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Summary

  1. Malawi churches soften opposition to abortion
  2. 'Shooting and stabbing' near US embassy in Kenya
  3. US firm in 'big' oil discovery in Nigeria
  4. Gunmen 'abduct about 30 children' in South Sudan
  5. Eritrean fighter pilots 'defect' to arch-enemy Ethiopia
  6. South Africa's president 'dozes off ' during budget speech
  7. Islamic State militants 'withdraw' from Red Sea town
  8. Get Involved: #BBCAfricaLive WhatsApp: +44 7341070844
  9. Email stories and comments to africalive@bbc.co.uk - Thursday 27 October 2016

Live Reporting

By Damian Zane 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:

Consistency enables you to achieve your goals."

A Bemba proverb sent by Marcel Siwila, Lusaka, Zambia.

And we leave you with this photo Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon with Kenyan children who sang at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh today: 

Scotland"s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon trys on a headpiece with the "Singing Children of Africa" from Kenya after they sang at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh during a visit to Scotland.
PA

New one billion barrel oil field found off Nigeria

US oil company ExxonMobil says it has made a "significant discovery" of oil off the coast of Nigeria.

In a tweet it says it could yield up to one billion barrels of oil.

View more on twitter

ExxonMobil operates the Owowo oil field, where the discovery was made, and owns just over a quarter of it, the AP news agency reports.

It adds that Nigeria's state oil company holds the majority share. 

A worker inspect facilities on an upstream oil drilling platform
AFP
Nigeria's economy is heavily reliant on the proceeds from the oil industry

Rebels have carried out a spate of attacks on oil facilities in Nigeria to demand that poor communities benefit from the oil wealth. 

Malawi churches back abortion in certain circumstances

Joab Frank Chakhaza

BBC Africa

The Malawi Council of Churches (MCC) has told BBC Focus on Africa that it is backing an amendment of the country's abortion law in Malawi so that a termination can be allowed in certain circumstances.

They include a threat to a woman’s health, a pregnancy resulting from rape, incest or defilement or where there is severe malformation of the foetus.  

The MCC, the country's largest grouping of churches representing Catholics and Protestants, said it was supporting the change because of the high number of Malawian women dying in an attempt to abort a pregnancy using unsafe procedures. 

Secretary General Gilford Matonga said the MCC remained opposed to abortion on demand.

The MCC has, however, received criticism from some religious institutions which remain strongly opposed to the amendment.

The changes await parliamentary approval. 

Currently, abortion is punishable by law and attracts a maximum of 14 years imprisonment.

Women pray during Sunday service at Mofolo Woyera church
Getty Images
Malawi is a deeply religious society and most people are Christian

Britain's 'most influential black person'

British Nigerian Tom Ilube has just been named Britain's most influential black person by a panel of British experts of African and Caribbean heritage.

He's a cyber security expert, philanthropist and educator who set up the Gifted Foundation to help change the lives of children. 

In Ghana he opened the African Science Academy - a science and technology school for girls only.

He told BBC Focus On Africa's Audrey Brown how he reacted when he won the award - ahead of people like the Olympian Mo Farah and Formula One racing driver Lewis Hamilton  

Kenya investigates whether killed man had accomplices

Unidentified U.S. Embassy personnel and Kenyan security forces stand near to the body, right, of a man who was killed outside the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016
AP
The embassy is in an upmarket suburb

Kenyan police are investigating whether the knife-wielding man shot dead by a guard outside the US embassy in the capital, Nairobi, had accomplices, local police chief Vitalis Otieno has said, AFP news agency reports.

Mr Otieno said the man was a 24-year-old Kenyan, but he did not name him. 

He had stabbed a Kenyan officer and was then shot in the head by another officer, Mr Otieno said, AFP reports. 

Five US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) officers were at the scene of the shooting, along with about a dozen Kenyan officers, the news agency adds.

Kenyan police spokesman George Kinoti had described the man as a "lone criminal", but said investigations were continuing. 

See earlier post for more details

How many Africans live in the US?

Many people, from all over Africa, have emigrated to the United States and now live across the country.

