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Summary

  1. Nigeria to investigate ex-army chiefs
  2. Nice attacker identified as a Tunisian
  3. African presidents send Nice condolence messages
  4. Morocco bids to rejoin African Union
  5. FGM is 'child abuse', UN official says
  6. Kenyan banker released after airport arrest
  7. Get Involved: #BBCAfricaLive WhatsApp: +44 7341070844
  8. Email stories and comments to africalive@bbc.co.uk - Friday 15 July 2016

Live Reporting

By Clare Spencer and Damian Zane

All times stated are UK

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Scroll down for Friday's stories

We'll be back on Monday

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:

Best friends killed each other over a hare's head."

A Tonga proverb sent by Siwoh, Choma, Zambia

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

We leave you with a picture from our selection of some of the best photographs from Africa this week.

It shows a woman in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo town of Goma carrying the catch of the day from nearby Lake Kivu:

Congolese woman with a basket of fish on her head
af

The people who look after skulls

Bamileke people in the highlands of Cameroon believe that improper care of ancestral skulls leads to illness, infertility, and even death.

So they exhume their relatives skulls.

The ceremony starts with people forming a massive circle before relatives take a pickaxe to the grave. 

Funeral rite
BBC

In this ceremony they dug up the skull of a man who died 10 years ago:  

Skull
BBC

But, as BBC Afrique reports this practice has created a rift with the Christian leaders in the area.

Algerians and Tunisians among Nice victims

The AFP news agency is reporting that among the 84 people killed in the Nice attack on Thursday night were at least three Tunisians and three Algerians.

The attacker Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel has been described by French prosecutors as a Tunisian living in France.

AFP quotes Tunisia's foreign ministry as saying that its national Olfa Bent Souayah was one of the victims along with Bilal Labaoui and mechanic Abdelkader Toukabr.

Algeria's ministry of foreign affairs is quoted as saying that two children from Algeria also died in the attack along with a 70-year-old Algerian woman who was visiting her daughter.

People mourning the dead in Nice
Getty Images
People have been mourning the dead in Nice

AU will continue to promote rights of Western Sahara

The African Union (AU) says it will continue pushing for the rights of the people of the disputed territory of Western Sahara, and it backs the holding of a referendum on their self-determination. 

The AU announcement comes just hours after it emerged that Morocco is lobbying African countries to support its bid to re-join the African Union (see earlier post).

But the AU says that heads of states attending the weekend’s summit will have the final say on if it will be readmitted back into the union. 

Morocco left the AU’s predecessor, the Organisation of African Unity, in 1984 after the OAU recognised the independence of Western Sahara.

Map showing Western Sahara
BBC

The men opposed to female genital mutilation

Statistics released by the UN's children's charity, Unicef, on Thursday show the majority of people in countries where female genital mutilation (FGM) persists actually oppose the practice.

The data shows that in some countries men oppose FGM more strongly than women.

Unicef says there is evidence of growing momentum and commitment to end FGM.

Watch some of those who have been campaigning to change the culture:

Your reactions: Readers divided over the African passport

people with South African passports
Getty Images
Could this be the end of visa queues?

The African Union passport is to be unveiled this weekend at a summit in Rwanda's capital, Kigali.

Holders of the travel document will be entitled to visa-free travel across the continent and a maximum stay of 90 days in any member country.

Initially, it will only be issued to diplomats, but the intention is to make it available to others.

But commenters on the BBC Africa Facebook page are divided on the initiative. 

Margaret Wanga Mwale Liswaniso in Lusaka, Zambia, gives the initiative the thumbs up, depending on one thing:

I think this is a great initiative and should be applauded by all Africans provided these passports will be available to every common person and not just the 'elite'... I also think that it should boost tourism between African countries."

While Abiy Solomon wonders why they are needed:

Wouldn't it be more straight forward if AU member states agree on visa-free travel across the continent for all Africans?"

And Omondi Okello thinks it shows priorities are skewed:

Waste of precious time. Diseases, poverty, hunger, lack of water, proper shelter, wars, just to mention a few, are ravaging Africans. Which of these ills will this passport heal?"

