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Summary

  1. Ethiopia shuts down internet during exam week
  2. Ghana police arrest five over the killing of soldier Maxwell Mahama
  3. Uganda musician Bobi Wine aims to be MP
  4. Kenya's president warns people against vandalising the new rail line
  5. Nigerian naval officers burn down a police station
  6. Senegal's ex-President Wade hopes to become MP
  7. UN exposes fraud at Kenya refugee camp
  8. Email stories and comments to africalive@bbc.co.uk - Wednesday 31 May 2017

Live Reporting

By Damian Zane and Paul Bakibinga

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Scroll down for Wednesday'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 child who hasn’t travelled far praises his mother as the best cook."

Sent by Victor Sichilongo and Jonas Mumba in Lusaka, Zambia

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

And we leave you with this picture of Congolese dancers as they get ready for a performance in India:

Members of the Congolese Cultural Dance Group pose for photographs as they get ready backstage before they present "Ballet National Du Congo" in Bhopal, India
EPA

South Africa to get a bumper maize harvest

South African farmers are enjoying a 50% surplus of their staple crop-maize - the biggest harvest in four decades.

This comes a year after drought devastated output in southern Africa.

Neighbouring countries including Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe are also reporting record harvests.

As Jannie de Villiers of South African Grain told BBC Focus on Africa radio it is a big relief.

Farmers enjoy a 50% surplus of their staple maize crop

BBC Africa launches Kenya election podcast

Ahead of Kenya's election on 8 August, BBC Africa has launched a podcast, Kenya Election Watch, for dedicated coverage of the poll.

The 15-minute weekly podcast hosted by our colleague Dickens Olewe will take a deep dive into the issues and people that are shaping the campaigns.

So what can you expect?

Every week, the show will unpick the key political topics being discussed in Kenya, fact-check a claim made on the campaign to see if it really stands up to scrutiny and take a question from you.

Listen to the first episode below and share your questions and feedback using #BBCKEWatch

Ethiopia confirms internet shutdown

We've been reporting about the shutdown of the internet in Ethiopia and the AFP news agency has confirmation from the authorities that they have stopped the mobile internet service.

But there is no explanation.

There are reports that the move was to stop the leaking of exam papers during exam week but the government has not mentioned this.

AFP quotes deputy communications minister Zadig Abrha as simply saying: "Mobile data has been deactivated".

Padlock
iStock

Rwanda minister disagrees with proposed election social media controls

Rwanda's Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo has publicly disagreed with a proposal that presidential candidates needed to submit their social media messages to the electoral commission (NEC) before they could be sent out.

On Twitter Ms Mushikiwabo said that most Rwandans are law abiding and any abusers of social media should face the law.

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

The electoral commission was expected to start the social media controls at the start of the official campaign period from 14 July. The polls are scheduled for 4 August.

The president of Rwanda's election commission was quoted by the AFP news agency earlier this week as saying the provision was aimed at "avoiding expressions, words, acts that can lead to acts of insecurity and the awakening of divisionism among the Rwandan population".

Five arrested over 'mob justice' murder of Ghanaian soldier

Thomas Naadi

BBC Africa, Central Region, Ghana

In Ghana, five people have been arrested in connection with the lynching of a military commander allegedly mistaken for an armed robber in the country's Central Region.

Maxwell Mahama's murder has shocked many in Ghana and his name has been trending on Twitter in the country.

View more on twitter

Security personnel continue to search for other suspects who are still at large.

Reports suggest that Captain Mahama went out jogging on Monday morning in plain clothes and carrying his gun when some residents mistook him for an armed robber and attacked him.

I have visited the exact spot where the military officer was stoned to death and his body burnt.

There is still evidence of blood stains and ashes.

Captain Mahama was deployed here to combat illegal mining.

Benin to invest in wildlife haven

Benin's government has unveiled a plan to rehabilitate Pendjari National Park, a wildlife reserve, the AFP news agency reports.

Pendjari, is one of just a handful of parks in the West African region that has a variety of animals including elephants, lions, buffalo, and antelope.

The goal of the 10-year project is to double the park's wildlife population, the government said in a statement.

A key aim of the $26m (£20m) partnership between Benin and conservation non-governmental organisation African Parks, is to secure the national park as well as protect the wildlife from poachers.

elephant
AFP
The hope is to boost the park's wildlife population including elephants

Two dead after Nigeria police and navy clash

A Nigerian police source has told the BBC's Martin Patience that two policemen were shot dead when they clashed with naval officers in the south-eastern city of Calabar on Tuesday.