BBC News takes a look at where they came from, and where they live now.

How many Africans live in the US?

Rebels 'abduct 30 children' in South Sudan

A group of around 150 armed rebels have abducted at least 30 children after they attacked two schools in South Sudan's Amadi state, the state governor Joseph Ngere has told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme.

He said the men were part of the SPLM-IO group of ousted Vice-President Riek Machar.

Mr Ngere said around 300 children were at the two schools and many fled into the bushes.

The attack happened on Monday, but the governor said he only learnt of the incident on Wednesday.

There has been no comment from Mr Machar.

South Sudan's rebel leader Riek Machar gestures as he holds a press conference in Kampala on January 26, 2016
AFP
Riek Machar fled the capital, Juba, in July after soldiers loyal to him clashed with those loyal to President Salva Kiir

Man killed outside US embassy in Kenya was 'criminal'

The knife-wielding man shot dead outside the US embassy in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, was a "loan criminal", police spokesman George Kinoti has said, Reuters news agency reports. 

A Kenyan police officer shot him dead after he came under attack, he added.

The motive for the attack in unclear and investigations are under way, Mr Kinoti said, Reuters reports. 

See earlier posts for more details

Lennon returned MBE over Britain's involvement in Biafra

A letter to the Queen of England from British musician John Lennon explaining that he was returning his MBE award because of Britain's involvement in Nigeria's Biafra conflict has been valued at $73,000 (£60,000).

The letter, believed to be a draft of the one that was actually sent in 1969, was discovered in an old record sleeve.

Lennon was one of the four members of The Beatles, who all received the MBE in 1965.

The letter reads: "I am returning this MBE in protest against Britain's involvement in the Nigeria-Biafra thing, against our support of America in Vietnam and against Cold Turkey slipping down the charts."  

Talking to the press in 1969 Lennon was more specific:

View more on youtube

He said the return of the MBE was:

A protest against violence and war especially Britain's involvement in Biafra, which most of the British public aren't aware of because all the press, TV and radios slant all the news from Biafra. And all this stuff I learnt from journalists off the cuff folks is a different story and I began to be ashamed of being British."

From 1967 the British government gave support to the Nigerian government in its fight against the Biafran separatist rebels.

It's thought that a million Biafrans died during the conflict from 1967 to 1970 mostly from starvation.

Man killed outside US Nairobi embassy was 'Kenyan'

The man shot dead outside the US embassy in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, was a Kenyan, local police chief Vitalis Otieno is quoted by the Associated Press news agency reports.

Police knew the identity of the man and he came from the north-eastern Wajir region, Mr Otieno said, AP reports.

 The embassy is in Nairobi's upmarket Gigiri suburb, opposite the main UN complex. 

Kenyan paramilitary officer in shooting near US embassy

A member of Kenya's paramilitary General Services Unit (GSU) shot dead a man near the US embassy in the capital, Narrobi, after he came under attack, local police chief Vitalis Otieno has said, AFP news agency is reporting. 

He added that the GSU officer, who was guarding the embassy, had sustained stab wounds. 

Mr Otieno said the dead man had been walking towards the embassy and was close to the entrance to the visa section when he attempted to grab a gun from one of the officers, AFP reports.

One local newspaper is sharing a picture from the scene that some may find upsetting:

View more on twitter

US embassy in Nairobi confirms shooting

The US embassy in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, has tweeted about the shooting near its building:

View more on twitter

Journalists are reporting that someone was shot dead.

'Stabbing and shooting' at US embassy in Kenya

The man shot dead outside the US embassy in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, had stabbed an officer, forcing police to open fire, police are quoted by AFP news agency as saying. 

See earlier post for more details

Man shot dead outside US embassy in Kenya

A man has been shot dead outside the US embassy in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, following a "confrontation" with officers guarding the building, AFP news agency is quoting policce as saying.

Heavily armed policemen have been deployed to the scene and part of the road has been sealed off, Kenya's privately owned Capital News reports on its site

It quotes its reporter Joseph Muraya as saying that a man with a bullet wound to the head is lying outside the entrance of the embassy's visa section. 

We will bring you more details as they come in.

