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  1. Starvation in three African states could lead to 'mass deaths'
  2. Somalis almost double municipal representation in Finland
  3. South Sudan militia 'arrests human traffickers'
  4. African migrants 'sold at slave markets' in Libya
  5. Zambian opposition leader arrested for 'treason'
  6. Anger in Nigeria after road safety boss cuts hair of female employees
  7. Trump administration to 'bolster Nigeria air force to fight Boko Haram'
  8. Shell admits dealing with Nigerian criminal
  9. Email stories and comments to - Tuesday 11 April 2017

Live Reporting

By Dickens Olewe and Farouk Chothia

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Scroll down for Tuesday'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:

A red-eyed lion does not attack."

A Madi proverb sent by Tedini James Grant and Vuchiri John Gavin, both from Adjumani, Uganda

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

And we leave you with this picture of an artist busy at work in Ghana's coastal town of Kokrobite: 

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South Sudan militia 'arrests human traffickers'

James Copnall

Africa editor, BBC World Service

The Sudanese state news agency says a paramilitary group, known as the Rapid Support Forces, has arrested five leading human traffickers near the borders in the northeast of the country. 

The RSF's commander Mohamed Hamdan 'Hemeti' told the news agency that those arrested were of different nationalities, and members of their gangs fled into neighbouring Libya. 

The RSF's role in tackling human trafficking and migration is controversial. It has been accused of numerous human rights violations. 

Rights groups have complained that money the European Union gives to Sudan to stop migration should not go to the RSF.

Somalis win seats in Finland local elections

Naima Mohamud, BBC Africa

Counting votes
Somalis are a tiny minority in Finland

Eleven Somalis won seats in municipal elections in Finland yesterday, increasing their representation from six.

It shows that more Somalis are getting involved in politics in the Scandinavian state, and their influence has slowly grown since the first batch arrived as refugees in the early 1990s,

Somalis number only about 18,000 in a country with a population of about five million. 

Some of the Somalis elected yesterday hope to become MPs one day.

'Damage' at Zambian opposition leader's home

Zambia's main opposition UPND party has shared photos of what it says is the damaged caused by police during a raid on the home of its leader Hakainde Hichilema in an upmarket suburb of the capital, Lusaka: 

View more on twitter

Mr Hichilema has been detained and questioned by police for allegedly committing treason, according to his lawyer. 

See earlier post for more details

Cutting women's hair is 'humiliating'

Nigerians have been reacting to pictures shared on Facebook and Twitter of a male road safety officer in Nigeria's Rivers state cutting the hair of female workers apparently because they violated guidelines on hairstyles. 

Man cutting woman's hair

The pictures were posted on the Facebook page of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) but have since been removed. 

They have been strongly condemned on Twitter: 

@MinOfInteriorNG How can female Officers be subjected to this type of Humiliation by the Sector Com Andrew Kumapayi?
@MinOfInteriorNG How can female Officers be subjected to this type of Humiliation by the Sector Com Andrew Kumapayi?
@MinOfInteriorNG How can female Officers be subjected to this type of Humiliation by the Sector Com Andrew Kumapayi?
@MinOfInteriorNG How can female Officers be subjected to this type of Humiliation by the Sector Com Andrew Kumapayi?

@MinOfInteriorNG How can female Officers be subjected to this type of Humiliation by the Sector Com Andrew Kumapayi?

Following the angry reactions, the head of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Boboye Oyeyemi, has ordered the recall of Mr Kumapayi from Rivers state to its headquarters in the capital, reports the BBC's Chris Ewokor from Abuja. 

Our corresondent adds that Nigerians have also accused Mr Kumapayi of "brutish leadership", and of leaving workers "demoralised". 

Mr Kumapayi has not yet commented, but he has some defenders, including one man who said the women should have adhered to the FRSC's hairstyle rules rather than denouncing someone who was simply doing his job as "wicked and heartless". 

(see earlier post)

DA asks for Zuma no-confidence vote to be postponed

South Africa's main opposition party has asked the parliamentary speaker Baleka Mbete to postpone next Tuesday's no-confidence motion against President Jacob Zuma until the Constitutional Court rules on whether the vote can be held in secret. 

Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane tweeted:

View more on twitter

The governing African National Congress, which has a majority in parliament, has said it will vote against the 18 April motion. 

Opposition parties hope that a secret ballot would allow dissenting members to support the motion.  