France attacker 'was a Tunisian'

There's been some debate about the nationality of Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, the attacker in Nice, southern France, who killed 84 people.

Initial reports said he was French of Tunisian origin, but now the French prosecutor Francois Molins has said though he was living in France he had Tunisian nationality.

For more updates on the Nice attack see here.

Truck that was used in the attack
AFP

Self-portraits by HIV positive people

South African photographer Gideon Mendel has been publishing photos from the latest part of his Through Positive Eyes project on his Instagram feed.

HIV-positive people have been taking self-portraits and the pictures will be on display this weekend in Durban ahead of the Global Aids summit starting on Monday.

View more on instagram

Mendel says for this photo "Xolisile used her tripod and self timer to make a beautifull image of herself breastfeeding".

View more on instagram

Mendel says that Thulile took this photo in the public park in Durban that commemorates Gugu Dlamini, who was stoned and stabbed to death after she disclosed on television that she was living with HIV.

Zambian national day of prayer for peaceful elections

Zambia's government has announced that there will be a day of prayer a week on Sunday ahead of the 11 August general election.

People will be praying for a peaceful poll following a request from President Edgar Lungu after an increase in political violence.

It will not be the first time the country has had a special day of prayer.

In October, thousands gathered in the national stadium to pray for the economy.

People at stadium praying on 18 October
Getty Images

Rolling out the red carpet in Kigali

Heads of State have been arriving in Rwanda's capital, Kigali, for the African Union summit due to start on Sunday.

The Rwandan government has been sharing photos of some of the delegates striding down the red carpet: 

View more on twitter
Robert Mugabe
Rwanda Government
View more on twitter
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Rwanda Government

Risks of a sub-Sahara African 'credit crunch'

Sub-Saharan Africa is facing a credit-crunch which could affect economic growth, think tank the Overseas Development institute (ODI) says.

It's published a graph which shows that the growth in the availability of credit is slowing and mirrors the overall economic slowdown:

Bar chart
ODI

The report says:

Importantly for the region’s long-term growth prospects, scarce banking finance is being used in sectors with little or no transformational effect such as extractive [industries] or middle class consumer finance.

This is starving sectors that would transform the economy – such as manufacturing, trade and agri-processing – of the financing they need to grow."

What happens when the president gets ill?

Recently the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari was in the news for travelling to the UK and getting medical treatment.

Our own satirical President Olushambles doesn't see what's so controversial.

Instead he has his own rather radical ideas.

He suggests saving money by scrapping hospitals and spending that money on medical trips abroad:

Ugandans 'back home ' from South Sudan

Uganda has been evacuating some of its citizens from South Sudan with the help of its army, as this reporter shows in his tweet:

View more on twitter

  An army spokesman has been tweeting about the scale of the operation:  

View more on twitter

African leaders express solidarity with France

African heads of state have been tweeting messages of support for France after at least 84 people died when a lorry slammed through a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in the southern French city of Nice.

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

According to the tweet above Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza sent "a message of support and solidarity to France".

Zimbabwe government 'fails to pay soldiers on time' for second month

Zimbabwe's soldiers have not been paid on time for a second month in a row, the Reuters news agency is reporting.

It says that they normally get their money on the 14th of every month, but they have not received it yet.

The cash-strapped government has had difficulty paying troops and civil servants.

Last month's army salaries were a fortnight late and the month-long delay in paying civil servants contributed to the success of a mass stay away last week.

Quiet Harare street
Reuters
Last week's mass stay away led to weekend-like scenes on the streets of the capital, Harare

Nigeria arms: Contracts not delivered after five years

Abdullahi Kaura Abubakar

BBC Africa, Abuja

Dozens of Nigerians are now being investigated over corruption allegations relating to arms procurement deals (see earlier post).

An investigation has discovered that contracts have only been partially fulfilled or not fulfilled at all.

Three companies that were to supply military hardware including boats and ambulances only delivered about a third of the equipment. 

Another company that was supposed to provide spare parts for armoured vehicles within three months is yet to deliver five years later. 

The investigating committee says that many of the companies which benefited from procurement contracts lacked the technical know-how to provide the equipment.

