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  1. Burundian aubergine smugglers 'shot dead in Rwanda'
  2. US imposes sanctions on East Africa's IS chief
  3. Ali Bongo declared Gabon's presidential poll winner by interior minister
  4. Kenya's anti-corruption boss resigns
  5. Ivorian striker Wilfried Bony joins Stoke City
  6. Gabon's Didier Ndong joins Sunderland
  7. Tanzania's main opposition postpones "banned" rallies
  8. New figures show Nigeria's economy is in recession
  9. Kenya's ex-leader Mwai Kibaki discharged from SA hospital
  10. Get Involved: #BBCAfricaLive WhatsApp: +44 7341070844
  11. Email stories and comments to - Wednesday 31 August 2016

Live Reporting

By Hugo Williams and Lucy Fleming

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 Livepage this 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 want the best sweet potato you must dig deeper"

A Kikuyu proverb sent by Bella Mwangi in Nairobi, Kenya

Click here to send us your African proverbs.

And today's top image was snapped by the BBC's John Nene on a recent trip to the Kenyan city of Mombasa. Here's another photo of his showing fun and games on the city's Pirates Beach:

A camel on a Mombasa beach in Kenya

Nigerians' advice to Mark Zuckerberg

Ishaq Khalid

BBC Africa, Bauchi

Nigerians have been using the Facebook founder's visit as an opportunity to express their views on how they think the social network could improve. I asked some people here in the northern city of Bauchi what advice they'd give Mark Zuckerberg:

Bulak Afsa
Bulak Afsa said:

My problem with Facebook is that accounts are easily hacked into - someone gets control of your account and posts things that do not belong to you. I also urge Facebook to regulate pornographic posts and to set an age limit for users and come up with a means of detecting the actual age of users to prevent those underage from using the medium."

Bilyaminu Hassan
Bilyaminu Hassan said:

Identity theft is a big issue that Facebook should look into. Some people use multiple Facebook accounts using different names and profile pictures. In this manner, they commit crimes such as fraud and posting hate comments. I advise Facebook to use a fingerprint capture device when people intend to create new Facebook account. This will check the problem of one person using multiple accounts and address identity theft."

Hafsat Adebayo
Hafsat Adebayo said:

I enjoy using Facebook for connecting with friends but my problem with it is that it sends me unsolicited emails. Sometimes these emails make it difficult to scroll down to find important messages in my inbox and they make my inbox full so quickly."

But one person couldn't think of anything bad to say:

Usman Zubairu
Usman Zubairu said:

I really benefit from Facebook. I use it to connect with friends and loved ones. I also get the latest news through Facebook. As far as I am concerned, Facebook is OK. I welcome Mr Zuckerberg to Nigeria."

Traders close up shop in Kenya's 'Little Mogadishu'

Abdinoor Aden

BBC Africa, Nairobi

The usually bustling district of Eastleigh in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, shut up shop today:

Mall in Eastleigh, Nairobi, Kenya

Shopkeepers complain that hawkers are affecting their business by blocking entrances and are able to undercut them because they don't pay tax. 

People outside a closed mall in Eastleigh, Kenya
Hawkers in Eastleigh, Nairobi, Kenya

Eastleigh – known as Little Mogadishu because of its large Somali community – is one of the biggest trading centres in East Africa and has more than 50 shopping malls.

Traders say the malls will remain closed for three days and a crisis meeting has been ongoing on between hawker representatives, those from Eastleigh’s business community and Nairobi county leaders.

Tear gas fired in Gabon's capital

Riot police in libreville
Police are out in force in Libreville following the announcement of election results

A supporter of opposition candidate Jean Ping has told BBC Focus on Africa radio that the military has fired tear gas to disperse a peaceful march on headquarters of the national electoral commission in Libreville. 

The military stopped supporters of Mr Ping, who lost the presidential poll by fewer than 6,000 votes, from marching forward about an hour ago and they'd been negotiating to be granted passage. 

She says there are thousands of protesters, including many young people, and that black smoke can be seen rising into the skies from people in the suburbs burning tyres. 

The BBC cannot independently verify her statement. 

