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  1. Nigerian group Avengers 'blows up oil wells'
  2. Militants in deadly assault on hotel in Somalia
  3. Alleged mastermind of massacre of Kenyan students 'killed'
  4. South African rapper Khuli Chana reaches deal with police
  5. Famous Kenya writer felt 'black, dirty' after attack in Germany
  6. New charges against men acquitted of Uganda bombings
  7. Bizarre elephant-eating confession in Australian parliament

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 all from the BBC Africa Live page 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:    

When the ear hears, the body is safe."

A Hausa proverb sent by David Ojima Simeon, Bangalore, India.

Click here to send us your African proverbs.

And we leave you with this image from Egypt's capital Cairo:

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Buhari to visit Niger Delta

Chris Ewokor

BBC Africa, Abuja

Niger delta militants
Getty Images
Several militant groups in the Niger Delta have attacked oil facilities in the past

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari will visit the oil-rich Niger Delta on Thursday, a day after the Niger Delta Avengers group said it destroyed oil wells operated by US energy firm Chevron. 

The group seemed to mock the military, saying it blew up the oil wells with the "heavy presence of 100 gunboats, four warships and jet bombers". 

Earlier, there were reports that the military had deployed fighter jets and helicopter gunships to the Niger Delta to contain the threat by the new militant group. 

Mr Buhari's visit to the Niger Delta will be his first since he took office more than a year ago. 

The president vowed in a nationwide address on Sunday that the upsurge in attacks in the region, which has hit oil production, would not distract his government and security forces would “apprehend the perpetrators and their sponsors and bring them to justice”.

Mr Buhari will launch a clean-up programme in the region, which is badly affected by environmental degradation and air pollution caused by the oil industry.

The Niger Delta Avengers say they are fighting for a greater share of oil revenue for the region, where most people are poor. 

Mogadishu hotel attack 'complex'

Alastair Leithead

BBC Africa correspondent, Mogadishu

Wrecked cars burn at the scene of a terror attack at the Ambassador Hotel, after a car bomb exploded on June 1, 2016 at a top Mogadishu hotel that houses several MPs, killing several people, and followed by a gun battle.

Our BBC team here in Mogadishu heard the blast outside the Ambassador Hotel and saw the smoke from a car bomb and then heard a few sporadic bursts of gunfire over the next 15 minutes. 

We are being told it was a "complex attack" involving a bomb and gunmen entering the hotel but we don't know at this stage how many there were and how far they got. 

The hotel is used by members of parliament. 

We are told the attack is now over. 

Zanzibar’s pioneering pension 'has changed my life'

Sammy Awami

BBC Africa, Zanzibar

Mariam Mwini Mohammed
Mariam Mwini Mohammed supports three of her grandchildren

Mariam Mwini Mohammed is the grateful recipient of a monthly pension in Zanzibar, Tanzania’s semi-autonomous archipelago.

The first fully funded state pension in East Africa, it started in April with 23,800 pensioners receiving 20,000 Tanzanian shillings ($9, £6) a month.  

Before I got this money it was very difficult for me to support my family so I had to go out and beg from relatives and friends.

This money helps me to buy food, cooking oil, soap and supports my grandchildren’s education. So basically it supports the whole family.

I used to have my own small business farming; I grew sweet potatoes and cassava. Then I could support my grandchildren and even buy clothes for myself. But in my old age I became weak and I couldn't farm anymore.

Mariam Mwini Mohammed lining up for her pension

Now that I have the money I have already bought some rice on the way home for my grandchildren. I have 20 altogether, but it’s just three of them I support.”

Mariam Mwini Mohammed

About 200,000 families in Zanzibar are currently headed by a pensioner.

A man in Zanzibar receiving his pension
Everyone 70 and over is now entitled to a pension of $9 (£6) a month

Photo of Mogadishu blast site

Here's a photo of the scene of the bomb and gun attack launched by militant Islamist's in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu:

Scene of bomb attack

Somali hotel attack 'over'

Somalia's national intelligence service has said that security forces have finished the operation against gunmen who stormed a hotel in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, and they are now clearing the scene, reports the BBC's Ibrahim Aden.

Attacked hotel in heart of Mogadishu

The Ambassador Hotel stormed by gunmen in Somalia's capital Mogadishu is on Maka Al Mukaram, a major street lined with hotels, restaurants and banks in the heart of the city, Reuters news agency reports. 

