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Summary

  1. Afrobeat musician's longest-note attempt falls flat
  2. Mugabe flies to Singapore for 'routine medical check-up'
  3. UN peacekeepers killed in CAR
  4. South Sudan vice-president's security convoy ambushed
  5. Gas explosion near Ghana oil hub 'injures dozens'
  6. Four of the lions that escaped from SA park captured
  7. US withholds $21m from Kenya because of corruption concerns
  8. Tanzanian bank accused of money laundering shut down
  9. Italian FA may be disciplined over handling of racism claims
  10. MTN to strengthen presence in Iran
  11. Email stories and comments to africalive@bbc.co.uk - Tuesday 9 May 2017

Live Reporting

By Hugo Williams 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 BBC Africa Live today. Keep up-to-date with what's happening across the continent by listening to the Africa Today podcast or check the BBC News website.  

A reminder of today's wise words:

He who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it."

An Ndebele proverb sent by Thoman Sikowelo in Johannesburg, South Africa

Click here to send us you African proverbs

And we leave you with this photo of a group of young men in Hargeisa, Somaliland, who have started a car-wash business to fund their studies:

Team of young men stand next to a car in Hargeisa
BBC

BBC Somali reporter Ahmed Said Igge, who took the photos, says the students earn $3 (£2.30) per car and wash up to 10 a day.

“We work together and if one of us is ill, we help one another," the group's leader told him. 

Sluggish African economies 'to recover slightly' in 2017

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Economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa should recover slightly to 2.6% this year after a more than two-decade low in 2016 as commodity exporters faced lower prices, the International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday, Reuters news agency reports. 

The slight rebound will be driven by a recovery in oil production in Nigeria, higher public spending ahead of elections in Angola, and South Africa's recovery from drought, the IMF said in its regional economic outlook.

Death toll rises after ambush on UN peacekeepers in CAR

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The UN says that the number of peacekeepers killed in a deadly attack on their convoy in the Central African Republic by the anti-Balaka militia group has risen to "three or four". 

In a statement it said:

The four peacekeepers went missing in action after a deadly attack on their convoy on Monday night near the village of Yogofongo, 20km (12 miles) from Bangassou. During the exchange of fire, one Cambodian peacekeeper and eight anti-Balaka elements were killed. There are a number of injured on both sides."

Read more: Central African Republic country profile

Mugabe and Buhari under fire on Twitter

For the second time this year, Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, 93, has travelled to Singapore for a medical check-up, with no details released of the tests he would undergo. 

Some Twitter users have been drawing parallels with Nigeria's 74-year-old President Muhammadu Buhari, who is currently in the UK for treatment for an unspecified illness. 

Both have come under heavy criticism for seeking treatment abroad:

View more on twitter
View more on twitter
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See earlier post for more details

Anger over Kabila's new cabinet

President Joseph Kabila
Reuters

The main opposition bloc in the Democratic Republic of Congo has rejected the new transitional government appointed by President Joseph Kabila. 

It described the government as illegitimate and in contravention of a power-sharing agreement.

 Most of the nearly 60 ministers whose names were read out on state television had been in the previous administration.

 The power-sharing accord was aimed at ending political violence which broke out over Mr Kabila's refusal to stand down at the end of his mandate in December. 

The opposition agreed to allow Mr Kabila to remain in power until a new presidential election, which the transitional government is supposed to organise this year. 

Uganda in funding plea for refugees

BBC World Service

The Ugandan government has said it hopes to raise £2bn (£1.5bn) at an international refugee summit next month to help it cope with refugees arriving from neighbouring South Sudan. 

Almost 800,000 South Sudanese have fled to Uganda since civil war broke out in their country four years ago, just two years after independence. 

Uganda said it expected many more to follow, and that it was struggling to feed the influx. 

It said the hoped-for funding would finance relief operations for the next year. 

Read more: The wooden bridge between death and safety

A man pushes his bike carrying his two children up a hill after crossing a small wooden bridge over a river from South Sudan into Uganda on February 24, 2017 in Busia, Uganda.
AFP
Some families have crossed into South Sudan on bicycles

UN says 250 missing in shipwrecks

BBC World Service

The BBC's on board Save the Children's rescue boat as migrants flee Libya.

