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  1. Kenya government and doctors sign deal to end long-running health strike
  2. South Africa police arrest four suspects of last week's airport heist
  3. Kidnappers release eight South Sudanese aid workers
  4. Ethiopia's parliament declares three days of mourning following rubbish dump deaths
  5. Ethiopia officials say 72 people were killed
  6. Haftar 'launches offensive' in Libya
  7. Somalia observes a day of prayer to end the drought
  8. Ghana's Essien set to play in Indonesia
  9. Suspected Somali pirates 'board ship'
  10. Email stories and comments to - Tuesday 14 March 2017

Live Reporting

By Dickens Olewe and Damian Zane

All times stated are UK

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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:  

Intelligence is wealth."

A Swahili proverb sent by Joseph Kuria Mwangi, Jeffreys Bay, South Africa

Click here to send us your African proverbs .

And we'll leave you with picture of a man in Ghana's capital, Accra, experiencing virtual reality using a Google Cardboard. 

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South Africa airport heist suspects arrested

Milton Nkosi

BBC Africa, Johannesburg

South Africa's police have arrested four people suspected of being involved in a daring robbery last week at the OR Tambo International airport in Johannesburg. 

Armed thieves masquerading as police made away with containers of cash.

The four suspects are facing charges of "armed robbery, " police chief Khomotso Phahlanetold a media briefing in Pretoria.

Only two suspects appeared in court today, the other two - one of whom is a police officer - are still being questioned.

Mr Phahlane said investigations point to "an inside job" and praised the intelligence network for helping to apprehend the suspects: 

We are not solely reliant on tip offs. We must congratulate crime intelligence for helping to apprehend those involved".

He said that the money that was stolen has not yet been recovered.   

Policeman on the runway
Getty Images
Security was tight at OR Tambo airport during the 2010 Fifa World Cup in South Africa

Dancing South African traffic cop bringing a smile

South Africans have been enjoying this video of a traffic police woman dancing while directing the traffic in the country's largest city, Johannesburg:

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EWN reports that the policewoman, Dora Mofokeng, "says she enjoys her job and hopes to lift the misery of those sitting in traffic with her dancing". 

In case you're inspired, she says she was dancing to DJ Tira:

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Dlamini Zuma tweets last goodbyes

Outgoing African Union Commission chairperson Nkosozana Dlamini Zuma has issued a flurry of tweets as she says goodbye to those who she's worked with.

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And she wished her Chadian successor all the best:

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But there are at least two big issues already on the new chairperson's agenda:

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Her Twitter bio has changed:

Twitter bio of Nosazana Dlamini Zuma
Dlamini Zuma

The African Union has posted Mr Mahamat's statement (in French) when he took over this afternoon:

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Somali hijackers 'demand compensation over illegal fishing'

Hijackers who seized an oil tanker and its eight-man crew off the coast of Somalia are demanding compensation for a rise in illegal fishing in Somali waters, VOA reports , quoting one of the hijackers. 

The ship is anchored off Alula town in Somalia's Puntland region. 

One of the hijackers spoke to VOA saying that they are fishermen and not pirates: 

We have decided, as local fishermen, to resist illegal fishing. We have taken arms to defend ourselves, and we will continue”.

The men did not say how much they want to be paid but said that the ship's crew are healthy and being looked after:

It’s not our principle to kill them. They are healthy. We looked after them. We are after the people who sent them, to make sure they never return”.

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Boko Haram video 'shows killing of soldiers'

BBC World Service

Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram has published a video online which it says shows the killing of three men it described as being Nigerian military spies. 

It is the first such video to be posted by the group in two years. 

Masked men surround the three kneeling victims, one of whom is decapitated, the other two are shot. 

The masked men criticise President Muhammadu Buhari and Nigeria's military campaign against the group. 

The video commentary uses a mixture of Arabic and the Hausa language.       

