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Summary

  1. Mugabe denounced by war veterans
  2. Children 'dying of hunger' in Zimbabwe
  3. War against Nigeria's militants has been 'won'
  4. Apology and tears over death of South African rally driver
  5. Live chickens could be 'mosquito repellent'
  6. Ethiopian theatre director dies
  7. Get Involved: #BBCAfricaLive WhatsApp: +44 7341070844
  8. Email stories and comments to africalive@bbc.co.uk - Thursday 21 July 2016

Live Reporting

By Uwa Nnachi and Farouk Chothia

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Scroll down for Thursday'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:

A goat owned by two people sleeps outside."

Sent by Julian Dzikunu, Ghana.

Click here and scroll to the bottom to send us your African proverbs.

And we leave you with this image of British singer Elton John signing the ProTEST wall at the international Aids conference in South Africa's coastal city of Durban:  

British singer Elton John signs the protest wall during the International Aids Conference at the international convention centre in Durban on July 21, 2016.
AFP

Mugabe condemned by war veterans

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe raises his fist on May 29, 2008 at a rally in Mvurwi some 100km from Harare.
AFP
Mr Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980

War veterans in Zimbabwe have denounced President Robert Mugabe as "dictatorial", saying they  will not support him in the next election. 

The Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans' Association said in a statement that Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party had "dismally failed" to address the country's economic problems.

It added:

We note with concern, shock and utter dismay the entrenchment of dictatorial tendencies, personified by the president and his cohorts which have slowly devoured the values of the liberation struggle."

BBC Zimbabwe analyst Lewis Machipisa says the association had once been solidly behind the 92-year-old president,  but a faction is now opposed to him. 

His sources told him the statement  reflects not only the views of some war veterans, but also senior military figures. This will worry Mr Mugabe who relies heavily on the military to remain in power, Lewis adds. 

The statement comes at a time when the economic and financial crisis in  Zimbabwe has worsened to the extent that the government is struggling to pay the police and military.

See our earlier posts for more details

Does Tunisia still need a superhero?

Artist and film director Moufida Fedhila is famous for dressing up as a superhero who takes to the streets of Tunis to inspire young Tunisians to see their future in their own country.

She created her own superhero, called Super-Tunisian, in the run-up to the 2011 election which followed the mass protests that ousted President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.

Ahead of that vote, she wanted to highlight civil rights and women’s rights amid a chaotic political scene. So, does Tunisia still need a superhero for its fragile, democratic transition?

Ms Fedhila tells BBC Africa her story.

Why I dress as a superhero in Tunisia

Cameroonian football star's goal blunder

Cameroonian international and Minnesota United goalkeeper Sammy Ndjock made a terrible blunder during a pre-season tour match that gifted Bournemouth with a goal.

Bournemouth gifted comical goal on USA pre-season tour

'Premature' to declare victory over Boko Haram

Isa Sanusi

BBC Africa, Abuja

Boko Haram members
Boko Haram video
Boko Haram has sworn allegiance to Islamic State and often displays its trademark black flag

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari's government often flaunts its successes in the fight against militant Islamist group Boko Haram. 

Many areas in the three north-eastern states worst-affected by the insurgency - Borno, Yobe and Adamawa - have been liberated from the militants who have killed thousands of people. 

But Interior Minister Abdulrahan Dambazau's claim, that the six-year war against Boko Haram has been "fought and won", seems premature. 

Even though Boko Haram's capacity to launch big attacks has diminished, it still has fighters capable of carrying out surprise attacks in  Nigeria and neighbouring states. 

Early in June, Boko Haram attacked Bosso in Niger, killing 32 Nigerien soldiers and two Nigerian soldiers. 

The attack in Bosso forced many people to move into cramped camps in Diffa town, on the border of the two countries. 

Refugees
AFP
More than two million people have fled their homes because of Boko Haram

Many aid workers and refugees living in camps in Nigeria's north-eastern Maiduguri city - the headquarters of the military operation against Boko Haram - say they are still afraid of going back to towns and villages raided by the militants. 

So, the government has to do more to convince people that Boko Haram is no longer a threat. 

See earlier post for more details

Zimbabwe pastor 'not scared to go home'

Zimbabwe anti-government preacher Evan Mawarire's leadership of the #ThisFlag movement and call for a mass stay away led to his arrest last week.

He was released after a court threw out charges of subversion against him. 

Now in South Africa, Pastor Mawarire has been talking about whether he is worried about returning home.

