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Summary

  1. Exiled Olympian says 'blood is still flowing' in Ethiopia
  2. Angolan rapper imprisoned for taking part in illegal poll protest
  3. World's largest woman 'halves in size' after India surgery
  4. More than 50 Nigerians charged with "conspiring to celebrate gay wedding"
  5. Coalition formed in Zimbabwe to oust President Mugabe
  6. DNA tests on reptiles confirm they ate South African trophy hunter
  7. Zambian opposition leader's lawyer fears for his safety
  8. Man wanted over Egypt church bombings 'hands himself in'
  9. Email stories and comments to africalive@bbc.co.uk - Thursday 20 April 2017

Live Reporting

By Hugo Williams and Farouk Chothia

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Scroll down for Thursday's stories

We'll be back tomorrow

That's all from the BBC Africa Live page today. Keep up-to-date with what's happening across the continent by listening to the Africa Today podcast or checking the BBC News website.

Today's African proverb:

The hyena says: ‘All roads lead to a village’."

A Nuer proverb from South Sudan sent by Yien Wil Mayuak, Gambella, Ethiopia

Click here to send us your African proverbs

And we leave you with a photo of a Nigerian soldier on a patrol to find illegal oil refineries in the Niger Delta:

A Nigerian soldier on the back of a gun boat surveys a creek for illegal oil refineries during a patrole on April 19, 2017 in the Niger Delta region near the city of Warri. Nigerian forces are cracking down on illegal oil refineries in the countrys oil heartland
AFP

Cameroon to lift internet ban

Cameroon's President Paul Biya has ordered the resumption of internet services in two English-speaking regions which were hit by anti-government protests earlier this year, BBC Afrique reports. 

The internet was cut off in January in the north-western and south-western regions, following protest from the Anglophone community against alleged discrimination by Cameroon's French-speaking majority.

At the time, the government alleged that social media was being used to spread fase information.  

Map
BBC

Read: Why Cameroon blocked the internet

BBC to launch Somali TV

Ferdinand Omondi

BBC Africa, Mogadishu

PAssing out parade for Somali female police officers
BBC

BBC Somali launches its flagship TV news programme on Monday and we've been in Somalia talking to the people hoping to build the future of the country.

We'll hear from women overcoming discrimination and cultural bias to join the country's police (pictured above and below).

Somali women marchine
BBC
Somali woman pictured among other male police recruits at a parade
BBC

And we'll speak to a Somali doctor credited with single-handedly providing care.for the mentally ill in Mogadishu:

Somali doctor speaks to Ferdinand Omondi
BBC

We also sit down with Somalia's Prime Minister, Hassan Ali Khayre, to discuss security, corruption and the biting drought:

Ferdinand Omondi with Somalia's Prime Minister, Hassan Ali Khayre
BBC

The 15-minute daily (Monday to Friday) programme will cover global and regional news, business, technology sport and entertainment. It will be aired on some local free-to-air TV stations, bringing impartial, independent and objective information and analysis to millions of Somali speakers in the region and the diaspora.

Read more about the launch of BBC Somali TV

Tsvangarai 'would concede if Mujuru better choice'

Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of Zimbabwe's main opposition party Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) greets people during a campaign meeting at a rally in Domboshava 40 km north of Harare, on March 28, 2008
AFP
Mr Tsvangirai failed in previous elections to dislodge Mr Mugabe from power

It doesn't matter who leads Zimbabwe's newly formed opposition coalition and ex-Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai will drop out of the race if it was the right thing to do, his spokesman has told the BBC.

When asked by the Focus on Africa radio programme if Mr Tsvangarai would concede if opposition supporters felt that Ms Mujuru, Zimbabwe's former vice-president, was a better choice, Luke Tamborinyoka said:

Yes he will concede. The opposition parties are discussing amongst themselves and everyone realises that that is not the debate that should concern the nation right now, given the suffering in Zimbabwe, the despicable living conditions of poor people. It does not matter who will lead the coalition.”

