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Summary

  1. Nigerian court drops corruption charges against Senate leader Bukola Saraki
  2. ICC calls for arrest and surrender of Saif Gaddafi
  3. Cameroon bishops say colleague was murdered
  4. Tunisia man arrested for smoking during Ramadan
  5. Polio outbreak in DR Congo
  6. Bosco Ntaganda gives evidence at his war crimes trial
  7. Niger's army picks up nearly 100 migrants in desert
  8. Email stories and comments to africalive@bbc.co.uk - Wednesday 14 June 2017

Live Reporting

By Dickens Olewe and Damian Zane

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 on the continent by listening to the Africa Today podcast or checking the BBC News website.

A reminder of today's wise words:

An elder's words are sweeter the following day."

A Chewa proverb sent by Remmy Shawa in Lusaka, Zambia

Clock here to send us your African proverbs.

And we leave you with this photo of a fisherman carrying his catch in Joal, Senegal.

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Uganda theatre 'to be demolished for mall'

The iconic Uganda National Theatre is to be demolished to make way for a shopping complex including a 36-storey tower after tenants were ordered to leave the premises by the end of June, the Observer reports.

Uganda National Cultural Center (UNCC) is expected to sign a contract with the developers next week, it says.

The $100m (£78m) complex will also include modern restaurants, bars, cinemas, state of the art auditoriums and a six underground car parking lots.

The building, which is shaped like a piano, is among 51 buildings and sites in Kampala, which were constructed before 1969, the report says.

Veteran artist, Jack Sserunkuma, is quoted as saying he is concerned by the way government has taken his industry for granted.

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Burkina Faso uprising: 'We want to know the truth'

In 2014, thousands of people protested on the streets of Burkina Faso, after President Blaise Compaore attempted to extend his 27-year rule.

According to official figures, 33 people died and some 80 injured. Families are still hoping for justice.

Video journalist: Maxime Le Hegarat

'This was really horrific'

The death toll in the fire that engulfed a London tower block has now risen to 12 and the number of deaths are expected to rise, police say.

As we reported, some of those who lived in the block were of African descent.

This British-Somali man Mahad Egal made it out of the flats with his family, but as he told the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire he knows that some friends and family did not escape.

Warning: There are some graphic descriptions in this video.

South African midfielder joins Dutch club Vitesse Arnhem

South African international Thulani Serero has completed his move from Dutch side Ajax Amsterdam to rivals Vitesse Arnhem.

The 27-year-old Bafana Bafana midfielder becomes a Vitesse player on 1 July following the expiry of his contract with Ajax Amsterdam.

Serero joined Ajax from Ajax Cape Town in 2011 but has struggled for game time in the past couple of seasons.

Read the full story

Thulani Serero
.

This week's Kenya Election Watch podcast is out!

This week we look at the inaccuracies revealed in the electoral register – we asked a top official at the electoral commission if they can be corrected in time.

Plus we discuss the role of ethnicity in these elections, and ask how class identity might outweigh ethnic divisions in some areas.

Listen to the show:

Confusion and distress after London fire

The fire which tore through a 24-storey town block in London killed six people but police expect that number to rise.

BBC Africa's Mohanad Hashim, who has been to scene in west London, says that he was told many people living in the block were of African descent - with parents from Morocco, Eritrea, Somalia and Sudan. Some of those are still missing.

He took a picture of people from the area trying to find out what had happened:

People standing around in the street
BBC

Mohanad adds that the community is coming together with mosques, churches and community halls becoming shelters.

Church hall
BBC

Talking of the tragedy, one British-Somali woman told him that she was distressed that there was little definite information about what was going on:

We need to know what's happened... how can a whole building go up like that? You heard people screaming for help... and you can't do anything about it."

Recording captures SA man discussing his wife's murder

A court in South Africa's city of Port Elizabeth has played a video recording of a businessman who is accused of planning the kidnap and murder of his wife, JacarandaFM reports

In the video Christoper Panayiotou is seen talking to an alleged middleman in the murder of his wife.

Jayde Panayiotou's murder was reported at the time as a house robbery gone wrong.

Mr Panayiotou has repeatedly denied any wrong doing.

In the video he is heard expressing his unhappiness to the middleman about the way things turned out on the day that his wife was abducted and later murdered in April 2015 saying that he was supposed to make it look like a robbery.

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The defence failed to block the video being played in court and to be admitted as evidence, the report says.

Ntaganda takes the stand at the ICC

Congolese former rebel commander Bosco Ntaganda is now giving evidence at his war crimes trial at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

The start of his evidence was delayed as his lawyers argued that the case should be adjourned.