Nigerian soldier in damaged street
Nigerian soldiers have been at the forefront of the push back against Boko Haram in north-east Nigeria

The Kenya strike is over, but is that the end of the issue?

Kenya's doctors may have ended their strike but there are still a lot pending issues. 

The agreement they have just signed with the national and county governments is called a Return To Work Formula (RTWF).

According to the deal, the doctors will receive an additional $560 (£460) - $700 a month in allowances. 

However there's another deal called the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) which is still to be discussed.

The CBA could take weeks to conclude as the organisations that actually employ the majority of the doctors - the County Boards of Health - were not involved in drafting the document and they need to study it before the county governors can sign. 

Signing the deal
The agreement for the doctors to return to work was signed on Tuesday afternoon

Kenyan in court over murder of British farmer

BBC World Service

A Kenyan man has appeared in court in connection with the murder of a British farmer earlier this month. 

Samson Lokayi was remanded in custody over the death of Tristan Voorspuy, who had gone to inspect damage on his ranch when he was shot dead. 

Thousands of herders, armed with spears and assault rifles, have invaded private ranches and wildlife parks with their cattle, slaughtering animals and destroying property in the central county of Laikipia. 

Eight people have been killed. 

The judge had to postpone the suspect's first hearing because he only speaks the local Pokot dialect, and no translator was available.

Map showing location of Laikipia in Kenya

Malawian Airlines to fly with all-female crew

Malawian Airlines is planning a flight later this week with an all-women crew and support staff,which will be a first for the company, the  Malawi Times reports .

The flight on Thursday will take passengers from Blantyre to Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania.

The newspaper quotes a statement from the company saying that it wants to create a "more gender inclusive world".

It adds that the aircraft will be under the command of Captain Yolanda Kaunda and assisted by Lusekelo Mwenifumbo.

Screen grab showing the tow female pilots
Malawi Times

Red Cross appeal for Madagascar Cyclone displaced

BBC World Service

The International Red Cross is appealing for assistance for tens of thousands of people displaced by a cyclone in Madagascar. 

It says dozens died, 200 were injured and more than 80,000 people were made homeless by Cyclone Enawo, which battered the island last week. 

The Red Cross adds that storm damage, landslides and widespread flooding have hampered humanitarian access to some of the worst-hit areas. 

It says people are in need of food, shelter, medical care, clean water and other essential services.

Trees blowing as a result of the cyclone
Cyclone Enawo hit Madagascar last week

Kenya doctors end 'painful' struggle

The leader of Kenya's doctor's union Dr Ouma Oluga has called off the 100-day-long doctors strike terming it the most painful struggle in the history of the country. 

Dr Oluga said that a deal had been reached with the national and county governments but said that the dispute that led to the strike has not been resolved and will need follow up. 

He said that there cannot be a separation between patients' rights and doctors' rights in an apparent reaction to calls that were made for the medics to call off the strike for the sake of their patients.

Several attempts to end the strike failed as doctors and the government refused to compromise on their positions. 

Even the jailing of the union leaders for refusing to honour a court order to call off the strike did not dampen the doctors' resolve. 

The doctors have been pushing for a 2013 deal that was to improve their pay and working conditions.

Peter Munya, the chairman of the council of governors, representing the country's 47 counties, called the strike a "painful experience". 

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Libya militia battles to retake oil crescent

Rana Jawad

BBC North Africa correspondent, Tunis

The self-styled Libyan National Army, commanded by east Libya's military strongman Khalifa Haftar, says it has started a ground offensive to re-take the country's oil crescent.  

They lost control over the area earlier this month, following an attack by the Benghazi Defence Brigades, which is a mix of militias that includes Islamists. 

There is a lot of uncertainty today as confrontations and the rhetoric of war between rival forces escalate.  

And just 10 days since the oil-crescent exchanged hands, the UN has accused both armed parties of human rights violations, including executions, arbitrary arrests and beatings. 

