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Summary

  1. Row in South Africa over bid to increase black stake in mines
  2. Special inquiry exonerates Nigerian officers accused of war crimes
  3. South Africa's economic hub paralysed by taxi strike
  4. Al-Shabab bomb and gun attack 'kills 25'
  5. Nine children killed in Niger floods
  6. Estranged wife of Lesotho's prime minister shot dead
  7. China 'puts pressure on Nigeria over Taiwan'
  8. India mocked over Morocco border photo

Live Reporting

By Paul Bakibinga and Farouk Chothia

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Scroll down for Thursday's stories

Well 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

Click here to send us your African proverbs.

And we leave you with a photo of a man riding out of a fuel station in South Africa's famous Soweto township after checking the tyre pressure on his horse cart:

A man leaves a fuel station after checking the tire pressure on his horse cart in Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa, June 15, 2017.
Re

Cheick Tiote returns home

Alex Duval Smith

BBC News

Receiving body of Cheick Tiote at Abidjan International  airport
BBC

Hundreds of fans gathered at Abidjan international airport to receive the body of Ivory Coast football star Cheick Tiote who died in China on 5 June during training with his team Beijing Enterprises.

Among the high-profile people present were former Ivory Coast coach Herve Renard, international players Wilfried Bony and Kolo Toure.

Welcoming body of Cheick Tiote
BBC
Kolo Toure

Tiote is expected to be laid to rest on Sunday at the central cemetery in Williamsville, Abidjan instead of his home town of Yamoussoukro.

SA row over bid to increase black stake in mining sector

BBC World Service

South Africa has adopted a new mining code which increases the threshold of black ownership in mining companies.

Firms which want prospecting rights must be majority owned by black investors, while mine operators must have 36% black ownership, up from 26%.

Existing companies will have a year to meet the revised figure.

Share prices in several mining firms fell after the announcement.

The South African Chamber of Mines, which represents the sector, says it will contest the decision in court.

Black people make up around 80% of the population in South Africa, but even more than two decades after the end of apartheid much of the economy is still controlled by whites.

Watch: Has reconciliation worked in South Africa?

Democracy 'declining' in Zambia

Kennedy Gondwe

BBC World Service, Lusaka

Zambian President Edgar Lungu reacts after participating in a discussion at the World Economic Forum on Africa 2017 meeting in Durban, South Africa May 4, 2017.
Reuters
President Edgar Lungu''s government is accused of becoming repressive

A coalition of civil society groups in Zambia has decried the alleged decline of democracy in the southern African state.

The Oasis Forum, which is made up of church bodies, the Law Association of Zambia and an umbrella body for non-governmental Organisations, says it now fears the country’s democracy is being eroded away.

They point to the detention of the main opposition United Party for National Development Party (UPND) leader, Hakainde Hichilema, in a maximum prison charged with treason while 48 opposition lawmakers are serving a 30-day suspension from parliament for boycotting President Edgar Lungu’s address to the house.

They have also deplored the deterioration of media freedoms and the police's refusal to give opposition parties permisson to hold public meetings.

“ Today our democracy is slipping away while many of us watch along the side-lines feeling helpless, voiceless and afraid,” the coalition said in a statement.

The government says that Zambia remains a democracy, and it is forced to act against the opposition because it is threatening stabiility.

The UPND refuses to recognise Mr Lungu as Zambia's legitimate president, alleging the poll was rigged and Mr Hichelema was cheated out of victory.

Read: Zambia at crossroads

Nigeria arrests 'girls disguised in hijabs'

Chris Ewokor

BBC Africa, Abuja

Seven non-Muslim girls, who disguised themselves as Muslims by wearing the hijab, have been arrested in Nigeria for trying to make an illegal journey to Europe, officials say.

The girls were among 12 people intercepted by Nigeria's Immigration Service earlier this week, as they attempted to cross the border in northern Katsina state on their way to Europe.

The immigration authorities say the seven girls were non-Muslims from southern Nigeria, dressed in Islamic attire to enable them get easy passage at the border in the mainly Muslim north.

Muslim women wearing a niqab pray as part of the Eid al-Adha, also kown in Ivory Coast as the Tabaski, on October 15, 2013 in Adjame
AFP
Some Muslim women believe it is their religious duty to cover their faces

Some of those arrested were quoted as saying they wanted to go to Europe to search for better opportunities because of the economic hardship in Nigeria.

