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Summary

  1. Nigeria advises against any non-urgent travel to the US
  2. Deadly Zambia church stampede over food
  3. Trump order: Libyans, Somalis and Sudanese banned
  4. Nigerian ex-governor jailed for five years
  5. South Sudanese general sets up rebel group
  6. Zimbabwe deal over Christmas bonuses
  7. Body of UK farmer killed in Kenya recovered
  8. Limpopo River bursts it banks in Mozambique
  9. DR Congo burial of Tshisekedi postponed
  10. Brain surgery for anti-apartheid hero Ahmed Kathrada
  11. Liberia calls for boycott of street sellers
  12. SA spokesperson refuses to speak English
  13. Nigeria's ex-President Jonathan denies he rejected UK offer to rescue Chibok girls
  14. Ghana celebrates 60 years of freedom from colonial rule
  15. Mali tracks cross-border attackers
  16. Email stories and comments to africalive@bbc.co.uk - Monday 6 March 2017

Live Reporting

By Dickens Olewe and Lucy Fleming

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Scroll down for Monday'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 our proverb of the day:

The shadow of a tree will return."

A Kalenjin proverb sent by Evans Cheruiyot Kibet in Embomos, Kenya

Click here to send us your African proverbs.

And we leave you with this photo of a man getting off a bus in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa - from  gboxcreative  Instagram account: 

 

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How is Cameroon coping with internet blackout?

The internet blockade in English-speaking regions of Cameroon enters its seventh week. 

The shutdown was imposed by the government after protests opposing plans to prioritise the use of the French language over English in courts and schools. 

People from the Anglophone regions say they are treated as second-class citizens by the francophone-dominated government.  

BBC Focus on Africa's Randy Joe Sa'ah spoke to residents of the regions to see how they are coping without the internet: 

English speakers have gone six weeks without internet

Read more:  Cameroon's coding champion

Limpopo River bursts it banks in Mozambique

Jose Tembe

BBC Africa, Maputo

The Mozambican emergency authorities say the mighty Limpopo River has burst its banks in the country’s southern province of Gaza.

They are urging people living near the river's banks in Chokwe and Guija districts to seek higher ground.

A surge down river in Zimbabwe and South Africa raised the level of the river in Mozambique to more that 7.5m - almost 3m above flood alert level.  

In 2000 the Limpopo broke its banks prompting the worst flooding in the country’s history - more than 700 people were killed and almost half a million others were left homeless.

According to a report on the national independent television station STV, 600 hectares of crops have already been lost and several roads in the Limpopo Valley have been cut off the Guija-Chinhacanine, Guija-Chibuto and Chissano-Chibuto roads.

Further north, the Save River has, for the second time this year, inundated the town of Machanga, in the central province of Sofala.

The sharp rise in the level of the Save has been attributed to torrential rains in neighbouring Zimbabwe.

Ghana celebrates: A nation is born

Ghana today marked 60 years of independence with official celebrations, marked with pageantry and colour, taking place at a public square in the capital, Accra (see earlier entries) -  but what was it like on 6 March 1957 when it was officially declared an independent nation?

BBC Rewind takes a look back at the events of that day (most of the video has no sound): 

Ghana celebrates: A nation is born

Alain Gomis' Fespaco pedigree 'saluted'


          Alain Gomis, winner of the 25th Pan-African Film and Television Festival (FESPACO) top award.
A
Alain Gomis is the second director to have won the Golden Stallion twice

Senegal's President Macky Sall has commended film director Alain Gomis for winning the Golden Stallion of Yennega.

It is the top award at Fespaco - Africa's biggest film festival which wrapped up over the weekend in Burkina Faso' capital, Ouagadougou.

Gomis won  the trophy and a cash prize of 20,000,000 CFA ($32,000; £26,000) for his film Felicite, about a Congolese nightclub singer's struggle to care for her son following a motorcycle accident.   

The Senegalese news agency APS quotes the president as saying:

That prestigious distinction rewarding you for your film Felicite follows the one that was awarded to you in 2013 at the same festival. I salute your exceptional pedigree and congratulate you warmly."

The Senegalese film director took the Golden Stallion four years ago for the film Tey.

He is the second person to be double winner of the prestigious prize after Malian filmmaker Souleymane Cisse.

Twenty films were up for the Golden Stallion during the seven-day festival.