President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered further investigations into the roles played by some serving and retired military officers, including two army chiefs in the last administration and their civilian collaborators.

But Mr Buhari is accused of waging a one-sided anti-corruption war, mainly targeting the opposition.

Anti-corruption poster
AFP
President Muhammadu Buhari was elected on a pledge to fight corruption

Ghanaian gospel pioneer dies

Tweeters in Ghana are paying their respects to gospel singer Danny Nettey who local press are reporting was found dead in the early hours of the morning.

His name is trending on Twitter in Ghana.

His debut album Positive Change, released in 1995, "ushered in the contemporary style of gospel music in Ghana" reports Citi FM.

He presented a programme on Joy FM who also reported the news.

His singles included I Will Worship You:

View more on youtube

Morocco lobby Kenya to let them back into the African Union

Emmanuel Igunza

BBC Africa, Nairobi

A Moroccan special envoy has met Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta to seek support for his country to re-join the African Union (AU). 

Taib Fassi Fihri shakes hands with Uhuru Kenyatta
BBC

The envoy of King Mohamed VI, Taib Fassi Fihri, told Mr Kenyatta that Morocco wants to re-join the AU without any preconditions. 

President Kenyatta has promised to lobby for Morocco. 

Morocco left the Organization of African Unity in 1984 after the OAU recognised the independence of Western Sahara, but has now started lobbying African countries to support its bid at the on-going African Union Summit in Kigali Rwanda. 

News reports say the country’s Foreign Minister has already visited other African countries including Egypt, Libya, Sudan and Ethiopia.

Tunisians react to France lorry attack

Street view
BBC

We reported earlier that French police said they found papers in the lorry that ploughed down 84 people in Nice belonging to a man of Tunisian origin who lived in the city.  

The BBC's Rana Jawad has been asking people on the streets of Tunis, Tunisia's capital, how they feel about the news:

"This affects us as Tunisians and it affects the people of the Arab world in General. We don’t want to be associated with it, and be labelled as terrorists. The person who carried out this attack is the sole one responsible for it. Tunisians are peaceful. This is a catastrophe, and terrorists make up a tiny fraction of the population and do not represent Tunisians.

Fawzi Ouslati]

It’s abnormal what these people [attackers] are doing, it’s abnormal. They should be dealt with using powerful policies and with an iron fist. An iron fist is needed to clean up this dirt in the world."

Mohamed

What happened in Nice yesterday hurts us a lot, especially given that we have friends and family there, and in the name of humanity, it’s so sad."

Ayesha

Get the lastest updates on the France lorry attack

Two Nigerian ex-army chiefs to be investigated

Two former heads of Nigeria's army are part of a long list of Nigerian officials to be investigated over "irregularities" in procurement of military equipment, a government statement says.

Lt Gen OA Ihejirika and Lt Gen KTJ Minimah are both named along with a former Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Nurudeen Mohammed in a list of 54 individuals.

This comes as a result of the continuing investigation into alleged corrupt arms procurement involving hundreds of millions of dollars.

The report included details how contracts were only partially fulfilled or not fulfilled at all, and how competitive tendering processes were not followed.    

Nigerian soldier
AFP
The lack of the right equipment has been cited as one of the reasons that has hampered the fight against Boko Haram in north-east Nigeria

Is Lagos the riskiest place to play Pokemon Go?

Playing Pokemon go in Lagos
Getty

Millions of people are playing Pokemon Go - a mobile game that blends the real world with computer graphics.

Like many other players around the world, people in Lagos, Nigeria, found a way to download the game when it was released earlier this month, despite it being officially available only in the United States, Australia and New Zealand.  

But players have been telling AFP news agency that they have to keep their wits about them when walking around staring at their game.

"Here it's like Mad Max, you've gotta be sharp or else there will be some injuries," Timi Ajiboye, a 23-year-old software developer, told AFP.  

Playing on phone
Getty Images

But playing in Lagos comes with its advantages.

"There's so much rare Pokemon here because it's not a mainstream country,"  Ajiboye's younger brother Tade said.

The 19-year-old explained that he's seen "quite a few Bulbasaur" though hasn't been able to catch the green dinosaur-like species since "they are very stubborn".