He told the BBC's Nomsa Maseko that he is more scared of his daughters' criticism of inaction than what the state could do to him.

Zimbabwe pastor: I fear my daughters not the state

Read more:

From preacher to 'Captain Zimbabwe'

Zimbabwe's flag fury

Zimbabwe shutdown: What is behind the protests?

Deadly shooting at Nigeria protest

Ishaq Khalid

BBC Africa, Bauchi

At least four civilians have been shot dead and five others wounded by the military in a central Nigerian town as youths took to the streets to protest against the killing of a prominent traditional ruler, residents have said. 

Hundreds of youths blocked a road leading into Bokkos in Plateau state, preventing troops from reaching the town's centre. 

Soldiers then fired live ammunition at the protester, causing the casualties, residents said. 

 However, the spokesman of the Special Task Force, comprising the military and police, Captain Ikedichi Iweha, denied that the soldiers were responsible for the deaths. 

 Some of the protesters fired shots at the soldiers, but the bullets hit fellow protesters, he said.   

 A 24-hour curfew has now been imposed in Bokkos, about 100km from the state capital, Jos, and extra troops have been drafted into the town to restore order. 

 The 76-year old traditional ruler of Bokkos, Lazarus Agai, was killed on Monday, along with his wife, son and bodyguard when their vehicle was ambushed by unknown gunmen as they drove back home from a farm. 

The protesting youths alleged that the security forces were not doing enough to arrest the killers. 

They got angrier when a teenage boy was killed and several homes were torched in an attack on a nearby village by unknown men. 

The violence in the Bokkos area has come as a surprise to many as Plateau has been relatively peaceful after years of ethnic and religious conflict.

Could the menopause be reversed?

Scientists in Greece have successfully reversed the menopause for the first time, the New Scientist magazine reports.

In trials carried out the scientists were able to "rejuvenate" women’s ovaries using a blood treatment normally used to help wounds heal faster, which could restart egg production.

One woman who responded well to the treatment was 40-years-old and had undergone the menopause five years previously.  

The menopause can occur at a much earlier age for many women, often triggered by chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatments, it adds.

Jessica Hamzelou a biomedical reporter at the New Scientist told BBC Focus on Africa radio, that the findings could benefit women who experienced early menopause and wanted to have children. 

It would also benefit older women who wanted to avoid some of the unpleasant symptoms associated with the menopause like hot flushes, she added.

Nigeria's Boko Haram has been 'defeated'

This file photo taken on March 25, 2016 shows soldiers from the 7th Division of the Nigerian Army on the back of a vehicle in Damboa, Borno State northeast Nigeria
AFP
The military has been fighting the militants since 2009

The war against Nigeria's militant Islamist group Boko Haram has been "fought and won", Interior Minister Abdulrahan Dambazau has said, the local Vanguard newspaper reports. 

It quotes him as saying that "Boko Haram elements have been routed, degraded and are being decimated". 

He added:  

“The task before us is winning the peace, as the victims are gradually returning to their homes and the government is rebuilding, reconciling, and rehabilitating the victims."

US First Lady promotes girls' education in Liberia

US First Lady Michelle Obama has used a slot on a highly-regarded US late-night chat show to highlight girls' education in Liberia and Morocco.

She took part in James Corden's Carpool Karaoke - where stars sing songs while driving along in a car.

His film with British star Adele has 117 million views on You Tube and the one of Canadian singer Justin Bieber has 85 million. 

During the tour of the grounds of the White House Mrs Obama discusses her Let Girls Learn initiative.

She talks about her trip to Liberia and Morocco (eight minutes in) to promote girls' education and says "so much could be corrected in the world if girls were educated and had the power over their lives".

She also sings along with Beyonce's Single Ladies and Missy Elliott's Get Ur Freak On.

View more on youtube

Zimbabwe minister appeals for food aid

Villagers collect water from a dry river bed in drought hit Masvingo last month
Reuters
Villagers collect water from a dry river bed in drought hit Masvingo last month

A government minister in Zimbabwe has appealed for food aid to more than 500,000 people in the drought-hit Masvingo province to be stepped up, the state-owned Herald newspaper reports.

Masvingo provincial affairs minister Shuvai Mahufa said:

Our appeal to government is to allocate more food aid to schools where some children are sleeping in classes because of hunger."

She added that the number of people expected to need feed food aid in the province will reach 650,000 by December and 800,000 by March, the Herald reports.