Read more:  Six things about Fespaco 2017

DR Congo burial of Tshisekedi postponed

Leone Ouedraogo

BBC Africa

Etienne Tshisekedi
Reuters
Etienne Tshisekedi died in Brussels on 1 February

The body of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s veteran opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi is not going to be repatriated this week as planned.

The family of Mr Tshisekedi, who died last month in Belgium aged 84, had planned to hold a funeral in DR Congo this coming Saturday.

Mr Tshisekedi's younger brother Gerard Mulumba told the BBC that the family could not agree with the authorities on a burial site in the capital, Kinshasa.

Mr Tshisekedi’s family want the body to be buried at the headquarters of UDPS, the party he founded.

But the authorities have offered another location: The Gombe cemetery in the city centre.

There has been no official response yet to the announcement.

Mr Tshisekedi's death has plunged the DR Congo into uncertainty as it came amid negotiations between the opposition and government to end a political crisis - triggered by the refusal of President Joseph Kabila to stand down at the end of his term last December.

Elections are now due before the end of the year and Mr Tshisekedi's son Felix has been chosen to lead the opposition coalition in the negotiations.

Read:  Felix Tshisekedi: Congo opposition leader's son takes over

Seventy-year-old 'sits Sudan school exam'

Ibrahim Haithar

BBC Monitoring

A 70-year-old has just sat basic stage school exams in Sudan's West Kordofan state with the hope of going to secondary school and eventually university, Dutch-funded Radio Dabanga reports.

View more on twitter

Ibrahim Yagoub Fudeili, who joined dozens of pupils taking the Certificate of Primary Education (CPE) exam, told the radio station:

I want to encourage children to pursue their education.

Do it for Sudan's progress in science."

He said he had had to give up his education when younger because of financial difficulties.

South Sudanese general sets up rebel group

A prominent South Sudanese general, who resigned from the army last month, has set up a new rebel group.

Gen Thomas Cirillo Swaka said President Salva Kiir had led the country into an abyss. 

Dutch-funded Radio Tamazuj reports that it has seen copy of  Gen Cirillo's declaration.

View more on twitter

In the letter he says he is setting up the National Salvation Front (Nas) to fight the badly tarnished image of South Sudan:

The National Salvation Front (Nas) is convinced that to restore sanity and normalcy in our country, Kiir must go, he must vacate the office without further bloodshed."

The BBC's former South Sudan correspondent James Copnall says the new rebel leader is very popular in his home region of Equatoria.

It is not clear how many troops he has, but it is possible that soldiers from several rebel groups from Equatoria could join him, our reporter says.

South Sudan's civil war began just over three years ago.

It has become a complicated conflict with many rebel movements fighting the government. 

Trump order: Libyans, Somalis and Sudanese banned

Donald Trump signing the new executive order
White House

US  President Donald Trump has now signed a new executive order placing a 90-day ban on people from six mainly Muslim nations, including three African countries.

Iraq has been removed from the list of countries contained in the previous seven-nation order  

The previous order, which was blocked by a federal court, sparked confusion at airports and mass protests  

So what is different about the new order?

Citizens of Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, the other six countries on the original list, will once more be subject to a 90-day travel ban.

Though the new order clearly states refugees already approved by the State Department will be allowed to enter, it also limits the number allowed in at 50,000 for the year.  

The new directive also lifts a blanket ban on all Syrian refugees.

Green Card holders (legal permanent residents of the US) from the named countries will not be affected by the new order.

The Associated Press reports the new order does not give priority to religious minorities, unlike the previous order.

Critics of the Trump administration had argued that was an unlawful policy showing preference to Christian refugees.

The new order is set to take effect on 16 March.

The 10 days' advance notice may help to avoid some of the chaotic scenes at US airports that occurred on 27 January when the first executive order was announced without warning.

Read more: 'We Sudanese still feel like pariahs'

Nigerian ex-governor jailed for five years

A court in Nigeria has found a former state governor guilty of corruption in one of the first high-profile convictions in President Muhammadu Buhari's anti-graft war.

James Bala Ngilari has been sentenced to five years in jail for corruption for breaching due process for awarding a contract worth more than $500,000 (£408,000) for the procurement of 25 cars.

Ngilari, from the opposition party People's Democratic Party (PDP), was governor of the north-eastern state of Adamawa from October 2014 to May 2015.     

It was one of the three states affected over the last few years by the Boko Haram Islamist insurgency.