'Battle' in Somali hotel

Security forces are inside the Ambassador Hotel in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, and a gun battle is raging, witnesses and security sources have told AFP news agency. 

The hotel was stormed by militant Islamist who also detonated a bomb outside. 

Mogadishu hotel attack: 'Ten dead'

Ibrahim Aden

BBC Africa, Mogadishu

In this Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011 file photo, al-Shabab fighters march with their weapons during military exercises on the outskirts of Mogadishu, Somalia
Militant Islamists have a strong presence in Somalia

Here's what we know so far about the assault by militant Islamists on a hotel in Somalia's capital Mogadishu: 

  •  Ten people have died after an explosion and shooting at the Ambassador Hotel in Mogadishu, medical officials and eyewitnesses have told the BBC.
  •  Forty people have also been wounded.
  • Gunmen entered the hotel and shooting can still be heard
  • MPs, politicians and government officials were amongst those staying at the Ambassador
  • Al-Shabab has said it is behind the attack
  • Our correspondent says it was one of the biggest explosions to hit Mogadishu and scale of destruction is enormous.
  • The head of the city’s ambulance service told the BBC hospitals were overcrowded
  • The explosion went off behind the hotel (not on the main road)

Kuno's killing a 'big blow to al-Shabab'

Tomi Oladipo

BBC Africa security correspondent

The killing of Mohamed Kuno, the alleged mastermind of the Garissa University college massacre, will come as a huge boost for Somalia and its allies in the fight against militant Islamist group al-Shabab. 

The Kenyan government offered a reward of $215,000 (£149,000) for his capture following the assault which killed 148 students last April. 

Kuno, who was known by various aliases, was also blamed for several attacks on Kenyan soldiers fighting al-Shabab. 

Kuno was a Kenyan national who moved across the border to Somalia in 2007. 

Christine Ochieng holds a candle in memory of those who died in the Garissa University attack, at a memorial service attended by students, relatives and others in Nairobi, Kenya, Saturday, April 2, 2016
The killing of the students left Kenyans in shock

Earlier today, Somalia's Intelligence agency announced that another top al-Shabab commander, Yusuf Hagi, was killed last week in what it called a "joint operation". 

 The brief statement on Twitter did not say whom the Somali forces worked with, although foreign troops, particularly from the US, have been involved in operations targeting al-Shabab commanders in Somalia. 

'Three killed' in Somalia explosion

At least three people have been killed by the car bomb outside a hotel in Somalia's capital Mogadishu, reports Reuters news agency.

It adds that the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group has confirmed it was behind the blast. 

Militants 'in control of top floors of Somali hotel'

The latest update from a Voice of America journalist indicates that militants are inside the hotel they were reported to have stormed earlier:

View more on twitter

We have not yet confirmed this. We will bring you details as they unfold. 

Is this Africa's youngest billionaire?

At just 34 years old, Ashish Thakkar has been described on the BBC's Outlook programme as Africa's youngest billionaire.

He runs a business group that employs 11,000 people in 25 countries.

But his family were made refugees twice - first in Uganda when Asians were told to leave in 1972 and then at the start of the Rwandan genocide in 1994.

He told BBC Outlook that he dropped out of school at 15 to start his own business selling computer parts:

Garissa massacre mastermind was 'killed in convoy'

Abdinoor Aden

BBC Africa, Nairobi

The alleged mastermind of the Garissa massacre was killed when troops attacked the convoy in which he was travelling in Somalia's port city of KIsmayo, the security minister of Somalia's Jubaland region has said. 

A total of 16 people, including four senior leaders of militant Islamist group al-Shabab, were killed in the operation carried out by troops from the governments of Somalia and Jubaland, said Abdirashid Janan. 

Al-Shabab's assault on the Garissa University College in neighbouring Kenya in April 2015 left 148 people dead.  It was the deadliest attack in Kenya since al-Qaeda's bombing of the US embassy in Nairobi in 1998, which killed 213 people.  

Somali explosion caught on video

A Somali journalist has tweeted a view of the explosion in the capital, Mogadishu:

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Militants 'storm hotel' in Somalia

A journalist is tweeting about the explosion and shooting in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu:

View more on twitter

'Big blast' in Somalia

A huge explosion has rocked Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, a witness has told Reuters news agency. 

It was followed by gunfire, the witness is quoted as saying. 

Garissa massacre mastermind 'dead'

Abdinoor Aden

BBC Africa, Nairobi

The security minister in Somalia's Jubaland region has confirmed that the suspected mastermind of the deadly assault on Kenya's Garissa University College has been killed. 

