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Summary

  1. Cameroon tortures Boko Haram suspects, Amnesty says
  2. Cameroon government responds with accusations against Amnesty
  3. Uganda police arrest 56 opposition activists over 'illegal gatherings'
  4. China's top e-commerce businessman Jack Ma arrives in Kenya
  5. Cecil the lion's son killed by hunter in Zimbabwe
  6. Six Burundi teenagers in the US for a robotics competition are reported missing
  7. Nigeria court seizes Alison-Madueke's luxury apartment block
  8. Burundi's president leaves country for first time in two years

Live Reporting

By Paul Bakibinga and Damian Zane

All times stated are UK

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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:

The child who knows how to wash their hands will eat with the elders."

An Akan proverb sent by Edgar Yaw Opoku-Mensah in Budd Lake, New Jersey, United States

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

And we leave you with this photo by Nana Kofi Acquah of a woman in Ghana looking for a buyer for her water melons:

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Dozens of opposition activists arrested in Uganda

Police in Uganda have announced the arrest of 56 people on charges of holding unlawful meetings. They have not disclosed details of those arrested:

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The AFP news agency reports that the arrests have come following speculation that there are plans to amend the constitution so that President Yoweri Museveni can stand for re-election.

The constitution, currently prohibits citizens over the age of 75 from running for president.

Mr Museveni, who has been in power for 31 years, will be 77 when elections are next held in 2021.

Ingrid Turinawe a senior organiser for Uganda's main opposition Forum for Democratic Change told AFP that he believes the arrests of the 56 party members was linked to the speculation.

The government gets suspicious that whoever is meeting is discussing the age limit. These activists weren't discussing the age limit, but even if it was true what's wrong with that?"

'Come home', Burundi’s president tells refugees

Aboubakar Famau

BBC Africa, Arusha

Thousands of Burundian refugees living in Tanzania have been urged to go back home and improve life there.

Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza made the call today on a visit to Tanzania, his first foreign trip since surviving a failed coup attempt in 2015.

Addressing a public rally in the north-western Kagera region, alongside his Tanzanian counterpart President John Magafuli, Mr Nkrunziza said:

Today, Burundi is a peaceful country. We invite our citizens, our brothers and sisters who fled here in Tanzania to return... and start rebuilding their country."

Nearly 240,000 Burundians have fled into Tanzania since April 2015, when tensions flared up after it was announced that President Nkurunziza would run for a controversial third term.

He survived an attempted coup the following month.

Burundian refugees gather along the shoreline of the Tanganyika lake in the fishing village of Kagunga, in May 2015. At the time, UNHCR was transporting approximately 2,000 refugees per day to a transit camp at the stadium in Kigoma.
AFP
Tanzania is home to thousands of Burundian refugees

Burundi teens missing in US 'safe'

Two of six teenage members of the Burundi robotics team who went missing from Washington DC in the United States this week have crossed into Canada and are safe, reports the Washington Post quoting a police spokeswoman.

The four others are also said to be in safe hands, though the authorities refused to give more details. It is believed that the teenagers may have left the United States voluntarily on their own, the paper adds.

The teenagers now in Canada have been identified by the police as Don Charu Ingabire, 16, and Audrey Mwamikazi, 17.

The teenagers, four boys and two girls, disappeared during the FIRST Global Challenge robotics tournament in Washington.

Zimbabwe in large budget overspend

BBC World Service

Zimbabwe's finance minister says the government has overspent its budget by nearly $1bn (£770m).

Patrick Chinamasa said most of the money was spent on food imports and subsidies to farmers due to a severe drought.

He said agriculture would rebound and projected economic growth of nearly 4% this year.

Zimbabwe has a 90% unemployment rate.

Man holding bond notes
AFP
Last year, special bond notes were introduced because of serious cash shortages.

Ethiopia tax protest 'hitting capital'

The protest over a hike in taxes paid by small businesses in Ethiopia has reached the capital, Addis Ababa, the Addis Standard newspaper is reporting.

It has tweeted pictures of closed shop fronts in what it says is the normally busy commercial area of Kolfe, Atena Tera.

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Over the past week, businesses in parts of the wider Oromia region, which surrounds Addis Ababa, closed their doors as part of a demonstration against the new tax which business people say they cannot afford.

The government says there has been a misunderstanding about the tax rates.

Africa Cup of Nations expands to 24 teams from 2019 event in Cameroon

The Africa Cup of Nations will be contested by 24 teams when the next tournament takes place in 2019, says the Confederation of African Football (Caf).