Ngilari's lawyer pleaded for leniency for his client saying he had made "invaluable contribution when he was the governor of the state during the trying moment of insurgency", the AFP news agency reports.

Judge Nathan Musa said the sentence was a warning to other poilticians: 

It is my hope that his conviction and sentence will serve as a deterrent to serving governors."

Ngilari told reporters as he was taken to a prison van that the judgement was flawed and he would appeal, AFP says. 

Ngilari first served as Adamawa's deputy governor but took over as governor after two years following the impeachment of his predecessor over corruption allegations.

Liberia calls for boycott of street sellers

Jonathan Paye-Layleh

BBC Africa, Monrovia

Street selling is a big business in Liberia – and peddling, mainly by children of school-going age, has  become so  uncontrollable in the capital, Monrovia, that it now amounts to a public nuisance.

At every street corner and at traffic lights, children literally bump into stopping vehicles offering items such as water in plastic sachets and sweets to passengers.

Driving in central Monrovia is also difficult as pedlars of all ages block already narrow streets with goods ranging from apples and other fruits loaded on wheelbarrows to second-hand clothes and shoes.

To try to combat this, the government is now asking passengers to boycott street sellers and their goods in the hope that once there are no buyers the pedlars will disappear.

To enhance this campaign, the government has started erecting anti-street selling billboards in strategic places in the city:

 

A sign urging motorists in Liberia to boycott street sellers
BBC

Though in a nation where laws are made and ignored with impunity it is hard to see it being a success.

Analysis: Language row 'a diversionary tactic'

Pumza Fihlani

BBC News, Johannesburg

A South African government spokesperson who insisted on using the Zulu language during an interview in an English-medium radio station is no stranger to controversy.

Lumka Oliphant had to issue a public apology in recent months after hurling insults at critics who had questioned whether her boss was competent enough to run the country's department for social development.

South Africa is a young democracy with a youthful population now asking pressing questions about how to build the unified "rainbow nation" that was envisaged by Nelson Mandela when he became the country's first democratically elected president in 1994.

The divisions left by white-minority rule and the legacy of colonialism remain.

The country has 11 official languages and some argue that the elevation of English above others as the lingua franca of national debate provides evidence of a continued form of "self-colonisation".

However valid that debate is, there are accusations that it was opportunist of the spokeswoman to use it here.

It is being seen as a deliberate attempt to divert attention from the issue at hand - the crisis over social security payments.

Ms Oliphant had been talking to the state broadcaster earlier today in English - and had been on that same radio station a number of times and spoken in English.

She has also addressed many press conferences in English in the past without raising the issue.

So why now? Smoke and mirrors, argue her critics.

Zimbabwe deal over Christmas bonuses

Shingai Nyoka

BBC Africa, Harare

Zimbabwe’s government has committed to paying civil servants their end-of-year bonus for 2016 in cash, ending a stand-off which saw a strike by nurses.  

A meeting between the unions representing civil servants and government has ended with an agreement to stagger the payouts.

Some unions are describing it as a big win for workers.

The finance ministry will begin paying bonuses, usually equivalent to a month’s wages, in cash in April.

Earlier in the negotiations, unions - representing more than 250,000 workers, had rejected government’s offer of small plots of land instead of cash payouts.

The bonus payments will be staggered over a four-month period.

Health workers and the defence forces will receive theirs first, followed by police and prison workers in May, teachers in June and the rest of the civil service in August. 

Christmas bonuses are traditionally paid at the end of the November or at the very latest before Christmas. 

But over the last two years, the government has delayed payments to the following year, citing a lack of cash and an under-performing economy. 

The government spends more than 80% of its income paying salaries.

Demonstration in Harare, Zimabbwe, over the economy - 2016
AFP
People protested last year about the government's mismanagement of the economy

Trump uncertainty prompts Nigeria's US travel advice

Martin Patience

BBC News, Nigeria correspondent

Nigeria has advised its citizens against any non-urgent travel to the United States until the US clarifies its visa rules.

Africa's most populous country was not one of the seven countries affected by US President Donald Trump’s initial travel ban. 

But in a statement a special adviser to Nigeria’s president said there were several cases where Nigerians with valid US visas had been denied entry to the country ( see earlier entry ).

In light of this, the Nigerian government is now advising against all but essential travel. 