Baking behind bars: Senegal second chance for inmates

The Baker will provide bread for inmates
AFP
Inmates in the Liberty 6 prison in Dakar will be baking their own fresh bread

Officials in Senegal have inaugurated a bakery in a prison to provide inmates with fresh bread and the opportunity of a future career in baking, BBC Afrique reports.

The facility in the Liberte 6 prison in Dakar, the capital, is branded as the Rehabilitation Bakery and is meant to help prisoners return to a normal life at the end of their sentence

One prisoner hailed the initiative, telling BBC Afrique: 

I have been a baker since a tender age. I did that job for 15 years. I am here in prison out of bad luck. With this bakery, I can do my job again; even from behind bars."

Pope 'accepts invitation to South Sudan'

South Sudanese religious leaders are saying that Pope Francis has accepted an invitation to visit their country to preach peace, the Reuters news agency is reporting.

Along with Catholic leaders, Rev Peter Gai Lual Marrow from South Sudan's Presbyterian Church held talks with the Pope and told Reuters that "in principle he really wants to come".

It adds that Pope Francis now needs a formal invitation from the government.

South Sudan has been embroiled in a civil war since December 2013, which has killed thousands of people and displaced hundreds of thousands of others.

Lat year's peace deal fell apart after clashes between rival factions in the capital, Juba, in July.

Pope Francis addresses Kenyan youth at Kasarani stadium in Nairobi on November 27, 2015
afp
Pope Francis visited Uganda, Kenya and the Central African Republic last year

Plus-size models strut their stuff on Lagos catwalk

Stephanie Hegarty

BBC Africa, Lagos

Lagos Fashion & Design Week is in town and has set up shop in a long, dark, ice-cool tunnel on the ever-chic Victoria Island. The buzz last night was as palpable as the long line of traffic queuing up to get inside.

Like any good fashion week they made the fashion gang wait and like any good event in Lagos the wait wasn’t brief. 

Three hours after kick-off the crowd was flagging but they perked up pretty quickly as the music blasted and beautiful elk-like beings began stalking the catwalk. 

They murmured in approval to sheer dresses, draping collars and plunging necklines that would be as at home in London as in Lagos, considering them studiously.

But then the crowd broke out in wild shrieks as soon as plus-size models hit the catwalk. 

Three designers had dressed them, in association with website #AboutThatCurvyLife, and the crowd loved it. 

They hurled whoops of encouragement at the models. But these ladies didn’t need it. They stormed down the catwalk flaunting not only the clothes but the curves beneath them.

Plus-size models on the catwalk in Lagos
AFP
Plus-size models in Lagos
AFP

Designer Aisha Abubakar Achonu told the AFP news agency:

Our culture appreciates plus size more than other parts of the world... No woman should be subjected to looking a certain way."

The show was inspired by Latasha Ngwube, a former journalist who became tired of seeing skinny girls on the Lagos catwalk. 

It started with a hashtag and now she runs a website that supports and encourages plus-size women - and men too.   

New Ghana law to ensure swift transfer of power

Outgoing ministers in Ghana could be forcibly evicted from their official residences if they fail to move out in time, under new laws.

Ministers and other government officials are being given a three-month deadline to hand over state-owned homes and vehicles, from the date of the new president's inauguration.

The law targets presidential appointees who try to cling on to the perks of office after a new leader is elected.

Ghana is due told presidential and parliamentary elections on 7 December.

After previous transfers of power, some officials have had to be forcibly evicted and had their state-owned vehicles seized after failing to hand them back.

The law does not apply to presidents and vice-presidents as we earlier reported.

 Ghana's current leader John Mahama is standing for re-election and his main opponent is Nana Akufo-Addo. The winner is expected to be inaugurated on 7 January.  

Supporter of Ghana's opposition party
AFP
Supporters of Ghana's opposition are hoping the victory of their man in December will force top politicians to move out of their official homes

Senegalese cleric escapes jail despite guilty verdict

A Muslim cleric in Senegal has escaped a custodial sentence after being found guilty in connection with posting a video on Facebook which condemned elders of the powerful Mouride sect. 