Caf's executive committee rubber-stamped the proposal on Thursday at a meeting in the Moroccan capital, Rabat.

Africa's flagship sporting event has featured 16 teams since 1996.

A decision on whether the finals will be moved from January and February to June and July is still awaited.

People holding trophy
GABRIEL BOUYS
The Africa Cup of Nations will feature 24 teams from 2019 onwards

The expansion of the tournament could create problems for Cameroon, which will host the next finals, with the Central African nation's sports minister having to deny reports that preparations were behind schedule this week.

The move follows a two-day symposium organised by Caf president Ahmad to discuss the state of African football.

IMF urges Mozambique to address debt concerns

The International Monetary Fund says Mozambique must provide more information about secret government loans worth more than $2bn (£1.5 bn). The scandal led to a currency collapse and debt default.

Speaking after a 10-day visit to the country, IMF officials said they were dissatisfied with the continuing uncertainty about the unapproved loans.

The loans were taken out because the government anticipated an economic boom from newly discovered natural gas deposits that are yet to materialise, AFP new agency reports

Last month, an independent audit found that a quarter of the money, which was earmarked for the maritime sector, remained unaccounted for.

Several foreign donors including the IMF and World Bank have suspended aid as a result.

A Mozambican woman walks in Palma, on February 16, 2017. The small, palm-fringed fishing town of Palma was meant to become a symbol of Mozambique's glittering future, transformed by one of the world's largest liquefied natural gas projects, but it is now under threat from construction delays, fallen gas prices and a huge government debt scandal
AFP
Mozambique's Palma town that expected transformation after discovery of large deposits of liquefied natural gas

Treason charges dropped against Ghana separatists

Thomas Naadi

BBC Africa, Accra

A court in Ghana has dropped charges against members of a separatist group who had been accused of treason.

The three men are part of a secessionist movement called Homeland Study Group Foundation, which wants to create a breakaway state in eastern Ghana.

They were arrested in March for declaring the Volta region and parts of northern Ghana as Western Togoland.

The region did not fall within the administrative borders of the Gold Coast, which became known as Ghana at independence 60 years ago.

What was then Trans Volta Togoland territory was then incorporated into Ghana.

On their release today, the separatists were instructed to sign a bond of peace and told to channel their grievances to the United Nations.

A man holds Ghanaian flags up in the air
Getty Images
Ghana marked 60 years of independence in March

South Africa sports chief suspended over sexual harassment allegations

BBC World Service

Tubby Reddy, the chief executive of South Africa's sports confederation and Olympic committee, has been suspended following allegations of sexual harassment.

Mr Reddy denies he sent pornographic material to a female colleague and has described the accusations as unfair.

The board of South Africa's sports body says there will be a one-month independent investigation into the allegations.

SASCOC CEO Tubby Reddy attends the Team South Africa press conference at Copthorne Tara Hotel on July 27, 2012 in London, England.
Getty Images
Tubby Reddy denies the allegations

Cecil the lion's son 'shot by hunter' in Zimbabwe

In Zimbabwe, the eldest cub of the lion called Cecil who was killed by a hunter two years ago, has himself been shot dead as part of a trophy hunt, a local conservation group has posted on its Facebook page.

Cecil's death in 2015 caused an outcry as he was a major tourist attraction at Zimbabwe's famous Hwange National Park.

Lions of Hwange National Park says that Xanda was six years old when he was killed.

"When will the lions... be left to live out their years as wild born free lions should?" the group asks.

Xanda's death was discovered as he was wearing a tracking collar used by researchers, the Daily Telegraph reports.

A pamphlet showing an image of Cecil the lion, is held at a vigil in central London
AFP
Cecil's death was marked around the world

Cameroon denies death of Nigerians in Bakassi

Randy Joe Sa'ah

BBC Africa, Bamenda

The government of Cameroon has for the first time reacted to Nigerian press reports that up to 97 of its nationals were killed in Bakassi.

The reports last week said that the deaths occured earlier in July when a Cameroonian paramilitary unit was enforcing a $300 (£230) fishing levy.

Nigeria's Interior Minister Abdulrahman Dambazau accused Cameroon of breaching an agreement to protect its citizens.

However, Information Minister Issa Tchiroma Bakary has said in a press release that the media reports are fake and that nobody died.

He however blamed Nigerians in Bakassi for failing to pay taxes when they were required to do so.