If nothing else, one thing appears increasingly certain, this is a conflict that is likely to get more violent, destructive, and deadlier by the day.  

The country often lacks both local and international mediators capable of brokering a cessation of violence when it escalates to this point. 

Tank firing a shell
Khalifa Haftar's forces drove Islamist militants out of Benghazi in 2016

Kenya doctors 'sign return to work deal'

Kenya's NTV is reporting that the doctors have agreed to return to work ending their 100-day strike. 

Doctors' union leaders and government officials are currently at the signing in ceremony taking place in the capital, Nairobi. 

The event is being streamed live on  Facebook  and YouTube.

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Kidnapped South Sudan aid workers released

Eight South Sudanese aid workers who had been kidnapped have now been released, according to a statement from the charity they worked for, Samaritan's Purse.

There were some reports that the kidnappers were allied to rebel leader Riek Machar and we reported earlier that they were demanding aid money in return for the release of the detainees.

But in a statement Samaritan's Purse have said "there was no ransom request". Rebels have also distanced themselves from the kidnapping.

Samaritan's Purse adds that the eight staff members "are on their way to a safe location" with the help of the World Food Programme.

The charity also says that:

This situation highlights the severe famine situation in parts of South Sudan with over 4 million people at risk of starvation. Samaritan's Purse calls on all parties to stop hostilities and allow immediate full access to distribute emergency food supplies."

South Sudanese queuing

Last month, a famine was declared in part of the country.

Announcement of deal to end Kenya doctors expected soon

An announcement to end Kenya's long-running doctors' strike is expected anytime now. 

Doctors have been pushing for a pay deal agreed in 2013 that the government has refused to honour. A last ditch effort to end the strike seems to have worked. 

BBC's Abdinoor Aden in the capital, Nairobi, has snapped pictures of officials gathering to address the press. 

Among those those present are the Minister of Health Cleopa Mailu (centre) and the chairman of the Council of Governors Peter Munya (right).

Gathering for a press conference

There is still no word from the doctors, who have been on strike for 100 days now.

Funerals for some of the dead in Ethiopia rubbish dump disaster

An Ethiopian English-language magazine is tweeting pictures of the mourning after the funerals of some of those who died in the collapse of the rubbish dump in the capital, Addis Ababa, at the weekend.

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The official death toll now stands at 72 but people are saying others are still missing.

The country's parliament has declared three days of national mourning.

Ethiopian rhino horn seized in Thailand

Twenty-one rhino horns worth an estimated $5m have been seized in Thailand after being found in luggage sent from Ethiopia in the biggest such haul in years.

The seizure comes days after 300kg of elephant ivory was also impounded in the country.

Thailand is seen as a transit point for the illegal trafficking of wildlife.

Thai police looking at Rhino horns

Several species of rhino are at critical risk of extinction, conservationists say.

The horns arrived at Bangkok's international airport where two Thai women who had travelled from Vietnam and Cambodia came to collect them.

According to Thai police, they ran off when the luggage was subjected to a random check.

Officials describe the incident as an elaborate smuggling effort which involved several other people inside Thailand and abroad.

Reade more:  Rhino horns worth $5m seized in Thailand off flight from Ethiopia

Gambia's President Barrow in first overseas trip

Leone Ouedraogo

BBC Africa

The Gambia's new President  Adama Barrow is on his first state visit to Europe. 

Accompanied by a delegation of ministers and business people, he is visiting the French capital, Paris, for talks with President Francois Hollande and will also be at headquarters of the European Union in Brussels.

In February, the EU had promised to resume its aid to the country and offered an $80m (£65m) aid package. 

It had suspended the programme objecting to the autocratic rule of previous head of state Yahya Jammeh.

The EU hopes to help tackle unemployment and poverty with the aim of reducing the high number of young Gambians who attempt the risky Mediterranean crossing to Europe.