This travel advisory will be seen as an extraordinary reflection of the uncertainty generated by President Trump's executive orders. 

Arrivals area of JFK airport in the US
AFP
Several Nigerians with valid visas were denied entry to the US recently

Read more: A Nigerian software engineer claims he was handed a written test by a US border officer    

UN approves Gambia's army chief

James Copnall

Africa editor, BBC World Service

A UN source has told the BBC that the new head of the Gambian army, Masanneh Kinteh, is welcome to visit Gambian troops serving in the peacekeeping mission in Darfur in Sudan. 

The UN blocked his predecessor, Ousman Badjie, from making a similar trip after he appeared to back the then-President Yahya Jammeh's attempt to stay in power after he lost elections. 

Mr Jammeh eventually left the country, allowing the winner of last year's election, Adama Barrow, to take over. 

The UN source said the decision had been made because of the replacement of Gen Badjie, and the new government's commitments to make security sector reforms and respect human rights and the rule of law.  

Ousman Badjie
AFP
Ousman Badjie was sacked as The Gambia's army chief last month

Cyclone Enawo to hit Madagascar

The island of Madagascar is braced for strong winds and torrential rain, as Cyclone Enawo approaches.

The BBC's weather team says that high winds and flooding will be experienced in the country which has been suffering from a drought: 

BBC Weather's John Hammond has more details:

Residents should prepare for destructive winds, torrential rain and landslides

Is Kaduna airport ready for Abuja traffic?

Intensive work is underway at Nigeria's Kaduna airport some 190km (120 miles) north of the capital Abuja, ahead of a planned relocation of international flights from the main airport in Abuja. 

The airport will handle traffic for the next six weeks while Abuja runway is repaired. 

An official from the Federal Aviation Authority of Nigerian (FAAN) told Reuters news agency that workers were working round the clock to have the airport ready. 

Most floor and ceiling tiles have been fitted and all air conditioning units have been installed, but electrical fittings are unfinished, chairs for the arrival and departure areas lie strewn about and a car park expansion is incomplete, Reuters reports.   

Several international airlines have refused to operate flights to Kaduna as they worry about the safety of their passengers in a region that has been known for kidnappings. 

Henrietta Yakubu from the FAA has been telling BBC's Focus on Africa programme about plans to protect passengers, including using luxury buses and police escorts: 

Airlines threatened to stop flying to Abuja due to safety concerns over runway condition
Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja
AFP
Abuja airport will be closed for six weeks

British Airways , Lufthansa and South African Airways have refused to fly into Kaduna. Ethiopian Airlines has however said it will use the alternative airport. 

An official from FAAN told Reuters that police have been deployed to the region to ensure passenger safety and that roads leading to the airport had been fixed.

Kaduna airport can handle up to 500 passengers at one time, equivalent to three or four short-haul jets, the report says.  

Data from Nigeria's airport authority shows Abuja airport handled 4,859 domestic flights in December compared with the 171 that flew in or out of Kaduna, it adds. 

Celebrities celebrate Ghana's 60 years of freedom

Queen of Afro pop, Efya, has tweeted a photo of herself in the colours of Ghana to celebrate her country’s independence day (see earlier report):

View more on twitter

Her words in Twi “nshira nka yen” mean “let the blessings touch us” - a sentiment likely to be shared by UK musician Ed Sheeran, who tweeted to his more than 17 million followers:  

View more on twitter

At the official celebrations at Black Star Square in the capital, Accra, it has been all pomp and pageantry as smartly dressed security and school children entertained the public to a march pass and gymnastic display, says the BBC’s Thomas Naadi.

A man blowing a horn at Black Star Square
BBC

A number of foreign dignitaries, including Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, whose first wife Sally was from Ghana, and Togolese leader Faure Gnassingbe watched the event.


          Robert Mugabe at the celebrations for Ghana's independence in Accra
BBC
President Robert Mugabe was among the dignitaries in attendence

Addressing the crowd, President Nana Akufo-Addo said Ghanaians should mobilise their resources to propel the country to prosperity and urged them to work hard and fight against corruption.

Our reporter says Ghana, which gained independence on 6 March 1957, is still struggling to improve the living conditions of its people.

BreakingTrump to sign new immigration order

Donald Trump is to sign a new executive order on immigration later on Monday, his aide Kellyanne Conway has said.

A revised order has been expected from the White House since the earlier ban was blocked by a federal court.