See earlier post for more details

Rwandan man jailed for genocide

A former militia leader in Rwanda has been sentenced to life in prison for his role in the 1994 genocide which left some 800,000 people dead, Rwanda's High Court has said, Reuters news agency reports. 

Bernard Munyagishari, who headed the Interahamwe Hutu militia in western Rwanda, was convicted of genocide and crimes against humanity, it reports. 

His lawyers said they would appeal against the ruling.   

Judge Timothee Kanyegeri said Munyagishari had trained the militia to distinguish between Hutus and Tutsis and "told them that to kill as (for a) snake, you have to hit hard the head, otherwise it will sneak away", Reuters reports. 

There are numerous memorials around Rwanda to those killed in the genocide
AFP
There are numerous memorials around Rwanda to those killed in the genocide

'Real test lies ahead for opposition taking on Mugabe'

Shingai Nyoka

BBC Africa, Harare

The decision by Zimbabwe's former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and former Vice-President Joice Mujuru is an important first step towards uniting a deeply divided opposition ahead of next year's general election.

If it succeeds, it will be the first time President Robert Mugabe has faced a united opposition on this scale since coming to power in 1980.

At least a dozen parties are expected to be part of the coalition.

Ms Mujuru, who was fired from the ruling Zanu-PF party in 2014, was the first to sign the pact with Mr Tsvangirai yesterday. 

A splinter group from Mr Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party has now also come on board.

r Morgan Tsvangirai (L) speaks with Zimbabwean opposition figure Joyce Mujuru (R) during a "Zimbabwe People First" (ZPF) rally in Gweru, on August 13, 2016.
AFP
Mr Tsvangirai and Ms Mujuru have both incurred the wrath of Mr Mugabe

Divisions among the opposition have been blamed for previous electoral losses.

For the first time, Mr Tsvangirai apologised for this and accepted responsibility for the mistakes made in the past. His party has split four ways since it was formed in 1999.

Ms Mujuru's National People's Party recently splintered after less than a year.

But the real test for the opposition lies ahead. The parties still need to hammer out the terms of this alliance - in particular, who will lead it.

President Mugabe is a formidable opponent. He has been accused of stealing elections and using violence to stay in power.

Kenyan leader warns over electoral violence

View more on twitter

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta has said that the government will not tolerate violence between rival camps of supporters in party primaries ahead of August's general elections.

He warned that candidates involved in violence would be disqualified from standing and could be prosecuted.

Two parliamentary candidates have been treated in hospital after being caught up in such a clash. 

The warning comes a decade after ethnically driven violence killed 1,200 people and displaced half a million from their homes after elections in 2007.

Fears of similar violence at elections in 2013 proved largely unfounded.

In a televised statement made from State House, Mr Kenyatta said:

Chaos and violence that feature in primaries will not be tolerated.

A culture of hooliganism during the electoral process must not and will not be allowed to gain currency and acceptance."

View more on youtube

Paralysed Gambian student: 'I did nothing wrong'

Yusufa Mbaye was left paralysed from the neck down after he was shot by Gambian security forces at a student protest in 2000.

The Gambia has a new leader in President Adama Barrow, who has promised to investigate the alleged abuses committed under his predecessor Yahya Jammeh, by setting up a truth and reconciliation commission. 

Yusufa has been telling his story and sharing his hopes for the future to Focus on Africa's Hassan Arouni. 

Yusufa Mbaye says his life has been ruined

Ethiopian athlete to protest at London Marathon

thiopia elite runner Feyisa Lilesa poses during a photocall for the men"s marathon elite athletes outside Tower Bridge in central London on April 20, 2017 ahead of the upcoming London Marathon
AFP
The athlete says he could be killed if he goes back home

Exiled Ethiopian runner Feyisa Lilesa has vowed to protest against the government at Sunday's London Marathon, saying "blood is flowing" in his home country. 

Feyisa caught the world's attention when made a protest gesture in solidarity with the Oromo people while crossing the line in the marathon race at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

In an interview with the BBC's Sport Today, the silver medalist said he did not regret making the gesture. 

