Got a TV Licence?

You need one to watch live TV on any channel or device, and BBC programmes on iPlayer. It’s the law.

Find out more
I don’t have a TV Licence.

Summary

  1. Nearly 70 Senegalese nationals 'expelled' from The Gambia
  2. Al-Shabab 'kills' Burundian troops in Somalia
  3. Detained South African was 'tired of eating human flesh'
  4. Mother of Grace Mugabe's alleged victim 'vows to pursue assault case'
  5. South Africa court approves rhino horn auction despite opposition
  6. Nigeria's leader addresses nation after three-month absence
  7. BBC Pidgin service launched

Live Reporting

By Paul Bakibinga and Farouk Chothia

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Scroll down for Monday'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:

When the nose is being beaten the eyes shed tears."

An Ijaw proverb sent by Edema Fuludu in Warri, Nigeria

And we leave you with this photo of Desnoces, a fashion design student in Grand-Bassam in Ivory Coast. He is the only boy in his sewing class. He says sometimes people are surprised to see him there, but he does not mind. He wants to become a great fashion designer.

View more on instagram

Morocco arrests over bus sex attack

BBC World Service

Police in Morocco have arrested four suspects in connection with the sexual assault of a young woman on a bus in the commercial capital, Casablanca.

When a video of the attack circulated on social media it shocked the nation. The film showed six bare-chested teenagers touching and tormenting their victim, who'd been stripped half-naked. She screamed for help, but nobody intervened and the bus kept going.

The attack has focused renewed attention on the harassment of women in public places in Morocco. A sit -in protest is planned for Wednesday in Casablanca.

A Moroccan woman flashes the sign for victory during a protest calling for gender equality marking International women's day in Rabat on March 8, 2015
AFP
Women in Morocco have consistently campaigned for equal rights and respect

Four in SA court over 'cannibalism'

Sophie Ribstein

BBC Africa, Johannesburg

Four suspects have appeared briefly in a court in South Africa to face charges of murder and conspiracy to commit murder after they were accused of cannibalism.

Two of them are traditional healers. Some of them use body parts for ritual purposes.

The arrests followed the confession of a man who walked into a police station in Estcourt, a small rural town in KwaZulu-Natal, declaring to officers that he was "tired of eating human flesh".

When policemen questioned him‚ the man produced part of a human leg and a hand.

He then led investigators to a house where more body parts were found.

A police spokesperson told the BBC that it is possible that the four young men, aged between 22 and 32 years-old, are part of a bigger syndicate and investigations are still continuing.

A team of forensic experts has been called in order to identify the mortal remains, as it is not clear whether the body parts belong to one or several victims.

People whose relatives had disappeared in Estcourt and surrounding areas have been urged to contact the police.

A month ago in Durban, the biggest city in KwaZulu-Natal, a man was arrested in possession of a human head, which was concealed in a backpack.

It is believed he was trying to sell it to a traditional healer.

See earlier post for more details

BBC Pidgin don chop dia cake finish!

As we reported earlier the BBC's Pidgin service has been launched today as part of the biggest expansion of the BBC World Service since the 1940s.

According to Regional Editor Solomon Mugera BBC Pidgin has scored a number of firsts including:

  • It is the first of the new language services to be launched under the BBC's World2020 project
  • It is the first fully digital language service for BBC Africa and the
  • BBC World Service has become the first international broadcaster to deliver news and current affairs in Pidgin English for Nigeria and the region.

The team has not only had a cake they have finished it (dia cake finish!).

Many congratulations!

BBC Pidgin cake
BBC
BBC Pidgin team
BBC
BBC Pidgin team pioneers in the BBC digital revolution

'Bread shortage' in Khartoum

Sudanese vendors wait for customers at a bakery in Khartoum on December 17, 2010.
AFP

There has been a shortage of bread in parts of Sudan's capital, Khartoum, for more than a week, forcing people to wait in long queues at bakeries to obtain a few loaves, reports Dutch-based Radio Dabanga.