Cheikh Mbacke Sakho was given a six-month suspended sentence for what prosecutors called an "insult against a whole community, through electronic means”.

The Mouride sect, which belongs to the Sufi branch of Islam, has a huge following in Senegal, giving it political and economic clout in the mostly Muslim country. 

Mr Sakho belongs to the sect, and the AFP news agency reports that he caused anger last month when he alleged in a video that Mouride elders "swindled" their followers, and took money from Muslims to advance their business interests.   

The leaders of the Mouride community denied the allegations and warned that his comments could cause public unrest. 

Those who defended him, mostly online and anonymously, said Mr Sakho had only exercised his right to freedom of speech. 

Mr Sakho was not in court in the capital, Dakar, when the sentence was given.  His lawyer said he feared being physically attacked.

A street vendor sells images of local Mourides religious leaders, including the founder of the brotherhood Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba Macke, near the grand mosque in Touba
AFP
The sect has its headquarters in Senegal's Touba city

Read: Islam's mystical entrepreneurs

In pictures: Senegal's Mouride Islamic sect

Chad plans move to become federal state

Chad president, Idriss Deby
AFP
Under the proposed changes President Idriss Deby would govern a federal state

Chad could become a federal state if proposed constitutional reforms are introduced, BBC Afrique reports.

Chad is currently a unitary state, but President Idriss Deby ordered a commission to move quickly towards implementing reforms that will introduce a new form of government.

A coalition of political parties under the leadership of Chad's veteran opposition leader Ngarledji Yorongar has long been vocal in demanding a federal system. 

He has argued that Chad, which is a geographically vast country, cannot be governed from the capital, N'Djamena, alone.

But the commission in charge of pushing through the reforms has not given a role to any known opposition figure.

The reforms will re-introduce presidential term limits which were removed by Mr Deby in a previous constitutional amendment.

'Nearly 1.5 million' face hunger in Madagascar

Mary Harper

Africa editor, BBC World Service

Vontana, a farmer, harvests peanuts on the dry lands of the 'Avenue of the Baobabs', a famous natural reserve in western Madagascar, near Morondava, on November 7, 2011
AFP
The Indian Ocean island is experiencing crop failures

The UN says nearly 1.5 million people in southern Madagascar are facing hunger because of a severe drought, exacerbated by the El Nino weather phenomenom. 

The UN food agency said the maize crop in the region of Androy was down by 80% this year

Other staples, including cassava, are also in short supply. People are trying to cope by consuming seeds and selling their farm tools and animals.   

Read more: Grappling with drought in South Africa

South Sudan in 105 seconds

South Sudan is the world's youngest country and much of its recent history, both before and since independence, has been characterised by violence, as this BBC video shows:

South Sudan in 105 seconds

DR Congo arrests Rwandan rebel

Memorial for genocide victims in Rwanda
AFP
Around 800,000 people were killed during the 1994 genocide

A Rwandan Hutu rebel commander wanted for atrocities committed on Congolese soil has been arrested in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Habyarimana Mucebo, a senior member of the Rwandan FDLR rebel group, was captured in Rutshuru, north-eastern DR Congo.

Members of the FDLR fled into DR Congo after the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

The slaughter of some 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus sparked years of unrest in the region.

Mr Mucebo, the FDLR intelligence chief, has been taken into custody for interrogation, the army says.

Most senior figures of the group are wanted by Rwanda for their alleged role in the 1994 killings.

Mr Mucebo's arrest is not linked to genocide charges as initially reported.

Congolese officials accuse him of links to atrocities blamed on the FDLR.

Read the full BBC story here

Zuma asks for 'court case to be delayed'

President Jacob Zuma addresses a press conference after his dismissal as Deputy President by then President Thabo Mbeki in Cape Town, South Africa June 14, 2005
Reuters
Mr Zuma has been dogged by allegations of corruption for more than a decade

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma has asked for a postponement of a court hearing, aimed at blocking the release of a report by the country's top anti-corruption body, as he needed more time to prepare for the case, the local BusinessLive news site reports.