Protester picks up tear gas cannister in Guinea
Security forces have been firing tear gas to disperse demonstrators

Somali law graduate makes history

Safiyo Jama Gayre

Sixty-year-old Safiyo Jama Gayre has graduated from Puntland State University in Somalia – making history as the institution’s oldest female graduate.

She told the BBC Somali Service she went to study law – and Sharia – in order to help victims of rape and other issues affecting women.

In divorce settlements, it is usually the man who gets everything - but she says her studies showed that this was wrong:

I found no place in our religion to hurt or harm women - therefore this culture must end."

She said that at first she was the butt of friendly jokes from her younger classmates during her four-year course, who fondly called her “grandma”.

But, guess what, I was the first student to submit my thesis."

Footage 'shows Gabon protests'

France 24's citizen journalism platform Les Observateurs has posted video on Twitter that it says it has received from the Gabonese capital, Libreville, where opposition protesters are reportedly clashing with security forces. 

At the end of the clip, the camera zooms in on one protester lying on the ground near to the security forces' frontline. The person taking footage asks whether the man is dead or injured. 

View more on twitter

Read more about Gabon

How do you count Africa's elephants?

The BBC's Christian Parkinson has been doing some number-crunching, looking at the methods and findings of the first pan-African survey of savannah elephants:

Counting Africa's elephants from the air

Nigeria airline Aero Contractors suspends operations

Chris Ewokor

BBC Africa, Abuja

Nigeria’s second-largest commercial airline, Aero Contractors, has announced it will suspend “schedule services” from tomorrow.

It is the third airline to suspend operations in Nigeria: Iberia suspended its route to Africa’s second biggest economy in May, followed by United Airlines the following month.

According to Aero Contractors, the operating environment in Nigeria has hindered any possible progress especially in the last six months when the local currency, the naira, depreciated against the US dollar.

The announcement effectively means the company, which has more than 1,000 staff including engineers and pilots, is closing up shop.

Five years ago Aero Contractors had about 18 aircraft and multiple helicopters, but as of July this year, the fleet comprised only two aircraft.

It mainly flies from Lagos to the capital, Abuja, and to coastal states.

The news comes on the day figures showed Nigeria’s economy had officially slipped into recession.

Gabon opposition refused to validate poll results

An electoral commission member in Gabon holding up a ballot for Ali Bongo

Delegates representing the opposition in Gabon's national electoral commission (Cenap) walked out of the vote count and refused to sign papers validating President Ali Bongo's victory, according to the BBC Afrique reporter in Libreville Charles .

There has been no independent statement from the Cenap, with official results announced by the country's interior minister. 

Read more about the Gabon elections

Algeria's Slimani heading for Leicester medical

John Bennett

BBC World Service

Islam Slimani
Rex Features

The Algeria Football Federation's Instagram page confirms that they have given Islam Slimani permission to go and have a medical at Leicester City:

View more on instagram

Togolese striker Emmanuel Adebayor 'remains a free agent'

BBC Sport reporter tweets

Should Africa's police recruits be put through the lie detector?

Whenever I see a policeman, I run away because he sees me as an ATM."

That's a quote from Tendai Biti, Zimbabwe's finance minister, in an article about whether police recruits in Africa should take lie-detector tests.

Columnist Farai Sevenzo suggests this very proposal by Nigeria's police chief could be expanded across the continent to ensure "acceptable standards", as he says "force is the default setting for African police".

Police in Kenya
Kenya police pictured in May this year...
Police in Zimbabwe
....These are officers in Zimbabwe earlier this month

But Farai wonders whether a polygraph test would seek to find out recruits' sympathy for beaten citizens or their loyalty to police chiefs.

For more read his Letter from Africa: Truth tests

'Clashes in Gabon' after disputed poll results

There have been clashes between security forces and protesters shouting "Ali must go" in Gabon's capital Libreville, soon after the announcement of President Ali Bongo's election victory, AFP news agency reports, whose reporter is at the scene. 

Security forces fired tear gas and smoke grenades to push back protesters who were trying to get close to the headquarters of the national electoral commission, AFP adds. 

