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Summary

  1. Nigeria court blocks Wednesday's planned strike against fuel price rise
  2. Woldemeskel Kostre, coach to some of Ethiopia's greatest athletes dies
  3. Mauritius threatens to take UK to court over Chagos Islands
  4. Fighting in South Africa's parliament as MPs thrown out
  5. Kenya police accused of brutal crackdown on demonstration
  6. State funeral for ex-Burundi President Bagaza
  7. Email stories and comments to africalive@bbc.co.uk - Tuesday 17 May 2016

Live Reporting

By Hugo Williams and Damian Zane

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Scroll down for Tuesday'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:

If you break a coconut on a man’s head, he will not enjoy eating it."

Sent by David, Abuja, Nigeria

Click here and scroll to the bottom of the page to send your proverb.

We leave you with this image of two Kenyan bodybuilders Antony Omondi (left) and Ibrahim Seko (right), who work as bouncers, but also take part in weightlifting competitions:

Two Kenyan bodybuilders
EPA

SA finance minister speaks out over arrest reports

South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has spoken out about newspaper reports predicting his imminent arrest. 

He described them as "extremely distressing" saying in a statement

"I cannot believe that I am being investigated and could possibly be charged for something I am completely innocent of."

The rand fell sharply on Monday after a newspaper report that Mr Gordhan might be arrested by the Hawks, an investigative police unit seen as close to President Jacob Zuma.

Mr Gordhan has previously accused the Hawks of trying to undermine the Treasury. 

Pravin Gordhan in parliament
SAgovernment

Coach to Ethiopia's greatest athletes dies at 69

Ethiopian Woldemeskel Kostre, who coached some of the greatest names in distance athletics, has died at the age of 69.

He oversaw the success of Olympic champions Haile Gebrselassie, Kenenisa Bekele, Tirunesh Dibaba and Derartu Tulu.

The international athletics federation - the IAAF - says Mr Woldemeskel "was considered by many to be the architect of Ethiopia’s phenomenal success at longer distances from the mid-1980s onwards".

Haile Gebrselassie paid tribute to his former coach:

He was a very strict man but he showed me how to behave. He gave discipline a top priority. It very sad he has now left us."

Woldemeskel Kostre holding a trophy
AFP
The IAAF named Woldemeskel Kostre coach of the year in 2006

Emergency yellow fever meeting called

The World Health Organization (WHO) is set to hold an emergency meeting on Thursday over the yellow fever outbreak that has killed more than 290 people in Angola and threatens other countries, the AFP news agency reports.

It quotes a WHO spokesman saying that it plans to reiterate the need for a mass vaccination campaign.

The Democratic Republic of Congo has also been affected, and has 44 suspected cases.

Aedes aegypti
AP
Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are key yellow fever carriers

Buildings demolished in Nairobi following fatal collapse

The Kenyan authorities have continued today with their demolition of buildings in the capital, Nairobi, which are considered unsafe to live in.

The BBC's Peter Njoroge captured what was going on in the city's Mathare slum area:

Digger destroying houses
BBC

Around 100 buildings have been earmarked for demolition in Mathare.

Digger destroying houses
BBC

The demolitions attracted a crowd of onlookers:

Onlookers to the demolition
BBC

The work comes in the wake of last month's building collapse in Nairobi in which 51 people died.

Fifa's new secretary general is 'huge appointment' for Africa

Ghana international Andre Ayew has welcomed Fifa's appointment of an African woman as its first female secretary general.

It is hoped that Fatma Samoura's two decades of experience as a UN diplomat will help her restore the image of world football.

Andre Ayew told Focus on Africa radio that it's a huge appointment for the continent.

Ghana's Andre Ayew reacts to Fifa's appointment of its first female secretary general

Local media: Kenya protester alive, despite earlier reports

A protester who was filmed being severely beaten by police in the Kenyan capital Nairobi on Monday is alive, despite earlier reports of his death, according to local media.