Mohamed Kuno was killed with four other people, Abdirashid Janan said at a media briefing in the Somali port city of KIsmayo. 

The Jubaland government had the bodies of the men, he added. 

Screen grab
Kenya Interior Ministry
Mohamed Kuno had various aliases

Senegal sentences al-Qaeda sympathiser

A mosque in Senegal (archive shot)
Most Muslims in Senegal follow a tolerant version of Islam

A court in Senegal has sentenced a 38-year-old geography school teacher to one year in jail for condoning terrorism while serving as an imam in his free time.

Ibrahima Seye's sentencing came after his conviction in May for "proven sympathies" for Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and the Islamic State group, AFP news agency reports. 

"Between Bin Laden and George Bush, I prefer Bin Laden," he was quoted as having told the court when he was convicted.   

Sitting in the southern town of Kolda, the court ruled that he had preached against "Western and American imperialism" in a sermon in September and had described Senegalese troops in the UN force battling militants in Mali as "miscreants". 

Last month, Senegal signed a defence pact with the US, allowing its soldiers to have a " permanent presence" in the West African state. 

Militants have not carried out attacks in Senegal, but other regional states, including Ivory Coast, have been hit by bombings. 

Kenya's secretive naked night runners want recognition

night runners
Homa Bay night runners include 65-year-old Janes Omuya Awino, far left

Kenyan joggers who run naked with animals in the middle of the night are calling for their activity to be recognised as a sport. 

The president of the Kenya Night Runners Union, Jack Songoh, told the BBC's John Nene that they have 2.6 million members across the country so they deserve recognition.

He said that they run with hyenas, hippopotamuses and cobras. 

But Homa Bay County Director of Sports Francis Guma said their activity is banned because night runners go around scaring people in their sleep.

Zimbabwe's flag fury

The starting gun for Zimbabwe's election campaign has been fired 18 months early, says columnist Farai Sevenzo

And the person who fired it was a 39-year-old pastor called Evan Mawarire:

Evan Mawarire, wrapped in the Zimbabwean National flag, recording an instalment of his #ThisFlag video series

Last month, the cleric called for Zimbabweans to re-own their flag, to stop wishing they lived in another country, and to force the politicians to answer questions on their lack of accountability and corrupt ways without fear.

People started airing their frustrations using the hashtag #ThisFlag.

They say they will refuse to bribe policemen, they will watch and circulate tales of corruption.

Farai predicts Zimbabwe's vote will be one where citizen apathy may well be a thing of the past.      

Morocco's synchonised female horseback shooters

For the first time a female team has won at the game of fantasia. 

It is a Moroccan sport where horse riders shoot guns on horseback and the most-synchronised team wins.

But the BBC's Sahar Zand reports that women are still banned from the national competition:  

The Moroccan women beating men at their own games

SA rapper reaches deal with police over shooting

South Africa's police have reached a financial settlement with prominent rapper Khuli Chana after he sued them for wrongly shooting him in 2013. 

The story is featuring prominently on South Africa's TimesLive news site:   


Chana, whose real name is Khulane Morule, suffered minor minor injuries when he was shot near the main city, Johannesburg. Police mistook his luxury sedan for that of kidnappers they were pursuing, the eNCA news site reported at the time.  

Details of the financial settlement have not yet been revealed, but the rapper told TimesLive that his legal battle with the police had ended: 

“I am thankful to be alive. Justice has been served. I want to put this behind me and focus on the future and my music, which I want to be my greatest legacy beyond this trauma."

Zanzibar's pioneering pension scheme

Tanzania’s semi-autonomous archipelago of Zanzibar has introduced a pension scheme for all citizens aged 70 and over.

It is the first fully funded state pension in East Africa.

Each pensioner will be entitled to 20,000 Tanzanian shillings ($9, £6) a month.

Campaigners have welcomed the move and say it will lead to a huge improvement, not just in the lives of the elderly - considered to be among the poorest in society - but for the rest of the country as well.

Watch Sammy Awami's video about the pioneering scheme:

Zanzibar's pioneering pension scheme

Algeria mourns Polisario Front's leader

BBC Monitoring

Algerian media outlets are marking the death of the leader of the Polisario Front, Mohamed Abdelaziz as the country declares eight days of mourning.