Bakers attribute the shortage to a cut in flour quotas. One of them told Radio Dabanga that the Sayga Mills, a private company, had reduced the quota from four sacks of flour to one sack a day.

Egypt's government seizes firms

BBC World Service

Deposed President Mohamed Mursi greets his lawyers and people from behind bars at a court wearing the red uniform of a prisoner sentenced to death, during his court appearance with Muslim Brotherhood members on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt, June 21, 2015.
Reuters
The military overthrew the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohammed Morsi as president in 2013

The Egyptian government has seized another 19 companies which it says are controlled by members of the proscribed Muslim Brotherhood group, only days after taking over 12 companies.

These include a nationwide electronics retailer, a news website and Egypt's only independent English-language daily newspaper, Daily News Egypt.

A government-approved committee will take over the day to day running of the concerns.

Since its formation four years ago, the committee has seized the assets of hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood members.

Read: Paying the price for seeking freedom in Egypt

Court upholds ban on IAAF's ex-marketing consultant

Nick Cavell

BBC Africa Sport

Papa Massata Diack, son of former president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Lamine Diack, speaks during an interview with AFP on March 6, 2017 in Dakar.
AFP
Papa Massata Diack has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing

The Court of Arbitration for Sport has upheld a life-time ban for Senegal’s Papa Massata Diack, a former marketing consultant for athletics' world governing, the AAF.

He is also the son of Lamine Diack, who was IAAF president between 1999 and 2015.

The two men have denied accusations they took bribes in order to help cover-up a Russian athlete's failed doping test.

Papa Massata was charged alongside Russians Valentin Balakhnichev and Alexei Melnikov in December 2015 with multiple breaches of anti-doping rules relating to Liliya Shobukhova.

In February last year they took their case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, sport's highest legal authority, which has now dismissed their appeals and upheld the life-time bans that were imposed by the IAAF.

Lagos: The megacity set to triple by 2050

Africa’s population is expected to double by 2050, reaching 2.5 billion people.

On a continent where nearly two-thirds of the population is already under 25, this vast new baby boom could do one of two things - either provide a huge workforce to transform African economies and lift millions out of poverty, or create an even bigger migration problem and lead many more young people into the hands of extremists.

The BBC is reporting this week from Kenya, Niger, Ethiopia and Nigeria, which is set to become the world’s third most populous country in the next 30 years, and where many rural people are now moving into urban areas, especially the commercial capital, Lagos.

Lagos: The megacity set to triple by 2050

Protests in Togo against president

Arwa Barkallah

BBC Afrique, Dakar

Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe (L) speaks to jounralists after a meeting with the French president at the Elysee Palace in Paris on November 15, 2013.
AFP
President Faure Gnassingbe inherited power from his father in 2005

Opposition leaders in Togo have called on their supporters to maintain pressure on the government following massive demonstrations at the weekend against the Gnassingbe family, which has ruled the West African state for 50 years.

According to the authorities two protesters were killed in the second city, Sokode. The protest organisers seven people died at the hands of security forces across the country.

The protest centres on calls for a return to the 1992 constitution, which imposed presidential term limits.

The constitution was changed in 2002, allowing to president to serve an indefinite number of terms.

It is unclear how many people demonstrated, but images on social media suggest that tens of thousands marched.

View more on twitter

There are reports that several opposition militants have been arrested.

There have also been allegations that soldiers have been going house-to-house today in Sokode and the capital, Lome, beating up people.

President Faure Gnassingbe has been in power since 2005. He succeeded his father, who took power in a military coup in 1967.

Tributes paid to Burkina Faso's speaker

BBC World Service

Picture taken on December 3, 2015 in Ouagadougou shows Burkina Faso's Salif Diallo. Salif Diallo, a former right-hand man of ousted president Blaise Compaore, was on December 30, 2015 elected head of the national assembly, the country's second most powerful position.
AFP
Speaker Salif Diallo was the second most powerful politician in Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso's President Roch Marc Christian Kabore has paid tribute to National Assembly Speaker Salif Diallo following his death in Paris on Saturday.