See our earlier post for more details  

France 'bombs Libyan militias'

A French warplane has bombed positions of Islamic militias outside the eastern city of Benghazi in Libya, killing at least 16 fighters, the Associated Press news agency quotes two Libyan officials as saying. 

The officials said the bombing was in retaliation for Sunday's killing of three French soldiers, AP reports. 

The bombing took place on Tuesday and Wednesday, forcing the militias to retreat towards the town of Ajdabiya, west of Benghazi, the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, added, the agency reports. 

Read: Why is Libya so lawless? 

Can a chicken fight malaria?

Youths chase a chicken on December 13, 2013 in Qunu, South Africa
AFP

Some of our Facebook readers have reacted scornfully to our earlier post about live chickens keeping malaria-carrying mosquitoes out of homes:

Chickens also carry fleas - you can't sleep in the same house. In Africa we can afford repellents and we have plenty of natural repellents."

Sechaba Martyn, Zambia

This is something we already knew in parasitology."

Ibrahim Ahmad Gwaram

This research is not absolutely right. I have seen mosquitoes biting chickens before.

Idowu Bello

Caf signs up Total as sponsor

Pitty Djoue of Union Sportive O'Mbilia Nziami (USM) of Gabon vies against Sable de Batie of Cameroun in an African Football Federation (CAF) cup match in Libreville 11 April 2004
AFP

The Confederation of African Football (Caf) has announced that the oil and gas company, Total, will be its headline sponsor of its 10 competitions for the next eight years, starting with the Cup of Nations in January. 

Total takes over from mobile firm Orange. 

Caf did not disclose the value of the sponsorship deal with Total, but it said it expected the partnership to boost African football.

On Caf's website, its head, Issa Hayatou, said: 

This partnership is a major milestone in our ongoing search for additional resources to accelerate African football’s development, bring its governance up to date, upgrade its sports infrastructure and advance its performance globally."

Militant Islamists 'killed' in Nigeria

Chris Ewokor

BBC Africa, Abuja

Nigeria's military says it killed 42 Boko Haram fighters and rescued 80 people during a raid on Tuesday on a village in the north-east.

The rescued group of 42 children and 38 women have been taken to a military medical facility for treatment, it added in a statement. 

The military has reported freeing 10,000 people held captive by the militant Islamists this year. 

SA rally driver's widow promises to return to Mount Kilimanjaro

Pumza Fihlani

BBC News, Johannesburg

Gugu Zulu and his wife Letshego at the Kilimanjaro National Park
INSTAGRAM/ GUGU ZULU

The widow of South African rally driver Gugu Zulu says she plans to return to Mount Kilimanjaro as it's what her husband "would have wanted".

Letshego Zulu was speaking for the first time since her husband's death this week whilst trying to climb Africa's highest mountain. 

She told South Africa's IOL news site

We have been together for 15-and-a-half years and not once was he ever a reason for my tears.

He made me smile and he was a gentleman to the very end".

Dubbed the "Adventure couple", they were celebrated in sporting circles in South Africa. 

Mrs Zulu says she plans to return to Kilimanjaro to finish what she and Gugu had set out to do as a tribute to him. 

The pair were part of an expedition called Trek4Girls organised by the Nelson Mandela Foundation. 

The 40-strong team of South Africans from various walks of life took on the mount to raise funds for sanitary towels so young women in poor communities would not miss out on school. 

See earlier post for more details

Kenya Airways posts a loss

Wanyama wa Chebusiri

BBC Africa

Kenya Airways airliners sit grounded on 14 August 2009 at Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport
AFP

Kenya Airways, which operates under the logo "The Pride of Africa", has reported a net loss of $262m (£200m) for the financial year ending March 2016. 

The loss came at a time when Ethiopian Airlines, which operates in the same market, has announced a profit of $175m for the same period. 

Kenya Airways, or KQ as it is popularly known, has been in financial trouble for a long time and it is unclear whether it can turn around its fortunes. 

Mismanagement and stiff competition have been blamed for the losses. 

The national carrier, which is a member of the global Sky Team Alliance, flies to 54 destinations - 44 of which are in Africa.

Remembering the murdered Reeva Steenkamp

The parents of Reeva Steenkamp, who was murdered by South Africa's one-time sports hero Oscar Pistorius in 2013, have released a statement following the decision by chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel to launch an appeal against his six-year prison sentence in the hope that it will be increased to at least 15 years. 

