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Summary

  1. Nigeria's president is pictured meeting the Archbishop of Canterbury
  2. Sudan 'disappointed' by US travel ban
  3. Ethiopia dismisses reports that hundreds have died from cholera
  4. Two Nigerian policemen found guilty of murdering civilians in Apo Six case
  5. Winnie Madikizela-Mandela admitted to hospital in Johannesburg
  6. Tanzania government ministries threatened with power blackout
  7. South Africa police fire rubber bullets to disperse demonstration
  8. UN says South Sudanese politicians neglecting the people
  9. Gabon's Aubameyang scores hat-trick for Dortmund
  10. Email stories and comments to africalive@bbc.co.uk - Thursday 9 March 2017

Live Reporting

By Hugo Williams and Damian Zane

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:

Fire that is surrounded by elders cannot burn you."

Sent by Noreen Nsokolo Sampa, Livingstone, Zambia, and Martin Mwango, Mpika, Zambia

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

And we leave you with this picture of two workers taking a break at a cotton market in Burkina Faso: 


          Farmers rest in their cotton at a cotton market in Soungalodaga, a village near Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso March 8
Reuters

Kenya athletes facing possible Olympic ban

Piers Edwards

BBC Africa Sport

Kenya's National Olympic Committee has angered the International Olympic Committee (IOC) when it failed to vote through key changes to the constitution on Wednesday.

And it hasn't taken long for the IOC to respond. 

Today, it cut its funding to Kenya.

In a statement, the IOC said it was:

Extremely disappointed by the outcome of the meeting which did not address governance issues in the right way."

It added:

This goes against the roadmap and discussions with the National Olympic Committee [of Kenya] over the last few months... The IOC is now putting on hold all payments of subsidies to Kenya until a decision of the IOC Executive Board is taken next week."

There are now genuine fears that Kenya will be suspended from the IOC following next week's meeting in South Korea. 

Kenyan athletics has been mired in a series of drugs and corruption scandals  recently .

Cyclone Enawo batters Madagascar

Madagascar has been battered by Cyclone Enawo in recent days. 

Five people are now known to have died since the cyclone made landfall on Tuesday. 

Whilst the storm slowly eases over the next 24 hours there is still the risk of further flooding and disruption. 

Phil Avery has the latest forecast.

Supporters mark two years since disappearance of Zimbabwe activist


          Itai Dzamara holds a sign saying "Failed Mugabe must step down"
KUMBIRAI MAFUNDA
Witnesses say Itai Dzamara was bundled into a car and taken away by armed men

Supporters of prominent Zimbabwean activist Itai Dzamara have been marking exactly two years since his disappearance.

Witnesses say he was abducted by five men, who dragged him out of a barber shop in the capital, Harare, and bundled him into a car.

Some have been using the hashtag  #WhereisItai  on Twitter to raise awareness of Mr Dzamara's case, who was one of 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe's most vocal critics.

Officials have denied any state agents were involved in his abduction.

A statement from the US embassy in Zimbabwe criticised the authorities for not doing more to solve the case:

The United States remains deeply concerned about Mr Dzamara's whereabouts and well-being... The lack of progress in this case raises doubts about the intention of the authorities responsible for the investigation."

The EU also voiced its concern over the activist, whose case has become a cause celebre for critics of Mr Mugabe, who accuse him of abusing human rights in order to retain his grip on power.

Boost for rice farming in Nigeria

Nigeria's rice producing industry is bucking the country's economic fortunes, the Financial Times reports .

The country's economy contracted in 2016 - the first time negative growth has been recorded in a calendar year in a quarter of a century.

But journalist Maggie Flick travelled to the north-west of the country and found a booming rice industry.

This comes off the back of import restrictions and a programme to support rice farmers in the region.

“Life is getting better around here,” one farmer Labara Hassan is quoted as saying.

Bowl of cooked rice
NDUDU BY FAFA
Rice is a staple food in Nigeria

Sudan summons US diplomat over travel ban

The United States' chief diplomat in Sudan has been summoned to the country's foreign ministry in protest over the 90-day travel ban imposed on Sudanese travelling to the US, Reuters news agency reports.