You can follow what he is saying on the ICC website.

Bosco Ntaganda giving evidence
ICC

ICC orders arrest of Saif Gaddafi

Saif Gaddafi
Reuters

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has called for the arrest and surrender of Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, who was released by a militia in Libya last week after six years in jail.

The son of late leader Col Muammar Gaddafi is wanted for alleged crimes against humanity during the rebellion that ousted his father in 2011.

His location is unclear. The UN-backed government has condemned the release.

It is feared that the move could fuel further instability in the country.

Saif al-Islam was freed from jail last Friday by the Abu Bakr al-Siddiq Battalion militia in the western town of Zintan under an amnesty law.

He has not been seen in public since then. A source told the BBC he was in the Tobruk area of eastern Libya.

READ: What next for Saif al-Islam Gaddafi?

South Africans debate changing name to Azania

A call by South Africa's Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa for the country's name to be changed to Azania has sparked a debate in the country, IOL reports.

Mr Mthethwa said the country's name was just a geographical reference and should be changed, like other colonial-era names in Africa.

Old map of South Africa
iStock
Some people object that South Africa was the colonial name for the country

Thamba Godi, from the African People’s Convention, supported the call saying that South Africa should have followed the model of Namibia and Zimbabwe "which after gaining liberation changed from colonial names South West Africa and Rhodesia respectively," IOL says.

Reactions on social media have been mixed as reflected on the Cape Argus newspaper’s Facebook page:

It can take millions or even billions of rand to change the name, I don’t see the point. The money could be spent on things that are needed. Try to change inequality in the country instead.”

I would like to be identified as Azanian as it is personal. Yes, it will take time for people to get used to it but eventually they will. The name suits us and there is great history behind the name.”

No, it should have been done after liberation”.

Malwande Blayi, 28, from Philippi

Kenya police seek owner of collapsed building

A warrant has been issued for the arrest of the owner of the seven-storey building that collapsed on Monday in Kware Pipeline estate in the eastern part of Kenya's capital Nairobi.

Two children were pulled out alive from the rubble on Tuesday night but a woman who was also pulled out of the wreckage died almost immediately after being rescued.

Rescue officials say the boy and a girl are now being treated in a hospital.

Kenya Red Cross says another person was killed after the building collapsed on Monday night. Several more people have been reported missing.

A search and rescue operation is continuing.

The Star newspaper said dozens of people had been evacuated moments before the collapse.

Witnesses told the paper that the building had been condemned after cracks appeared in its walls.

The BBC's Anne Soy went to the site on Monday:

Nairobi building collapse: 'I don't know where my son is'

Corruption charges dropped against Nigeria senate leader

Martin Patience

BBC News, Nigeria correspondent

One of Nigeria’s top politicians, senate leader Bukola Saraki, has been cleared of falsely declaring his assets.

He was facing 18 charges, but now a tribunal says he has no case to answer.

Bukola Saraki
AFP

The charismatic senate leader is a controversial figure who will no doubt welcome this ruling almost two years after he was first charged.

In a bid to promote transparency and tackle corruption, Nigerian politicians are supposed to declare all their assets.

But the tribunal overseeing the matter said Mr Saraki had no case to answer because of a lack of evidence.

The current government has vowed to tackle rampant corruption within the system.

Political opponents of President Muhammadu Buhari also accuse his government of using corruption allegations to carry out a political witch-hunt.

Many missing after London fire

It is feared that many people have died after a residential tower block in London was engulfed overnight in a huge blaze.

Police have confirmed six fatalities, but expect the number to rise, saying the recovery operation was likely to be lengthy.

People are tweeting about friends and colleagues who are missing.

One of the names mentioned is Khadija Saye. She is a friend of British MP David Lammy.

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Ms Saye is a young photographer whose work about The Gambia was recently exhibited in the Diaspora Pavilion at the Venice Biennale.

Mortuary strike causes distress in South Africa

Milton Nkosi

BBC Africa, Johannesburg

South Africa's Gauteng provincial government has called in help from the army as bodies pile up in some mortuaries following a strike by forensic pathology assistants.

Diepkloof mortuary in Soweto is the most affected with tens of bodies waiting for autopsies, leaving bereaved families in distress.

Forensic pathology assistants have downed tools over salaries and working conditions.

Provincial health minister Dr Gwen Ramokgopa said that the local authorities have "spared no effort to try and resolve the impasse", but they had no choice but to request military help.

Authorities tried to reassure concerned families that talks to resolve the deadlock are continuing.