Bakass
AFP
Nigeria ceded the Bakassi peninsular to Cameroon in 2008

Ownership of the Bakassi Penisula was disputed between Nigeria and Cameroon until the International Court of Justice ruled in Cameroon's favour in 2002.

Burundi's 'teen robotics team goes missing in US'

A team of six teenagers who represented Burundi at a robotics contest in Washington DC have gone missing, the local police say.

The police say that the last time the six were seen was at the closing ceremony of the FIRST Global Challenge robotics competition on Tuesday evening.

The competition organisers said in a statement that they have been unable to find the six students, the Washington Post reports.

The police quote the team's mentor as saying they were travelling on one-year visas.

Burundi team page from FIRST Global Challenge
FIRST Global Challenge
The Burundi team were featured on the FIRST Global Challenge's website

The robotics competition made the news when participants from Afghanistan and The Gambia were initially refused visas from the US authorities.

Cameroon says Amnesty is Boko Haram propaganda tool

Cameroon's information minister has reacted angrily to an Amnesty International report saying that its security forces had "brutally tortured" Boko Haram suspects.

The rights group said that suspects were beaten, water-boarded and forced into stress positions. And a number died as a result.

Information Minister Issa Tchiroma Bakary told the BBC that Cameroon "rejects these allegations".

He said that the security forces were "fighting to protect the physical integrity" of Cameroon and there was "no need for our army to kill innocent civilians".

He added that in making the allegations Amnesty International has become a "tool of [Boko Haram] propaganda".

"Why don't Amnesty International ask [Boko Haram leader] Mr Shekau to leave us alone?" he asked.

The Islamist group, based in neighbouring Nigeria, has killed more than 1,500 civilians in Cameroon since 2014, and abducted many others.

This photo taken on June 17, 2014 in Dabanga, northern Cameroon, shows a convoy of Cameroon's army soldiers
AFP
Cameroonian soldiers are part of a multi-national force fighting Boko Haram

Tobacco firms 'hamper anti-smoking push'

Tulip Mazumdar

Global Health Correspondent

The tobacco industry is hampering efforts to introduce life-saving interventions in low and middle-income countries, particularly in Africa, according to a report by the World Health Organization.

Tobacco companies say they are not opposed to "reasonable" regulation.

The proportion of smokers and those using other tobacco products around the world is falling - but it is happening slowly.

Cigarette stubbed out
Getty Images

One in five people over the age of 15 now use tobacco, compared to one in four in 2007, according to the WHO report on the "global tobacco epidemic".

"There has been progress, but there's more to do," said Dr Vinayak Prasad, head of WHO's tobacco control unit in Geneva.

"Most of tobacco usage is now happening in the Middle East, in Asian economies and (tobacco use ) in Africa is also adding up"

He said that tobacco companies are now increasingly setting their sights on "easier, less regulated markets", and putting pressure on their governments.

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Djibouti FA is dissolved

The Djibouti Football Federation (FDF) has dissolved the national football team in a bid to "stop poor results".

The FDF announced in a statement that the squad and coaching staff have been disbanded as the focus shifts to promising youngsters.

The move comes after Djibouti lost 5-1 at home to Ethiopia in the first leg of their 2018 African Nations Championship qualifier on Saturday.

The FDF said there was no timeframe for when the team would be reconstituted.

For more read: Djibouti FA dissolves national team to 'stop poor results'

Djibouti Football Federation president Souleiman Hassan Waberi
BBC
Djibouti's Football Federation is run by Souleiman Hassan Waberi, a Confederation of African Football Executive Committee member

Nigeria seizes $37m property of ex-minister

A court in Nigeria has ordered the temporary seizure of property worth $37.5m (£29m) belonging to former oil minister Diezani Alison-Madueke on the suspicion that it was bought with ill-gotten money, the AFP news agency reports.

The seizure is part of a series of cases brought by the country's anti-graft agency, it adds.

AFP says that the property is an apartment block on the upmarket Banana Island in Lagos.

Ms Alison-Madueke is currently on bail in London where she was arrested on corruption allegations.

She was oil minister under former President Goodluck Jonathan from 2010 to 2015.

Nigeria's Diezani Alison-Madueke
AFP
Diezani Alison-Madueke has previously denied any wrongdoing

Nigeria's sports minister defends 'no show' at Para-Athletics Championships

Nigeria's Sports Minister Solomon Dalung has been defending his government's failure to facilitate his country's para-athletes to pre-qualification competitions that would have enabled them attend the ongoing world championships, in London.