The previous order suspended the entire US refugee resettlement programme and blocked citizens of seven Muslim-majority nations from entering the US. 

The first order which was overruled by a federal court banned travel from citizens of Somalia, Sudan and Libya. 

Read full story

Donald Trump
EPA

Body of British rancher recovered

Anne Soy

BBC Africa, Nairobi

The body of British rancher Tristan Voorspuy has been recovered near his burnt-down lodge in Laikipia county, Kenya’s Interior Minister Joseph Nkaissery has announced. 

Mr Voorspuy was shot dead over the weekend by armed headers who have invaded private farms in the area in recent weeks. 

Media reports say Mr Voorspuy had gone to inspect his farm when he was attacked. 

Attempts by a search team to retrieve his body had earlier been repulsed by the armed herders.

Mr Nkaissery directed security agencies to immediately arrest political leaders for inciting people to commit murder, poaching, cattle rustling and the destruction of property. 

Tristan Voorspuy
AP
Tristan Voorspuy was killed by herders on Sunday while inspecting some of his lodges

Kenya's giant tusker 'killed by poachers'

The Africa Geographic blog is reporting that a famous elephant called Satao 2, known as a tusker because of his giant tusks, has been killed by poachers in Kenya's Tsavo Conservation Area.

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According to the online publication, this leaves only six tuskers - elephants whose tusks weigh more than 45kg (100lb) - left in the world.

It is not clear from the report when Satao 2 was killed.

He was named after the bull elephant Satao, who was poached in 2014 and had tusks weighing 51kg and 50.5kg, Africa Geographic reports.

Before the poachers had time to remove his tusks, Kenya Wildlife Service rangers discovered Satao 2’s body, it says. 

It is thought he may have been killed by a poisoned arrow. 

Some people have been sharing photos of the iconic animal on social media:

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Drought postpones Somaliland elections

BBC World Service

Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo
AFP
Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo came to power in July 2010

The self-proclaimed republic of Somaliland has announced a new date for elections, which had been postponed because of the need to tackle severe drought.

The UN has warned about the risk of famine in the region.

Somaliland's President,  Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo,  has been given another nine months in office, as the elections will now take place in December.

The polls had originally been scheduled for the end of this month.

The three main political parties have welcomed the announcement.

Somaliland broke away from Somalia in 1991 but its independence has not been recognised internationally.

It has been far more stable than southern Somalia.

Read more: Making a success of 'independence'

BreakingNigeria advises against US travel

Nigeria has advised it citizens against non-urgent travel to the US after several Nigerians with valid visas were denied entry.

The statement comes from Abike Dabiri-Erewa, a special adviser to the president on foreign affairs.

"In the last few weeks, the office has received a few cases of Nigerians with valid multiple-entry US visas being denied entry and sent back to the Nigeria."

In such cases reported to the office, such affected persons were sent back immediately on the next available flight and their visas were cancelled."

Ms Dabiri -Erewa said that "no reasons were given for the decision by the US immigration authorities."

She urged those without “any compelling or essential reasons to visit the US to consider rescheduling their trip until there is clarity on the new immigration policy". 

#HandsOffSocialMedia trends in South Africa

#HandsOffSocialMedia  is trending in South Africa following comments made by State Security Minister David Mahlobo, that social media platforms needs to be regulated to deal with the spread of fake news and scams, the online publication Citizen reports

Mr Mahlobo said that the regulation might extend to the "internet in general": 

We are contemplating to regulate the space. Even the best democracies that are revered, they regulate the space.”

Over the past few months, a number of images emerged of politicians that went viral on social media, including a fake one of a minister in the nude, the Citizen reports. 

Here's a selection of the tweets: 

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Read more:  How African governments block social media

Ghana celebrates six decades of freedom

Ghana is marking 60 years of independence from the UK today with the main celebrations taking place at the Black Star Square in the capital, Accra. 

The country was the second sub-Saharan country to break with colonialists, prompting many others to cut their ties.  

The BBC's Thomas Naadi is at the event and is busy snapping away:

Soldiers parade
BBC
Soldiers parade
BBC
Dancers
BBC
President's arrival
BBC
Parade
BBC

Kenya 'boom' in donkey meat exports to China

Donkey skins drying in Baringo, Kenya
AFP
Donkey hides, seen drying here at the Baringo abattoir, are prized in China for supposed medicinal properties

A donkey abattoir that opened a year ago in Kenya is reportedly doing a booming business. 