The president described him as a patriot, a man of conviction and action. Mr Diallo was a major figure in Burkina Faso's political life for three decades. For much of that time he was a close ally of then-President Blaise Compaore.

He and Mr Kabore formed an opposition party three years ago. They came to power in the elections after Mr Compaore was overthrown in a popular uprising.

Round-the-clock guard for former al-Shabab leader

The Somali government has put restrictions on the movements of Mukhtar Robow (Abu Mansur), the former al-Shabab deputy leader, who recently handed himself over to the government, the privately owned Dhacdo.com website is reporting.

Mr Robow formally defected from the militant Islamists last Tuesday at a press conference in the capital Mogadishu.

Dhacdo.com reports that since his arrival in Mogadishu, Mr Robow has been staying at the heavily guarded Habar Khadijo building. The building also houses the National Intelligence and Security Agency (Nisa).

The government has now assigned a round-the-clock guard for Mr Robow.

Former Deputy Leader and spokesman of Somalia"s Al-Qaeda-affiliated Shabab rebels, Sheikh Mukhtar Robow, also known as Abu Mansur, speaks to journalists on August 15, 2017 in Mogadishu. A
AFP
Mukhtar Robow the former al-Shabab deputy leader maintains he left the militant group five years ago

The paper reports that Nisa has placed restrictions on which parts of Mogadishu the al-Shabab co-founder can visit. The security agency is also reported to have told Mr Robow that he cannot receive visitors without giving it 48 hours in order to enable the agency to run background checks on them. Dhacdo.com reports that a Nisa official has told them that Mr Robow has not left the Habar Khadijo building for the past two days.

While some people have praised the government for putting these restrictions on the former Islamist commander, others believe this could discourage potential al-Shabab defectors, Dhacdo.com reports.

Aid agencies 'struggling' in South Sudan

Catherine Byaruhanga

BBC Africa, Kampala

A vendor sells beans at the Al-Nimir camp for South Sudanese refugees in the Sudanese state of East Darfur on August 15, 2017
AFP
Some South Sudanese have fled to Sudan because of conflict

The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Peter Maurer, has told the BBC that aid agencies can't cope with the extent of the crisis in South Sudan.

Over four million people have fled their homes as a result of the country's civil war and the majority of the population rely on food aid.

Speaking after visiting South Sudan, Mr Maurer said aid agencies were buckling under the pressure.

He called for an intensified effort to find a political solution, saying there was no military solution to the conflict which broke out in 2013 between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and his sacked deputy Riek Machar.

He also expressed concern about the availability of cheap weapons in the country.

Buhari is back in his job

BBC World Service

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari, 74, has written to the national assembly to officially confirm his return to office after three months medical leave in the UK.

This morning, Mr Buhari - looking thin as he read slowly from a prepared statement - addressed the nation, but made no reference to his health.

The president called for unity in Nigeria. He listed the country's challenges, including the war against Boko Haram militants, a sectarian uprising in the east and clashes between nomadic herdsmen and farmers.

A handout image made available by the State House of Nigerian on August 21, 2017, shows Nigerian President Mohammadu Buhari addressing the nation on state television
AFP
Mr Buhari has never disclosed what is wrong with him

Burundian troops 'killed in Somalia'

Seven Burundian peacekeepers have been killed in an ambush in Somalia by al-Shabab, a news site allied with the militants has reported.

Al-Shabab carried out a mortar and landmine attack on the troops as they were travelling yesterday on a road linking the town of Jowhar to Balad in Middle Shabelle region, Calmada news site quoted residents as saying.

Burundian troops are in Somalia as part of an African Union force fighting the al-Qaeda-linked militants in Somalia.

There has been no independent confirmation of the allegation.

The AU force, known by the acronym Amisom, has not mentioned the attack on its Twitter account, but it has announced the arrival of a new contingent of Burundian troops.