Nearly 250 people are feared drowned after two shipwrecks in the central Mediterranean over the weekend.

Some 163 people are missing after a boat reportedly sank off the Libyan coast on Sunday, the UN said.

Another sank on Friday night and, though some 50 people were rescued and taken to Sicily, about 82 are missing.

The central Mediterranean route for illegal migration to Europe is currently the busiest. It is also one of the most deadly, the UN says.

Read the full BBC story here

Four lions now captured in South Africa

Four of the five lions that escaped from South Africa's famous Kruger National Park have been captured, a local journalist has tweeted:

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Game rangers fired tranquiliser darts at the lions from a helicopter, reports the BBC's Milton Nkosi from the main city, Johannesburg. 

A massive operation is still under way in an area near the park to capture the remaining lion, he adds. 

The lions had killed cattle since they escaped from the park, which covers an area the size of Israel, our reporter says.  

It is still unclear how the lions got out of the fenced park.

'More than 100 injured' in Ghana gas explosion

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A gas explosion near Takoradi, the oil hub of Ghana, has injured more than 100 people, local media report. 

The injured, who include firefighters, are being treated in local hospitals, local CitiFM news reports.

At least even fire engines have been deployed to the scene of the explosion to bring the fire under control. 

The exact cause of the explosion, which happened early this morning, is not yet known. 

Injured man lies on hospital bed
Star TV
The injured are being treated at local hospitals
Man receives treatment for burns
Star TV

UN peacekeeper killed in Central African Republic

BBC World Service

The UN says one of its peacekeepers in the Central African Republic (CAR) has been killed and several others are wounded or missing after a UN convoy was ambushed. 

The patrol, made up of Cambodian and Moroccan troops, was returning to base from an engineering project in the south-east of the country. 

Cambodia's Prime Minister, Hun Sen, confirmed on social media that the dead peacekeeper was an army captain.

No group has said it carried out the attack, which is the latest against international agencies in the country. 

The CAR has been caught up in a sectarian conflict ever since the overthrow of President Francois Bozize by rebels four years ago.

SA eyes Rugby World Cup after ban lifted

Mandela handing the Rugby World Cup to Pienaar
Getty Images
The image of Nelson Mandela handing the Rugby World Cup to Francois Pienaar has become part of South African history

South Africa hopes to stage the 2023 Rugby World Cup after the government lifted a ban on hosting sports events.

The ban was imposed on rugby, cricket, athletics and netball last year after they failed to meet diversity targets.

Athletics is the only federation not to have its sanction lifted.

SA Rugby president Mark Alexander said South Africa can "now put the finishing touches to an outstanding bid" - France and Ireland are also in the running and a decision will be made in November.

Alexander added: "This is great news and a tribute to the work that the sport has been doing in recent years to stay in tune and relevant to modern South Africa."

The Springboks won the Rugby World Cup when they hosted it in 1995. 

Read the full BBC Sport story 

Femi Kuti to try again after failed world record bid

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It turns out that Femi Kuti, son of late Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti, didn't set a new world record on Sunday when he held a single note on a saxophone for 46mins 38secs (see video above for a clip). 

Kuti, an internationally renowned musician in his own right, admitted that the celebrations from his family and fans had been premature, after he mistakenly thought that he had surpassed the previous longest note played by US saxophonist Kenny G.

The official Guinness World Record for "the longest continuous note on a saxophone using the circular breathing method" is in fact held by Vann Burchfield (USA), who managed 47mins, 5secs back in 2000, as one tweeter pointed out:

View more on twitter

But Femi has taken to Twitter to say that he will make another attempt to break the record:

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In the meantime, he might need to ask his sister, Yenia Kuti, to take down her Instagram post from Sunday, in which she shared a photo of him making the attempt at the New Afrika Shrine in Lagos, hailing him as "a world champ".

View more on instagram

South Sudan VP's convoy attacked

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The convoy of South Sudan's Vice-President Taban Deng Gai has been attacked, according to Reuters news agency and local sources. 

The vice-president has not been hurt, Information Minister Jacob Akech Deng told Reuters.

Local media are reporting that it was the advance security convoy of the vice-president that was hit while travelling to Bor ahead of a planned visit by the vice-president.