The Capital FM radio station, which had run the story of his death, has identified the man seen in the footage as 36-year-old Boniface Manono, from Kibera in Nairobi.

View more on twitter

Mauritius threatens to take UK to court over Chagos Islands

Mauritian Prime Minister Sir Anerood Jugnauth has threatened to take the UK to the International Court of Justice over the sovereignty of the Chagos Islands.

He told parliament in Port Louis that the UK must tell Mauritius by the end of June when it will return the archipelago, otherwise it will go to court.

The islands were part of Mauritius until 1965, which was at the time a British territory.

Britain then made it a separate territory, expelled the islanders and allowed the US to set up a naval base on one of the islands - Diego Garcia. 

Sir Anerood told parliament:

[The British] pretend to be freedom lovers but their philosophy is might is right.”

Campaigners for Chagos Islanders
AFP
Former residents of the Chagos Islands have been campaigning to return there

Mauritania court orders release of anti-slavery campaigners

The supreme court in Mauritania has ordered the immediate release of two prominent anti-slavery campaigners, who had been convicted of public order offences. 

The court ruled that they should not have been sentenced to more than 12 months in prison in January, 2015. 

The men have already spent over a year in jail. 

The most well known of the two, Biram Ould Dah Ould Abeid, also came second in the 2014 presidential election. 

Slavery has officially been abolished in Mauritania, but the practice continues. 

Mauritania opposition politician, presidential candidate, and anti-slavery activist Biram Dah Abeid
AFP
Mr Biram says he was harrassed by the authorities over his activism

Entrepreneur brings power and wifi to islanders off the grid

Tamasin Ford

BBC Africa, Abidjan

Solrebox in the
BBC

Entrepreneur Guy Oulla has come up with his own solution to the lack of power on Ile Boulay, one of the islands which sits in the lagoon of Ivory Coast's main city Abidjan.

His solar-panelled charging station, or Solrebox as he calls, offers islanders wifi for $0.90 per day and phone charging for $0.20.   

He tells me he wants to install 15,000 of the stations across the country, in remote areas which have a strong mobile phone signal but no access to the grid.

Guy Oulla stands in front of his Solrebox
BBC

Nigeria's senate drops controversial 'anti-social media' bill

Nigeria's senate has withdrawn what was dubbed the "anti-social media" bill, which detractors thought would restrict the freedom of expression.

Last December there was an angry reaction to the bill, which sought to punish anyone who "propagates false information" on electronic media.

It proposed a maximum seven-year sentence or $25,000 (£17,000) fine for anyone found to be sending "abusive messages".

The senate has been tweeting some highlights from today's discussions:

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

BreakingNigeria court halts strike action

Habiba Adamu

BBC Africa, Abuja

An industrial court has stopped Nigeria's labour unions from embarking on nationwide strike on Wednesday over the 67% increase in petrol prices.

This followed a law suit filed against the unions by the federal government. 

The court prevented the labour unions from going on strike pending the conclusion of the case. 

But talks to head off the industrial action are still scheduled for today.

The Nigeria Labour Congress has called the increase in the petrol price "criminal".

Man fills jerry can with petrol from car
AFP

US deplores 'excessive force' by Kenya police

The US says it "deplores the excessive use of force by the Kenyan security services" when dealing with demonstrators on Monday.

An emailed statement goes on:

We urge the security services to exercise restraint during demonstrations and to protect the rights of free speech, assembly, and political participation guaranteed by the Kenyan constitution."

The US also welcomes an investigation announced by Kenya's police chief into the police reaction.

Tear gad fired at demonstrators
AP
Police used tear gas to break up the demonstration

Shocking family murder in Nigeria

Isa Sanusi

BBC Africa, Abuja

Hundreds of mourners have turned out for a funeral in Potiskum, north-east Nigeria, of a mother, father and two daughters who were murdered on Monday.