A journalist has shared on Twitter their statement:

#OscarPistorius Statement from the Steenkamp family. MV

#OscarPistorius Statement from the Steenkamp family. MV

The league table where Ethiopia and Rwanda shine

Former World Bank director Enrique Rueda-Sabater has written a report which challenges the traditional ways of measuring economic success. 

Mr Rueda-Sabater of the Boston Consulting Group says it's important to measure how economic growth is of immediate benefit to the population.

He has applied more than 40 indicators to 149 countries examining how countries perform in converting their Gross Domestic Product growth into improvements in well-being for their citizens. 

And there were some interesting results. Ethiopia holds the top spot when it comes to recent progress in well-being - and there are similar gains in sub-Saharan Africa as a whole.

Listen to BBC Newsday's interview with Mr Rueda-Sabater: 

A new measure of economic success puts two African nations high on the list

Prince Harry in HIV/Aids appeal

Karen Allen

BBC Southern Africa correspondent, Durban

Prince Harry has urged young people around the world to get tested for HIV/Aids.

File photo dated 14/07/16 of Prince Harry having a HIV test during a visit to the Burrell Street Sexual Health Centre in Southwark, London.
PA

The English prince underwent a test last week before heading out to the 2016 World Aids conference in South Africa's coastal city of Durban, where he’s been drawing attention to the plight of young people with HIV/Aids. 

The disease is the second biggest killer of young people around the world and the leading cause of death in Africa.

Read: Are young South Africans ignoring Aids message? 

Ethiopians pay tribute to theatre director

Theatre fans in Ethiopia have been paying tribute to legendary director Abate Mekuria, who has died of cancer at the age of 72.

Mr Mekuria, who was known as the King of Ethiopian opera, was also a famous playwright and choreographer. 

Here's a sample of the tributes on Twitter: 

😢😢😢 Abate Mekuria (1943 - 2016) #Ethiopia

😢😢😢 Abate Mekuria (1943 - 2016) #Ethiopia

A life well lived! He's one of the finest and the greatest this nation has ever produced. #abatemekuria RIP

Pistorius sentence an 'injustice'

South Africa's National Prosecuting Authority  says it will appeal against double-amputee Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius' six-year prison sentence for murder because it is an "injustice" and has the the potential to bring the legal system into "disrepute". 

In a statement, it adds that the sentence was "disproportionate to the crime of murder committed [and] shockingly too lenient". 

Pistorius, 29, shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp four times through a locked toilet door at his upmarket home in the capital, Pretoria, on 14 February 2013.

Pistorius and Steenkamp
AFP
Pistorius says mistook Steenkmap for a burglar

Read: My friend Reeva

Ethiopian theatre director dies

Legendary Ethiopian theatre director, Abate Mekuria, who is best known for his Shakespearean plays in Amharic has died aged 72, local media reports.

Abate's most noted production was an adaptation of Othello.

Pistorius sentence 'heading for appeal'

Paralympian athlete Oscar Pistorius accused of the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp during hearing at the High Court in Pretoria, on 6 July
Alamy

Prosecutors in South Africa's will appeal against the six-year prison sentence given to athlete Oscar Pistorius for the 2013 Valentine's Day murder of his girlfriend. 

The prosecution had pushed for a minimum sentence of 15 years, but Judge Thoko Masipa gave him the lower sentence in July.

She said mitigating circumstances, such as rehabilitation and remorse, outweighed aggravating factors, such as his failure to fire a warning shot, for deviating from the prescribed 15-year sentence. 

Pistorius was once a sports hero - a six-time Paralympic gold medallist who made history by becoming the first amputee sprinter to compete at the Olympics, in 2012 in London, running on prosthetic "blades".  

Gambian sentences condemned

Protests were held in Banjul after an opposition politician was allegedly killed in custody in April
AFP
The suspected death of an activist led to protests

The Gambia's main opposition United Democratic Party (UDP)  has denounced as "utterly unjust" the three-year prison sentence imposed on its leader Ousainou Darboe and 18 other people convicted of taking part in an unlawful protest in April. 

In a statement, the UDP said: 

This wasn’t a trial. It was a farce and an attempt by the criminal regime of Yahya Jammeh to thumb its nose at The Gambian people in particular and the wider international community..."

The 19 were arrested for being part of a group protesting about the alleged death in custody of UDP official Solo Sandeng.