AFP reports that just the fact people can play the game, which has to be connected to the internet, shows mobile phone coverage has improved in the city.

Playing Pokemon in Lagos
Getty Images

Need to know more about Pokemon Go?

Kenyan banker released without charge after airport arrest

A Kenyan banker who had been detained at Nairobi's main airport for allegedly trying to leave the country while under investigation (see earlier post) has been released, the Daily Nation has tweeted:

View more on twitter

Mr Ahmed was sacked in April from the National Bank of Kenya over claims of financial malpractice.

In a report, the Daily Nation says that the police believed the banker was trying to flee the country. 

It quotes his lawyer Paul Muite as saying that Mr Ahmed was going on holiday after the police had released his passport.

Daily Nation story on the release of the banker
Daily Nation

Kenyan witness in Nice: It was a horror scene

Kenyan businessman James Mworia witnessed the attack in Nice, France, last night.

The fireworks were amazing and the concerts were just beginning. People of all nationalities, ages and from all walks of life were there celebrating freedom and liberty. Then screams and cries rent the air and people were running and scrambling for safety.

I saw the white truck driving past with people who looked like policemen chasing it. Thankfully we made it away safely. Then when we got to our hotel... and viewed the street from the balcony. It was a horror scene, with bodies strewn on the street.

Last night's attack was not an attack on France. It was an attack against humanity against our freedom and against our liberty."

The BBC has also spoken to an Egyptian eyewitness who said: "I kept yelling at him and shouting at him to stop, because there were people under the truck."

Listen to more here:

Kenyan poet says he was arrested for wearing a beret

Some Kenyans on Twitter have been campaigning for the release of a poet who they say were arrested for wearing a beret:

View more on twitter

A Sankara beret is a beret inspired by the Burkina Faso revolutionary leader who wore one, but was killed by soldiers in 1987.

Military-style berets have been known to be a symbol synonymous with leaders of revolutionary struggles.

But Mr Mwangi says poet G-cho Pevut was wearing the beret because he is a poet and that's what poets wear:

View more on twitter

The poet himself has tweeted that he was released.  

View more on twitter

His tweet, written in a mix of English and Swahili, says that he has been released but they have taken the beret.

However the police have not confirmed the arrest and are asking for more details:

@bonifacemwangi @Gchopevu Where was he arrested? Kindly DM more details so that we can establish what transpired please.

Nice attacker 'French regardless of origins'

The identity of the attacker in Nice, France, who killed more than 80 people by driving a truck into crowds of people has not been confirmed.

But local media are reporting that inside the vehicle police found papers that apparently identified him as a Franco-Tunisian or a man of Tunisian origin who lived in Nice.  

Tunisia's Ambassador to France Mohammed Ali al-Shehi has told Tunisian radio station Mosaique FM that he wanted to request a halt to the spread of “information" that the assailant was of Tunisian origin “because he is a French national citizen, regardless of his origins”.

Image of lorry with shot windscreen
AP

Half of 15 to 17-year-olds in Africa 'not in school'

The UN body Unesco says that at least half of young people aged between 15 and 17 in sub-Saharan Africa are not in school, the highest rate for any region in the world. 

In total, more than 93 million children of primary and secondary school age in sub-Saharan Africa don't receive formal education. 

Conflict, poverty, and resistance to educating girls are some of the reasons given.  

Girl sitting outside school in Kampala Uganda
Getty Images

Unesco says at least 15 million of them will never set foot in a classroom.

Girls are less likely to go to school than boys -  nine million girls will never attend school compared to six million boys, Unesco calculates.

Who is leading the fight against FGM?

Tulip Mazumdar

Global Health Correspondent, Nairobi

As we've posted the head of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Babatunde Osotimehin has described female genital mutilation (FGM) as child abuse for the first time. 

Until now, the organisation had referred to the practice as a human rights violation, but has stopped short of calling it child abuse. 

Kenya is one country which is leading the fight against cutting.

The UN's children's charity, Unicef, says Kenya could eradicate FGM in the next 15 years. 

At the moment around one in five women have been cut in the country.