Sudan is among six majority Muslim countries to be included in the revised list issued earlier this week. Somalia and Libya are also on the list. 

An earlier effort by President Donald Trump to impose travel restrictions was halted by the courts.

The new ban is due to come into force next week.

Reuters quotes a Sudanese government statement saying that the deputy foreign minister "once again expressed Sudan's disappointment at the order".


          Protesters march in New York's Times Square in solidarity with American Muslims
AFP
The original travel ban sparked protests in the US when it was introduced last month

'Water shortages' in Ethiopian water-bottling town

Since the imposition of the state of emergency in Ethiopia last October designed to quell protests in the restive Oromia region, little has been reported from the region.

But journalist William Davison managed to gain access to the area and in today's Guardian newspaper he has written about the water problems in the town of Sululta, near the capital, Addis Ababa.

He found that despite the town's booming economy - it has attracted a lot of investment in industrial plants - people do not have reliable access to water.

Ironically, the town is home to water bottling plants.

"There is no one to care about us," one woman told Davison. 

Oromo protester
Reuters
The state of emergency was imposed in October 2016 and is due to end next month

Call for sanctions on Burundi over 'gross violations'


          Large crowds of government supporters on the streets in February
AFP
Government supporters came out in large numbers last month in the capital Bujumbura

Nearly 20 human rights groups are urging the United Nations Security Council to impose targeted sanctions against officials accused of gross human rights violations in Burundi. 

The 19 organisations include Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the International Federation of Human Rights. 

In a letter sent to the UN Security Council on Wednesday, they say:

Some intelligence, army and police agents... had been killing, torturing, beating innocent people including those fleeing to the neighbouring countries in all impunity.''

The letter says they were aided by members of the youth wing of the ruling party.  

You can see the full letter below, which has been shared on Twitter by an HRW press officer:

View more on twitter

Read more about Burundi

Tension over grazing in central Kenya reaches 'crisis point'

Nancy Kacungira

BBC Africa, Nairobi

Ranch owners affected by clashes with migrant cattle herders in central Kenya are calling on the government to conduct a disarmament exercise.

Local farmers held a meeting today to discuss the numerous attacks on private farms and ranches by cattle herders said to be looking for pasture.

Managing cattle grazing in the Laikipia region has been a source of conflict for many years, but ranch owners at today’s meeting said the situation has reached crisis point. 

The farmers say the most recent attacks are being perpetrated by pastoralists coming from outside Laikipia county, who are increasingly well armed.

Traditional grazing deals between surrounding communities and the ranchers had sustained a relative level of peace for decades, but a large influx of pastoralists has rendered them largely ineffective. 

Earlier this week ranch owner Tristan Voorspuy was killed in the region by pastoral herders in the latest sign of tension.

Herders in Laikipia
BBC
Herders say drought is forcing them to resort to illegal grazing

Read more:  Are Kenya ranch invasions driven by drought or politics?

New pictures of Buhari released

The latest tweet from Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari during his stay in London on extended medical leave shows him meeting the Archbishop of Canterbury:

View more on twitter

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo is currently acting as president while Mr Buhari is away.

His absence - now in its seventh week - has led to some anxiety in Nigeria with people wondering what is the matter with the president.

The reason for Mr Buhari's medical leave has not been disclosed.

Madikizela-Mandela admitted to hospital in Johannesburg

Milton Nkosi

BBC Africa, Johannesburg

South African anti-apartheid struggle hero Winnie Madikizela-Mandela has been admitted to hospital for observation. 

Her family said she had gone to Johannesburg's Milpark hospital for a check-up. 

In December last year Mrs Madikizela-Mandela was admitted to the same hospital but the diagnosis of her ailment was never made public.

Her spokesman Victor Dlamini told the BBC that “she had gone in for a regular check-up but the doctors, as a precautionary measure, decided to admit her”.

“It will probably be just like last year when she was here, it lasted just for a day or two,” he added.

Mrs Madikizela-Mandela was married to Nelson Mandela and was the first black woman to be registered as a social worker in the country.