Earlier, we cited media reports saying that there were three deaths.

Martin says a third policeman was left in a critical condition.

He adds that the violence flared after a policeman intervened in a minor accident involving a car and motorised rickshaw.

The car driver was a naval officer who was angered by the policeman's behaviour.

Shortly afterwards a group of armed naval officers attacked and burnt down a local police station.

The Calabar police have refused to comment on the incident. But the attack highlights the often lawless behaviour of the country's defence forces, our correspondent says.

Ethiopia shuts off internet over national exams

Ethiopia's authorities shutdown the internet on Tuesday to avoid people leaking exam papers during national exam week, the Addis Standard newspaper has tweeted:

View more on twitter

It is not clear how the Addis Standard managed to send that tweet but it has not posted its usual volume of tweets today.

A year ago access to social media sites was blocked in the country over the possibilty of exam leaks, but this time the authorities seem to have gone further as this activist tweets from outside of Ethiopia:

View more on twitter

There were some reports quoted in Quartz Africa that the internet was coming on sporadically.

But this chart from Google showing access to its services from Ethiopia show how it's dropped off since Tuesday and does not look like it has come back:

chart
Google

Kenya president lowers the price of a train ticket on first day

Kenyan passengers (L) pose for a photograph while on board an economy class car in one of the new passenger trains using the new Mombasa to Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway (SGR
EPA

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta today announced the immediate reduction of prices for Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) train tickets, Kenyan media reports.

Initially, the price for economy class had been $8.71 (£.6.70) but that has now been reduced to $6.70 from the coastal city Mombasa to Nairobi however First Class tickets will remain at $29.

The announcement was made today in Mombasa at the launch of the passenger train, the Daily Nation reports.

View more on facebook

Under-20 World Cup: Zambia come from behind to beat Germany

African champions Zambia came from 1-0 behind to beat Germany 4-3 after extra-time and advance to the quarter-finals of the Under-20 World Cup in South Korea

Zambia looked like they had the match won at 3-1 in the 89th minute but two late goals from Germany ensured the game went to extra time.

Shemmy Mayembe was the Zambian hero with a goal early in the second period of the added 30 minutes.

Zambia will now play France or Italy in the last eight on Monday.

Read more from BBC Sport

Zambia won the Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations on home soil in March
AFP
Zambia won the Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations on home soil in March

UN exposes fraud at Kenya refugee camp

Alastair Leithead

BBC Africa correspondent, Kenya

The UN Refugee Agency, the UNHCR, has accused five of its staff of committing fraud at the Kenya's Kakuma refugee camp.

Three have been referred to the police for prosecution and have already been charged and two have resigned.

An internal UN investigation discovered staff were threatening refugees and making them pay for services which should have been free.

They were also asking for large amounts of money of up to $2,000 (£1,600) to speed up resettlement applications.

Refugees in the camp
AFP
Kakuma is home to over 170,000 refugees, with more than half of them from South Sudan.

Anger in Nigeria over Hajj price rise

There has been an angry reaction on the BBC Hausa Facebook page to the news that the government agency that facilitates the Hajj has increased its prices by 50%.

The trip will now cost on average 1.5m naira ($4,700, £3,700) rather the 1m naira charged previously.

It's thought that the price rise is down to the depreciation of the naira against the dollar.

Many commenting on the price rise are blaming the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, which came to power two years ago:

The poor who voted this government into power deserve better."

Madaki in Lagos

He who feels it knows it! They told us to wait till Buhari got into office, then everything would get better. We were told to be patient. Poor northerners – we’re always going after what will lead us into a pit. We pray for real change in 2019."

Yahya Ibrahim Muhammad

This is the northerners’ reward for voting in this government – petrol subsidy, removed. Fertiliser subsidy, removed. Hajj subsidy, also removed. The only thing left to remove is university education subsidy. I pray for positive change."

Isa Dangambo

But some are more conciliatory:

Even if going to Saudi Arabia were to be made free, there’ll still be those whom Allah hasn’t permitted to go. Therefore those who are destined to visit the holy land will not feel that the fare is too expensive. Our hope is for those who have the opportunity to go, should have a successful Hajj."

