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Summary

  1. Nigeria's military pledges loyalty to absent president
  2. Anger over Mugabe's daughter's appointment to censorship board
  3. Tributes pour in for South Africa's super sleuth
  4. Cameroon 'bars Amnesty from holding press conference'
  5. Zambia bus crash 'kills 17'
  6. Tanzania's president sacks mining minister
  7. Roadside bombs 'kill' Kenyan police
  8. Founder of tutorial website in Nigeria wins UK award
  9. IS carries out its 'first suicide attack' in Somalia
  10. Sudan accused of violating international sanctions
  11. Email stories and comments to africalive@bbc.co.uk - Wednesday 24 May 2017

Live Reporting

By Clare Spencer and Farouk Chothia

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Scroll down for Wednesday'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:

Before the bird flies it must first learn how to stand."

Click here to send us your African proverbs.

And we leave you with this picture of a sea of umbrellas in Ethiopia:

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Nigeria military: 'No coup planned'

Nigerian Chief of Army staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai visits victims of the accidental airstrike at Maiduguri State Specialist Hospital on January 18, 2017
AFP
Chief of Army staff Lt-Gen Tukur Buratai has warned officers not get involved in politics

Nigeria's military has sought to allay fears that it is plotting a coup, saying it remains "totally loyal" to President Muhammadu Buhari and civilian rule.

Its statement came amid ongoing rumours that some army officers were planning to seize power.

The rumour spread last week after the chief of army staff, Lt-Gen Tukur Buratai, warned solders to steer clear of politics and said he had received information that "some individuals have been approaching some officers and soldiers for undisclosed political reasons".

At a press conference, defence spokesman Major General John Enenche said that "all fears about a coup should be allayed".

Lt-Gen Buratai's had merely performed his responsibility to caution officers on a "routine basis to conform to the ethics of the military", he added.

Lt-Gen Buratai reshuffled the upper echelons of the military earlier this month. Nigeria facing numerous security challenges, including an insurgency by militant Islamist group Boko Haram.

Mr Buhari, 74, is currently in the UK on medical leave. His deputy, Yemi Osinbajo, is servng as acting president.

Military rule ended in Nigeria, Africa's most populous state, in 1999.

Amnesty press conference 'blocked' in Cameroon

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Amnesty International says that security agents in Cameroon's capital, Yaounde, blocked it from a holding a press conference earlier today.

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The rights group had planned to discuss the plight of three students jailed on terrorism-related charges for sending a text message they insist was a private joke.

But "early this morning, around a dozen security agents, in uniform and plain clothes, entered the hotel and ordered the managers to close the press conference venue," Amnesty said in a statement.

AFP news agency reports that in 2014 one of the three students received a text message from a friend saying that militant Islamist group Boko Haram recruited young people on condition they had passed at least four exam subjects.

He sent it on, and it was eventually seen by a teacher who confiscated a phone and showed it to the police, AFP adds.

The students, Fomusoh Ivo Feh, Afuh Nivelle Nfor and Azah Levis Gob, have appealed against their conviction for "non-denunciation of terrorism", and the hearing is set for June.

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Female-directed Nollywood film premieres in London

The latest Nollywood film by a female director is premiering in London this evening.

Isoken is about a woman whose family panics because she is still unmarried at 34. When she does find someone she likes he turns out to be problematic for her family because he is white.

It's directed by Jadesola Osiberu - one of a growing crop of female directors in Nigeria - and stars one of the hottest talents in Nollywood, Dakore Akande.

The BBC's Peter Okwoche met both of them earlier today. You can hear their take on the film on Focus on Africa on BBC World at 17:30 GMT.

Jadesola Osiberu, Dakore Akande, Peter Okwoche
BBC

Roadside bomb 'kills Kenyan police'

Five police officers have been killed after their vehicle hit a roadside bomb in north-eastern Kenya's Mandera county, local governor Ali Roba has said, AFP news agency reports.

The officers were travelling in a convoy with Mr Roba when one of the vehicles hit an improvised explosive device on the road between the towns of Arabia and Fino near the Somali border, AFP adds.

Earlier today, three police officers were killed when their vehicle struck a similar device close to the Liboi border post.

It is unclear who is behind the attacks, but militant Islamist group al-Shabab is active in the region.

Anger over Mugabe daughter's appointment

Prominent Zimbabwean actor Silvanos Mudzvova has condemned the appointment of President Robert Mugabe's daughter, Bona Mugabe-Chikore, to the censorship board is the "final nail in the coffin for artistic freedom in the southern African state, the privately owned New Zimbabwe news site reports.