View more on twitter

Senegalese nationals 'expelled' from The Gambia

Macky Sall and Adama Barrow
Getty Images
Senegal's president Macky Sall (L) helped The Gambia's Adama Barrow (R) take power

Nearly 70 Senegalese nationals have been expelled from The Gambia into Senegal's Casamance region, BBC Afrique is reporting.

The measure comes only three days after a meeting held by the interior ministers of the two states in the Senegalese capital, Dakar.

Senegal played a key role in helping President Adama Barrow take power in January, forcing long-serving ruler Yahya Jammeh to go into exile.

The expulsions took place after undocumented Senegalese nationals were arrested by immigration authorities during spot checks in Banjul and its suburbs.

Last Wednesday, Gambian Interior Minister Mai Ahmad Fatty was in talks with his Senegalese counterpart Abdoulaye Daouda Diallo in a bid to work out a joint strategy to tackle cross-border crime, including drug trafficking and potential terror threats.

Gambia's immigration director, Buba Sanyang, ordered the expulsions without allowing those detained to appeal, BBC Afrique is reporting.

It quotes a Gambian government source as saying that the expulsions are not a reflection of President Barrow's immigration policy.

According to the source, no officials from the justice and interior ministries were consulted over the expulsions.

Before the expulsions, relations between Banjul and Dakar have been cordial. President Barrow was initially sworn in as president in Dakar, and Senegal sent troops to The Gambia to force Mr Jammeh out of power.

Mr Barrow defeated Mr Jammeh in elections, ending his 22-year rule.

However, Mr Jammeh tried to cling to power, alleging that the result was rigged.

Grace Mugabe immunity 'half-expected'

Pumza Fihlani

BBC News

The mother of the 20-year-old Gabriella Engels, who was allegedly assaulted by Zimbabwe’s First Lady Grace Mugabe last week, has told me that she is disappointed with the South African government.

Mrs Mugabe was granted diplomatic immunity, which meant she could travel back home on Sunday with her husband, Robert Mugabe, who was in South Africa for a summit of regional leaders.

“I half-expected it but when you hear the news it still comes as a shock,” Debbie Engels said.

“We are saddened by the news and I am angry with the government for protecting their political allies’ interests over the safety of their citizens,” she added.

Gabriella Engels, who claims to have been assaulted by Grace Mugabe, arrives for a news conference in Pretoria, South Africa, August 17, 2017
Re
Gabriella Engels alleges that Mrs Mugabe hit her on the head with an extension cord

Ms Engels says they will continue to fight and they want Mrs Mugabe to answer to the assault charge in court.

She said her daughter was traumatised following the alleged assault in a hotel in Sandton, a an upmarket suburb north of Johannesburg, on the night of 13 August.

“It’s very difficult for her to make peace with what happened to her. She wants to forget about it and live her life. The stories that people have been saying about her being a drug dealer and this and that have really hurt her," Debbie Engels said.

"I know my daughter. She’s not an angel, but I know her and I know that she would never do that stuff that people have said about her," she added.

Since the story broke there have been a few posts by supposed supporters of Mrs Mugabe accusing the 20-year-old of a range of things, including that she had been the one who attacked the first lady.

Usakos, a community scarred by apartheid

A new exhibition in London combines modern and historic photos of a small Namibian town, exploring its history of colonialism and apartheid.

Usakos - Photographs Beyond Ruins: The Old Location Albums, 1920s to 1960s, is showing at the Brunei Gallery.

The contemporary images taken by Paul Grendon show the traces left on the land and the people, by years of political change in Namibia.

A new exhibition combines modern and historic photos of a small Namibian town

Angola election campaigns reach climax

As we reported earlier it is the final day of campaigns ahead of Wednesdays general election in Angola.

At the weekend two mammoth rallies were held. The one was organised by the MPLA, which has been in power since independence from Portugal in 1975.