The Arabic hashtag #Algeria_condoles_WesternSahara was among the trending hashtags yesterday following the announcement of Mr Abdelaziz's death by the Polisario Front, which is demanding that Morocco gives Western Sahara independence.

A mural depicting Polisario Front leader Mohamed Abdelaziz is seen at the People's Liberation Army museum, which displays Moroccan military equipment used during a guerrilla war (1976-1991) between the Algeria-backed rebel movement and Moroccan forces over the independence for Western Sahara, on March 3, 2016, in the Sahrawi refugee camp of Rabouni, 20 kms south of the Algerian city of Tindouf in the disputed territory of Western Sahara
The Polisario Front's leader, depicted in this mural, was battling cancer

Meanwhile, Moroccan media outlets said that Mr Abdelaziz's death was "no surprise" and that Algeria, "which is suffering from its own leadership crisis" because President Abdel Aziz Bouteflika is ill, would delegate its security and military authorities to choose the Polisario Front leader's successor. 

New charges for acquitted men in Uganda

Uganda has imposed new terror charges on five men who were acquitted last week on charges related to the 2010 bomb attacks in the capital, Kampala, police have said. 

They had "allegedly created documents and materials" while in prison "to facilitate, assist or engage co-conspirators to undertake terrorist acts", police added in a statement. 

The five, who include Ugandans and Kenyans, were rearrested immediately after their acquittals over the 2010 bombings which killed 74 people when a restaurant and rugby club were targeted.

Another five were sentenced to life in prison for their role in the attacks, carried out on behalf of the Somalia-based Islamist militant group al-Shabab. 

Site of bombings
The bombings were the deadliest in Uganda

Who is alleged mastermind of Garissa attack?

We said in our 12:35 post that there is an unconfirmed report that the alleged mastermind of the Garissa massacre has been killed.

He was referred to as Mohamed Dulyadayn in the post but he has many aliases. 

Mohamed Dulyadin is the name he is best known by. It means ambidextrous in the Somali language.  

One of his other aliases is Mohamed Kuno.

The Kenyan government named him as the alleged mastermind behind the 2015 Garissa University College assault by militant Islamists and put a $215,000 (£145,000) reward for his capture:

Mohamed Kuno
Kenyan interior ministry

Read more about the man in his BBC profile.   

EgyptAir 'black box signals heard'

A US pilot looks for the crashed EgyptAir plane
Search teams have been trying to find the plane's black boxes in the Mediterranean Sea

Signals likely to have come from the black boxes of the EgyptAir plane that crashed last month have been detected, Egyptian investigators say.

A statement said they were picked up by a French vessel searching the Mediterranean Sea.

There were 66 people on board when the Airbus A320 crashed on 19 May while flying from Paris to Cairo.

It vanished from Greek and Egyptian radar screens, apparently without having sent a distress call.

Read more on the BBC News website.

Ancient fossils discovered in South Africa

A huge treasure trove of fossils, including of some species that have not been documented by palaeontologists before, have been found in South Africa, reports the local News24 site.

View more on twitter

It says the fossils from over 300 million years ago are excellently preserved.

The fossils were found when rocks were cut during construction work on the N2 highway near Grahamstown, in the south-east of the country.

Palaeontologist Robert Gess told the news site that the fossils allow them to trace a broader picture of the ancient coastline.

Garissa attack 'mastermind killed'

A Voice of America journalist has tweeted that the alleged mastermind of the massacre of 148 people at Garissa University in Kenya may have been killed:

View more on twitter

We have not yet confirmed the report and we will bring you more details as soon as we have them.

In April 2015, al-Shabab militants shot students in their dormitories before rounding up and killing dozens more in what was the deadliest attack by the group.

Security forces in Garissa

Avengers 'attack oil wells in Nigeria'

The Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) has said it has bombed two oil wells run by US energy firm Chevron in Nigeria's oil-rich south, in the latest attack claimed by the new militant group. 

In a tweet, it said: 

View more on twitter

AFP news agency reports that while Chevron officials refused to comment, an industry source said: "I can confirm the attack on the two oil wells. It has resulted to a leak spilling oil into the place."

Militant Islamists 'behind Mali attacks'

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb has said its al-Murabitun battalion was involved in an "epic battle" with "Crusader occupation forces" in northern Mali,  reports the SITE group which monitors militant Islamist activity. 

A Chinese peacekeeper with the UN force in Mali and three civilians with an explosives unit were killed in two attacks on Tuesday, the UN and China said. 

Read: Why do young Africans become jihadis?