He added:

They will never approve any work critical of or against the government, ruling party of the First Family."

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe (L) casts his vote by his wife Grace and daughter Bona (R) at a polling booth in a school in Harare on July 31, 2013.
AFP
Bona Mugabe-Chikore, seen with her parents in this 2013 photo, is aged 27

Playwright Raisedon Baya said Mrs Mugabe-Chikore's appointment showed how serious the government had become about policing freedom of speech and artistic creativity, the new site reported.

Similar views have been expressed on Twitter:

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View more on twitter

See earlier post for more details

Mokoena murder case postponed

A murder case that has sparked a fierce debate in South Africa about violence against women has been postponed until 9 June.

Sandile Mantsoe is accused of killing his girlfriend Karabo Mokoena and was due in court in Johannesburg today.

It is alleged that Mr Mantsoe doused her body with acid and then set her alight when she threatened to leave him.

Thousands attended Ms Mokoena's memorial.

South African men hold placards denouncing violence against women during the memorial service for (22) held at Diepkloof Multi-Purpose Hall on May 19, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
AFP

Women used the hashtag #MenAreTrash to share stories of domestic violence and in reaction men marched against domestic violence.

Read more about the outcry on the BBC News website.

West Africa's air travel crisis

Travel by air has come a long way, with more flight and price options but many in West Africa say getting from one country to another in the region is complicated and expensive.

One person who knows all about this is Umaru Fofana, the BBC Focus on Africa reporter in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

Listen to him explain the convoluted routes he has been forced to take:

What a row about a presidential motorcade says about democracy

We reported earlier that Zambia's opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema has been left waiting for a judgement on charges of treason after his court case was adjourned today.

He was accused of obstructing the motorcade of President Edgar Lungu - and the moment has been captured on video:

How road rage led to treason charge in Zambia

Mr Hichilema has been in police custody for over a month.

So the BBC's Karen Allen looked into what this row tells us about the state of democracy in Zambia.

Critics fear it does not bode well for a country considered one of the most stable in Africa, she reports.

To many it appears the courts are being used to keep Mr Hichilema away from the political scene.

Ironically, the treason charge may have boosted the opposition leader's public profile.

Read more on the BBC News website.

South African super sleuth dies

Pumza Fihlani

BBC News

One of South Africa’s top police investigators, Brigadier Piet Byleveld, has died from lung cancer at the age of 67.

Brig Byleveld was famous for catching serial killlers in high profile cases.

He helped with the arrests of Moses Sithole, who killed at least 38 people, Cedric Maake, who killed 27 people and Lazarus Mazingane, who killed 16 women.

He retired in 2010 after 38 years as a policeman. People have been paying tribute to him on Twitter:

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View more on twitter

Controversy-hit Tanzanian minister sacked

Tanzania's Energy and Minerals Minister Sospeter Muhongo has been fired with immediate effect, President Magufuli's office has said, in a statement.

Earlier, Mr Magufuli called on Mr Muhongo - a personal friend of his - to consider resigning after an investigation found that mining companies were under-declaring the value of their exports, resulting in the state losing millions of dollars.

The minister's post would be filled later, the statement added.

Newcastle sign Ghana international Atsu

Christian Atsu
Getty Images

Championship winners Newcastle United have completed the permanent signing of winger Christian Atsu from Chelsea for an undisclosed fee on a four-year deal.

The 25-year-old Ghana international scored five goals in 35 appearances on loan with the Magpies this season.

He moved to Chelsea in 2013 but never made an appearance for the Blues with loan spells at Vitesse Arnhem, Everton, Bournemouth and Malaga.

Read more on the BBC Sport website.

Mediterranean rescue as 20 drown

At least 20 migrants, some of them young children, have drowned after falling into the sea off the Libyan coast, Italy's coastguard says.

The overcrowded boat was carrying about 500 migrants and a rescue operation is under way, reports say.

The Migrant Offshore Aid Station has tweeted pictures of the boat:

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It is thought they may have been knocked off balance by a wave.

The Italian coastguard has sent other boats to the scene. A helicopter and military aircraft were dropping lifeboats, said AFP.

Read more on the BBC News website.

Mugabe insult charge to be 'withdrawn'

Shingai Nyoka

BBC Africa, Harare

President Robert Mugabe kisses his wife and first lady Grace Mugabe during during the country"s 37th Independence Day celebrations at the National Sports Stadium in Harare April 18, 2017.
AFP
Critics say Mr Mugabe leads a repressive regime

Insult charges against a former member of Zimbabwe's ruling party, who was accused of swearing at 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe, will be dropped, state lawyers have said.