President Barrow
President Barrow defeated long time leader Yahya Jammeh in December's polls but had to wait until last month before he was sworn in at home

Kenyan politician flies chopper to launch wooden bridge

A picture of a Kenyan politician cutting the ribbon to launch the use of a wooden bridge is being shared on Twitter. 

Ephraim Maina arrived in a chopper to commission the semi-permanent bridge which cost $75 (£60), Nairobi News reports.

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Mr Miana reportedly contributed some funds to help put up the bridge that now connects two villages. 

The politician was received in song and dance as he landed in Kabaru location in central Kenya. 

South Sudan rebels 'demand aid as ransom'

Wanyama wa Chebusiri

BBC Africa

South Sudanese rebels are holding eight employees of a US charity Samaritan's Purse seized from a village about 680 km (422 miles) northeast of the capital, Juba. 

Fighters allied to former Vice-President Riek Machar seized one American and seven locals on Sunday and are now demanding aid deliveries as ransom.

Army spokesperson Brig-Gen Lul Koang confirmed the incident to the independent newspaper Dawn:  

The rebels who kidnapped the aid workers are demanding the deliveries of humanitarian aid assistance to areas under their control as a ransom."

This comes almost a fortnight after two Indian engineers were kidnaped in the same area by rebels. Their fate is unknown.  

The surge in abductions of aid workers may force out relief workers providing humanitarian assistance to millions of the brink of starvation in a famine-hit region.

'Dragged, chained and shot': South Sudan's growing conflict

The ongoing political crisis in South Sudan has exposed civilians to wanton violence and abuses. 

Hundreds have been killed and thousands displaced in fighting that has taken a tribal turn.  

The BBC's Alastair Leithead spoke to victims who say they have been raped and attacked by government soldiers:

How murder, rape and looting are being carried out along ethnic lines

Libyan rebel offensive launched to retake oil terminals

Forces commanded by Libyan military strongman Khalifa Haftar, say they have launched an offensive to seize two key oil terminals in the east of the country. 

Haftar is opposed to the UN-backed government in Tripoli.

Two spokesmen said that ground, sea and air forces were taking part in the twin attack to retake Ras Lanuf and al-Sidra, which they lost earlier this month to a rival group called the Benghazi Defence Brigades (BDB). 

However, the BDB's media arm has dismissed reports of the offensive as rumours. 

Libya has been suffering from lawlessness and infighting since the overthrow of Colonel Gaddafi in 2011.

Khalifa Haftar

Profile: Libya's military strongman Khalifa Haftar

SA sport minister reacts to losing Commonwealth games

South Africa's Sport Minister Fikile Mbalula says that the country is disappointed that it will not be hosting the 2022 Commonwealth Games. 

In 2015, Durban won the bid to bring the the games to Africa for the first time.

Mr Mbalula, in a statement, said the cost of hosting the competition had been a major factor in withdrawing the bid.

He added that the country would be willing to host the games in the future. 

Here are some highlights from his statement:

The Government of the Republic of South Africa wishes to express its disappointment at the announcement by the Commonwealth Games Federation to withdraw the country’s bid to host a successful Commonwealth Games in Durban 2022 this, despite all the efforts and the positive responses from the Commonwealth Games Evaluation Commission on the potential capacity of the Host City of Durban.

However, at this juncture, our country is regrettably not in a position to make huge financial commitments given the current competing socio-economic needs and global economic down turn. In the interests of fiscal discipline and financial prudency, our government has considered all options and remains confident that we have acted in the best interest of South Africa."

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Read: Commonwealth Games: Durban, South Africa will not host Games in 2022

Three days mourning declared in Ethiopia after rubbish dump deaths

Emmanuel Igunza

BBC Africa, Addis Ababa

Ethiopia's parliament has declared three days of national mourning for the victims of the rubbish dump collapse in the capital, Addis Ababa, as recovery operations continue.

Seventy two people have now been confirmed dead following a landslide at the weekend.