Dogs 'sniff out malaria'

Chemicals found in people infected with malaria can be sniffed out by dogs, a pilot study has found.  

The scientists at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine have just been given about $100,000 (£70,000) by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to do further research.

They will enlist the help of 400 Gambian children, including some who are known to have malaria, who will be asked to wear nylon socks for 24 hours.

The dogs will then be trained to distinguish between positive and negative samples, explains Wired magazine.

One of the researchers, James Logan, told BBC Newsday that this could potentially help prevent the spread of malaria:

Chinese peacekeeper killed in Mali

 A Chinese peacekeeper was killed in a "terrorist attack" on a UN base in northern Mali, China's foreign ministry has confirmed, AFP news agency is reporting.

 "This is a grave and outrageous crime. China strongly condemns it," foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying is quoted as saying. 

"We call for the UN and Mali to carry out a thorough investigation and bring the perpetrators to justice," she added. 

Attacks in northern Mali have continued, despite French-led forces recapturing in 2013 cities and towns that had been over-run by militant Islamists linked to al-Qaeda. 

See our earlier post for more details.

Senegal frees men convicted of corruption

Three men jailed for corruption with the flamoboyant son of Senegal's former President Abdoulaye Wade have been released, reports BBC Afrique.

Last year, a court sentenced them to five years in prison for being complicit in Karim Wade's illicit enrichment.   

Bibo Bourgi and Alioune Samba Diasse were freed on humanitarian grounds while Papa Mamadou Pouye was given a conditional release, Justice minister Sidiki Kaba said.   

Karim Wade
Karim Wade is serving a six-year prison sentence

Their release has fuelled speculation in Senegal about the possibility of Karim Wade, who was a powerful minister in his father's government, being released as well. 

A court ruled that he had stashed funds in offshore companies in the British Virgin Islands and Panama.  

He denied the charges. 

Binyavanga Wainaina: Twitter users react to assault

Famous Kenyan author Binyavanga Wainaina has received strong support on Twitter after he said he had been assaulted by a taxi driver in Berlin in Germany.

Here is a sample of the views:

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Deadly attack on UN in Mali


A UN peacekeeper has been killed and three others wounded after their base in Mali's northern Gao city was shelled by unidentified attackers. 

The UN did not disclose the nationality of the peacekeepers, but the base is home to the Chinese contingent of the peace force in the troubled north, where both militant Islamists and Tuareg rebels operate.  

Several civilian staff were also injured, the UN mission in Mali, known by its acronym Minusma, added.

Another three people were killed in a separate attack while on a UN operation to remove landmines in the area, Minusma said. 

Read: World's most dangerous peacekeeping mission

Australian MP admits eating elephant he shot

An Australian MP for the Shoorters and Fishers party has revealed he once shot and ate an elephant while hunting in Zimbabwe, reports the Australian newspaper.

The revelation was made in a late-night sitting of parliament:

View more on youtube

Robert Borsak was speaking against an animal rights groups.

You can hear Green MP Jeremy Buckingham interject with “Did you eat the elephant?”   

Mr Borsak replied that he had.  

He confirmed to the Australian that he had indeed eaten an elephant, “but not in one sitting”.

Kenyan writer 'assaulted' in Germany

Kenyan author Binyavanga Wainaina speaks during an interview with the AFP on January 27, 2014, in Nairobi

Renowned Kenyan author Binyavanga Wainaina says he has been assaulted by a taxi driver in Germany's main city, Berlin, and it left him "feeling black, dirty". 

"I feel this kind of thing is supposed to happen to somebody like me," he added in a Facebook post

Opposition protest at Uganda court

Catherine Byaruhanga

BBC Africa, Kampala

Opposition leader Kizza Besigye speaks during a news conference at his home at the outskirts of Kampala, Uganda, February 21, 2016
Kizza Besijye says he was robbed of victory in February's election

Opposition leaders have staged a sit-in at a court in Uganda's capital, Kampala, to protest against the failure of the prosecution to present their leader Kizza Besigye, who has been charged with treason, in court this morning.

The prosecution said Mr Besigye could not be brought to court because of a security threat.

The magistrate adjourned the case to 15 June to consider the prosecution's request to hear the case at a court closer to the high security prison where he is being held.

Mr Besigye was charged with treason after his Forum for Democratic Change party said it had installed him as Uganda's leader, rejecting President Yoweri Museveni's victory in February's election as a sham.