The announcement was made after William Mutumanje approached the Constitutional Court today to throw out the case.

The state acknowledged that the court had already declared the insult law unconstitutional, and said the charges would be dropped when Mr Mutumanje appears before a lower court next month.

Mr Mutumanje, also known as Acie Lumumba, was arrested in July and charged with undermining the president's authority after he allegedly swore at Mr Mugabe while launching his political party, Viva Zimbabwe.

He withdrew his Constitutional Court application after the state said the charges would be dropped.

The state broadcaster has tweeted about it:

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Peace deal in South Sudan

James Copnall

Africa editor, BBC World Service

Two state governors in South Sudan have signed an agreement designed to stop two communities fighting each other, after weeks of clashes.

According to the deal, the Dinka Bor and the Murle will return abducted women, children and cattle, and convene a peace conference, all within a month.

The agreement also states that a buffer zone should be set up.

The tensions are not new, but the recent spate of violent incidents has been particularly severe.

The key question now is whether the young fighters on both sides respect the deal signed by the leaders.

Zambia opposition leader's case adjourned

The treason case against Zambia's opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema has been adjourned until Friday, reports the BBC's Karen Allen.

Mr Hichilema is accused of obstructing the motorcade of President Edgar Lungu when it was travelling to a traditional ceremony at the beginning of April.

A magistrate was due to decide whether his case will be dropped or referred to the High Court.

A ruling was due to have been given on Monday but the case was postponed to today because magistrate fell ill.

Hakainde Hichilema
AFP
Mr Hichilema lost presidential elections last year

Tanzanian leader appeals to minister to quit

Sammy Awami

BBC Africa, Dar es Salaam

Presidential candidate John Magufuli laughs as microphones are set up during a ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) rally in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on October 21, 2015.
AFP

Tanzania's President John Magufuli has called on Energy and Minerals Minister Sospeter Muhongo - a personal friend of his - to consider resigning after an investigation found that mining companies were under-declaring the value of their exports, resulting in the state losing millions of dollars.

Mr Magufuli sacked the head of the state-run mineral audit agency, Paul Masanja, and dissolved its board, but fell short of dismissing the minister.

In a speech, he said:

The minister and the Commissioner for Minerals [Mr Masanja] deserve to be taken to task for their failure to effectively supervise the sector.

I love Professor Muhongo... he is also my friend but on this, I ask him to contemplate and assess himself. And without delaying, I'd want him to step down."

President Magufuli's announcement signals an escalation of tensions between the government and the mining industry, which has denied engaging in tax evasion, Reuters news agency reports.

Read: Tanzania's 'Bulldozer' president in profile

Zambia: First African team to qualify for U-20 second round

Reza Shekari of Iran battles with the Zambian defenders during their Group C match in Jeju
Getty Images
Reza Shekari of Iran battles with the Zambian defenders during their Group C match in Jeju

Zambia produced a remarkable second half performance to beat Iran 4-2 at the Fifa Under-20 World Cup in South Korea on Wednesday.

The African champions fought back from 2-0 down to win this Group C encounter played in the city of Jeju and book their place in the second round.

Read the full BBC story here

Nigerian tutor finder wins £25,000

Godwin Benson
Royal Academy of Engineering
Mr Benson got the idea when he was a maths tutor

The founder of a website which helps Nigerians find private tutors has won a £25,000 ($32,000) prize from the UK's Royal Academy of Engineering.

Godwin Benson, who founded Tuteria, told the BBC that he got the idea when he was a maths tutor.

"We agreed a price of 6000 naira ($19; £14) for a month and then the student's father didn’t pay me," he said.

On top of this he discovered that the client had been searching for a tutor for two months even though he only lived ten minutes away.

While it was a painful lesson, Mr Benson, now a systems engineer, spotted a gap in the market and launched Tuteria in 2015.

Customers can search for tutors in their area on their phone and students pay upfront online to make sure the teachers are never out of pocket.

Chair of the Royal Academy judges panel,Malcolm Brinded, said Tuteria had changed the way Nigerians share knowledge and skills.

"His engineering innovation is not only new technology, but also a new way of thinking about education," he added.

Previous inventions which have won the award include a water filter using sand and a tablet computer which monitors hearts.

Read: Five inventions to look out for in 2017

Flamingo balancing act saves energy

Flamingo
Science Photo Library
Many flamingos are found in Arusha, Tanzania

How flamingos perch on one leg when they sleep has been a longstanding puzzle.

But researchers say they have cracked it: the birds spend less energy doing so.