It is expected to win, and President Jose Eduardo dos Santos (on the left in the picture below) is likely to pass the baton to Defence Minister Joao Lourenco (on the right) after 38 years in office:

President of Angola Jose Eduardo dos Santos (L) and Joao Lourenco (R), the candidate of the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), join hands during an election campaign rally in Luanda, Angola, 19 August 2017
AFP

MPLA supporters were out in full force at the rally in the capital, Luanda, on Saturday, waving party flags:

Supporters of Joao Lourenco (unseen), the candidate of the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) cheer during his elections campaign rally in Lobito, Angola,
AFP
Supporters of Joao Lourenco (unseen), the candidate of the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), cheer during his elections campaign rally in Luanda, Angola, 19 August 2017
AFP

The third biggest party, Casa-CE, held its rally in Luanda on Sunday:

upporters of Abel Chivukuvuku (unseen) candidate of the CASA-CE (Broad Convergence of the Salvation of Angola - Electoral Commission) during the closing campaign rally in Luanda, Angola, 20 August 2017
AFP

Its candidate, Abel Chivukuvuku, hopes to cause a major upset by becoming the next president:

Abel Chivukuvuku, the candidate of the CASA-CE (Broad Convergence of the Salvation of Angola - Electoral Commission) waves a flag of the party during the closing campaign rally in Luanda, Angola, 20 August 2017.
AFP

The main opposition Unita party, with Isaías Samakuva as its presidential candidate, is due to hold its final campaign rally today.

Suspected cannibals arrested in South Africa

Three people suspected of cannibalism have been arrested in South Africa after one of them apparently walked into a police station and said: "I am tired of eating human flesh,” local media reports.

“When he was questioned, he produced part of a human leg and a hand," police spokeswoman Col Thembeka Mbhele said.

The man was arrested, along with two other people, following investigations in the area around Estcourt town in KwaZulu-Natal province, she added.

“It is alleged that the suspects raped, killed and cut up the body of a woman, which they then consumed. The allegations by the suspect are that they would rape and kill the victims before they could cut them into pieces and eat their parts,” Col Mbhele was quoted by the News24 site as saying.

The former head of the police's Investigative Psychology Section, Gerard Labuschagne, said people who ate human body parts were often in the throes of psychotic episodes, the IOL news site reported.

“They are usually experiencing audio and/or visual hallucinations - hearing voices or seeing things that aren’t there - and having bizarre thoughts like ‘I must eat this body part as it will make me powerful’," he was quoted as saying.

Online rhino horn auction delayed

We were expecting the first online rhino auction in South Africa today, but it has been delayed to Wednesday.

The countdown timer on the rhinohornauction.com website has changed to reflect this.

We'll bring you details about the reasons for the postponement as soon as we get them.

'Tinie Tempah photobomb changed my life'

How did a girl hawking bread on the streets of Nigeria's main city, Lagos, rise to become a national celebrity and successful model? This is the real life Cinderella story of Olajumoke.

This story is from BBC Pidgin, which launched on Monday, the first of six new African languages as part of the biggest expansion of the BBC World Service since the 1940s.

Video journalists: Helen Oyibo, Joshua Akinyemi and Charlie Northcott

BBC Pidgin

Olajumoke: 'Tinie Tempah photobomb transformed my life'

Controversial Guptas sell media stake in SA

A company linked to South Africa's controversial Gupta family has announced the sale of its stake in ANN7 television and The New Age newspaper to a businessman aligned with the scandal-hit President Jacob Zuma for 450 million rand ($34m; £26m).

The sale was aimed at protecting the "future of these businesses and help preserve the jobs of their employees", Oakbay Investments said in a statement.

The Gupta family has been under pressure since leading banks shut its accounts as it found itself at the centre of allegations that it wields undue influence on President Jacob Zuma's government.

Mr Zuma and the family deny allegations of any wrongdoing.

Oakbay has sold its shares to Lodidox, owned by Mzwanele Manyi, the President of Progressive Professionals Forum.

He is a supporter of Mr Zuma and the Gupta family and in a newspaper interview in April, he said he hoped that South Africans would be cured of "Guptaphobia".

Mr Manyi said he was delighted by the deal.