How can I regret [it]? I come from the people. My people are dying, still. The blood is flowing."

He added that would not return to Ethiopia while the current government was in power as he would be "automatically" killed, jailed or barred from leaving the country.

Feyisa refused to go back to Ethiopia after the Olympics, despite the government saying he would be welcomed as a hero. 

He is currently living in the US with his wife and children on a temporary visa. 

In Rio, Feyisa became the first Ethiopian to finish in the top two of a men's Olympic marathon since 2000, claiming silver behind Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge.

As he crossed the line, he lifted his arms to form an X above his head, the same gesture used in protests by the Oromo people, the country's largest ethnic group, which has suffered a crackdown at the hands of the Ethiopian government.

Feyisa Lilesa
Getty Images
The 'X' sign is used as a symbol of protest in Ethiopia

The state-backed Ethiopia Human Rights Commission  said earlier this week that 669 people were killed in protests since November 2015. 

The government has blamed the violence on "terrorists". 

A state of emergency has ben in force since last October to curb the unrest.  

Read: Endurance test for Feyisa

Angolan rapper 'jailed over poll protest'

MC Life
Universal Independente Producoes/MC Life
A grab from MC Life's track "Failed policies"

Popular Angolan rapper and government critic Adao Bunga, aka MC Life, has been sentenced to 45 days in prison for calling for free and fair elections at an unauthorised protest in the capital, Luanda, on Monday, AFP news agency reports.

It quoted the judge as saying: 

The court condemns the accused to 45 days of imprisonment and a fine of 65,000 kwanzas ($390; £300) for the offences of rebellion and association with criminals."

Six other activists were sentenced alongside the rapper late yesterday, AFP reports.

He has previously described President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who has ruled oil-rich Angola since 1979, as a "true despot" and a "fake democrat". 

Defence minister Joao Lourenco is the ruling MPLA party's candidate in the August election after Mr Dos Santos announced in February that he will not run for office again.

Album cover
Independente Producoes Apresenta
MC Life's new album is called 'We demand revolution now'

Al-Shabab criticises secular schools

Mary Harper

Africa editor, BBC World Service

Al-Shabab militants have told parents in Somalia not to send their children to non-Islamic schools and universities. 

In a 26-minute recording, al-Shabab spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamoud Rage said children should only attend Islamic schools as others are immoral and, he alleged, encourage them to adore Christianity and migrate to the West. 

Earlier this month, al-Shabab's Education and Youth Engagement department introduced a new curriculum, replacing English with Arabic. 

The Somali government says the group is trying to deprive children of a proper education, and to brainwash them so they become unquestioning followers of its violent ideology.

The group controls many parts of Somalia and stages attacks in some neighbouring countries.   

Al-Shabab fighters
AFP
Al-Shabab is affiliated to al-Qaeda

Egypt air strikes 'kill IS-linked militants'

Egypt's military says it has killed 19 militants linked to the Islamic State (IS) group in air strikes in the northern Sinai region. 

Egypt has stepped up security operations ahead of a visit by Pope Francis next week, following the killing of at least 45 people in bombings at two Coptic Christian churches earlier this month. 

Three leaders of militant group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis were among those killed in the strikes, the military said. 

The group pledged allegiance to IS in 2014, and adopted the name Sinai Province. 

On Tuesday, IS said its fighters opened fire on a checkpoint near St Catherine's monastery in south Sinai, killing a policeman.

St Catherine's monastery is located at the foot of Mount Sinai
AFP
St Catherine's is one of the oldest Christian monasteries in the world and a Unesco world heritage site

Senegal's Mane makes PFA team of the year

Graphic shows PFA team of the year
BBC
PFA Premier League team of the year 2017

Senegal and Liverpool star Sadio Mane has been made it into the English Premier League team of the year, as voted for by fellow professionals.

Chelsea and Tottenham have both had four of their players named in the Professional Footballers' Association Premier League team of the year for 2017. 

Defenders Gary Cahill and David Luiz and midfielders N'Golo Kante and Eden Hazard are Chelsea's representatives.