A team of scientists from the US has shown that flamingos employ no active muscular effort when they're on one leg, meaning they are also expending less energy.

They also found a passive mechanism is engaged in the one-legged position, allowing flamingos to stand proud while having a doze.

Read more on the BBC News website.

IS in 'first Somalia suicide attack'

The militant Islamic State (IS) group has claimed its first suicide attack in Somalia, the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors the jihadists, has said.

Five people were killed in Tuesday's attack on a checkpoint in the north-eastern port city of Bosaso in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland, police said.

Map
BBC

The militant's Amaq media news agency said an "explosive vest" had been used in the operation, according to the SITE Intelligence Group.

AFP news agency quoted local police official Mohamed Dahir Adan as saying:

Security forces stopped the suspect when he approached but he detonated himself leaving five people dead. One of the security officers and four civilians were killed in the blast."

In 2015, al-Shabab, al-Qaeda's affiliate in Somalia, split when Sheikh Abdulqadir Mumi, a prominent former "spiritual leader" and recruiter for the group, declared allegiance to IS from his base in the remote Galgala Mountains in Puntland.

He was placed on a US terror list last August.

Read: IS's first official outpost in East Africa

Zambia bus accident 'kills 17'

Seventeen people have died in a bus accident east of Zambia's capital, Lusaka, police say.

A further 48, including the bus driver, have been taken to hospital after sustaining injuries.

The accident happened last night when the bus turned over while trying to go around a corner.

Police spokesperson Esther Mwaata Katongo has asked relatives to travel to Luangwa in eastern Zambia to identify the bodies.

Chinese wedding at Kenyan train station

A leading Kenyan newspaper has reported that four Chinese couples got married on Saturday at the new train terminal in the capital, Nairobi:

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The Standard Gauge Railway is being constructed by China Roads and Bridges Corporation (CRBC).

Chinese news agency Xinhua says work momentarily came to a halt as staff gathered to witness the wedding.

One of the grooms, Li Bosheng, told Xinhua that he met his wife on a train journey in China and that they intend to move back once the railway is being, as he works for CRBC in public relations.

The train line between Nairobi and the coastal city of Mombasa is expected to open at the end of the month.

Mugabe's daughter appointed to censorship board

Zimbabwes President Robert Mugabe (R) and his wife Grace (L) with their 24-year-old first-born child and only daughter Bona Mugabe (C) pose after the convocation at MDIS-University of Wales graduation ceremony in Singapore on November 16, 2013.
AFP
Mrs Mugabe-Chikore graduated in Singapore in 2013

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's only daughter, Bona Mugabe-Chikore, has been appointed to the country's censorship board in what critics say is a move to crackdown on negative media reports about the family.

Police spokesperson Charity Charamba will also serve on the 11-member board appointed by Home Affairs Minister Ignatious Chombo, along with representatives of church groups, the legal and accounting professions and traditional leaders, reports the BBC's Shingai Nyoka from the capital, Harare.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe (C), lady Grace Mugabe (R) and his daughter Bona (L) attend on February 28, 2015 the celebration of Mugabe's 91st birthday in Victoria Falls.
AFP
Bona Mugabe-Chikore is the only daughter of President Mugabe and Grace Mugabe

The state-owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation said the board would control and regulate the media and film industry, and focus on the "rampant abuse of social media while also taking into consideration that general elections are set for next year".

Mrs Mugabe-Chikore studied in Singapore, and has a Masters in Management, specialising in banking and finance.

The Bulawayo24 news site reports there is suspicion that her appointment is intended to "tighten censorship of anti-first family information in print, broadcast and social media".

On Twitter, Zimbabweans reacted with disbelief to her appointment:

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View more on twitter

Sudan 'violates arms embargo'

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Sudan has been able to bypass international sanctions and arms embargoes to import weapons, UK-based campaign group Conflict Armament Research says in a new report.

It adds that it has evidence that Sudan has also distributed military material to armed groups in several other African countries.

The organisation - which maintains a database funded by the European Union and Switzerland - says it obtained its findings from arms apparently captured from the Sudanese military by rebels. In the past, Sudan has denied similar accusations.

The report comes days after heavy fighting in Darfur. Sudan's President Omar al Bashir said the rebels had Egyptian armoured vehicles.

Egypt's foreign ministry denied supporting the rebels.

Today's wise words

Our African proverb of the day:

Before the bird flies it must first learn how to stand."

A Bakongo proverb sent by Diaquiesse Kiasungua in London, United Kingdom

Click here to send us your African proverbs

Good morning

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