Rights group Amnesty International described the sentences as part of the "continuing downward spiral for human rights in The Gambia" where Mr Jammeh has ruled since taking power in a coup in 1994.

Read: Yahya Jammeh in profile 

Could chickens be the key to fighting malaria?

Mosquito
Getty Images

Keep a live chicken under your bed - and sleep soundly. 

You may want to take that tip after a joint study by Ethiopian and Swedish scientists found that malaria-carrying mosquitoes avoid homes that contain live chickens.

The research team working in Ethiopia found that the smell of the chickens created a poultry "odour bubble" which deterred the mosquito from going anywhere near the source of the smell. 

The team also found that mosquitoes strongly preferred human to animal blood and while they fed randomly on cattle, goats and sheep, they steered clear of chickens.

The researchers said the discovery could be useful in areas where malaria was endemic and the insects were becoming resistant to pesticides.  

They have now isolated the chemical compounds and are planning to develop a repellent.  

Swedish researcher Rickard Ignell said:

We were surprised to find that malaria mosquitoes are repelled by the odours emitted by chickens. This study shows for the first time that malaria mosquitoes actively avoid feeding on certain animal species, and that this behaviour is regulated through odour cues.”

Chickens
AFP

Expedition leader 'sorry' for Gugu Zulu's death

Gugu Zulu speaks during the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon media conference at the Cullinan Hotel on March 29, 2013 in Cape Town, South Africa
Getty Images
The cause of Gugu Zulu's death is unclear

The man who led the Mount Kilimanjaro expedition on which South Africa's rally driver Gugu Zulu died broke down in tears as he apologised to the nation for his death, the local News24 site reports

Sibusiso Vilane said he had promised the relatives and friends of climbers that they would return home safely. 

Speaking at a press conference after returning from Tanzania, he said:

I am not very proud of myself. All I can say is [that] I am very sorry with the deepest of my heart to the Zulus and the little baby and his lovely wife... I am disappointed and sorry to the country."

Mr Zulu, 38, was on a Nelson Mandela-linked charity trip to raise funds to buy sanitary towels for girls when he died while trying to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.

In his last Facebook post, the three-times national rally champion posted he had flu-like symptoms but the cause of death has not yet been established.

Gambian opposition leader jailed

BBC World Service

Ousainou Darboe speaks to journalists on November 24, 2011 after voting at a polling station in Serrekunda, southwest the capital Banjul, during the presidential election
AFP

The Gambia's opposition leader Ousainou Darboe and 18 other people have been sentenced to three years in prison. 

They were convicted on several counts related to an unauthorised demonstration Mr Darboe led in April. 

The opposition leader was protesting about the alleged death of one of his party officials, Solo Sandeng, in detention. 

Political protests are unusual in The Gambia, which has been ruled by Yahya Jammeh since he took power in a coup in 1994. 

Elections are due in December, but opposition leaders say they will not be free and fair.

Zimbabwean children threatened by starvation

A child drinks water from a cup in drought-hit Masvingo, Zimbabwe, June 1, 2016.
Reuters
Aid workers say the drought has caused an "emergency" situation in Zimbabwe

Thousands of children in Zimbabwe risk starvation by Christmas, with 200 having already died in one area in the last 18 months because of food shortages caused by a severe drought, the Save the Children charity has said. 

The charity's Tanya Steele said some mothers were going without food for five days, and health workers were giving their children foraged berries "before inspecting babies and toddlers for signs of malnutrition".

In a statement, she added: 

This is an emergency. Some children are already dying of complications from malnutrition. Others are very ill.

There are mothers who are so stressed about not being able to feed their families that they’re suffering from hypertension.”

UK-based Ms Steele was commenting after visiting Binga district, a four-hour drive from the "well-stocked" tourist hotels and restaurants of Victoria Falls.

Ministry of health statistics showed that 946 children under the age of five years in Binga were suffering from "severe acute malnutrition", and the number is expected to rise sharply in the coming months.

The death rate among infants admitted to hospital in emergency cases had also risen significantly, Save the Children said.

The number of under-fives who had so far died in Binga had reached 200 in the last 18 months, about three times the usual rate, it added. 

Zimbabwe is one of the countries hardest hit by the drought in southern Africa, with government officials estimate that more than four million people - around a third of the population - could be hungry by the end of the year.

Today's wise words

Our African proverb of the day: 

A goat owned by two people sleeps outside."

Sent by Julian Dzikunu, Ghana

Click here to send us your African proverbs.

Good morning

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