More bodies have been retrieved from under the debris of the rubbish dump nearly three days after the landslide destroyed makeshift houses at the Koshe landfill. 

Many are still missing and authorities fear the death toll could rise even further. 

Rescue operations have been going on day and night at the site and city authorities say they will continue until everyone is accounted for. 

Family members are waiting at the site to hear news of their missing loved ones:

          A woman carries a photograph as she mourns her family members suspected to be missing following a landslide

          A man carries a photograph as he mourns her family members suspected to be missing following a landslide

The government and locals living in the area have traded accusations about what triggered the landslide. 

Residents say an ongoing construction of a biogas plant caused it but the government has dismissed the claims insisting people had refused an offer to be relocated.

The country’s prime minister has pledged to carry out an investigation of the disaster. 

Dlamini Zuma bids farewell to the African Union

Nkosozana Dlamini Zuma is handing over power today after four-and-a-half years as chair of the African Union commission.

In some of her last tweets from Ethiopia she has been sharing her thoughts:

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And she had praise for Ethiopia, the home of the African Union headquarters:

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Her successor, Chad's Faki Mahamat, is due to formally take over in a few minutes

BreakingEthiopia death toll now stands at 72

Emmanuel Igunza

BBC Africa, Addis Ababa

Seventy two people have now been confirmed dead following the weekend landslide at a vast rubbish dump on the outskirts of the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. 

SA minister gives assurances on welfare payments

South Africa's Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has said he is fairly confident welfare payments will be paid on 1 April despite an ongoing dispute over the company that runs the service.

He told a parliamentary committee that the debate now is over exactly how that is achieved.

The Social Security Agency (Sassa) has been scrambling to ensure that as many as 17 million people continue to receive their money, despite concerns that retaining the existing service provider is both unlawful and costly.

A court ruled in 2014 that Cash Paymaster Service had been awarded the tender unlawfully.

Pravin Gordhan

Read: Sassa crisis: South Africa's social security payments in chaos

Somali men who boarded ship 'are fishermen'

The BBC Somali service has spoken to a government official in Puntland, Ali Shire Mohamud Osman, who has heard from the men who boarded a ship off Somalia's coast on Monday.

He said: 

The men who are holding it claim that they are fishermen who suffered from the illegal fishing in the area. However, if we confirm that they are pirates, I will ask them to leave the area immediately. Otherwise, we will see how we can save the vessel.”

The information I am getting is that the vessel is a cargo ship, carrying oil. There are conflicting reports over its ownership, but we are almost certain it's UAE owned. Last night, it arrived at a nearby area called Biyo Addo."

This is said to be the first hijacking of a major ship off the coast of Somalia for five years.

Piracy emerged in Somalia off the back of discontented fishermen, Time magazine reported in 2009.

Ship at sea
Mohamed Deeq, SBC
Somali journalist Mohamed Deeq sent us this picture of the ship off the coast of Somalia

Essien signs for Indonesian side

BBC Sport

Michael Essien
Getty Images

Ex-Chelsea and Real Madrid midfielder Michael Essien has joined Indonesia's Persib Bandung.

The 34-year-old, who left Panathinaikos in 2016 and has been training with Chelsea's reserve team, has reportedly signed a one-year deal.

Several greats have played in Indonesia. Mario Kempes and Roger Milla, stars of the 1978 and 1990 World Cups respectively, had short spells in the country, as did former England international Lee Hendrie. 

Video: A typical commute on Kenyan roads

Driving on Kenyan roads can be hectic especially because most drivers don't obey traffic rules. 

A tweeter has shared a short video of a typical scene at a junction in the capital Nairobi - when drivers are rushing to beat the traffic peak time.

View more on twitter

Russia denies reports of forces near Egypt-Libya border

Russia has denied reports that its special forces have been deployed to an Egyptian airbase near the Libyan border, Reuters news agency says.