Mourners gather around body
Ibraheem Al Tafseer

The police have arrested their 22-year-old son for the crime.  

They say that he was angry after his parents had told him off for taking drugs.

Kenya police 'injured' in Monday's clashes with protesters

As we've been reporting, Kenya's police chief Joseph Boinnet has said there will be an investigation into the police reaction to Monday's opposition demonstration (see 13.09 entry).

There are reports that one demonstrator has died, but the police have not confirmed this.

The police chief's spokesperson George Kinoti has told the BBC that some police officers were also injured as they clashed with protesters.

The police say their officers were trying to deal with people who were rioting and looting.

Man facing a police officer with a baton
EPA

Brawl in South Africa's parliament as MPs are ejected

Punches were thrown in the South African parliament as security guards forcibly ejected several opposition lawmakers. 

Members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party had tried to stop President Jacob Zuma from speaking, the latest in their protests against him. 

Pictures from parliament show the guards surrounding the EFF MPs, dressed in red boiler suits:

Security guards gathering around EFF
SA Parliament

Then objects, including bottles of water and a hard hat, are thrown as the guards try to wrestle the MPs out of the chamber:

Security guards and EFF fight
SA Parliament

You can watch the events on this link - you need to fast forward about 17 minutes: 

View more on youtube

 Mr Zuma has been under increasing pressure since a court ruled in March that he had violated the constitution in failing to pay back public money used to upgrade his rural home.   

Trouble in Niger Delta 'causes crude oil price rise'

The renewed troubles in Nigeria's oil-producing Niger Delta region have made it to the front page of today's Financial Times. 

FT front page
BBC

It reports that concerns about what's happening there briefly pushed oil above $50 a barrel.

Ironically, the recent decline in oil prices has exposed the over-reliance of Nigeria's economy on oil revenue, which has already led to an increasing budget deficit.

Earlier this month, a previously little-known group the Niger Delta Avengers attacked an offshore facility owned by Chevron Nigeria, causing it to shut down.

Analysis: Kenya police crackdown

Ruth Nesoba

BBC Africa, Nairobi

We have not seen this level of violence from police in recent times.

Pressure has been building since since opposition supporters started staging weekly protests last month outside the headquarters of the electoral commission, which they accuse of being biased in favour of the ruling party. 

Kenya’s minister for internal security and the city’s chief of police had warned that there would be consequences if Monday’s protests went ahead. 

Opposition groups are calling for the commission to be disbanded immediately, so that new members can be agreed between parties before general elections next August. 

The protesters say the violence was unprovoked, but police argue that they were rioting, looting and throwing stones.

Protesters run away from tear gas
EPA
Police used tear gas on protesters on Monday

Kenya cartoonists slam police action

We've already featured the work of one Kenyan cartoonist commenting on the police action to quell a demonstration on Monday (see 11.48 entry).

And now Gathara - another cartoonist - has used the same image to make his point:

View more on twitter

Kenya's police chief has said that there will be an internal investigation to see if any police officer broke the law.

BreakingKenya police order investigation into alleged brutality

Kenya's police chief ordered has an internal investigation after police were captured on camera severely beating protesters on Monday in the capital Nairobi, AFP news agency reports.

Local media have reported at least one death.

Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet said action will be taken against any officers found guilty of using excessive force, while also criticising protesters:

"I condemn the lawlessness visited on the public by rioters yesterday and an internal inquiry is underway to determine whether any police officer broke any law while quelling the riots"

Multi-million dollar fund announced to battle southern Africa drought

The International Federation of Red Cross and the Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has pledged $110m (£75m) to a new initiative to help drought-stricken southern African countries, Reuters news agency reports.

In South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe, last year's poor rains have been followed by an El Nino-driven drought that has delayed planting and stunted crops, it adds.

An estimated 31.6 million people across the region are struggling to feed themselves, and the figure is expected to rise to more than 49 million by the end of the year, the IFRC said in a statement.  