Africa's first-ever aerial elephant census

Alastair Leithead

BBC Africa correspondent

The first-ever aerial survey of Africa’s savannah elephants has shown a dramatic reduction in their numbers.

The Great Elephant Census discovered nearly a third of the continent’s elephants – some 144,000 animals – have been killed, mostly by poachers in just a seven-year period. 

For two years small planes have been buzzing across 18 African countries, and the scientists on board have been counting elephants. 

The figures are dramatic: Tanzania lost 60% of its elephants and Mozambique half their elephants in just seven years.

Poachers have struck in Angola and Zambia and are starting to encroach on Botswana, which is seen as their last sanctuary where 40% now live – aware of the dangers elsewhere.

View more on twitter

The census comes to a depressing conclusion: if this continues, half of Africa’s remaining elephants will be gone in just nine years.   

Gabon president wins disputed poll by '5,000 votes'

According to Gabon's official election results, announced in the past half-hour by Interior Minister Pacome Moubelet-Boubeya, incumbent leader Ali Bongo gained 49,80 % of the vote, defeating his main rival Jean Ping, who had 48.23%. 

President Bongo received 177,722 versus 172,128 for Mr Ping, making the margin just more than 5,000 votes.

US imposes sanctions on East Africa's IS chief

The US has imposed sanctions on Abdiqadir Mumin who heads so-called Islamic State (IS) in East Africa, according to a US State Department statement.

It said he was a former recruiter for the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Shabaab group and pledged his allegiance to IS in October.

He has set up his cell in the north-eastern Somali region of Puntland and has expanded it by “kidnapping young boys aged 10 to 15, indoctrinating them, and forcing them to take up militant activity”, the statement said.

Today’s action notifies the US public and the international community that Abdiqadir Mumin is actively engaged in terrorism."

US State Department

BreakingGabon interior minister declares Ali Bongo election victory

Gabon's Presdient Ali Bongo has been declared winner of the presidential election by the country's interior minister, according to the BBC Afrique correspondent in the capital, Libreville. 

More to follow. 

Sunderland sign Gabonese footballer Ndong

Twenty-two-year old Gabonese player Didier Ndong has signed for Premier League club Sunderland, moving from French side Lorient for a fee of 16m euros (£13.5m, $17m).

View more on twitter

Ndong, who joins the Black Cats on a five-year deal, said it was a "beautiful day":

I am very proud and happy to sign for Sunderland. This is a new adventure for me and to play in the Premier League is a dream come true.

Maybe the Sunderland fans don’t know me yet, but I promise that they will quickly discover that I will give everything for them and the club. It will be an honour to wear the Sunderland shirt and I will wear it with a true understanding of what it means."

Nigeria blames oil sector as country slips into recession

militants in a boat automatic weapons in the air
Militant groups in the Niger Delta are blamed for crippling the oil industry

The Nigerian government says that it remains "hopeful" about the trajectory of the country's economy, despite the "temporary decline" in GDP growth, which has pushed Nigeria into recession for the first time in more than a decade. 

Poor growth was "mostly due to a sharp contraction in the oil sector due to huge losses of crude oil production as a result of vandalisation and sabotage", according to a statement from the vice-president's office.

Crude oil sales account for 70% of government income.  

The government also pointed to "growth recorded in the agriculture and solid mineral sectors" as a cause for optimism. 

It added that the forecast for an annual GDP contraction of 1.2% was not as bad as the International Monetary Fund prediction of 1.8%. 

Read more: Why Nigeria's 'Avengers' are crippling the oil sector

How do you put an elephant to sleep?

An African elephant census is out showing that in seven years, 30% of Africa's elephants have disappeared.

At the current rate of decline, half the continent's remaining pachyderms will be gone in just nine years, results from the Great Elephant Census (GEC) show.

Such evidence is gathered from the tracking collars used to follow herds across the last great trans-frontier range in southern Africa.  

But fitting a tracker on a large elephant is a risky operation, as the BBC's Alastair Leithead found out in Botswana. Watch the process... and then listen to the snore:

How to put an elephant to sleep

Read more: Why elephants are seeking refuge in Botswana

South Africa's power blackouts 'are over'

Milton Nkosi

BBC Africa, Johannesburg

Pylons in South Africa
South Africa's power supply problems have badly affected the business sector

South Africa's days of rolling blackouts, locally known as “load-shedding” are over, according to the head of country’s power utility.