Bala Shaaibu Karfi
Nigerian hajj pilgrims leave the arrival hall of Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport
AFP
More than 80,000 Nigerians went on the Hajj last year

Uganda's 'Ghetto President' to stand for parliament

Patience Atuhaire

BBC Africa, Kampala

Robert Ssentamu Kyagulanyi, who is also known as Bobi Wine and The Ghetto President, filed his nomination papers, today, to run for MP in a by-election.

Bobi Wine is famous for his socially and politically conscious music. He released a song during the 2016 elections calling for unity and peace despite people's different political leanings.

If he wins, he will join other artists who have become politicians such as comedian and actor Kato Lubwama and gospel musician Judith Babirye.

Bobi Wine
Facebook/Bobi Wine

Wine has indicated to local media that he would prefer to run as an independent. Although there is speculation he leans more to the opposition FDC.

"This is not a fight between [opposition leader] Besigye and [President] Museveni.

"It's a fight between the people of Kyadondo [constituency] and poverty, ignorance and disease."

In 2016 he released Situka, a motivational song about getting up and moving no matter the hardships. It opens with the lyrics.

"When the going gets tough, the tough must get going,Especially when leaders become misleaders, and mentors become tormentors.When freedom of expression becomes a target of suppression,Opposition becomes our position..."

Four Kenyan police killed by IED

Four police officers have been killed when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb in south-eastern Kenya, a week after 14 others died in similar attacks claimed by al-Shabab militants, a police source told AFP

"We have lost four officers in this attack that also killed another person. The vehicle drove on an IED [improvised explosive device]," a senior police officer told AFP on condition of anonymity.

According to a police report seen by AFP, the vehicle was carrying seven officers when it drove over the device in the town of Baure. Two of the officers are missing.

Kenya's police chief Joseph Boinnet warned that more attacks were likely during the holy month of Ramadan.

View more on twitter

Ghanaian woman dies trying to reach Canada

The body of a 57-year-old Ghanaian woman has been found close to the border between the US and Canada.

Officials say she was trying to make her way to Canada and they believe she could have died of hypothermia, the Reuters news agency is reporting.

The local sheriff's department says that Mavis Korkor Larnyoh Otuteye was last seen on 22 May.

“It is believed that Mavis was attempting to enter Canada at the time of her death,” the sheriff’s department wrote in a statement, Canadian website CTV news reports.

It is believed that Ms Otuteye was trying to seek asylum in Canada.

There has been a surge of people trying to cross into Canada since January as they feared a possible clampdown following the inauguration of President Donald Trump.

Take a ride on the new train

If you didn't manage to get a ticket on the inaugural journey on Kenya's new railway line from Mombasa to Nairobi there is an alternative.

BBC Swahili managed to get a seat and has been posting videos of the view out of the window on its Facebook page.

View more on facebook

The post in Swahili says that "the new SGR train will take four-and-a-half hours to travel from Mombasa to Nairobi".

Cameroon 'represented by Russians in blackface make-up'

Pictures have emerged from a parade in the Russian city of Sochi showing people representing Cameroon in blackface make-up.

The Guardian and Washington Post report that the parade was a celebration of the Confederations Cup football tournament, which is due to start next month. Sochi is one of the host cities.

View more on twitter

The Guardian says that another person could be seen "wearing an Afro wig and carrying a drum and bananas on a string".

Cameroon is due to play Germany in Sochi on 25 June.

The Confederaions Cup, a competition between the winners of the continental championships, is seen as a curtain raiser for next year's World Cup, which Russia is hosting.

Rail vandals 'will face capital punishment'

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta has warned that those who vandalise the newly launched standard gauge railway will be hanged, local media reports

Mr Kenyatta said this as he was launching a new passenger train service that cost $3.2bn to build.

“I want to firmly state today that those who will be prosecuted and found guilty of vandalising a property belonging to all Kenyans; a property belong to our children, forgive me God, I will sign their death sentence for them to be hanged,” The Citizen paper reports.

View more on twitter

The Daily Nation headline reads Uhuru: God... I'll approve execution of vandals.

Meanwhile The Standard's headlne reads UHURU ON SGR VANDALISM: God forgive me, I will approve their hanging

The warning, came a day after a court reportedly remanded three suspected vandals for 14 days.

They were arrested for allegedly damaging the railway line in Mariakani, near the coastal city of Mombasa.

There has been no execution of death row inmates in Kenya since 1987

Read more on the new railway.