“These are two strong businesses which are full of potential and, under the right external circumstances, can become an increasingly important and relevant part of the South African media landscape," he said.

The Guptas have repeatedly been accused by Mr Zuma's critics of being corrupt, and the South African Communist Party has called for the Indian-born family's South African citizenship to be revoked.

The Guptas insist they are not corrupt, and say they are promoting black empowerment in a country where the economy is still dominated by white businessmen.

Read: Will the 'Zuptas' fall in South Africa?

Many protesters are highly critical of the Gupta family
AFP
Many protesters are highly critical of the Gupta family

Final day of campaigns ahead of Angolan elections

Clare Spencer

BBC News

On the last day of campaigning ahead of Wednesday’s general election in Angola, the newspaper front pages are understated.

The government-owned Journal de Angola has the headline "Campaign comes to an end". It goes on to say the ruling MPLA partty and an opposition party, Casa-CE. held rallies over the weekend. Another opposition party, Unita. will hold a rally today.

The privately-owned Pais newspaper is not giving much away either with its headline saying that the Bishop of Tocoista appealed to Christians to choose the party that offers the best solutions for good governance, without saying which party that should be.

President Jose Eduado dos Santos is standing down just shy of 38 years in power. That makes him the second-longest running president in the world currently, behind Equatorial Guinea's President Teodoro Obiang Nguema who gained power just seven weeks before him.

View more on twitter

DR Congo clashes 'kill five'

BBC Monitoring

The world through its media

Five people have been killed and 25 huts burned down in a clash between ethnic militias in eastern DR Congo, French-language Radio Pole FM from Goma reports.

It says fighters from the APCLS (Alliance of Patriots for a Free and Sovereign Congo), a predominantly Hunde ethnic militia group, fought members of the Nyatura, a predominantly Hutu militia group, at Muhanga, in a territory west of Goma.

The radio says APCLS militia fighters from Ngingwe attacked and burned down 25 huts belonging to local people.

'We don land gidigba!'

BBC Pidgin: Meet the team

"We don land gidigba!" (We've finally arrived!) That's the message from the new team behind the BBC's Pidgin service, which has launched today as part of the biggest expansion of the BBC World Service since the 1940s.

Pidgin is spoken by an estimated 75m people in Nigeria alone, with additional speakers across West and Central Africa.

Video Journalists: Joshua Akinyemi, Olubunmi Okunnu and Charlie Northcott.

BBC pidgin

BBC Pidgin service launched

Logo
BBC

A new language service for digital platforms in English-based Pidgin for West and Central Africa has been launched by the BBC World Service.

Pidgin is one of the most widely-spoken languages across the region, even though it is not officially recognised.

The launch is part of the World Service's biggest expansion since the 1940s, following a government funding boost announced in 2016.

Pidgin will soon be joined by 10 more new services in Africa and Asia.

The WS also plans to offer more mobile and video content and a greater social media presence.

It will also enhance its television services across Africa, including more than 30 new TV programmes for partner broadcasters in sub-Saharan Africa.

Arabic and Russian programming will also be boosted in the 2020 project.

Read the full BBC story here

SA court approves online rhino horn sale

An online auction of rhino horn is due to open today after a court in South Africa gave the go-ahead, despite strong opposition from the government and conservationists.

Authorities had tried to prevent the three-day auction, refusing to issue a permit and raising concern that it could undermine the global ban on rhino trade.

But the High Court in South Africa's capital, Pretoria, ruled in favour of the auction's organiser, John Hume, who runs the world's biggest rhino farm.

Mr Hume wants to auction 264 horns, AFP news agency reports.

"We are happy. I hope that the government has learnt that they can't be unfair to us," he is quoted as saying.

This file photo taken on February 3, 2016 shows a de-horned rhino slowly waking up after his horn was trimmed at John Hume"s Rhino Ranch in Klerksdorp, in the North Western Province of South Africa.
AFP
A de-horned rhino at John Hume's Rhino Ranch in Klerksdorp, South Africa

Grace Mugabe's immunity: SA opposition calls for inquiry

South Africa's main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) has called for a parliamentary inquiry into the African National Congress (ANC) government's decision to give diplomatic immunity to Zimbabwe's First Lady Grace Mugabe.