Goldox slaughterhouse, owned by Lu Donglin, a Chinese national, opened in the western county of Baringo in April last year after the Kenyan government approved donkey meat as fit for consumption. 

The meat is exported to China but banned from being sold on the local market. 

At least 600 donkeys are slaughtered every day,  the Daily Nation reports.  

Mr Donglin says they have to follow strict regulations and pay about $77 (£63) for each donkey:

“We depend on suppliers from as far as Tanzania, Turkana, Trans Mara and Maralal."

Trade in donkey skins is worth millions of dollars, with hides prized in China for supposed medicinal properties.

The gelatine in the hides is used as a medicinal tonic, with some believing it can slow down menopause in women.

It is also used to try to treat conditions such as insomnia and poor circulation.

Brain surgery for anti-apartheid hero

Milton Nkosi

BBC Africa, Johannesburg

Ahmed Kathrada in hospital
AFP PHOTO/AHMED KATHRADA FOUNDATION
Ahmed Kathrada, known as "Kathy", is said to be in good spirits

Anti-apartheid struggle hero Ahmed Kathrada, an old friend of Nelson Mandela who was jailed with him on Robben Island, is in hospital recovering from brain surgery.

The African National Congress (ANC) veteran is in a stable condition after doctors removed a blood clot from his brain after he was admitted to a Johannesburg hospital on Saturday.

The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation said he was initially admitted for dehydration but doctors discovered a blood clot which was later removed.

“Doctors last night indicated that the operation was successful and he is in a stable condition. However, it would be some time before Kathrada fully recovers,” said the foundation’s director Neeshan Balton.

“We hope that you continue remembering him in your prayers and take time to reflect on the ideals and values that Kathrada and his generation stood for."

Mr Kathrada delivered one of the most memorable eulogies at Mr Mandela funeral a little over three years ago.

The 87-year-old is one of only three remaining stalwarts of the famous Rivonia trial – when Mr Mandela and seven others were sentenced to life imprisonment in 1964 for planning to overthrow the white minority regime.

Nelson Mandela and Ahmed Kathrada
AFP
Nelson Mandela (L) and Ahmed Kathrada, seen here in 2010, first met in 1952

Deadly Zambia church stampede over food

At least eight people have died and 28 others have been injured in a stampede at a public hall in Zambia's capital, Lusaka, where a church was distributing food, police say.  

Five died on the spot while the others succumbed to injuries as they were being rushed to the hospital. 

Police say the victims were among 35,000 people who had gathered at the Olympic Youth Development Centre in the capital after a call to attend a prayer event and get free food. 

The BBC's Kennedy Gondwe in Lusaka says the event was advertised on social media.

Mwebantu, an online publication, has shared a picture of a ticket that was reportedly distributed for the gathering: 

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The event was organised by a group calling itself the Lesedi Seven, which is part of the Church of Christ, the statement says. 

"The injured are receiving treatment at Chingwere first level hospital and Chipata clinic while the bodies of the deceased have been taken to UTH mortuary," it adds. 

Police say they have launched an inquiry.

SA spokesperson refuses to speak English

A South African government spokesperson refused to speak English this morning on an English-medium radio station when asked to comment on the possible solution to the benefit cut-off facing millions of South African next month.

Social Development Department spokesperson Lumka Oliphant insisted on speaking in Zulu when questioned by radio 702 host Xolani Gwala, who was forced to end the interview .

Just before her 702 interview, she was on the state broadcaster Sabc, speaking in English .

She said on Sabc that she could not confirm media reports that the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) had signed a deal for a private contractor to continue distributing the payments.

The agency has come in for criticism for not sorting out a new contract for the 17 million recipients of benefits before 31 March, when its current one expires.

BBC Africa's Nick Ericsson says Ms Oliphant has been controversial in the past, and used Facebook to swear and rant at people who criticised her boss a few months ago.

And she is certainly causing a storm on social media this morning, and her name is trending in South Africa - with many saying her refusal to speak English was a diversionary tactic:

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Some have come to her defence:

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So I Can Breathe: Ghanaians cooking with less charcoal

This week, the BBC is highlighting the need for adapted solutions to tackle air pollution around the world. 

This is part of our #SoICanBreathe season. Air pollution kills millions of people around the world every year, according to the World Health Organisation. 