Read: Battle for soul of ANC

Cameroon Anglophone lawyers 'to end strike'

A demonstration of Anglophone lawyers in Cameroon
Anglophone lawyers oppose French being used in courts

Lawyers in English-speaking parts of Cameroon will end their strike to demand an end to discrimination early next month, the head of their legal body has said. 

However, the strike's end is conditional on the release of two lawyers who were detained following the outbreak of protests, Jackson Ngnie Kamga said in a statement. 

English-speaking lawyers have been boycotting legal proceedings since October to protest against the use of French in courts and schools in Anglophone regions. 

They are also opposed to the employment of court workers who do not understand the application of British common law. 

Cameroon was colonised by Germany in the 19th Century and then split into British and French areas after World War One. 

Later, areas controlled by Britain and France joined to form Cameroon after the colonial powers withdrew in the 1960s.

French-speaking Cameroonians form the majority in the central African state. 

North-West and South-West are Cameroon's two English-speaking regions

Read: Why Cameroon blocked the internet?

Zambian opposition leader arrested

Hakainde Hichilema, leader of Zambias main opposition United Party for National Development (UPND), addresses supporters on January 18, 2015 at Woodlands Stadium in Lusaka ahead of the country's January 20 presidential election
Mr Hichilema was defeated in last year's election

The main opposition politician in Zambia, Hakainde Hichilema has been detained and questioned by police for committing "treason", his lawyer Jack Mwiimbu has said. 

However, he has not yet been formally charged and "we are definitely challenging the police action", Mr Mwiimbu added.  

Police have not yet commented. However, on Sunday, the authorities accused Mr Hichelema of obstructing President Edgar Lungu's motorcade. 

Mr Hichilema's party, the United Party for National Development has denied any wrongdoing. 

It also complained that when the police raided Mr Hichilema's house, they fired tear gas canisters into the building. 

Mr Hichilema still disputes the results of last August's election, in which he came second to Mr Lungu. 

See earlier post for more details

Pictures of Libya 'migrant slaves'

We reported earlier that the International Organization for Migration has uncovered a disturbing new trend in people smuggling in Libya - migrants being bought and sold as slaves ( see earlier entry )

IOM has just shared images of some of the captives with us. 

Migrant slaves
Some of the people being traded in Libya's slave markets

Outrage in Nigeria as male traffic officer cuts female co-workers hair

A  Nigerian road safety officer in the southern Rivers state has been recalled from his station after pictures of him cutting the hair of female employees during an inspection parade were widely shared on social media. 

Andrew Kumapayi is seen using a pair of scissors to cut the women's hair reportedly to conform to an acceptable hairstyle.

View more on twitter

Boboye Oyeyemi, the head of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), recalled Mr Kumapayi following angry reactions on Twitter and Facebook.       

The FRSC has a rule which forbids female officers from having any hairstyle that drops past their collar. 

Court relaxes Zimbabwe's #Thisflag pastor bail conditions

Shingai Nyoka

BBC Africa, Harare

A court in Zimbabwe has relaxed bail conditions for Evan Mawarire, a pastor who gained fame last year for leading anti-government protests under the banner #ThisFlag. 

Mr Mawarire was charged in February with inciting the overthrow of President Robert Mugabe's government.

He had been arrested at Harare's airport after he returned from a six-month self exile in the US. 

In a post on Facebook he says that he has been ordered to report to the police station every two weeks instead of twice a week. 

His passport has also been returned temporarily:

The judge ruled that I am now to report to the police once every two weeks instead of twice a week. She also ruled that I could have my passport back temporarily till 20 April to allow me to discharge my pastoral and personal business outside the country.

Never has citizen power become so key in the journey of bringing change to Zimbabwe. Don't lose hope Zimbabwe. Let's keep raising #ThisFlag high."

View more on facebook

Read:Zimbabwe's pastor 'hero': #ThisFlag preacher

Legal challenge over Zuma no-confidence vote

          Demonstrators take part in a protest calling for the removal of South Africa"s President Jacob Zuma, in Johannesburg, South Africa April 7, 2017.
Mr Zuma has resisted presssure to steep down

South Africa's highest court will hear an application by the opposition United Democratic Movement (UDM) to force parliament to hold a secret vote on President Jacob Zuma's future. 

The party took the case to the Constitutional Court after Speaker Baleka Mbete said that parliamentary rules do not allow for a secret ballot. 

The opposition believes that a secret vote will make it easier for MPs of the governing African National Congress (ANC) to vote against Mr Zuma. 

Th UDM leader has tweeted a copy of the court's decision:  

View more on twitter

The no-confidence motion in Mr Zuma is due to be debated on Tuesday, but will have to be postponed until the court makes a ruling, Mr Holomisa said. 