In a statement, the party said it was "simply inexplicable" how Mrs Mugabe, 52, was allowed to "flee the country in the dead of night to avoid criminal prosecution" in the assault case against her.

"It illustrates how unrepentant the ANC government is and, following its complicity in allowing Sudanese President Omar al- Bashir to escape an international arrest warrant [in 2015], shows that the ANC government will continue to do exactly what it wants to protect their dodgy friend," the DA added in a statement.

See previous post for more details

Robert and Grace Mugabe
Reuters
Mrs Mugabe flew out with Mr Mugabe on Sunday after a regional summit in South Africa

Grace Mugabe case: 'Campaign for justice not over'

Gabriella Engels: Grace Mugabe 'beat the hell out of me'

The mother of Gabriella Engels - the 20-year-old South African model who has accused Zimbabwe's First Lady Grace Mugabe of assaulting her - says their campaign for justice is not over, despite the fact that the South African government has given her diplomatic immunity to avoid criminal prosecution, Johannesburg-based Eyewitness News reports.

“The citizens of this country don’t matter to them [the South African government], as long as they can keep their allies happy and keep the political roles opened for themselves, it doesn’t matter,” Debbie Engels is quoted as saying.

“Our legal team is not just going to leave it at that,” she added.

Gabriella Engels laid a complaint of assault against Mrs Mugabe, 52, after accusing her of "beating the hell out of me" in a hotel in Sandton, an upmarket suburb north of Johannesburg, on 13 August.

However, South Africa's government gave her diplomatic immunity, allowing her to return home with her husband, Robert Mugabe, after a summit of regional leaders in South Africa.

Mr Mugabe and Mrs Mugabe have not yet commented on the controversy.

The South African government's decision came in a notice from International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, published in the Government Gazette on Sunday.

"I hereby recognise the immunities and privileges of the First Lady of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Dr Grace Mugabe," she said.

A lawyer for Ms Engels told the BBC that they were planning to challenge the immunity decision in court.

Willie Spies said he would argue that the first lady should not have been given special treatment as she had been in South Africa on private business.

Buhari: 'Burning question remains unanswered'

Stephanie Hegarty

BBC Africa, Lagos

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari addressed the nation this morning after returning on Saturday from more than three months medical leave in the UK.

In a rousing speech calling for national unity, President Buhari took on various problems that have plagued the nation in his absence - the war against militant Islamist group Boko Haram, a sectarian movement in the east and clashes between nomadic herdsmen and farmers.

But he did not answer the burning question that many Nigerians hoped he would - what is wrong with him and why has he been absent from his job for almost five months already this year?

Mr Buhari will send a letter to government today to officially take back power from Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo, who stood in in his absence.

Though the president was eager in this speech to show he is fit to lead, many will still be concerned that he is not well enough to tackle Nigeria’s many problems.

For the months he was in Nigeria before he left for London he was rarely seen in public.

See previous post for more details

Buhari calls for unity after returning to Nigeria

BBC World Service

Nigeria"s President Muhammadu Buhari is seen at Nnamdi Azikiwe airport in Abuja, Nigeria August 19, 2017 after his return from three months medical trip in Britain
Reuters
There has been intense concern in Nigeria about President Buhari's health

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari has given his first address since returning to the country on Saturday after three months medical leave in the UK.

He made no reference to his health. The president called for unity in Nigeria, and said he would renew his fight against problems such as the war against Boko Haram militants, a sectarian uprising in the east and clashes between nomadic herdsmen and farmers.

President Buhari has had three spells of treatment in the UK but the nature of his illness has never been disclosed.

Read: Africa's 'medical tourist' presidents

Today's wise words

Our African proverb of the day:

When the nose is being beaten the eyes shed tears."

An Ijaw #proverb sent by Edema Fuludu in Warri, Nigeria

Good morning

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