View more on twitter

Read more: South Africa grapples with worst drought in 30 years

South African schools go paperless

In some schools in South Africa's main city, Johannesburg, each student is being given a computer.

It’s being called the Paperless Classroom Project and aims to give opportunities to poorer students.

But the BBC’s Nomsa Maseko reports that it has made schools a target for thieves:

Will there be a strike over Nigeria's petrol price rise?

Nigeria's labour unions have called a strike for tomorrow over the recent 67% rise in the price of petrol.

But they're expected to meet federal government representatives later today as talks continue to head off the strike.

One cartoonist gives his view:

View more on twitter

Ex-Burundi president's widow asks nation to forgive him

The state funeral for Burundi's former President Jean-Baptiste Bagaza who died two weeks ago has been taking place in the capital, Bujumbura.

He governed for 11 years from 1976-1987, and was known for taking tough and unpopular measures.

Just before he was toppled from power, Mr Bagaza banned all public prayers on weekdays. 

Some Catholic priests were arrested for defying the order.

Mr Bagaza was also a staunch critic of the current government.

A government official has been tweeting comments made at the funeral by the former president's widow, Fausta Bagaza.

View more on twitter
View more on twitter
View more on twitter
Mourners in Burundi
AFP
Mourners came to view the coffin, including his widow Fausta (2nd right), on Sunday

Cartoon takes on Kenya police violence

Kenya's Star newspaper has waded into the debate following Monday's violence in the capital over protests against the country's electoral commission (IEBC). 

The paper's cartoon is inspired by a photo which is being widely shared online, showing a Kenyan police officer badly beating one of the protesters:

View more on twitter

Moroccan athletes 'arrested over doping allegations'

Six Moroccan athletes have been arrested over doping allegations, the AP news agency reports.

This follows a long-running investigation by the Moroccan authorities that began in 2007.

The names of the six who have been arrested over the course of the probe have not been revealed.

#StopPoliceBrutality trending in Kenya

Map of east africa with hashtags
Trendsmap

Following Monday's protests in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, that ended in violence, and reports that one of those involved has died after being severely beaten by police (see entry below at 10:49), the hashtag #StopPoliceBrutality has been trending nationwide.

At least 15 of those arrested on Monday have been charged with participating in an illegal protest, going in public armed and a breach of the peace, reports the BBC's Ruth Nesoba from Nairobi.

The defendants pleaded guilty to participating in the illegal protest, but denied all the other charges.

Kenya's National Commission on Human Rights has condemned the use of excessive force by police on Monday. 

Protester runs past police officer trying to kick him
EPA

Nigeria unions and government try to end deadlock of fuel price rise

Nigeria's labour unions and the government are expected to continue talks today in an effort to avoid a strike over the rise in fuel prices.

The Nigeria Labour Congress called last week's 67% increase to 145 Naira ($0.72) "criminal" and vowed to oppose it.

The government said it could no longer afford the subsidy and wanted to introduce measures to help end the current fuel shortage.

A meeting between the two sides on Monday ended in deadlock.

Car queue in Nigeria
AFP
The price rise did not immediately end the queues for fuel

Kenyan protester dies after being beaten by police, reports say

BBC Monitoring

Vincent Kisanya

Kenyan radio station Capital FM is reporting that a protester, who was filmed being beaten by police in Nairobi on Monday, has died. 

Scores of protesters were injured after police used clubs, tear gas and water canons to disperse them outside the offices of the country's electoral body. 

Over the past three weeks protesters, led by opposition leaders, have been holding demonstrations on Mondays to demand the removal of the body's commissioners. 

The opposition has said the electoral officials are biased and has called for them to be replaced as part of reforms ahead of the 2017 elections.