It is day seven at the World Para Athletics Championships and one African sporting powerhouse conspicuous by its absence is Africa's most populous nation -Nigeria.

The country has several world record holders and champions who have missed the opportunity to defend their medals.

Mr Dalung also responded to criticism levelled at the government by Paralympic champion and world record holder Lauritta Onye who told the BBC, earlier this the week, that the government had abandoned the athletes.

In an interview with the BBC Hausa service Minister Dalung said that matters of qualification or pre-qualification were handled by the various local sports federations and their international counterparts.

He said that it was only when matters of qualification were resolved was the government approached for funding. However he said that sometimes the federations approached the government late and the processing of funds was "cumbersome".

He speculated that Ms Onye may have been to blame for her own non-attendance.

Lauritta Onye of Nigeria poses after breaking the world record in the Women's Shotput Final on day 4 of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games at Olympic Stadium on September 11, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Getty Images
Olympic champion Lauritta Onye says Nigerian government "abandoned" para-athletes

If she got the invitation did she inform her federation? Did the federation inform the government on time?

If this information was not before the government, there is no way the government could bring out the money."

On being asked for his reaction to sentiments that the government was not serious about para-athletics Solomon Dalung replied

[Those statements] are unfounded, they are maliciously conceived to malign the government."

Secret to e-commerce success

People are sharing clips of Chinese businessman Jack Ma speaking to young entrepreneurs in Kenya.

Mr Ma made his fortune - he is Asia's richest man - through e-commerce company Alibaba, which is reported to account for 11% of all Chinese retail sales.

On his first visit to the continent, he told his audience the key to a successful business - you need to make sure your customers are successful.

By "empowering others, you are empowering yourself and you are empowering your platform," he said.

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South Africa's Gupta scandal

In South Africa, allegations of high-level corruption are being fuelled by a huge leak of confidential emails.

Mixed up in the scandal is a British PR company, Bell Pottinger, which has been accused of fuelling racial tensions in order to distract attention from a powerful family with links to President Zuma.

Andrew Harding reports for BBC Newsnight.

Kenya court rules that presidential ballot papers can be printed

Kenya's court of appeal has dismissed a lower court's ruling that stopped the printing of presidential ballot papers over alleged problems with the way the tender was awarded to the Dubai-based firm, Al Ghurair.

The election is due on 8 August.

The high court had said that there should have been public participation in the tender process.

But the appellate judges said the high court erred in finding that public participation is a requirement in direct tendering.

The judges also said that the high court had not considered that the election is now just a few weeks away.

Woman carrying ballot boxes
AFP
Next month's election sees incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta face seven challngers

TP Mazembe's Congo league title 'is for all the people'

Kennedy Gondwe

BBC World Service, Lusaka

Exiled Democratic Republic of Congo opposition leader Moise Katumbi has dedicated his football team's domestic league title to the Congolese people.

TP Mazembe, the five-time African champions, beat bitter rivals AS Vita 1-0 on Wednesday to take the title for a record 16th time.

Katumbi, who is now in exile and faces a three-year sentence for selling property illegally, says winning the title has not been easy.

He told the BBC on the phone from Morocco:

We're the only team that doesn't receive any support from the provincial government. All other teams are given transport monies to fulfill their fixtures. Ever since I resigned as Governor of the Katanga province, my team has suffered sanctions.

But this victory is for the Congolese people because football unites everybody."

Moise Katumbi
Getty Images
Mr Katumbi has a big following in his home region

Read more: Could football boss Moise Katumbi become DR Congo president? - BBC News

Analysis: Ma is an inspiration for Kenyans

Nancy Kacungira

BBC Africa business reporter, Nairobi

Asia's richest man and e-commerce guru Jack Ma is in Kenya on his first trip to the continent (see earlier entry).

The venues where Mr Ma will appear in the capital, Nairobi, are fully booked and he is trending on Twitter here.

A self-made billionaire who started out with no money and no connections – that’s a story that resonates with young Kenyans.

Inspiring memes and quotes about the rejections leading up to Mr Ma’s success are shared widely on social media.

In one example, out of 24 people who applied for jobs at KFC in China, the billionaire says he was the only one rejected.

The fact that he made his money using the internet is also a big draw.

Kenya is a leading technology hub in Africa, and is receptive to the core message in the man's story – that going online can make you big money, and it can do so for anyone.

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Nkurunziza leaves Burundi for first time in two years

BBC World Service

Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza is making his first foreign trip since a failed coup attempt more than two years ago, reports the BBC's Prime Ndikumagenge from Bujumbura.