Eskom CEO Brian Molefe has just made the announcement to a committee of MPs:

Eskom is on a firm financial and operational footing. Our financial performance has improved with a healthy liquidity position. Generation performance has been stabilised with continued improvement expected. We do not anticipate any load-shedding going forward."

Mr Molefe also denied rumours of corruption at Eskom and emphasised that Africa’s largest power generator is now well positioned to start delivering excess capacity.

South Africa was plunged into darkness in 2008 and again in 2015 when power cuts slowed down productivity, particularly in the mining industry, negatively affecting the country’s economic growth.

How Nigerian company secured millions in investment from Zuckerberg

One of the first places the Facebook founder went on his surprise visit to Nigeria (see earlier posts) was to Andela, a homegrown company that trains coders.

Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan recently invested $24m (£18m) into it through their new multi-billion dollar initiative.

Seni Sulyman, one of the Andela directors has been telling the BBC's Outside Source how they did it:

A Nigerian technology company talks about how they got Facebook investment

Ghanaian winger Atsu goes on loan to Newcastle

John Bennett

BBC World Service

Ghana and Chelsea winger Christian Atsu signing a contract

Ghana and Chelsea winger Christian Atsu has signed for Newcastle on a one-year loan.

I understand that there is an option to buy if Newcastle get promoted.

The 24 year old hasn’t made a first-team appearance for Chelsea but has had loan spells at Everton and Bournemouth.

He spent the second half of last season on loan with the La Liga club Malaga.

Atsu won the player of the tournament award at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.

English Premier League clubs splash out £1bn on new players

Sport graphic
Getty Images

The summer spending spree by English Premier League clubs has exceeded £1bn ($1.3bn) mark for the first time, according to Deloitte’s Sports Business Group.

It's the first time Premier League clubs have spent more than £1bn in a single transfer window, following last year's signing of a record £5bn three-year TV deal, which was 71% higher than the previous one.

Read the latest live updates on transfer deadline day

Ethiopian-Israelis condemn police chief

Roni Alsheich
Roni Alsheich's remarks were described as "intolerable"

Israel's police commissioner has been criticised for suggesting it is natural to suspect Israelis of Ethiopian descent of crimes more than others.

"Ethiopian Jews are Israeli Jews in every way," said Roni Alsheich when asked to address allegations of police violence and racism against them.

But he added:

Studies the world over, without exception, have shown that immigrants are invariably more involved in crime than others, and this should not come as a surprise."

Mr Alsheich nevertheless stressed that he was working to curb "over-policing".

Members of Israel's Ethiopian community, who account for about 130,000 of the country's eight million population, called for the commissioner to be sacked.

The Israel Association for Ethiopian Jews said the remarks were "intolerable" and reinforced "stereotypes that portray all young people from our community as delinquents and criminals".  

Last year, thousands took to the streets to protest against alleged police abuses after a video emerged showing two officers beating an Ethiopian-Israeli soldier.

Protesting Ethiopian-Israelis
Getty Images
Israelis of Ethiopian descent have protested against alleged police abuses

Read the BBC News story for more

Kenya's anti-corruption boss resigns

Abdinoor Aden

BBC Africa, Nairobi

Philip Kinisu
Philip Kinisu was appointed to head the EACC last year

Kenya’s anti-corruption boss has resigned.  

Philip Kinisu, chairman of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), leaves his job a day after a parliamentary committee recommended his removal because of a conflict of interest. 

The EACC was due to investigate alleged corruption at Kenya’s National Youth Service (NYS), which is funded by the government.

But a company that Mr Kinisu owns is alleged to have had dealings the NYS. 

MPs had asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to establish a tribunal to facilitate his removal.

Mr Kinisu, a former African chairman for PwC who was appointed EACC head last November, maintained his innocence in his resignation letter, and said the focus needed to be on corruption not him:

To ensure that due attention is paid to the fight against corruption, I have today decided to tender my resignation to the president."