Police hitting a protester
EPA
The police broke up the demonstration in Nairobi on Monday

South African's roadside job hunt goes viral

A tweet posted last night in South Africa appears to have struck a chord as the country faces some of its highest ever unemployment figures:

View more on twitter

This picture of graduate Anthea Malwandla has been shared more than 1,500 times (at time of writing).

We called her up, but sadly the popularity of the image has not yet resulted in a job offer.

She told us she graduated from Vaal University of Technology and has been looking for work, preferably helping to produce fertiliser, for the past year.

She says she'll continue to look for work.

Last week Statistics South Africa said the unemployment rate is 26.7%, which is a 12-year high.

How has the CIA meddled in Africa?

The story that Nelson Mandela's 1962 arrest was the result of a tip-off from a CIA agent in South Africa got us thinking about other times that the agency has been accused of getting involved in African issues.

We've focused on four examples, though there are several others:

  1. The assassination of Congo's first prime minister Patrice Lumumba in 1961. The Belgians have apologised for their involvement, but the US has never been explicit about its role despite the CIA plotting to kill him.
  2. The overthrow of Ghana's first President Kwame Nkrumah in 1966. The CIA knew of the planned coup and was in touch with the plotters, but it is not clear if agents supplied help.
  3. Support for anti-MPLA forces in Angola in 1975. The CIA helped arm and train the FLNA and Unita who were fighting the MPLA for control of Angola after independence from Portugal.
  4. Support for Hissene Habre in Chad in 1982. The CIA backed Habre's overthrow of President Goukouni Oueddei as the US feared a Chad-Libya alliance involving Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
Patrice Lumumba
AFP
Patrice Lumumba was deposed in 1960 and killed in January 1961

Read the full story: Four more ways the CIA has meddled in Africa

FGM: Advice from a Somali woman who was cut to others

Following a warning from the World Health Organization (WHO) to doctors not to get involved in carrying out FGM procedures (see earlier entry at 09:00), the BBC has been speaking to Hibo Wardere. 

Hibo, who is from Somalia, was cut aged six. She first sought help for her medical problems aged 18, when she lived in the UK. She told Newsday's David Whitty about her first meeting with a doctor about the procedure. 

Warning: This interview contains graphic descriptions

David Whitty hears from FGM survivor Hibo Wardere.

Hibo was given type three FGM, the most extreme version of the procedure, after which the vagina is sewn up, leaving only a small hole to urinate out of:

Where we come from, it's the way you should be found. Your husband needs to find you that way. He needs to force his way in, which means you're going to be in such horrific pain and that is the only way they're going to believe you're a virgin."

She gives her advice to other girls and women who have experienced FGM and who live in countries where it is not criminalised:

If you are outside the UK, find out a doctor that you trust. Find out somebody who is not going to go back to your community and tell them what you've done because that can create repercussions for you... Be careful, but still seek help."

Read more about Hibo's story

Nairobi building collapse: Demolitions in surrounding area

The authorities in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, are set to continue with their plan to demolish the city's unsafe residences.

This follows last month's collapse of a building in the Huruma district in which 51 people died.

Two hundred buildings have been earmarked for demolition. 

Today, six buildings next to the original area of the collapse are due to be demolished, after residents were given a week's notice to leave.

Rescuers search through rubble
AFP
Fifty-one people died when the building came down last month

Read more: Why do buildings collapse?

Doctors warned against getting involved in FGM

New World Health Organization guidelines have warned doctors not to get involved in what it describes as the "medicalization" of female genital mutilation.

In new guidelines for health workers dealing with the issue it says that parents can sometimes "ask health providers to conduct FGM because they think it will be less harmful".

The WHO's Dr Lale Say says: "It is critical that health workers do not themselves unwittingly perpetuate this harmful practice."

The guidelines - which also deal with treating sexual and mental health problems - have been issued because "health workers are often unaware of the many negative health consequences of FGM and many remain inadequately trained to recognize and treat them properly".

Poster against female circumcision
AFP

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