          Africa National Congress stalwart Winnie Madikizela Mandela looks on as she is greeted by Women League supporters
AFP
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela is a leading member of the governing African National Congress

Ghana treason trial stalls

Thomas Naadi

BBC Africa, Accra

The treason trial in Ghana against three people accused of campaigning for separatism for Ghana's eastern Volta ground to a halt today as the magistrate said his court had no authority to hear the case. 

The three facing the treason charges are alleged to belong to a group that wants the Volta region and parts of northern Ghana to break away to form a new country to be called Western Togoland. 

The area did not fall within the administrative borders of the Gold Coast, which became known as Ghana at independence 60 years ago.

What was then Trans Volta Togoland territory was incorporated into Ghana. 

The three were arrested after one of them was found distributing shirts backing a separate state.

The Volta regional police commander Nana Asomah told the BBC that the police are yet to decide what to do after the magistrate declined to hear the case.

Ghanaian celebrations
EPA
Ghana marked 60 years of independence on Monday

Two Nigerian policemen sentenced to death over civilian murders

Two former Nigerian policemen have been sentenced to death in connection with the murder of six civilians in 2005.

The killing of the Apo Six became notorious as the police initially tried to cover up the deaths, saying that the victims were armed robbers who had opened fire first.

But a judicial panel of inquiry set up by former President Olusegun Obasanjo rejected the police's story and the government apologised on behalf of the police for their killings.  

Ezekiel Achejene and Emmanuel Baba were convicted but three other policemen, Danjuma Ibrahim, Nicholas Zakaria and Sadiq Salami were freed, the Punch newspaper reports .

Achejene and Baba were found guilty of murdering two of the six, the paper adds.

The six victims
BBC
The six victims were murdered in June 2005

Exiled Gambia leader Jammeh 'to take up farming'

The former president of The Gambia, Yahya Jammeh, has disclosed plans to take up farming full time, the Jeune Afrique newspaper reports .

Mr Jammeh flew out to Equatorial Guinea last month after coming under pressure from Gambia's neighbours, who threatened to use force against him out if he did not accept defeat in December presidential polls. 

Jeune Afrique quotes an unnamed diplomat in Equatorial Guinea as the source of the story.

After his initial acceptance, later reversed, that he had lost the elections to current leader Adama Barrow, Mr Jammeh had said he would return to his home village in The Gambia to take up farming there. 

Former President of The Gambia, Yahya Jammeh
AFP
Yahya Jammeh, former President of The Gambia.

Weight-loss surgery for 500kg Egyptian woman

Eman Ahmed Abd El Aty
SAIFEE HOSPITAL
Eman Ahmed Abd El Aty after the surgery

An Egyptian woman, believed to be the world's heaviest at 500kg (1,102lb), has undergone weight reduction surgery.

A spokesperson at Mumbai's Saifee Hospital said Eman Ahmed Abd El Aty, 36, had lost 100kg since arriving in India in January.

"We are trying to get her fit enough to fly back to Egypt as soon as possible," the hospital said in a statement.

Her family said she had not left her house for 25 years until she came to Mumbai on a chartered plane.

Read more: Obesity boom 'fuels malnutrition rise'

The dirty secret of 'African quality' fuel

European fuel traders have been selling fuel to Africa that has toxin levels up to 300 times the European limit. 

Until now that was legal in many African countries. But in Nigeria they’re trying to change that – by banning these toxic fuels. 

The dirty secret of 'African quality' fuel

This video is part of the the BBC ‘s So I Can Breathe season.  

Read more: Can Nigeria clean up its dirty air?

Security at South Africa airport lampooned

As the search continues for those responsible for the audacious cash theft at South Africa's main airport, OR Tambo in Johannesburg, cartoonists have been having fun with the story.

View more on twitter

As we reported earlier , the police say they have found two fake police cars which they say were used in the heist. 

Curfew in south-west Nigeria city over violence

Naziru Mikailu

BBC Abuja editor

A three-day dusk to dawn curfew has been imposed in Ile-Ife city in Nigeria’s south-western Osun state following ethnic violence in which several people were reportedly killed.