Reuters had earlier quoted US and Egyptian diplomatic sources indicating that the deployment is to help Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar, who is leading a group opposed to the UN-backed government in Tripoli.

Haftar's forces recently suffered a setback in their bid to control the oil resources in the east of the country following an attack by the Benghazi Defence Brigades.

Oil facility in Libya
Rival Libyan forces are fighting over the oil resources in the east of Libya

Somalis pray for rain

Somalis gathered today in the capital, Mogadishu, to pray for rain as a severe drought continues to ravage the country, state-owned SNTV reports. 

Prime Minister Ali Hassan Kheyre was present at the event, held at the Isbaheysiga mosque, which was also attended by many residents and Islamic scholars. 

In his remarks Mr Kheyre asked for divine intervention "to lift the drought burden from the Somali people". 

His official Twitter account shared pictures of the event and a prayer: "I pray to God to bring rain to the people who have been affected by the drought."

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He also called on Somalis to help each other and join hands to overcome the drought situation. 

The scholars who addressed the gathering asked "God to lift the burden of drought from the Somali people". 

They also asked the Somali public "to pray more to God and repent to Him," the report says. 

People gather to pray
Somali PM office
People gather to pray
Somali PM office

Millions of Somalis face the risk of starvation due to a severe drought that has hit the country. The UN has warned that the country is on the brink of famine.

President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has declared the drought a national disaster and urged aid agencies to quickly respond to the country's humanitarian needs.

In 2011, the UN estimated that nearly 260,000 people died as a result of famine in Somalia.

Kenya government: Deal to end doctors strike imminent

#DoctorsDeal  is trending in Kenya in anticipation of an agreement between striking doctors and the government. This would bring to an end the 100-day strike that has paralysed public hospitals nationwide. 

The ministry of health has tweeted that a deal is imminent:

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But the medical workers' representatives have not spoken yet and the government statement could be seen as a way to force their hand.

Several attempts to end the strike have failed with both sides accusing each other of not being honest. 

Last week the government announced that it was withdrawing a pay offer with President Uhuru Kenyatta accusing officials the doctors' union of blackmailing the authorities.

It had also started sacking doctors who had not returned to work saying that it would replace them with foreign doctors.

The latest attempt to bring the the two sides together is being mediated at the Court of Appeal which gave both sides 24 hours to agree on a deal. 

The doctors have been pushing for a 2013 deal to improve their pay and working conditions. 

The government has said that it does not have funds to honour the agreement and it has also questioned the legitimacy of the deal.

Kenya doctors protesting
Medical workers protested in the capital, Nairobi, last month

Ethiopia rubbish dump death toll rises

Ethiopian officials have now confirmed that 65 people died in the weekend's landslide at a rubbish dump in the capital, Addis Ababa.

The search for more victims is continuing and funerals for some of those who have died have already taken place, reports the BBC's Emmanuel Igunza.

A number of makeshift houses are now buried under tonnes of waste.

The area has been a dumping ground for Addis Ababa's rubbish for more than five decades.

Digger at rubbish site

Rescuers are using bulldozers and even bare hands to move tonnes of debris as the search for survivors and dead bodies continues.  

Ship hijacked off Somali coast

Mohammud Ali Mohamed

BBC Africa, Nairobi

Suspected Somali pirates have hijacked a ship off the coast of Somalia, the first such incident in 5 years. 

The vessels, thought to have been heading to the Somali capital, Mogadishu, has eight people on board. 

Details are emerging of how the ship sent a distress call on Monday evening, saying it was being approached by high speed boats. 

But according to the anti-piracy agency in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland there has been no contact with the ship since. 

The tracking system is reported to have been switched off. 

Piracy off the coast of Somalia was rampant up until a few years ago with pirates demanding millions of dollars in ransom. 

However, following patrols by foreign navies and assistance for fishing communities, the problem has been contained.

File picture of pirate in 2010

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