In Ghana, the BBC's Thomas Naadi reports about the efforts to promote the use of improved cooking stoves requiring smaller amounts of charcoal:

Thousands of deaths are linked to household air pollution in the country each year

Kenya police boss denies helicopter attack

Kenya's police boss Joseph Boinnet has denied media reports that his helicopter was shot at on Saturday during a visit to Laikipia region in central Kenya which has been experiencing violent attacks from armed herders. 

The report said the shooting happened in the area where British rancher Tristan Voorspuy was killed on yesterday. 

Mr Boinnet was in the region to meet commanders who have been leading an operation to end insecurity in the region. 

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A police statement called the allegations were "lies" adding that the story had been "fabricated". 

Herders from the Pokot and Samburu ethnic groups have recently invaded ranches in Laikipia. 

The Star newspaper reports that  more than 1,000 men and youths, many with assault rifles, are operating north of Laikipia. 

The attackers have been killing people and wildlife, stealing livestock, looting and burning houses, the report adds. 

Mali tracks cross-border attackers

Tomi Oladipo

BBC Monitoring's Africa security correspondent


          Malian army soldiers, pro-government militia members and former rebels, predominantly Tuaregs, take part in their first joint patrol in Gao in northern Mali
AFP
Soldiers are battling to secure the vast north of Mali

Militants in central Mali have attacked an army post near the border with Burkina Faso, killing 11 soldiers and wounding five.

The Malian army has sent reinforcements to the area to track down the attackers and assess the damage.

The defence ministry says the attack took place on Sunday morning in village where a Malian army contingent is based.

Its spokesman says some soldiers who fled the attack ended up across the border in Burkina Faso.

So far it is not clear who carried out the raid but government officials say this is the latest example of the jihadist activity that has been on the rise in region - targeting mostly army positions.

Last Thursday three groups active in the Sahel region announced a merger to form one organisation.

The factions that make up this alliance, linked to al-Qaeda, have carried out repeated attacks in the region, even spreading south to new territory.

Kenya bid to find British rancher's body

Tristan Voorspuy
OFFBEAT SAFARIS
Voorspuy was killed when he went to inspect some of his lodges in Laikipia

Attempts to recover the body of a British rancher who was shot dead by armed herders over the weekend in Laikipia county in central Kenya, have failed after gunmen shot at the search team sent out by his family, the Star newspaper reports

Tristan Voorspuy was killed by pastoral herders when he went to inspect some of his lodges that had been burned by the attackers.

Laikipia and surrounding counties have been experiencing high rates of violence driven mostly by herders who are looking for pasture for their animals but some analysts have also attributed the rise insecurity to local politics. 

Ranch owners in Kenya’s central countryside of Laikipia have asked the government to provide more security in the area. 

They fear that the insecurity could spread in the next couple of weeks as grazing land runs out in the areas already occupied by the herders because of a severe drought in the north of the country. 

Meanwhile, tension is high in neighbouring Baringo county after the government deployed hundreds of security officers and issued a controversial shoot-to-kill order in response to similar drought-related raids.

Jonathan denies Chibok girls' rescue snub

Chibok girls
AFP
Most of the Chibok girls kidnapped in 2014 remain in captivity

Nigeria’s former President Goodluck Jonathan has denied a report by a UK newspaper that he snubbed an offer by the British air force to rescue more than 200 girls abducted by the Boko Haram in April 2014 from a boarding school in the town of Chibok.

“The girls were located in the first few weeks of the RAF mission. We offered to rescue them, but the Nigerian government declined” a source involved in search for the girls  in the UK Observer .  

But Mr Jonathan’s spokesman, Ikechukwu Eze, dismissed the allegations as false.

“We can confidently say the lies in this report are self evident,” he said in a statement.

He said the international collaboration to rescue the abducted girls involved neigbouring countries and Mr Jonathan's administration had been supportive of the efforts and allowed Western military to conduct reconnaissance flight over the country’s airspace.

“We are however not surprised that this kind of concocted story is coming out at this point in time, as it appears that some people who have obviously been playing politics with the issue of the Chibok girls will stop at nothing to further their interest,” Nigeria's Daily Trust newspaper quotes Mr Eze as saying .

A spokesman for the present administration told the BBC that the Observer's report confirmed their claim that Mr Jonathan had been "playing politics" with the Boko Haram insurgency.