He added:

We only need 65 to 70 people from the ANC, and the secret ballot can deliver the votes to remove Zuma."

The ANC has about 249 MPs out of 400. A simple majority is needed to vote out the president. 

Tens of thousands of people protested last week to demand Mr Zuma's resignation, accusing him of being corrupt and reckless with the economy. 

He denies the allegation, and his allies say he will remain in office until his term ends in 2019

See earlier post for more details  

Migrants sold at 'slave markets' in Libya

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) is reporting a disturbing new trend in people smuggling in Libya - migrants being bought and sold as slaves. 

Libya is a focal point for migrants hoping to cross the Mediterranean to Europe, but the IOM says more and more migrants, without identity papers and with no more money to pay smugglers, are being openly sold into slavery. 

Migrants interviewed by the IOM report being prevented by people smugglers from reaching the Libyan coast, and instead being taken to town squares or parking lots, where they are then sold as slaves. 

They are held in warehouses or abandoned buildings, and forced to work. 

Some migrants said they were beaten daily, and made to call their families to demand ransom money. 

IOM staff who managed to gain access to some detention centres found evidence of systematic malnutrition, sexual abuse, and even murder. 

The emergence of slave markets is, the IOM says, a disturbing new trend in the already dire situation for migrants in Libya.

          A Libyan coastguard boat carrying mostly African migrants prepares to dock at the port in the city of Misrata on May 3, 2015, after the coastguard intercepted five boats carrying around 500 people trying to reach Europe.
Many Africans risk their lives to reach Europe

Read: The untold story of drowned mgrants

UN warns of 'mass deaths' from starvation

BBC World Service

The UN refugee agency has issued a renewed warning of the risk of mass deaths from starvation in Somalia, South Sudan, north-east Nigeria and Yemen. 

UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards said drought, conflict and a lack of funding meant that an avoidable humanitarian crisis was fast becoming inevitable. 

He told reporters in Geneva there were fears of a worse situation than in 2011, when a drought in the Horn of Africa killed more than 250,000 people. 

The UN has asked for $4,4bn (£3,5bn) dollars to address the problem, but has only received about $1bn. 

Read: Why are there still famines?


Crystal Palace's Pape Souare back in training

Crystal Palace defender Pape Souare has posted a video on Twitter of him running for the first time after a car crash in September. 

View more on twitter

The Senegalese told the BBC in December that he was unsure when he would recover. "I don't know about my injury. I don't know if I can get back or not," 

"I just put everything in the hands of God and we will see."  he said.   

The left-back, who joined Palace from French club Lille in January 2015, had to be cut free from his car by a team of firefighters.

Souare said he remembered "everything" about the crash and admitted he felt "very lucky" to be alive.

"I got my leg broke, and my jaw, and I couldn't eat for the first month, but now I can eat, I can try to eat a little bit," he said.

The news will be a welcome boost to his club who are buoyed by last night's English Premier League win against Arsenal. 

Accident scene
Souare had to be freed from his vehicle by firefighters following the crash

Battle for soul of ANC

Milton Nkosi

BBC Africa, Johannesburg

          Protesters hold a portrait of South African president Jacob Zuma as thousands of South African took to the streets to demand the resignation of South African President Jacob Zuma, on April 7, 2017 in Pretoria, South Africa
The opposition accuses President Zuma of being corrupt

Ex-South African President Thabo Mbeki’s entry into the ring in the fight for the soul of the governing African National Congress (ANC) adds to the woes of his embattled successor, Jacob Zuma.

By calling on ANC MPs to put country before party in next week's parliamentary vote on Mr Zuma's future ( see earlier post ), the former head of state has emboldened the president's critics within the governing party which has been in power since the end of minority rule in 1994.

Mr Mbeki is not the only one who is speaking out against his old ANC comrade.

Senior ANC MP Makhosi Khoza has been brave to come out in public against President Zuma, at a time when there is considerable pressure to toe the party line.

Speaking on local radio this morning, Ms Khoza said that the ANC should never have let things get to the point where the party has to use its parliamentary majority to protect the president.

Earlier, she lamented that the “politics of patronage has finally claimed the sanity of the ANC’s leadership. A triumphant story has tuned tragic in my lifetime.”

Referring to the parliamentary motion brought by the opposition to vote out Mr Zuma, she said: 

Whether we vote for or against, both ways the ANC loses and both ways it’s going to dent significantly its status as a leader of society.”