Tottenham's quartet are defenders Kyle Walker and Danny Rose, midfielder Dele Alli and forward Harry Kane.

Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea and Romelu Lukaku are also in the team.

Mane's club have congratulated the winger on Twitter:

View more on twitter

Read the full BBC Sport story 

Zambian opposition lawyer 'fears for his safety'

A lawyer for Zambia's opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema says he has been trailed in the capital, Lusaka, making him fear for his and his family's safety. 

Keith Mweemba is acting for Mr Hichilema, who has been charged with treason for allegedly plotting to overthrow the government last year.

Mr Hichilema's United Party for National Development (UPND) has tweeted the safety concerns  Mr Mweemba raised in court today:  

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

Trophy hunter was eaten by crocodiles, DNA tests confirm

View more on twitter

DNA tests on the bodies of two crocodiles have confirmed that the remains found inside the reptiles are of a South African hunter who had gone missing in Zimbabwe,  a conservation group involved in the search has tweeted. 

Scott van Zyl, a father of two, whose company organises hunting trips for foreign clients, is thought to have been eaten by crocodiles on the bank of the Limpopo River, after heading off on a hunting expedition with a pack of dogs and a local guide.

His footprints were later found leading to the river bank and his backpack was recovered nearby.

The Heritage Protection Group tweeted, in Afrikaans, that it had confirmed the positive results of the DNA test with Mr Van Zyl's wife:

View more on twitter

Uganda's ex-minister: 'Castrate foreign sex abusers'

A former government minister in Uganda has called for the castration of foreign businessmen who sexually abuse female employees, the state-owned New Vision newspaper reports. 

The call from Miria Matembe, former minister of ethics and integrity, came after she heard the testimony of two women who said they had been sexually abused at work, the newspaper reports.

One woman said she was forced to perform sex acts on her boss over a period of two years, while another  said she was shut in her boss's office and abused while his gun rested on the table, the New Vision adds.

At a press conference organised by activists campaigning against sexual harassment, Ms Matembe said:

I didn't know that our women are being dehumanised to this level by these so-called investors under our nose. This degradation is turning Ugandans into nothing in their country."

The Foundation for Human Rights Initiative said the proposal would help deliver justice for abused women.

One of the woman said that when she reported the case to police, she was told it was normal for a boss to ask his employees for sex, according to the newspaper.    

Anglophone Cameroon 'forced back into Stone Age'

Demonstrators in Bamenda
Reuters
The internet has been blocked over anti-government protests in Cameroon's English-speaking regions

It has been three months since Cameroonian authorities deliberately switched off the internet in Anglophone parts of the country, citing public order concerns. 

The two regions affected, South-West and North-West, saw anti-government protests in recent months, with protesters saying they were victims of state discrimination.  

Reporting on the impact of the internet blackout on locals, the Jeune Afrique Newspaper says it has created hardship for households and business. 

Telephone communications are less and less common and residents are no longer able to use applications such as WhatsApp or Viber, Jeune Afrique says.   

It quotes an internet service provider as saying: 

I saw people gathering on a bridge, because at that exact spot, smartphones could connect to the internet. So they get there and stay for a few minutes in the hope of downloading emails and then they go away."

The paper likens the situation for English-speaking Cameroonians to "a forced return to the Stone Age".

Read more: Why has Cameroon blocked the internet?

500kg woman 'halves in size' after surgery

View more on youtube

An Egyptian woman, who was believed to be the world's heaviest at 500kg (1,102lb), has now lost 250kg since undergoing weight loss surgery in February, the Times of India reports.

After losing the weight, Eman Ahmed, 36, can now fit into a wheelchair and sit up for longer periods of time, her doctors in Mumbai said.

Videos have been posted online to give updates on Eman's condition:

View more on youtube

When she travelled to India in February to have the surgery, Eman's family said it was the first time she had left home for 25 years.