Mr Zuma's request came after a former MP from the governing African National Congress (ANC), Vytjie Mentor, intervened in the case to oppose Mr Zuma's bid to block the report's release. 

The public protector's office had investigated allegations that the president had an improper relationship with the wealthy Gupta family.

Ms Mentor alleged earlier this year that a member of the family had offered her a ministerial post in exchange for business favours. 

The Guptas and Mr Zuma denied all wrongdoing. 

Mr Zuma had asked for more time to respond to Ms Mentor's intervention in the case, BusinessLive reports.  

The public protector's office has withheld releasing the report, pending the outcome of the court case. 

Read: South Africa's corruption crusader

Malawi police warned about on duty WhatsApp use

Chipiliro Kansilanga

BBC World Service

Screen grab of news headline
Daily Times

Malawi's police chief has cautioned that there will be consequences for police officers who use WhatsApp and other social media platforms while on duty, the DailyTimes newspaper reports.

Inspector General Lexten Kachama said he was worried that some police officers, particularly newly recruited "young girls", were disregarding their duties and spending time on their mobile phones instead.

He said there will be consequences if the trend continued.

The paper quotes him as saying:

Some of them spend a lot of time on WhatsApp and [playing] games, exposing themselves and the people they are supposed to protect… this must stop forthwith because it is creating a bad image for the service.”

The child behind the memes

Sometimes the expression on someone's face in a picture encapsulates a feeling so well that it gets shared in hundreds of memes.

A picture of a young African school child has been doing the rounds recently:

View more on instagram
Boy writing a message
Nairaland

But who is he?

Step forward Chicago-based artist Solomon Adufah who said he took the picture in Ghana at an art project he was running, and the boy is called Jake.

Mr Adufah has said on Instagram that the image was captured just after "each kid received a brand new set of crayons, pencils, toys and other wonderful goodies. The expressions on their faces were heartfelt".

View more on instagram

The artist has used the opportunity to try and raise money for an education charity.

Read more: The sceptical Third World child meme

African migrants 'missing' after boat sinks

BBC World Service

The Libyan navy says about 100 migrants are missing after their boat ran into trouble on its way to Europe. 

The navy said it was able to rescue only 20 survivors, who were from various African countries. 

Their rubber dinghy set off from Garabulli, east of the Libyan capital, Tripoli. 

It sank on Wednesday after being battered by high waves. 

The UN says 2016 is now the deadliest year for migrants crossing the Mediterranean to Europe, with more than 3,800 people killed.

A handout picture provided by the Spanish Army Mayor Staff (AJEMA) showing the rescue of around 703 immigrants by the fragate "Navarr" close to the Libyan coast, 25 October 2016.
EPA
Many Africans make the treacherous journey in the hope of a better life in Europe

Read: How are the ages of child migrants verified? 

Calls to free Nigerian woman held in Japan

BBC World Service

Rights groups in Japan are calling for the release of a Nigerian woman who is being held in solitary confinement after her asylum request was rejected. 

Elizabeth Aruoriwo Obueza was detained two weeks ago after the authorities dismissed her claim that she needed to stay in Japan to avoid religious persecution at home. 

Since then, she has spent more than 22 hours a day in a small cell. 

Japan rejected 99% of asylum requests last year, accepting 27 refugees. 

Ms Obueza's lawyer has told the BBC that she is being targeted by the authorities because she petitioned the Japanese government for better conditions for asylum seekers.

Eritrea denies pilots have defected to Ethiopia

Mary Harper

Africa editor, BBC World Service

Eritrea's information minister has dismissed as "rubbish" allegations that two Eritrean pilots have defected to arch-enemy Ethiopia. 

Yemane Ghebremeskal told me that this is not the first time that the Red Sea Afar Democratic Organisation has made such false allegations.

See earlier post for more details 

Eritrean fighter pilots 'defect to Ethiopia'

Two fighter pilots from Eritrea have defected to Ethiopia, an Eritrean opposition group has told the Associated Press news agency.

Nasredin Ahmed Ali, spokesman for the Ethiopia-based Red Sea Afar Democratic Organisation is quoted as saying:"The two pilots flew their small-sized fighter jets to Mekelle [northern Ethiopia] on Wednesday morning."