          South African ruling Party African National Congress Youth League member holds up a sign in support of South African President Jacob Zuma as sacked finance minister Pravin Gordhan speaks at a memorial service held in Durban in honour of anti-apartheid icon Ahmed Kathrada on April 9, 2017 in Durban.
The president's term is due to end in 2019

Staunch supporters of Mr Zuma have been publicly warning MPs to vote for him to remain in office - or risk serious consequences.

The ANC has a majority of more than 60% in parliament, but the opposition is hoping that its MPs would break rank to vote with them. 

They have accused Mr Zuma of being a "crooked presdent" and of being a "wrecking ball".

He denies the allegation. 

The latest bid to oust him came after a midnight cabinet reshuffle which saw him sack both the respected Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan and his deputy, Mcebisi Jonas, a decision which led global rating agencies to downgrade South Africa to junk status. 

Condemning their dismissal at the time, ANC parliamentary chief whip Jackson Mthembu said:

Their crime is their incorruptibility."

But Mr Mthembu has said that ANC MPs will reject the opposition motion, in line with a decision by its top leadership, which includes Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is seen as a potential successor to Mr Zuma.

Explaining their decision last week, Mr Mantashe said:

"No army allows its soldiers to be commanded by the enemy's general”.

Read: South Africa's tough road out of junk status

'Regal and fierce': The Khoisan Kween Mother

South African artist Lady Skollie has unveiled her first ever solo exhibition in London.

The centrepiece is a mural entitled 'Khoisan Kween Mother', drawing on her Khoisan roots. 

The Khoisan are the indigenous people of southern Africa who have lived in the region for thousands of years.

Lady Skollie told the BBC's In The Studio programme that she sees the work as a 'regal and fierce' representation of herself, created in the style of a Khoisan cave painting.

South African artist Lady Skollie's latest mural is her take on a Khoisan cave painting

Zambia opposition leader 'blocked president's motorcade'

Zambia's opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema blocked President Edgar Lungu's motorcade on Sunday, according to a statement from the president's spokesman, the Reuters news agency reports. 

Amos Chanda said that Mr Hichilema's motorcade maintained its lane instead of getting off the road. 

It is unclear if the incident is related to the subsequent raid on Mr Hichilema's home in the capital, Lusaka. 

The opposition leader is currently at a police station. 

He had told South Africa's Daily Maverick publication that the president wants to kill him. 

Mr Hichilema was granted bail in October after being charged with sedition, a move his team said was an attempt by the ruling party to silence dissent. 

See previous post for more details

Zambian opposition leader 'at police station'

Zambia's main opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) is tweeting that its leader Hakainde Hichilema is now at a police station in the capital, Lusaka, following the raid on his home by the security forces. 

View more on twitter

See earlier post for more details

Niger shuts down university after student unrest

Protesters burning tears in Niger
Students have repeatedly protested in Niger

Niger's government  has shut down the main university in the capital, Niamey, in response to violent protests by students who have been demanding better living conditions.

The move comes a day after clashes between police and students resulted in one reported death.

Education Minister Mohammed Ben Omar says the University of Niamey will remain closed until further notice.

Mr Ben Omar added in a statement:

Due to the actions of students at the University of Niamey and at the demand of academic authorities, the ministry of higher education informs the public of the closure of the campus as of today and until further notice."

Police used tear gas to quell the student protest on Monday. 

The demonstrators responded by throwing stones at the security forces.

'The president wants to kill me' - Zambia opposition leader

View more on twitter

Zambia's security forces have raided the home of opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema in the capital, Lusaka, forcing him and his family to retreat to a safe room, South Africa's private  Daily Maverick news site quotes him as saying.

Speaking to the Daily Maverick from the safe room, Mr Hichilema added that the security forces had used  "some kind of toxic gas" in an attempt to force him and his family out of there: 

My wife is asthmatic and my child is asthmatic, they are fainting. Our eyes are swollen from the toxic gas they have been pushing in here. We are injured, my family is injured. My workers around the homestead were tortured the whole night."

Mr Hichilema accused President Edgar Lungu of trying to kill him:

“This guy, Lungu, he wants to kill me. He’s basically broken into my house and put his men around. The whole night they were harassing my wife and children... They have beaten all my workers. And they are still here. This guy is a dictator, a full-blown dictator. We’ve been saying so, no one in the region has been listening, and this is the consequence of not taking notice.”

Mr Lungu and the security forces have not yet commented on the allegations. 