'Devilish forces' persecuting Cameroon clergy

Cameroonian bishops are saying that their colleague Bishop Jean Marie Benoit Bala was "brutally murdered" a fortnight ago, dismissing theories that he took his own life see earlier entry).

In a statement they highlighted the deaths of a number of members of the Cameroonian clergy in recent years.

One of the church leaders, Jervis Kebei Kewi, told the BBC that the clergy are being persecuted:

We strongly feel that the clergy in Cameroon are particularly persecuted by some obscure and devilish forces."

Ghanaian who lost fingers to frostbite in trek to Canada gets refugee status

A Ghanaian immigrant who lost his fingers due to frostbite while crossing the the US -Canadian border has been given asylum

Razak Iyal entered Canada with a fellow Ghanaian, Seidu Mohammed, on Christmas Eve, after they had walked for hours through waist-deep snow.

The two left the US on Christmas Eve last year fearing they would be deported but were not dressed for the sub-temperature weather conditions they faced on their journey.

They were spotted by a truck driver after crossing into Canada and spent weeks recovering in hospital.

Mr Iyal lost all his fingers but kept his thumbs. But he is not downcast.

"I can do a lot of things that people who have fingers can do," he is quoted as saying

He plans to bring his wife to Canada and opening an electronics business similar to one he had in Ghana. Mr Mohammed has also won his asylum case.

The BBC spoke to the two in February:

Read: Letter from Africa: Why do Ghanaians leave home?

Sudanese activist on trial for spying

Prominent Sudanese human rights activist Mudawi Ibrahim Adam has gone on trial today in Khartoum on charges of spying, the AFP news agency reports.

It adds that he was arrested at the end of last year in a round up of opposition figures and other activists.

Mr Adam is also accused of distorting the image of the state for some of the things that he has published, AFP says.

The first session of the trial was attended by foreign diplomats.

Rights group Amnesty International has called for his release and has been campaigning on his behalf.

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Uganda passport shortage

Uganda's government says it has run out of ordinary passports and it is restricting the number of new travel documents it issues, the Monitor newspaper reports.

The report quotes a government statement saying that the few remaining passports will only be given to people who have an emergency such as seeking to travel abroad for treatment or students who get a foreign scholarship.

Spokesman Jacob Simiyu said the shortage will be resolved within the next month.

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Are African footballers more susceptible to heart attacks?

The recent death of Ivorian footballer Cheick Tiote on the pitch brought an outpouring of sadness in the world of football.

This left us asking if there is any evidence to suggest that African players are more likely to die on the pitch than other players, writes Jordan Dunbar.

In the past few years there have been a number of players who have died while playing football.

The BBC's More or Less programme has looked into whether African players and players of African heritage are more susceptible to cardiac arrest.

It heard from researchers who found that black athletes could be more at danger, but the risks are still very small.

Read full story

Cheick Tiote
Getty Images
Cheick Tiote, who was 30, collapsed and died during training

Cameroon bishop 'murdered'

Cameroonian Bishop Jean Marie Benoit Bala, whose body was found in a river at the beginning of the month, did not take his own life but was "brutally murdered", according to the Catholic Bishops Conference in Cameroon.

At the time a suicide note, which said in French “I am in the water”, was found in his car. But investigators were trying to determine if Bishop Bala wrote it and under what circumstances.

Citing the deaths of other clergy, the bishops said this is one more murder, and one too many".

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There is no official comment on the cause of the bishop's death.

Amnesty condemns arrest of Tunisia smoking man

Man smoking
Getty Images
Tunisians demanding the freedom to eat and drink in public during Ramadan

Rights body Amnesty International has condemned the arrest of man yesterday in the coastal city of Bizerte for smoking during the fast month of Ramadan.

The man was caught smoking outside a court house yesterday and has been charged with "public indecency".

Heba Morayef, the head of Amnesty in North Africa, said in a statement the arrest was absurd:

Imprisoning someone for smoking a cigarette or eating in public is an absurd violation of an individual’s personal freedoms. Failing to conform to religious and social customs is not a criminal offence.”

The statement said four other men had been arrested and sentenced to one month in prison after eating in public on 1 June.

While there is no law against eating or drinking in public during Ramadan, the issue comes up every year in Tunisa, AFP says.

On Sunday a number of Tunisians went out on the streets of the capital, Tunis, demanding the freedom to eat and drink in public during Ramadan, AFP reports.

Kenyan schoolchildren call for road bumps

We posted earlier that pupils of a primary school in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, had blocked a major road after one of their fellow pupil was reportedly killed in a hit-and-run accident.

The Daily Nation is now reporting that the pupils from St Ann's school stopped the traffic after a road safety warden was hit by a car yesterday morning. Another pupil was also injured in a separate incident.