Violence broke out on Wednesday between the Hausa community – who are mainly economic migrants from the north - and the local Yoruba community.

State Governor Rauf Aregbesola said in a statement that the violence had led “to avoidable destruction of lives and properties” but gave no further details.

Some residents told BBC Hausa that at lest 20 people were killed but the police have not given any figures.

Mr Aregbesola said the decision to limit the movement was taken over a breach of peace in the area.

The curfew, between 6pm to 7am local time, will stay in place until Friday.

Violence like this has a history of degenerating into more ethnic clashes nationwide, with reprisal attacks being carried out in other areas.

Map showing location of Ife
BBC

Tunisian airline grounded 'over uniform row'

BBC World Service

Tunisia's national airline has announced that it is cancelling all flights over what it describes as social tensions. 

Local media say that Tunisair has grounded its planes as a result of a battle between pilots and technicians over uniforms. 

This is reported to have escalated into violent confrontations between the two, the latest being reported on board a plane between a co-pilot and a mechanic. 

The dispute is reportedly over uniforms that technicians have been given, which some pilots believe do not make an adequate distinction between them and mechanics.

Tunisair logo
Tunisair

Ethiopia cracks down on deadly driving

Emmanuel Igunza

BBC Africa, Addis Ababa

A new study says road accidents are on the rise in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, with pedestrians accounting for 80% of deaths.

City authorities have announced stiffer penalties for drivers violating traffic regulations among other measures, in a bid to address the alarming figures.

At least 5,000 people died across Ethiopia last year due to road accidents.  

Earlier this week four nuns became the latest victims after they died in a road accident in the east of the country. 

The report by the Addis Ababa authorities blames the rising cases of accidents on poor roads, speeding and drink driving. 

Use of seatbelts was also reported to be low, while only one in three motorcyclists wore helmets correctly. 

In January, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn termed the rise in accidents as an epidemic and called for a complete overhaul of traffic regulations and the issuing of driving licenses.

Traffic in Addis Ababa
AFP
The authorities have promised stiffer penalties for those breaking traffic laws

Kenyan hospitals start sacking striking doctors

Anne Soy

BBC Africa, Nairobi

Hospitals have begun the process of sacking striking doctors and evicting them from the premises. 

Kenya's public hospitals have been paralysed by the industrial action, which started in December, with doctors and other medical staff demanding better pay and improved working conditions. 


          A doctor holds his stethoscope in the air as he and other medical staff protest the detention of their union leaders, outside an appeal court in Nairobi, Kenya, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017
AP
Doctors have been striking since December

But the sackings come as the Kenyan doctors’ union say they have now signed the documents needed to end their three-month strike.  

They are calling on the government do the same.

But the authorities say the deadline for accepting the 50% pay rise offer passed two days ago. 

Hospitals have begun carrying out disciplinary measures against doctors who have now been on strike for 95 days. 

The country’s top referral facility, Kenyatta National Hospital, has already sent home 12 doctors. 

Read more: The cancer patient and the medic

'Fake police cars' from SA airport robbery seized

Milton Nkosi

BBC Africa, Johannesburg

Bogus police cars involved in the brazen airport robbery on Tuesday evening have been recovered in a Pretoria township, the police say.

Thieves stole piles of cash after getting into a secure area of the country's main airport, OR Tambo in Johannesburg.

The head of South African Police Services (SAPS) General Khomotso Pahlane told a media briefing in Pretoria that two of the cars found had “fake police markings”. 

Mr Phahlane declined to confirm the amount of money that was stolen.

Sources said the amount, in different international currencies, could be in the region of $2m (£1.65m).  

Mr Phahlane promised that a high-level investigation currently under way will look into whether it was an inside job:

It cannot be ruled out... Let’s be allowed space to piece this thing together and we will revert at an opportune moment.”

South African policeman at airport
Getty
Security was tight at OR Tambo airport during the 2010 Fifa World Cup in South Africa

Protests continue in South Africa after shooting

Residents of the Reiger Park suburb of South Africa's main city, Johannesburg, are continuing to protest despite police attempts to quell the demonstrations.