Mr Hichilema lost to Mr Lungu last year in a tightly contested election which was marred by allegations of rigging.   

Shell admits dealing with money launderer

Shell has admitted for the first time it dealt with a convicted money-launderer when negotiating access to a vast oil field in Nigeria.

It comes after  emails were published showing  Shell negotiated with Dan Etete, who was later convicted of money laundering in a separate case.

Shell and an Italian oil company paid $1.3bn (£1bn) to the Nigerian government for access to the field.

Investigators claim $1.1bn was passed to a firm controlled by Mr Etete.

Shell and the Italian firm ENI agreed a deal with the Nigerian government for the rights to exploit OPL 245, a prime oil block off the coast of the Niger Delta.

The government passed on $1.1bn of the money to a company called Malabu, which was controlled by Mr Etete, according to Italian prosecutors.

Read the full BBC story here

Shell logo
Shell is a major investor in Nigeria

Mbeki joins row over Zuma's fate

South Africa's ex-President Thabo Mbeki has called on MPs of the governing African National Congress (ANC) to act in the interest of voters - rather than their party - during next week's opposition-sponsored motion to oust the scandal-hit President Jacob Zuma, the local IOL news site reports

Mr Mbeki's call is bound to incur the wrath of Mr Zuma's supporters, who have vowed to defeat the motion during a parliamentary vote, the site says. 

Opposition parties accuse Mr Zuma of being corrupt, and say he sacked the respected Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan in order to get greater control over the Treasury.  

Mr Zuma denies being corrupt, and says the cabinet reshuffle was aimed at promoting "radical economic transformation" for the benefit of the black majority. 

Thabo Mbeki
Mr Mbeki stepped down in 2008 under pressure from Mr Zuma

Mr Mbeki said, in an article for the site, that MPs should be the voice of the people and “not the voice of the political parties to which they belong”, IOL reports.

He added that the current controversy may have given South Africa an opportunity to better define the "constitutional and moral relationship between the people and their elected representatives.” 

Mr Mbeki is a member of the ANC who resigned as president after losing the confidence of the party, led by Mr Zuma, in 2008.

Read: Knives out for President Zuma

US to 'sell military aircraft' to Nigeria

          A member of the Colombian Air Force cleans a Super Tucano A-29B airplane during the F-Air Colombia 2013 Festival at Jose Maria Cordova airport in Rionegro, Antioquia department, on July 11, 2013.
Nigeria plans to buy the Super Tucano aircraft

US President Donald's Trump administration will press ahead with the sale of high-tech aircraft to Nigeria to help it fight militant Islamist group Boko Haram, despite concerns about human rights abuses committed by the West African state's military, US officials have said. 

The deal will see Nigeria buying up to a dozen Embraer A-29 Super Tucano aircraft for nearly $600m (£480m), officials added.  

The US Congress is expected to receive formal notification of the deal within weeks, and will have to approve it.

Nigeria and the US discussed the deal during ex-President Barack Obama's administration, but it did not materialise. 

Nigeria says its military campaign against Boko Haram has been gravely affected by US restrictions.

The US has sent military advisers to help Nigeria tackle the militants, but under what is known as the Leahy Law it has not been able to sell arms because of alleged human rights violations carried out by Nigerian troops, although it was not a blanket ban on all equipment sales. 

This law also prohibited other countries to sell weapon to Nigeria because of their existing agreements with the US.

Rights groups have repeatedly accused Nigeria's troops of abuses, including extra-judicial killings.  

In January, a Nigerian fighter jet mistakenly bombed a camp for displaced people in the north-east, killing dozens of people.   

Somalia piracy: Indian ship freed but hijackers take crew

Somali security forces have rescued an Indian cargo ship seized by pirates earlier this month, but the hijackers took nine of the 11-man crew when they fled ashore.

They are thought to be being held near the city of Hobyo.

The Al Kausar was one of three vessels to be hijacked after a five-year lull.

On Sunday sailors from the Indian, Pakistani and Chinese navies  freed the crew  of a Tuvalu-registered vessel which had been boarded by pirates.

The two crew members who were rescued were in a car that the pirates abandoned after they were chased, Mohamed Hashi Arabey, vice president of Galmudug state, told Reuters news agency.

Read full story


Today's wise words

Our African proverb of the day: 

A red-eyed lion does not attack."

A Madi proverb sent by Tedini James Grant and Vuchiri John Gavin, both from Adjumani, Uganda

Click here to send us your African proverbs

Good morning

Welcome to BBC Africa Live page where we will bring you the latest news from around the continent.