He also named the pilots and described them as very experienced.

AP also quotes a resident in Mekelle saying that Ethiopian jets were flying over head in an unusual pattern on Wednesday.

Ethiopia and Eritrea fought a border war from 1998 to 2000, but there are no diplomatic relations between the two as the peace deal which ended the conflict has not been fully implemented.

Neither government has commented on the reported defection.

This picture taken 19 November 2005 shows an Ethiopian soldier on duty on one of the observation posts
AFP
The countries' contested common border has not been fully demarcated, despite an international ruling on its exact location

Is the CFA currency bad for the African countries using it?

The CFA is used in 12 African countries
AFP
The CFA is used in 12 countries across central and West Africa

The 12 African countries who are using the CFA currency, which is pegged to the euro and guaranteed by France, are sabotaging their own economies, French economist Bruno Tinel suggests in a piece for the Jeune Afrique newspaper

The CFA currency is a controversial colonial legacy which former UN Deputy Secretary General Carlos Lopez described last month as an outdated monetary mechanism. 

Mr Tinel and three African economists co-wrote Emancipating Africa from Monetary Servitude, a book out this month which makes the point that the CFA is not fit for purpose. 

Mr Tinel writes in his piece for Jeune Afrique: 

The pegging to the euro does not appropriately address the monetary needs for development in the CFA zone."

He says the problem is that the CFA, being a strong currency, means that imports are cheap and exports are expensive, making it difficult to encourage home-grown industries.

So these countries are locked into a cycle of providing raw materials rather than adding value to them.

Nigeria's ex-first lady 'sues for $200m'

Nigerian President and presidential candidate of the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) Goodluck Jonathan (L) looks at notes as his wife Patience addresses an election rally in Port Harcourt, in the Niger Delta region, on January 28, 2015.
AFP
Patience Jonathan's husband was voted out of office last year

Nigeria's former First Lady Patience Jonathan is suing the anti-corruption agency for $200m (£160m) for freezing some of her bank accounts, the private Vanguard newspaper reports.  

She has filed court papers, demanding that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) unfreeze the accounts and pay her compensation for infringing on her rights. 

About 100 women protested outside the High Court in the main city, Lagos, to show their support for Mrs Jonathan. 

The EFCC froze some of her accounts on 22 September as it investigated allegations of money-laundering against her. Reports at the time said that $15m had been frozen.  

She has denied any wrongdoing.  

The judge set 7 December for hearing her case against the EFCC. 

Last year, her husband Goodluck Jonathan became the first sitting president in Nigeria to give up power voluntarily after losing elections. 

His successor Muhammadu Buhari won the poll on a promise to tackle corruption. 

Read: Nigeria in profile 

Two-month night time curfew in north-east Kenya

The Kenyan authorities have introduced a dusk-to-dawn curfew in parts of Mandera county, the site of an attack on a guesthouse on Tuesday in which 12 people were killed.

A notice, signed by Interior Minister Joseph Nkaisserry, said that during the curfew people should "remain indoors" from 6.30pm to 6.30am.

Curfew announcement
Kenya Government

Presidents caught dozing on camera

We've posted an entry on images which appear to show South Africa's President Jacob Zuma dozing in parliament, but he is not the only African head of state caught with their eyes closed.

It's happened to Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, in power since 1980, on a number of occasions.

In April this year he appeared to briefly nod off during a press conference in Japan with Prime Minister Prime Minister Shinzo Abe:

View more on youtube

In September 2012, a photographer caught him with his eyes closed during a meeting of the UN General Assembly in New York:

Robert Mugabe
AFP

In 2014, Ugandan TV station NTV suggested that President Yoweri Museveni, in power since 1986, was napping in parliament, the Guardian newspaper reported at the time.

The station said he has his eyes closed.

A government spokesman said that he was in fact meditating. NTV was temporarily banned form covering presidential events.

Al-Shabab 'kills alleged Ethiopian collaborators'

BBC Monitoring

News from around the globe

Al-Shabab fighters have killed two civilians in Somalia's south-western Tiyeglow town after they seized it following the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops on Wednesday, the privately owned Somali Dhacdo.com website is reporting.