The girls were handed over to the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons for further investigations.

At least 40 people have been apprehended in the last four months in Nigeria as they attempted to cross into Niger to reach Libya via the Sahara Desert, and from there to catch a boat to Europe.

In a related development, more than 1,000 people are reported to have voluntarily returned to Nigeria from Libya in the last five months.

Read: Migrant dreams turn into Sahara sex work

Nigeria military findings rejected

Officers of the Joint Military Task Force (JTF) patrol in the northeastern Nigerian town of Maiduguri, Borno State, on 30 April 2013.
AFP
Nigeria's military denies wrongdoing

Nigeria's army has failed to carry out an impartial investigation against nine senior officers accused of war crimes, rights group Amnesty International has said.

Its statement came after the army said a special board of inquiry - comprising seven military officers and two lawyers - had exonerated the group of the allegation.

In 2015, Amnesty called for the nine to be investigated for "horrific war crimes" committed by by soldiers as they attempted to put down the insurgency by militant Islamist group Boko Haram.

“We stand by the findings of our research and our call for an investigation that is independent, impartial and thorough; criteria that this panel clearly does not meet," Amnesty said.

It added that it welcomed the board's recommendation that a presidential commission of Inquiry should be appointed to investigate the allegations of "horrific war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in north-east Nigeria".

See earlier post for more details

Mozambique PM responds to luxury car outrage

Jose Tembe

BBC Africa, Maputo

Mozambique's Prime Minister, Carlos Agostinho do Rosario, has come up with an unexpected ironic response to this week's outcry over the purchase of 18 luxurious Mercedes Benz cars for parliament’s governing board at a cost of $3.8m (£3m),

The move caused outrage, especially on social media, because the country is undergoing belt-tightening measures because of the tough economic times.

Responding, Mr do Rosario said:

We have to focus on our great objective. This great objective is to speed up the country’s development so that we can have more production, more vehicles, including Mercedes."

Mozambique's Prime Minister Carlos Agostinho Do Rosario addresses delegates during The India-Africa Summit in New Delhi on October 29, 2015.
AFP
Mozambique's prime minister

It is another way of saying that people should not spend time complaining. Instead, they should work harder.

The prime minister, however, admitted there was need to assess the implications of the purchases on the budget.

Bishop Taban: 'South Sudanese suffering worsens'

James Copnall

Africa editor, BBC World Service

South Sudan's most well-known peace campaigner, Bishop Emeritus Paride Taban, says people in his country are suffering more than at any other time in his eight decades of life.

South Sudan rebel leader of the Democratic Movement/Army (SSDM/A) faction David Yau Yau (L) stands with Bishop Paride Taban (C) who was a mediator in the Jonglei peace process during a prayer in Gumuruk on May 13, 2014.
AFP
Bishop Taban (C) belongs to the Roman Catholic Church

South Sudan has been split by a civil war for more than three years, but Bishop Paride has also lived through two long-running civil wars before independence from Sudan, in which millions of people died.

Talking to the BBC, Bishop Paride made a passionate plea for the current war to end, and said he remained optimistic that peace would come.

Read: The hungry emerge from swampland for aid

Somalia death toll rises

Mohammud Ali Mohamed

BBC Africa, Nairobi

A security person stands guard at the scene of an attack outside a hotel and an adjacent restaurant in Mogadishu, Somalia June 15, 2017.
re
A guard at the scene of the attack

The number of people killed in an attack by militant Islamist group al-Shabab on two restaurants in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, last night has risen to 20.

The militants took dozens of people hostage, before security forces ended the siege in the early hours of Thursday, killing the five attackers.

Reports are now emerging of how the al-Shabab fighters may have attacked a different hotel from the one they originally intended.

Their initial target is said to have been a restaurant and night club called Posh Treats on the opposite side of the road from Pizza House which subsequently emerged as the main scene of the attack.

The militants used a car bomb to target Posh Treats. Then, the gunmen turned their attention to Pizza House, of Mogadishu’s few modern restaurants with fast food and entertainment frequented by a young clientele.

Residents reported hearing gunshots and explosions from there throughout the night. In the early hours of Thursday morning, security forces stormed the premises and ended the siege killing all the attackers.

Among the dead is a Syrian chef who was working at Pizza House.

This is the first major attack since the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. In recent weeks, the security forces have been carrying out disarmament operations in the capital.