Earlier we reported that police shot and injured five people with rubber bullets as they were trying to break up a protest over local government services.

Police also arrested several people and according to local media, residents are outside the local police station, demanding their release:

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Reporters gain access to Jo'burg airport cargo area

The BBC's Newsday programme has been speaking to Times Live crime reporter Graeme Hosken about the robbery at Johannesburg airport on Tuesday.

He said his colleagues were able to gain access to the airport's cargo area yesterday, walking straight past security without being challenged and staying there for about an hour - something he said was "absolutely mind-blowing". 

Hosken said the police investigation was likely to focus on assistance the robbers may have received from people who worked at the airport and in the police.

The robbers had genuine airport photo ID access cards and their mocked-up police vehicles (which were not real police vehicles, as some outlets have reported) were fitted with genuine police badges, markings and radios.

Two of the vehicles have now been closely examined, having been recovered from east of Pretoria late yesterday.

Hosken said the cash taken from the airport had been destined for banks in London and elsewhere in Europe.

You can listen to the full interview with Graeme Hosken by clicking or tapping below. Listen from 31:16.

Get your application in for Komla Dumor award

Time's running out if you want to apply for the BBC World News Komla Dumor Award.

There are just six days to go until applications close on 15 March at 23:59 GMT. 

The award recognises a rising star of African journalism and was established to honour Komla Dumor, an exceptional Ghanaian broadcaster and presenter, who died suddenly aged 41 in 2014. 

The winner will spend three months at the BBC headquarters in London, gaining skills and experience.

Click here for more details .

Five dead in Madagascar cyclone

BBC World Service

Officials in Madagascar say five people are now known to have died from a cyclone that made landfall in the north-east of the island on Tuesday. 

They say about 10,000 people have had to leave their homes because of damage from Cyclone Enawo. 

Local media has reported that power supplies are also down in some areas. 

The emergency services are warning of the threat of flooding, including in the capital, Antananarivo. 

The storm has moved south but has diminished in strength. 

Aid agencies are providing shelter, water and other basic needs to those affected.


          Trees are lashed by strong winds in Sambava, Madagascar Tuesday, March 7, 2017
AP
The cyclone hit Madagascar on Tuesday

Somalia to get new banknotes

After inaugurating a new president not long ago, Somalia is planning to launch new banknotes this year. 

The old ones are being taken out of circulation to tackle counterfeiting. It's a huge challenge: a huge percentage of the local banknotes are thought to be fake. 

Somalia's getting a helping hand from the International Monetary Fund. It's offering to help with the process of issuing the new notes. 

The BBC spoke to Nairobi-based financial analyst Ally Khan Satchu about the plans.

Old banknotes to be taken out of circulation in Somalia to combat counterfeiting,

Tanzania ministries 'must pay bills or have power cut off'

Sammy Awami

BBC Africa, Dar es Salaam

The Tanzania Electricity Company (Tanesco) has given its defaulters 14 days to pay their debts or risk being disconnected. 

The company's managing director, Tito Mwinuka, told a news conference in Dar es Salaam that ministries and other government institutions owe the company $2.3m (£1.9m) while the Zanzibar Electricity Corporation (Zeco) owes Tanesco $56.8m.

On Sunday, Tanzanian President John Magufuli directed Tanesco to cut off all those in long-term default, including the Zanzibar government.

This morning, Mr Mwinuka refused to comment on the situation regarding Zanzibar. 

The energy ministry recently said Tanesco had debts of $363m and the government had entered talks with the World Bank about a loan for the company "to reduce its arrears and improve its operations".

Tanesco has been relying on costly fuel oil or diesel plants during the dry season and many of its arrears are due to the costs of using private power and fuel suppliers. 


          US President Barack Obama (L) points at a 'soccket' ball, a soccer ball that captures the energy during game play to charge LEDs and small batteries, alongside Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete (3rd R) on July 2, 2013 during a demonstration at the Ubungo Plaza Symbion Power Plant in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.
AFP
Barack Obama visited a Tanzanian power plant with then President Kikwete in 2013

Five shot with rubber bullets in South Africa

At least five people in South Africa have been injured by police firing rubber bullets to break up a demonstration.