Eye Radio Juba says that Mr Gai was due to fly separately to the town.

And it would appear that he has now arrived in Bor, according to this tweet from the UN-backed Radio Miraya: 

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One of the soldiers caught up in the attack was quoted as telling local Radio Tamzauj:

"We were informed about the ambush, so we jump off the vehicles and tried to take positions but [the attackers] kept shooting at us and wounded three soldiers among us."

Read more:

Kenya reacts to US aid freeze

Kenya's health minister Cleopa Mailu has said that the ministry is committed to "prudent financial management and accountability", in his first reaction to the US government's decision to suspend aid worth $21m (£16m) because of concerns about corruption.

The ministry had been in contact with the US government to address its concerns with a view to lifting the suspension, he added.

The freeze in aid affected programmes related to administrative support, not "direct health service delivery", the minister said. 

Funding to promote family planning and to tackle HIV/Aids has not been suspended, Dr Mailu said, in a statement. 

See earlier post for more details 

Lions 'chased out by dominant pride'

The five lions which escaped from the Kruger National Park in South Africa are sub-adults, and were believed to have been chased out by a dominant pride, game rangers have said.  

Two of the lions were captured on a farm near the world famous park in South Africa's eastern Mpumalanga province. 

A journalist with a local broadcaster has been tweeting video footage from the operation:  

View more on twitter

See earlier post for more details

US slashes aid to Kenya because of corruption concerns

The US has suspended about $21m (£16m) in aid to Kenya's ministry of health following allegations of corruption, according to an official statement.  

 "We took this step because of ongoing concern about reports of corruption and weak accounting procedures at the ministry," the statement by the US embassy in Kenya said. 

"The action is intended to ensure that health care spending reaches those in need, and to protect US taxpayer money," it added. 

The embassy said it was working with the ministry to improve accounting and internal controls and it hoped to restore the funding when "appropriate progress" was made.  

The $21m was only a small portion of the overall US health investment in Kenya, which exceeded $650m, it added. 

"Our support for life-saving and essential health services, such as providing anti-retroviral therapy for a million Kenyans, is not affected by the suspension. We will continue to provide funding for health services and medications going directly to Kenyans," the statement said.

See earlier post for more details

Bulldozer topples police van in South Africa

Dramatic video footage has emerged from South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal province of bulldozers being used to overturn a police van during a protest by workers at the entrance of the port in Richards Bay town.

A road safety campaign group has tweeted the video:  

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The protesters are understood to be unhappy about working conditions, South Africa's The Citizen newspaper reports

Police fired shots and the public has been urged to stay away from the port area, according to the Zululand Observer. 

Meanwhile, roads were blocked with burning tyres and rocks in Edendale, a residential neghbourhood in southern Johannesburg, reports the BBC's Pumza Fihani from the city. 

Protesting residents accuse the government of being slow to tackle the housing crisis, saying they have been waiting for over 20 years for proper homes. 

Zimbabwe's wheelchair-using breakdancer

Zimbabwean Blessing Fire grew up using a wheelchair after being unable to walk from childhood. 

He watched his gymnast brother perform and from there began to learn dance moves.

The BBC's Steve Vickers went to meet him in the capital Harare:

How a wheelchair user from Zimbabwe went on to become an award-winning dancer

Mugabe takes medical leave

Zimbabwe's 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe has flown to Singapore for a "routine medical check-up", the state-owned Herald newspaper reports

The world's oldest ruler, who has appeared increasingly frail in public, addressed delegates at a World Economic Forum meeting in South Africa last week in what AFP news agency described as a "slurred tone while slumped in his seat".

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe participates in a discussion at the World Economic Forum on Africa 2017 meeting in Durban, South Africa May 4, 2017.
Reuters

Mr Mugabe is expected back home in time for Saturday's funeral of former chief justice Godfrey Chidyausiku, the Herald reports.

Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa is performing his duties in his absence. 

Despite Mr Mugabe's advancing age, the ruling Zanu-PF party has endorsed him as its candidate in next year's presidential election.

At a rally in February, his wife, Grace Mugabe, said: "One day when God decides that Mugabe dies, we will have his corpse appear as a candidate on the ballot paper." 

Mr Mugabe has been in power since independence in 1980. 