Somalia's President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed has vowed to destroy the militant group within two years.

Read: 'Mr Cheese' president has a lot on his plate

Belgium investigates DR Congo justice minister

Arwa Barkallah

BBC Afrique, Dakar

A Belgian judge has opened an investigation against the Democratic Republic of Congo's Minister of Justice, Alexis Thambwe Mwamba, for alleged crimes against humanity related to the shooting down of a plane almost two decades ago.

Democratic Republic of Congo Minister of Justice Alexis Thambwe Mwamba signs an accord at the inter diocesan centre in Kinshasa on January 1, 2017 following months of talks brokered by the Roman Catholic Church between the government and opposition
AFP
Mr Thambwe is a former rebel leader

Belgian newspaper La Libre reports that the investigation was prompted by a complaint from families of 50 victims who died aboard a Congo Airlines plane which was shot down by a missile in 1998.

The plaintiffs blame the justice minister. At the time, he was a leader in the Rally for Congolese Democracy rebel movement which was fighting then-Preident Laurent Kabila's government, with the support of Rwanda and Uganda.

The day after the plane was shot down, he claimed responsibility on French radio, saying the plane was carrying pro-government military personnel.

However, Congo Airlines said the plane had been carrying civilians who were trying to escape hostilities.

Nigeria under pressure over Taiwan

Released balloons fly around the China national flag during a military parade marking the 70th Anniversary of the 'Victory of Chinese People's Resistance against Japanese Aggression and World Anti-Fascist War' at Tiananmen Square on September 3, 2015 in Beijing, China.
AFP
China's influence in Africa is growing because of increased trade

China has been putting pressure on Nigeria and four other countries to get Taiwan to rename its representative offices to avoid suggesting sovereignty, Taiwan's foreign ministry has said in a statement.

The pressure on Nigeria, Bahrain, Ecuador, Jordan and United Arab Emirates (UAE) came after Panama decided to sever diplomatic ties with Taiwan and to recognise China and its "One China" policy.

"China is acting to suppress us in an impertinent way that has seriously offended the sensibilities of Taiwan's people," the statement said.

In Nigeria, the offices are called “Trade Mission of the ROC (Taiwan)”, in Bahrain the “Trade Mission of Taiwan,” in the UAE the "Commercial office of Taipei and in Ecuador and Jordan the “Commercial Office of the Republic of China (Taiwan)”.

It was still unclear what changes Beijing was pushing for but it opposes references to both Taiwan and the Republic of China, the Taiwan News reported.

It quoted foreign affairs official Antonio Chen as saying that Nigeria's, Bahrain's and Ecuador's “resistance was not strong.”

Read: How China is poaching Taiwan's diplomatic allies

Secret Nigerian Facebook group

It is one of Facebook's fastest-growing communities and has become such a phenomenon that last week, Mark Zuckerberg asked to meet its founder. But what is Fin?

The BBC's Stephanie Hegarty has been finding out

Women of Facebook group
Lola Omolola

Niger hit by deadly floods

At least nine children have been killed in Niger after torrential rains lasting over several days led to the collapse of houses in the capital Niamey, officials have told AFP news agency.

"The children were killed as buildings gave way in different parts of the city," Zourkaleini Maiga, the secretary general of the local authority, said.

One mother told a local TV station that three of her four children had been killed as they sheltered from the heavy rains by the wall of a neighbouring house

One of the main markets in the city centre has also been destroyed and two television channels wereunable to transmit after their studios flooded.

Flooding last year claimed 50 lives, affecting over 140,000 people, AFP says.

Vehicles use a flood-water covered road near the Niamey river in Niamey on August 21, 2012
AFP
Niamey is often hit by floods

Uganda's iconic theatre 'will not be pulled down'

The Uganda National Cultural Centre (UNCC) has denied reports carried in the local Observer newspaper that the country's national theatre is to be demolished

The report said that the iconic 60-year-old piano-shaped building was going to be demolished to make way for a 36-storey shopping mall.

In a statement via its Facebook page the UNCC says that the national theatre will be renovated.

View more on facebook

The earlier reports of plans to demolish the national theatre generated complaints via social media

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

Nigeria officers 'cleared' of war crimes

Nigeria's army has exonerated retired senior officers accused by rights group Amnesty International of committing war crimes during the campaign to defeat militant Islamist group Boko Haram in the north-east.