He has travelled with a number of senior ministers to Tanzania, home to about a quarter of a-million Burundian refugees.

They fled during the crisis sparked by Mr Nkurunziza's decision to run for a third term in office.

He was attending a summit in Tanzania when the coup attempt was made in May 2015.

Hundreds of people have been killed since the crisis began, mainly alleged opposition supporters.

A man holding up a branch runs past a fire burning as people loot a local police station in the the Buyenzi neighborhood of Bujumbura on May 13, 2015
AFP
The failed coup attempt in 2015 came amid anger over President Nkurunziza's bid for a third term in power

Cameroon accused of torturing Boko Haram suspects

Martin Patience

BBC News, Nigeria correspondent

Dozens of suspected Boko Haram members have been tortured to death by the Cameroonian security forces since 2013, says Amnesty International in a new report.

The international rights NGO says hundreds of suspects have been detained by the Cameroonian security forces, often with little or no evidence.

Most were men of fighting age but the detainees also included women and children.

he organisation says many of the victims were beaten, forced into stress positions, and water-boarded.

The far north of Cameroon – along with north-east Nigeria, and parts of Chad and Niger - have been devastated by the Boko Haram insurgency which is being fought by Islamist militants.

Amnesty also says it presented evidence of the alleged war crimes to Cameroon’s government but received no response.

Cameroonian soldiers patrolling in army vehicles, Cameroon in February 2015
AFP
Cameroon has been fighting the Boko Haram militants

'Public not pubic!' - editor apologises for typo

The CEO of the Uganda's New Vision newspaper, Robert Kabushenga, has apologised for a mistake in a headline in today's paper.

"Public service" was described as "pubic service":

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Many have welcomed his "swift" apology:

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Maasai in space

Jacque Njeri is a 26-year-old artist from Kenya.

In her latest project called #MaaSci she imagines what the Maasai people would look like in space.

Here's how the idea came about and what message she hopes to send:

Zambia's opposition leader Hichilema complains about prison conditions

Kennedy Gondwe

BBC World Service, Lusaka

Zambia's detained opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema has marked 100 days in prison by complaining about the inhumane conditions that prisoners are being held in.

He was arrested after a convoy he was travelling in allegedly got in the way of the presidential motorcade.

He is facing treason charges following the incident.

Mr Hichilema, who is now in a maximum prison, wrote on his Facebook page that he harbours no hate for anyone.

He says his love for Zambia has not changed.

But he said:

We believe that regardless of the crimes these inmates committed, they need to be treated in a humane manner and in accordance with local and international conventions regarding the treatment of people and respect for human rights.

It is even worse for some of us who are still searching for answers as to what crime we committed, but already being punished under these inhuman conditions."

Hakainde Hichilema
AFP
Mr Hichilema was detained in April

Nigeria vows to free kidnapped women

Nigeria's Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has condemned what he called the "atrocious and cowardly" abduction of women by Islamist militants Boko Haram last month in Borno state in the north-east.

Mr Osinbajo said in a statement that the government will be doing everything to ensure their quick and safe return.

According to the statement, the acting president has instructed the country's military and intelligence agencies to take all measures including "coordinating with our international partners" to rescue the women as well as to tighten security around Borno State.

On Monday, Boko Haram released a video showing the captured women pleading with the government to negotiate their release.

The women, thought to number 14, were captured in June when the miltant Islamists ambushed a convoy being escorted by the military in Borno state.

This file photo taken on March 7, 2017 shows Nigeria"s acting President Yemi Osinbajo speaking during the construction of the Lagos-Ibadan rail line project at the Ebute-Metta headquarters of the Nigerian Railway Corporation in Lagos
AFP
Mr Osinbajo vows "to do everything" to ensue safe return of the abducted women

China's e-commerce giant Jack Ma in Kenya

Asia's richest man Jack Ma is on a trip to East Africa on a mission to inspire young entrepreneurs.

Mr Ma, whose e-commerce business Alibaba is reported to account for 11% of retail sales in China, will be speaking to young business people in Kenya today before going on to a UN conference in Rwanda.

Joining him on the trip is a group of "super-rich" Chinese business people who are looking to for opportunities, Business Daily newspaper reports.

#JackMainKenya is trending on Twitter in Kenya as people wait for him to talk.

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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:

The child who knows how to wash their hands will eat with the elders."

An Akan proverb sent by Edgar Yaw Opoku-Mensah in Budd Lake, New Jersey, United States
Children washing hands
iStock

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