Read: Why Zimbabweans are spending nights outside banks

French police clear Paris migrant camp

BBC World Service

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More than 1,000 migrants have been moved out of their encampment in the French capital, Paris, following a police operation to shut it down. 

The migrants, mainly Afghans and Sudanese, had been living in the makeshift settlement under an overpass in the Porte de la Chapelle area. 

They've been taken in buses to be housed in temporary accommodation. 

Thousands of migrants were removed from a separate camp in Paris in a similar operation in November. 

The numbers seeking accommodation increased after the closure last October of the camp known as the Jungle near the northern port of Calais.  

Escaped lion darted in South Africa

Game rangers in South Africa have fired tranquiliser darts at one of five lions which escaped from the world famous Kruger National Park yesterday, a journalist with the local eNCA broadcaster has tweeted: 

View more on twitter

He says only three of the lions have so far been spotted - not all five as we earlier reported:  

View more on twitter

Italian FA may be disciplined over handling of racism claims

Sulley Muntari: Uefa are not addressing 'serious issue' of racism

Italian football authorities may face disciplinary action over the treatment of Pescara midfielder Sulley Muntari.

Muntari, 32, was sent off after leaving the field claiming he was racially abused during a Serie A game.

He was initially banned for one game but had this overturned by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC).

"We have a committee in charge of monitoring this and the committee will take action," Fifa secretary general Fatma Samoura told BBC Sport.

Fifa president Gianni Infantino said today that he would speak to ex-Portsmouth player Muntari, who believes world football's governing body, and European equivalent Uefa are "not taking racism seriously".

"We will work together," said Infantino, who also said he intends to talk to the head of FIGC, Carlo Tavecchio.

"Unfortunately idiots, there are always idiots everywhere but we have to fight them. We have to work on the people."

Read the full BBC Sport story

Kenya police investigate 'online game' death

Kenyan police are investigating whether a teenager took his own life as part of an alleged extreme online game, the local Daily Nation newspaper reports. 

Nairobi police chief Japheth Koome said that they were looking into reports that a 16-year-old boy's death was linked to the alleged game. 

Bulgaria's Centre for Safe Internet says there is no concrete evidence for the existence of the game, which supposedly dares people to complete ever more extreme challenges, culminating in taking their own lives.

Reports of the game have emerged in Brazil and Russia, but no deaths are known to have officially been linked to it yet.

For help and support on suicide visit BBC Advice.  

Escaped South African lions tracked down

Five lions which escaped from South Africa's world famous Kruger National Park (see earlier post) have been found, and rangers are getting ready to capture them.

A journalist with the local eNCA broadcaster has been tweeting about it:  

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Rangers are expected to fire tranquiliser darts at the lions, which have been tracked down near the border with Swaziland.

The BBC's Milton Nkosi in South Africa says there is huge relief that the animals have been tracked down, and there are no reports of them having mauled anyone. 

US suspends health aid to Kenya

Abdinoor Aden

BBC Africa, Nairobi

A Kenyan nurse give medicines to AIDS patients with respiratory disease at the Homa Bay Hospital, western Kenya 03 May 2001.
AFP
Kenya's health services rely heavily on donor aid

Kenya’s health ministry has suffered a major setback following the US government’s decision to suspend funding for various health-related programmes. 

The US has not given any reasons for its decision, but said the funding will remain suspended until certain conditions are met.

The announcement comes at a time when the ministry is still recovering from a 100-day doctors’ strike, which paralysed medical services.  

Civil society groups in Kenya have blamed corruption in the ministry for the decision.

This suspension is expected to impact heavily not only on the ministry, but also on health organisations which rely on US aid. 

Among others, the suspension covers funding for capacity-building and technical support which have been critical in reforming the health sector. 

However, funding for lifesaving and direct medical care have been exempted from the order.

Last year, Kenya's auditor-general reported that $50m (£40m) was unaccounted for in an alleged scam involving top government officials at the ministry. 

The health minister has denied wrongdoing, saying the report was leaked prematurely before the ministry’s accounting officers responded to the queries raised by the probe.

The US government's move will now raise more questions about the management of funds in the ministry despite President Uhuru Kenyatta’s decision to replace its senior civil servant as part of efforts to rebuild its reputation. 