The militant Islamist group accused the two men of working with Ethiopian and Somali troops.

Reports say hundreds of families have fled the town after al-Shabab's seizure of it.

MP Mohamed Isack Hussein, who hails from Tiyeglow, said most residents fled to areas in Hiiraan, Bay and Bakool regions.

See earlier post for more details

Kenya 'arrest' over hotel attack

Those killed were staying in this guest house
BBC
Those killed were staying in this hotel

Kenyan police have arrested the 21-year-old caretaker of the hotel where 12 people were killed in an attack claimed by militant Isalmist group al-Shabab on Tuesday, the private Daily Nation newspaper reports.

Abdirahman Ali is suspected to have aided the attackers during their raid on the hotel in north-easter Mandera town, it quotes the anti-terrorism unit as saying.

He has not yet commented on the allegation. 

The anti-terrorism police are seeking a court order to continue holding Mr Ali as detectives carry on with their investigations, the Daily Nation reports. 

Read: Why is al-Shabab targeting Kenya?

Nigeria urges Emirates Airline not to cut flights

The Emirates Airbus A380 registration A6-EDP lands at Munich Airport Franz Joseph Strauss on November 25, 2011 in Munich, Germany.
AFP

Nigeria has appealed to Emirates Airline not to stop flying from Dubai to the capital, Abuja, saying it was trying to deal with a currency crisis and fuel shortages that have hit a number of airlines' operations.

Last week, Emirates said it would suspend its four times a week service between Dubai and Abuja from 30 October.

Nigeria's Minister of State for Aviation Hadi Sirika said he had told an Emirates West African executive that the government was aware of the challenges facing airlines and was working hard to resolve them, Reuters news agency reports.

Zuma 'caught napping' in parliament

In South Africa, all attention yesterday was focused on what Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan had to say in parliament.

With the economy under pressure, questions over education funding and the finance minister himself embroiled in a political row, Mr Gordhan's mini-budget statement was eagerly awaited.

But this morning, South Africans are waking up to the news that President Jacob Zuma may have nodded off during the minister's lengthy statement.

The Times Live news website reckons that he was dozing:

View more on youtube

Others are coming up with alternative explanations:

View more on twitter

And the Rand Daily Mail news site has five possible interpretations:

  • I was checking my Twitter timeline
  • My ear was itchy, I was rubbing it on my shoulder
  • I was trying to listen to what ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu was muttering under his breath behind me
  • I concentrate better when my eyes are closed
  • Sleep is just an alternative state of consciousness.

On the video from parliament's You Tube channel Mr Zuma is shown as being awake just over a minute later. 

(Go to one hour 13 minutes 13 seconds to see him with his eyes closed and then one hour 14 minutes and 53 seconds to see him awake.)

His office has not yet commented on the reports. 

IS 'pulls out' of Red Sea town

BBC Monitoring

News from around the globe

This picture taken on September 1, 2016, in Nairobi shows a computer screen displaying the portrait of Somali-born cleric Abdulqadir Mumin, accused of heading the Islamic State group in East Africa.
AFP
Sheikh Abdiqadir Mumin leads IS in Somalia

Fighters from the militant Islamic State (IS) group have withdrawn from the ancient Red Sea town of Qandala in Somalia's semi-autonomous region of Puntland, a day after capturing it, residents have told the respected privately owned Dhacdo website. 

Puntland's forces had started an operation to flush out the militants but it is unclear whether this led to their withdrawal. 

A large number of residents fled their homes on Wednesday after the fighters entered the town. 

The leader of IS in Somalia, Sheikh Abdiqadir Mumin, was seen in the town on Wednesday, holding talks with the local traditional elders. 

The group hoisted the IS flag in the town's administrative headquarters and the main police station, according to a local official. 

The US put Mr Mumin on a sanctions list in September because of his militant Islamist activities. 

 A year ago, a group of Puntland fighters in the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group pledged allegiance to IS.

Read: Al-Shabab wants IS to back off in Somalia