Nigeria police confirm clash with navy

A senior Nigerian police officer, who wants to remain anonymous, has confirmed to the BBC the details of the clash between policemen and navy officers in the south-eastern city of Calabar.

Earlier, we quoted a report in the Premium Times saying that the fight resulted in the burning down of a police station and left three people dead.

Our source said the report was accurate. The Navy has not yet commented.

The trouble started after policemen tried to pull over a vehicle driven by navy officers which had ignored a red light.

The police have published several pictures of the aftermath of the clash on its Facebook page.

Burnt out car
Nigeria Police

Thousands left stranded after taxi strike in Durban SA

Thousands of commuters have been left stranded following a taxi strike across South Africa's coastal city of Durban, local media are reporting.

Taxis blocked most of the main routes into and out of the city, IOL newspaper reports

People have been tweeting videos and pictures of the impact:

View more on twitter

Many commuters had to walk to work as no taxis were operating.

The taxi industry is protesting against the high price of the locally built Toyota Quantam taxi which now costs $35,000 (£27,500), News 24 reports.

They argue that the same vehicle cost just over $15,000 fully imported, 10 years ago.

Access to the Toyota plant in Prospecton, south of the city, has also been blocked.

View more on twitter

Senegal ex-President Wade to run for parliament

Senegal's former President Abdoulaye Wade, 91, is going to run for parliament in July's elections.

He will top the list for the opposition Watu (Save) Senegal coalition, which includes his PDS party.

Mr Wade served as president from 2000 to 2012. He lost his bid to have a third term in office in 2012, when he was defeated by Macky Sall.

Abdoulaye Wade
AFP
Abdoulaye Wade has ignored calls for him to retire

How the Kenya train journey compares

The train journey on the new line from Kenya's port city of Mombasa to the capital, Nairobi, takes four-and-a-half hours or five hours with stops.

The equivalent bus journey takes about nine hours and the old train journey 12 hours.

The tickets work out cheaper than buses.

An economy class ticket will cost 900 Kenyan shillings ($9; £7), while a business class ticket will be 3,000 Kenyan shillings.

The nearest equivalent bus ticket is 400 Kenyan shillings more.

The line - built with Chinese money and Chinese engineers - is part of a wider network that will one day link up the region:

Map
BBC

Thousands rally in Morocco for release of Nasser Zefzafi

Demonstrators hold pictures of Nasser Zafzafi, leader of the Rif region"s protest movement, during a demonstration against corruption, repression and unemployment in the northern city of al-Hoceima on May 30, 2017
Getty Images

Thousands of people have demonstrated in the northern Moroccan city of Al-Hoceima, demanding the release of a well-known activist.

Reports say riot police were involved in a tense stand-off with protesters, but later retreated.

Protesters rallied after Nasser Zefzafi was arrested on Monday charged with threatening national security.

Mr Zefzafi has organised months of protests against unemployment and corruption.

Read more on this from BBC News Online.

Kenya gets brand new railway

Kenya today is launching a brand new railway running from the capital, Nairobi, to the port city of Mombasa.

Built with a loan from a Chinese bank, it is said to be the biggest infrastructure project since independence.

President Uhuru Kenyatta will be one of the passengers on the inaugural four-and-a-half hour journey from Mombasa to Naiorbi.

The passenger train, called the Madaraka Express, can carry 1,260 passengers.

View more on twitter
View more on twitter
View more on twitter
View more on twitter

The train should be twice as fast as the road trip between the two cities.

The Mombasa to Kenya line is the first leg of a brand new train network planned to link up the East African region.

Nigeria 'police and navy clash'

A clash between Nigerian naval officers and police in the south-eastern city of Calabar has left several dead, the Premium Times is reporting.

The copy from the newspaper has been uploaded onto the police's Facebook page without any comment.

A later post on the page shows pictures of what the police say is the scene at a police station in Calabar after the members of the navy attacked:

Burnt out cars in screen grab from Facebook page
Nigeria police

The Premium Times quotes a witness as saying that the trouble started on Tuesday afternoon when a policeman tried to stop a navy car which had ignored a red traffic light.

The row was quelled when senior officers intervened, but things resumed later. A witness said that the naval officers then went to Calabar's Akim Police Station and "started shooting and burnt down the facility".

The witness told Premium Times that three people have been found dead.

Good morning

Welcome to the BBC Africa Live page where we'll be keeping you up-to-date with news stories on the continent.