The US has not said how much has been withheld or what condiions have to be met for funding to resume.  

Amazing haul of ancient humans unveiled in South Africa

Skull fragments for the male H. naledi specimen named "Neo",
BBC
The male H. naledi specimen named "Neo", after being freed from the surrounding matrix

A new haul of ancient human remains has been described from an important cave site in South Africa.

The finds, including a well-preserved skull, bolster the idea that the Homo naledi people deliberately deposited their dead in the cave.

Evidence of such complex behaviour is surprising for a human species with a brain that's a third the size of ours.

Despite showing some primitive traits it lived relatively recently, perhaps as little as 235,000 years ago.

That would mean the naledi people could have overlapped with the earliest of our kind - Homo sapiens.

The latest specimens include the remains of at least three individuals - two adults and a child.

One of the adults has a "wonderfully complete skull", according to Prof John Hawks from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

 This tough-looking specimen is probably male, and has been named "Neo", which means "a gift" in the Sesotho language of southern Africa.

Neo (R) skeleton pictured side by side with the famous Lucy skeleton from Ethiopia (L)
BBC
Neo (R) is even more complete than the famous Lucy skeleton from Ethiopia (L)

Read the full BBC News story

ICC considers inquiry into crimes against migrants in Libya

BBC World Service

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The chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensouda, says her team is collecting evidence of crimes allegedly committed against migrants crossing Libya. 

Ms Bensouda told the UN Security Council in New York that Libya appeared to have become a marketplace for human trafficking - with thousands of vulnerable migrants, including women and children, detained at sites across the country. 

She said credible accounts suggested that killings, rapes and torture, were commonplace.

The ICC is investigating whether such cases fall under the court's jurisdiction. 

The court already wants to try Colonel Gaddafi's former security chief, Al-Tuhamy Mohamed Khaled, for war crimes.

MTN to boost Iranian investment

An Iranian couple inpect the box of an IPhone they just bought at a computer shop selling Apple products in northern Tehran on June 1, 2013
AFP
Iran's telecom sector is expected to grow as the country opens up

Africa's biggest mobile phone firm MTN plans to buy a 49% stake in Iranian Net, a government-owned fixed-line broadband network, for $295m (£200m).

The proposed deal is the latest sign of the South African-owned firm strengthening its presence in the Iranian market following the lifting of international sanctions on the Middle Eastern country. 

In a statement, MTN said: 

This investment, should it be completed, represents an opportunity to capitalise on the continued strong growth expected in the Iranian broadband market, with an initial focus on eight of the main cities."

Tanzania revokes bank licence over money laundering accusations

FBME bank branch in Tanzania
AFP
FBME has been battling the US allegations since 2014

Tanzania's central bank says it has revoked the business licence of FBME Bank after it was accused by the US government of large-scale money laundering, Reuters news agency reports.

The Tanzanian-registered bank mounted a legal challenge against the allegations, but a US court ruled in favour of the US Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, the agency reports. 

In a statement, the central bank said it had "discontinued all banking operations" of FBME and had placed it under liquidation. 

Reuters says FBME did not respond immediately to its request for comment.

FBME Bank is registered in the East African country but has been conducting most of its business operations elsewhere, notably in Cyprus, it adds.

FBME said it would appeal the decision of the US court to uphold a ban on its operations in the country. 

Lions on the loose in South Africa

A lion yawns on July 19, 2010 in the Edeni Game Reserve, South Africa.
AFP
South Africa is a popular destination for wildlife lovers

Police and game rangers in South Africa are hunting for five lions after they escaped from the world-renowned Kruger National Park, raising fears that they could attack people and livestock. 

It is unclear how the lions escaped, but police have urged the public to be on the lookout for them in areas near the border with Mozambique. 

Police spokesman Leonard Hlathi was quoted by the local eNCA news site as saying: 

Community members need to be on the lookout. The lions have not been caught and that poses a danger because that road is frequented by people. Even people who are driving might want to park their cars to answer the call of nature, that poses a serious danger to them."

Today's wise words

Our African proverb of the day: 

He who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it."

An Ndebele proverb sent by Thoman Sikowelo in Johannesburg, South Africa

Click here to send us you African proverbs

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