Eman Ahmed at 500kg weight before surgery
COURTESY: DR MUFFAZAL LAKDAWALA
Eman pictured before the surgery

Eman suffered a stroke three years ago which left her right side paralysed and unable to leave her bed, India's Hindustan Times newspaper reports.

She suffers occasional seizures and cannot swallow liquids or speak properly, it adds.

Giving an update on her progress, one of her doctors told the paper:

We will get a CT scan of her brain done as soon as she fits into the machine. The scan will help us understand her neurological status.

She hasn’t walked. The stroke left her bound to the bed. Our team of physiotherapists and occupational therapists are trying to mobilise her. We hope to see her walk someday, although we can’t determine the exact timeframe yet."

Egypt church bombings suspect 'hands himself in'

Mourners in Alexandria
EPA
Coptic Christians mourned the 45 killed in the church bombings

A suspect wanted in connection with the deadly bombings of Egyptian churches in the cities of Tanta and Alexandria has turned himself into the authorities, the country's state-run news agency Mena reports.

A security source said the suspect, identified as Mahmoud Mohamed Ali Hassan, was escorted to the headquarters of the national security agency, Mena adds.

The leader of the Coptic Christians, Pope Tawadros II, had been in one of the two churches targeted on Palm Sunday earlier this month, when 45 people were killed in attacks claimed by the militant Islamic State group.  

The attacks on Christians, who make up about 10% of Egypt's population, raised security fears ahead of a visit to Cairo by Pope Francis, the head of the Roman Catholic Church, scheduled for 28 and 29 April.  

Read: Coptic Christians feel scared

Nigerians charged over 'gay wedding'

A group of 53 people has been charged in northern Nigeria's Kaduna state with "conspiring" to celebrate a gay wedding at a motel, the local Premium Times newspaper reports

The group pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy, unlawful assembly and belonging to an unlawful society during a court appearance in Chediya-Zaria.

Defence lawyer Yunusa Umar said most of the accused were students and had been illegally detained for more than 24 hours, the newspaper reported.   

The magistrate released them on bail and the case was remanded to 8 May.  

Homosexual acts are illegal in socially conservative Nigeria.  

Prosecutor Mannir Nasir was quoted as saying that the 53 were arrested on 15 April:

Information reached the police that these group of persons conspired to celebrate a gay marriage at Zaria Motel."

Gay Nigerian
BBC
Gay people in Nigeria face discrimination under the law

Read: Hunting down gay people in Nigeria

Zimbabwe opposition leaders form anti-Mugabe alliance

Shingai Nyoka

BBC Africa, Harare

Two leading opposition figures in Zimbabwe have formed an alliance to contest next year's general election against long-serving ruler Robert Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party. 

The leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Morgan Tsvangirai, signed the agreement with the sacked Zimbabwean Vice-President, Joice Mujuru, of the National People's Party (NPP). 

Zimbabwe main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai (L) and former vice president Joice Mujuru (R) sign a Memorandum of Understanding to negotiate a coalition ahead of the 2018 general election in Harare, April 19 2017
AFP
Mr Tsvangirai (C) and Ms Mujuru (R) have not yet announced who will be the presidential candidate

Mr Tsvangirai said the deal was a building block towards establishing a broad alliance to confront Mr Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party, which has been in power since independence in 1980. 

Ms Mujuru said the MDC and the NPP had worked on the agreement for the last six months and would now start negotiating specific details to strengthen their alliance. 

It's unclear which of the two will lead the coalition, and this could turn out to be a thorny issue, though most of the other opposition parties have endorsed Mr Tsvangirai as their presidential candidate.  

For his part, Mr Mugabe, 93, has said he was not losing any sleep over the proposed coalition.

Zanu-PF has once again nominated Mr Mugabe, the world's oldest ruler, as its presidential candidate in the poll.    

Read: Why Zimbabweans are spending nights outside banks

Today's wise words

Our African proverb of the day:

The hyena says: ‘All roads lead to a village’."

A Nuer proverb from South Sudan sent by Yien Wil Mayuak, Gambella, Ethiopia

Click here to send us your African proverbs

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