His exit makes him the shortest-serving boss of the anti-graft agency - though three of his predecessors left in similar circumstances.

The EACC is facing public criticism over it perceived failure to take action against corrupt officials.

Here's a copy of his resignation letter, sent to newsrooms today:

Resignation letter

Late Chelsea off for Kone?

Phil McNulty

BBC Sport chief football writer

Sunderland manager David Moyes personally vetoed an £18m ($23.6m) bid from Everton for powerful central defender Lamine Kone, who has been outstanding since his £6m move from Lorient in January, despite the Ivory Coast international being keen on the move.

The Toffees remain interested and will try their luck again - and will perhaps hope Moyes relents as deadline approaches.

And, as they struggle to sign a central defender, might Chelsea even be tempted?

What's Up Africa: Blame patients for bad healthcare?

In some public health services in Africa there is a lack of drugs, beds and personnel, but who is to blame? Satirist Ikenna Azuike has an idea.

He's in Malawi and says it is neither the government's nor the health workers' fault - people should start blaming the patients.

What's Up Africa: Blame patients for bad healthcare?

Bony thanks Man City fans

Ivory Coast's Bony joins Stoke City

First big signing by a Premier League club today as Ivorian Wilfried Bony joins Stoke City from Manchester City on loan for the season.  

View more on twitter

Burundian aubergine smugglers 'shot dead in Rwanda'

Prime Ndikumagenge

BBC Africa, Bujumbura, Burundi

Aubergines farmers in have been hit by the trade ban

Two Burundian aubergine smugglers were shot dead last night on the Rwandan side of the border, Burundi’s police spokesman, Pierre Nkurikiye, has said.

He tweeted that the incident happened at around 03:40 local time near the border post of Ruhwa, and named the men as Fidele Niyonkuru and Jeremie Nyabenda.

In July, Burundi banned public transport and all trade in food with Rwanda on security grounds.

Aubergine and tomato farmers in the north-western Cibitoke province have been severely affected by the decision as they sold a lot of their produce in Rwanda. 

Relations between Burundi and Rwanda have deteriorated over the last year, with Bujumbura accusing Kigali of hosting the May 2015 coup plotters and offering material and military training to Burundians living in refugee camps in Rwanda.

Tension as Gabon opposition candidate 'disputes unofficial results'

Jean Ping
Jean Ping is the former head of the African Union commission

As voters in Gabon await presidential election results (see earlier post) the main opposition challenger has demanded a recount, following unofficial reports of a victory for incumbent President Ali Bongo, Reuters news agency reports. 

Jean Ping's camp are challenging a reported 99.9% turnout in Haut Ogooue province, Reuters adds, quoting a spokesperson. 

Haut Ogooue is the heartland of Mr Bongo's Teke ethnic group, the AFP news agency reports.

European Union monitors have called for Gabon to publish "detailed results" for every polling station and urged all actors to help keep the peace, in a statement released on Wednesday.

Ali Bongo
Ali Bongo is standing for a second term

Read more: Can Gabon's opposition unseat Bongo?

Facebook founder's Nigeria visit puts tech scene 'on the map'

A surprise visit to Nigeria by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has been making a big impact on social media, with his name trending on Twitter across the country. 

For the first stop on his two-day tour, he visited a Lagos-based technology hub. 

Tech entrepreneurs there have been telling the BBC why his visit was such a promising sign for the future:

What young Nigerian entrepreneurs made of Mark Zuckerberg's surprise visit to Lagos

Ahead of his a town hall Q&A session with developers and entrepreneurs (watch live here now), Mr Zuckerberg has also been pictured out jogging on the streets of Lagos: 

View more on twitter

Zimbabwe 'shutdown' flops

A call by Zimbabwean activists for a national “shutdown” appears to have flopped, as one local journalist reports:

View more on twitter

Opponents of the country’s veteran President, Robert Mugabe had called for a nationwide stay-at-home protest.

Activists under the banner Tajamuka, meaning "we strongly disagree", called for the shutdown to denounce the 92-year-old leader's government as brutal and plunderous.