The report says that the pupils chanted “we want justice for our colleagues" and "no bumps, no learning" and also called on the government to declare the area an accident a black spot, which means that some safety measures would be put in place:

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Ntaganda's lawyers want the trial adjourned

We've been reporting that the former Congolese rebel Bosco Ntaganda is due to give evidence at his war crimes trial in The Hague.

But his lawyers have now asked for an adjournment:

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Our reporter in The Hague says that Mr Ntaganda's lawyers are arguing there is no case to answer:

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Cameroon lose friendly ahead of Confederations Cup

Nick Cavell

BBC Africa Sport

Colombia's defender Frank Fabra (R) vies with Cameroon's defender Ernest Mabouka
Get
Cameroon will take part in the Confederations Cup which features the six continental champions

African champions Cameroon suffered a demoralising 4-0 loss to Colombia in a friendly late on Tuesday evening as the Indomitable Lions prepared for the Confederations Cup, which kicks off on Saturday in Russia.

The match was played in Spain with Real Madrid star James Rodriguez among the scorers for Colombia. Their other goals came from Jose Izquierdo and a brace by centre back Yerry Mina.

Cameroon, who rested several key players, were reduced to 10 men when striker Robert Ndip Tambe was sent off three minutes into the second half for retaliation.

The Confederations Cup features the six continental champions as well as next year’s World Cup hosts Russia.

Also involved in the eight-team event are World Cup winners Germany, who Cameroon play in their final group match.

The Indomitable Lions opening fixture is on Sunday against Copa America winners Chile before playing Asian champions Australia.

Polio outbreak in DR Congo

The World Health Organization has identified two outbreaks of polio in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

It said there was a high risk the disease would spread.

The strain of polio involved emerges in areas with poor vaccine coverage.

Polio infections mainly affect young people and can result in permanent paralysis.

Despite a global campaign to eradicate it, the disease remains endemic in Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

A medical staff vaccinates a child against polio
AFP

Who is the Congolese 'Terminator'?

Today's session at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the trial of former Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda has now got under way.

Mr Ntaganda is due to start giving evidence in his own defence soon.

You can follow it here on the ICC website.

But who is the defendant nicknamed The Terminator?

Schoolchildren block road to protest hit-and-run incident

Pupils at a primary school in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, have blocked a major road after one of them was reportedly killed in a hit-and-run incident yesterday.

People are sharing pictures and videos of the schoolchildren marching on the road and stopping traffic:

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

The World Health Organization says that at least 3,000 people, including many pedestrians, die on the roads in Kenya every year.

Ninety migrants rescued in the Sahara desert

Nearly 100 migrants have been rescued after being abandoned trying to cross the desert in northern Niger, RFI reports.

Jeune Afrique quotes a local newspaper as reporting that the 92 people, who were picked up by the army, were on the verge of dying.

The migrants are now being looked after by the International Organization for Migration in Dirkou, northern Niger, RFI says.

Map showing Dirkou
BBC

It quotes IOM head of mission Giuseppe Loprete as saying:

[The smugglers] tell them that if they do not have money, they can not continue. So they are in a very vulnerable situation... And if they have no money or sometimes to avoid controls, migrants are abandoned and stay where they are."

He added that these migrants were saved because they were abandoned near a well.

Two weeks ago, 44 migrants trying to cross the desert to reach Libya died of thirst.

Congolese 'Terminator' to give evidence at his war crimes trial

Clarice Fortune

BBC Africa

Bosco Ntaganda
AFP
The smiling Terminator is said to be a man who kills easily

Congolese ex-rebel commander Bosco Ntaganda is due to give evidence today as his trial resumes at the International Criminal Court.

The man once dubbed "The Terminator" will take the stand almost two years after the court case began.

He is accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by his Patriotic Forces for the Liberation of Congo.

The prosecution says that between 2002 and 2003, his rebel forces rampaged through the country's s gold-rich Ituri Province, murdering and raping civilians.

In 2015, he pleaded not guilty to 13 charges of war crimes - including the conscription of child soldiers under the age of 15 - and five counts of crimes against humanity.

His defence team plans to call 109 witnesses and 4 experts. This is one of the reasons the trial is expected to go on for several months.

If convicted, he could face up to 30 years in prison.

Read: Profile: Bosco Ntaganda the Congolese 'Terminator'

Good morning

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

Today's African proverb:

An elder's words are sweeter the following day."

A Chewa proverb sent by Remmy Shawa in Lusaka, Zambia
A Mosotho woman walks to mark her ballot
AFP

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