in a statement.

"The troops have been battling the insurgents since [the] early hours of today," it added, without given further details.

The fighting is taking place in Kareto village north of Maiduguri, the main city in Borno.

Read: Outcast Boko Haram 'bride' 

Victorious Kenya rugby team due back home

Kenya rugby team
Getty Images
Kenya had lost their two previous World Series finals

Kenya's rugby team is expected back home tomorrow after winning their first Rugby Sevens title in Singapore.

Kenya shocked Fiji 30-7 in the final on Sunday.

It took Kenya 140 tournaments to break their duck and they are only the second African nation after South Africa to win a World Series leg.

Rugby Sevens will feature for the first time in this summer's Olympics in Rio.  

Kenya's president tweeted his congratulations to the team:

View more on twitter

* This post has been amended after we incorrectly reported that the team will return to Kenya today. 

Ethiopia's leader vows to pursue abductors

BBC Monitoring

Ethiopia's Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has condemned  "primitive and destructive forces"  for killing 208 civilians and abducting 102 children in the western Gambella province.

Security forces were pursuing the attackers in an attempt to free the children, and had asked South Sudan's military to assist in the operation, he said in an address on state television.

The attackers were believed to be members of South Sudan's Murle tribe who had crossed into Ethiopia on Saturday to carry out the raid. 

The Murle have previously been accused of carrying out cattle raids and abducting children to raise as their own. 

Map
BBC

Pistorius in court

South Africa's former athletics star Oscar Pistorius, who was convicted last year of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in 2013, has appeared in the High Court in the capital, Pretoria. 

A BBC correspondent has tweeted from there: 

Oscar appears briefly - sentencing postponed until june 13

Oscar appears briefly - sentencing postponed until june 13

Machar delays arrival to Juba

Riek Machar in Jonglei State, South Sudan, in this January 31, 2014
Reuters
Mr Machar will be expected to work closely with the president

The arrival of South Sudan's rebel leader Riek Machar to the capital, Juba, has been postponed because of logistical problems, a rebel spokesman has said.

William Ezekiel says Mr Machar, who was due to be sworn in as First Vice President as part of last August's peace agreement, will now arrive on Tuesday.

Mr Machar fled Juba more than two years ago at the start of the civil war. 

His return will enable the formation of a transitional unity government. 

Well over two million people have been displaced and tens of thousands killed, since the fighting began in December 2013, so Machar's return is extremely important.

Mr Ezekiel addressed a news conference at Juba airport:

View more on twitter

Today's wise words

Our African proverb of the day: 

You can wash the basket in the stream but you can't carry water home with it.

Michael Dikibugerere Sisejubomiema Orupabo and Francis Obiorah, both from Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

Click here to send us your African proverbs.

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