Tajamuka spokesman Promise Mkwananzi was among nearly 70 people arrested during protests in the capital, Harare, last Friday. Their bail hearings are ongoing.  

A one-day stay away organised in July led to a complete shutdown of schools, businesses and shops across the country. Its success may have been boosted because of a row over delayed payments of civil servants' salaries at the time. 

One tweeter suggests a shutdown needs to be supported by minibus drivers for it to work:

#ZimShutDown is unattainable if public transport is on the move! First one worked becoz kombis were also on strike…

A Zimbabwean publisher, who backed the shutdown, told his more than 60,000 followers on Twitter to take heart:

View more on twitter

There has been increasing unrest in Zimbabwe in response to worsening economic conditions and government plans to reintroduce local banknotes.  

Read more: Behind the protests

Tanzania opposition postpones rallies

A BBC reporter has tweeted that Tanzania's opposition is not going ahead with nationwide rallies tomorrow:

View more on twitter

The party has called them to protest at infringements on freedom of expression and democracy in Tanzania since President John Magufuli came to power last year. 

His government has barred public and in-door political meetings in the country. 

Earlier this week, several Chadema politicians were briefly detained at a meeting to plan the demonstrations.

Tunisian dawn raid 'finds suicide belt'

Tunisian police killed two suspected Islamist militants, seizing arms and an explosive belt prepared for suicide attacks, Reuters news agency quotes the interior minister as saying.

The operation took place during a dawn raid in a Karma town in west-central Kasserine Province following an earlier ambush on an army patrol, it said.

Al-Qaeda-linked militants are based in the remote mountains bordering Algeria and often carry out attacks on military patrols and checkpoints, using nearby towns and villages in Kasserine province for smuggling supplies and hideouts, Reuters reports.

Mount Mghilla in Kasserine Province, Tunisia
The militants use the mountains bordering Algeria as hideouts

Slow birth rate found in African forest elephants

Rebecca Morelle

Science correspondent, BBC News

Forest elephants
Andrea Turkalo
Scientists found that forest elephants start to breed at around the age of 23

African forest elephants have an extremely slow birth rate, putting them under greater pressure from poaching, research suggests.

Scientists have found that the animals start to breed at a later age and with longer intervals between calves than other elephant species.

The researchers say it means it could take decades for this species to recover from recent dramatic declines.

The study is published in the Journal of Applied Ecology.

Prof George Wittemyer, from Colorado State University, US, and the chair of the scientific board of Save the Elephants, said: "I don't think any of us realised how sensitive this species was.

The basic biology of this species is designed for a system where they grow slowly, where they increase in number slowly, and the pressure we're putting on them to harvest ivory is simply too much for them to bear

Prof George Wittemyer

Read the BBC Science story for more.

Ebola gravediggers offered group therapy

The recent Ebola epidemic in West Africa was the world's worst outbreak of the disease. 

Burying bodies safely was an important part of halting the spread of the virus which is passed on by direct contact with bodily fluids – and a dead body is even more contagious. 

Watch two of more than 500 ordinary Sierra Leoneans who volunteered to bury Ebola victims, describe how their lives have been changed by the epidemic: 

Ebola gravediggers look to the future

Gabon voters left hanging...

Abdourahmane Dia

BBC Afrique

Gabon opposition supporter sleeps sitting on a chair backwards, head resting in his arms

It's been a long night for some voters in Gabon, who stayed up in vain waiting for election results to be announced. 

Gabon's electoral commission finally convened this morning to start collating results from different parts of the country. 

This meeting should have taken place yesterday evening. 

Official results are now a day late for the poll. 

Meanwhile, the spokesman for President Ali Bongo, who is looking to extend his family's decades-long hold on power, has denounced "the interference of foreign powers".

He accused the French Socialist Party of President Francois Hollande of siding with leading opposition candidate Jean Ping and wanting to interfere with the Gabonese electoral process.

Mr Hollande's party put out a statement two days ago saying that "a change in power would be a a sign of good will and a good example".

And Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara has sacked an adviser accused of meddling in Gabon's election process. 

Armoured Personnel Vehicles on the motorway in Libreville
There was a heavy military presence in the capital, Libreville, on Tuesday