But deeply entrenched traditions in some communities in this region, and across the world, are still posing major challenges. 

South Sudanese 'nervous' a week on from major fighting

The ceasefire is holding in South Sudan's capital, Juba, but there is still a lot of concern about what could happen next.

One person on Twitter that we've been following this week is back at work near J1 (the presidential palace), the scene of last Friday's major clashes.

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

The fighting was between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and those loyal to Vice-President Riek Machar.

Mr Machar has since left Juba.

The head of the body monitoring the ceasefire after the country's civil war ended has called for the two men to meet:

View more on twitter

Morocco to 'return to African Union'

African heads of state are meeting in Rwanda's capital, Kigali, this weekend for an African Union summit.

And one newspaper predicts that Morocco will announce it has decided to return to the African Union after a 32-year absence.

“A diplomatic source approached by Akhbar Al Yaoum [newspaper] has confirmed the desire of Morocco to resume its seat in the pan-African organisation,” reports Morocco World News.

We have not independently confirmed this so we will have to wait to see at the summit. 

Morocco left the Organisation of African Unity in 1984 after the OAU recognised the independence of Western Sahara. 

A United Nations car drives past the Mechouar square on May 14, 2013 in Laayoune, the capital of Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara.
Getty Images
A UN brokered cease-fire ended the war but Morocco has yet to hold an agreed referendum on independence

Tunisia expresses solidarity with France

At least 84 people have died, including children, after a lorry slammed through a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in the southern French city of Nice.

The driver of the lorry hasn't been identified but French media are reporting that identity papers, belonging to a 31-year-old French-Tunisian were found inside the vehicle. 

In a statement, Tunisia's foreign ministry did not address the issue of the identity of the driver but did condemn the attack:

Tunisia has... renewed the expression of its full solidarity and standing alongside France in its efforts to combat the scourge of terrorism."

Tunisia calls on the entire international community to stand united to fight this scourge, which is has no humane ethical or religious boundaries."

Last year, Tunisia was targeted in two major attacks.

Injured being carried away
AFP

Britain's new Development Minister wanted to replace the ministry she now heads

The appointment of Boris Johnson as the UK's new foreign secretary has attracted a lot of attention, but the new minister of the Department for International Development (Dfid) is also a significant appointment.

Priti Patel was quoted in an interview in 2013 as saying she wanted the current department abolished:

A long-term strategic assessment is required, including the consideration to replace DfID with a Department for International Trade and Development in order to enable the UK to focus on enhancing trade with the developing world and seek out new investment opportunities in the global race.

In her first statement as the new minister, Ms Patel appears be wanting to shift the focus to more to trade, while keeping the aid promises the UK has already made:

View more on twitter

UN says DR Congo election likely to be delayed

The Democratic Republic of Congo is unlikely to hold a presidential election as scheduled in November, Reuters reports the UN head of mission as saying this morning

"I do not see the elections [taking place] on 27 November," UN mission chief Maman Sidikou told a news conference in the capital, Kinshasa.  

"It is the Congolese who will decide when the elections will take place," he added. 

A delayed election is something that UN experts have warned could trigger violent political unrest.  

President Joseph Kabila is bound by term limits to step down, but opponents accuse him of deliberately delaying the poll to cling to power.

Joseph Kabila
AFP
President Joseph Kabila has been in power since 2001

Top Kenyan banker arrested

Wanyama wa Chebusiri

BBC Africa

Former chief executive officer of the National Bank of Kenya Munir Ahmed has been arrested at Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport as he tried to leave the country. 

Mr Ahmed, who was sacked in April from the bank over claims of financial malpractice, will be appear in court today. 

FGM is 'child abuse'

United Nations Population Fund chief Babatunde Osotimehin has described female genital mutilation as child abuse. 

It's the first time the UN has used that description, normally referring to the practice as a human rights violation. 

In an interview with the BBC Mr Osotimehin said there was absolutely no excuse to cut anybody and the custom should stop. 

More than 200 million women and girls around the world have undergone the procedure, where parts of their genitals are removed.

Poster at anti-FGM rally
AFP

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Welcome to the BBC Africa Live page where we'll be keeping you up-to-date with news stories on the continent.