A special board of inquiry had cleared the group of retired officers, including Maj-Gen John Ewansiha who spearheaded the operation against the militants, an army statement said.

In a 2015 report, Amnesty called for nine commanders to be investigated for "horrific war crimes" committed by the military.

This included "participating, sanctioning or failing to prevent the deaths of more than 8,000 people murdered, starved, suffocated, and tortured to death", Amnesty said.

Nigerian soldiers patrol in the north of Borno state close to a Islamist extremist group Boko Haram former camp on June 5, 2013 near Maiduguri.
AFP
Nigerian troops have been battling militants since 2009

Lesotho PM 'devastated' by shooting

Lesotho's incoming Prime Minister Thabane is devastated by the murder of his estranged wife, a senior member of his All Basotho Convention (ABC) party has said, AFP news agency reports.

"Yes it is true that Mrs Lipolelo was shot dead last night... Everyone is traumatised by these developments," Samonyane Ntsekele, the secretary general of the ABC, was quoted as saying.

See earlier post for more details

Al-Shabab attack 'kills 18'

A combined suicide bomb and gun attack at a hotel and restaurant in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, has killed at least 18 people.

The attack started on Wednesday evening, as Muslims were breaking their daily fast during Ramadan.

A chef at the Pizza House restaurant, a modern venue popular with young Somalis, was among the victims.

Militants from the al-Shabab group held about 20 hostages during a shoot-out with police, which has now ended.

People stands outside the scene of an attack on a hotel and an adjacent restaurant in Mogadishu, Somalia June 15, 2017
Reuters
Thursday scene of attack on Mogadishu hotel

Read: Who are al-Shabab?

India ministry mocked for 'appropriating' border

Alt News website reported that this picture was taken by Spanish photographer Javier Moyano in 2006
BBC
Alt News website reported that this picture was taken by Spanish photographer Javier Moyano in 2006

Twitter users are ridiculing India's home ministry for appropriating a picture from the Spain-Morocco border to highlight its work.

Alt News website reported on Wednesday that the ministry used the picture in its annual report to show that it had installed floodlights in border areas.

But the website added that the picture was taken in 2006 by Spanish photographer Javier Moyano.

The ministry has reportedly ordered an inquiry into the "embarrassing gaffe".

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has faced similar online mockery in the past for using wrong or photo-shopped pictures in official press releases and reports.

India's state-run Press Information Bureau in 2015 tweeted an obviously edited image of Mr Modi surveying deadly Chennai floods.

In the latest gaffe, the home ministry included the picture in its report which was published on its website.

After Alt News reported the error, Indians took to Twitter to mock the ministry.

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

South Africa hit by taxi strike

Taxi drivers have blockaded major highways in South Africa's economic heartland of Gauteng, leaving thousands of commuters stranded.

The protest is aimed at bringing down the cost of buying Toyota Quantum taxis - the main mode of transport for workers, the public broadcaster SABC reports.

The strike - which affects residents of the main city, Johannesburg, and the capital, Pretoria - is dominating Twitter coverage in South Africa:

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

Lesotho PM's wife killed ahead of inauguration

The estranged wife of Lesotho's incoming Prime Minister Tom Thabane has been shot dead - ahead of his inauguration on Friday following his party's victory in parliamentary elections.

Lipolelo Thabane, 58, was killed by an unknown gunman while travelling home in the town of Masana, just outside the capital, Maseru, police spokeman Clifford Molefe said, Reuters news agency reports.

A woman who was with her was wounded in the attack, and taken to a nearby hospital, he added.

Lesotho political party All Basotho Convention (ABC) leader, former Prime Minister and General Elections candidate Tom Thabane gives an interview to Agence France-Presse at his residence on May 31, 2017 in Maseru.
AFP
The incoming prime minister won electios by a comfortable margin

Mr Molefe said the motive of the shooting was still unclear and investigations were ongoing.

Mr Thabane and his wife had been living separately since 2012, Reuters reports.

The incoming prime minister had filed for divorce, but it had not yet been granted by the courts, it added.

Mr Thabane's All Basotho Convention won 48 parliamentary seats, compared with the 30 of outgoing Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili's Democratic Congress in las week's election.

South Africa's Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa is due to attend his inauguration after mediating an end to the political crisis which erupted after an attempted coup in 2014,

Good morning

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

And here is our proverb of the day:

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

A Chewa proverb sent by Remmy Shawa in Lusaka, Zambia