Residents of the Reiger Park suburb of Johannesburg were allegedly trying to torch a councillor's house, the BBC's Pumza Fihlani reports.

They were protesting about the allocation of public housing to foreign nationals in the area. There have also been complaints about the local government's failure to provide basic services such as water and electricity. 

The police are at the scene monitoring the situation. 

View more on twitter

The trouble comes after a number of recent clashes in South Africa between foreign nationals and locals.

Ethiopia denies cholera death reports

The Ethiopian government has dismissed claims from a rebel group that hundreds of people have died from cholera in recent days.

The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) says in a post on its website that "more than 300 people have died from a cholera epidemic in the Ogaden during the last 72 hours".

But an Ethiopian government official has told the BBC that "the reports are simply false and deliberate fabrications".

The BBC's media monitoring service says that the ONLF, which has been fighting the government for years, tends to exaggerate reports that are critical of the authorities. 

ONLF fighters
AFP
The ONLF is one of a number of separatist groups fighting the Ethiopian government

Appeal for 'last' effort to end Kenya doctors' strike

The Kenya Medical Association has published a statement this morning, appealing to government and doctors' representatives to get together "one last time" in an attempt to end the three-month-long strike. 

Doctors' leaders yesterday said returning to work under an imposed order would be "career suicide".

A day earlier,  President Uhuru Kenyatta denounced the doctors' financial demands  as "blackmail".  

View more on twitter

Security stepped up after Nigeria airport closure

Nigeria has reportedly increased security along the road between the capital, Abuja, and Kaduna.

This comes after the temporary closure of Abuja's airport for repairs, with flights diverted to Kaduna.

Passengers now have to travel between the two cities by a road that is notorious for kidnappings.

Reports say police vehicles have been stationed at intervals of about 2km along the road. 

The government ordered the six-week closure of Abuja's airport for runway repairs. 

Most international airlines have said they will not fly to Kaduna because of security concerns.

But Ethiopian Airlines is flying there and on Thursday morning its official Twitter account retweeted a post praising the company:

View more on twitter

Read more about the closure here.

Aubameyang shines for Dortmund

Barcelona's heroics in the European Champions League somewhat overshadowed what happened in the other match last night, where Gabon's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored a hat-trick.

Borussia Dortmund thrashed Benfica 4-0 to ease into the Champions League quarter-finals.

The hosts trailed 1-0 on aggregate from the first leg but Aubameyang levelled the last-16 tie after just four minutes with a header at the back post.

Dortmund took control after Christian Pulisic scored on 59 minutes.

The 18-year-old winger brilliantly chipped onrushing goalkeeper Ederson after being slid in by Lukasz Piszczek.

Aubameyang, who missed a penalty in the first leg in Lisbon, then swept in Marcel Schmelzer's low cross two minutes later before an unmarked Marc Bartra hit the post from a corner.

The Gabon striker completed his treble with five minutes remaining as he turned in Erik Durm's sublime pass.

BBC Sport has more.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scoring
Getty Images

UN condemns South Sudan leadership


          President Salva Kiir (R) accused former Vice-President Riek Machar (L)
AP
A bitter rivalry between President Salva Kiir (R) and his former deputy Riek Machar (L) plunged the country into civil war

The UN's representative in South Sudan has said the country's leaders are failing their people and neglecting their duty.

David Shearer said the politicians seemed more interested in their own intrigues than ensuring food and medical care reached a population beset by famine and civil war. 

He added that but for international aid tens of thousands more South Sudanese would be dead. 

But Mr Shearer repeated what the UN Secretary General had said on Wednesday that though there was localised fighting between ethnic groups, there was no signs yet of a genocide in South Sudan.

The South Sudanese government has raised the cost of a work permit for a foreign aid worker from $100 to $10,000. 

The BBC's Alastair Leithead has been speaking to people in the south-western town of Yei, who have been giving harrowing testimony of what they allege happened to them and their relatives at the hands of government soldiers. 

The army denies that civilians have been targeted in the conflict. 

'My sister was raped by three soldiers in South Sudan'

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