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Summary

  1. Kenyan schoolgirl charged with nine counts of murder after deadly fire
  2. At least two killed and 600 displaced in clashes in Ethiopia
  3. Sierra Leone in U-turn over citizens deported from US
  4. Guilty plea in South Africa nightclub assault case
  5. Curfew imposed in Nigerian state
  6. US air strikes 'kill' militants in Somalia
  7. Ugandan judge wins global award

Live Reporting

By Natasha Booty and Farouk Chothia

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

A reminder of today's wise words:

A snake knows the right time to bite."

A Dinka proverb from South Sudan sent by Gabriel Manyok Ajak Dut

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

And we leave you with this photo taken today in Morocco's capital, Rabat:

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Tunisian MPs in row over corruption amnesty bill

There's been tension in Tunisia's parliament at the start of a debate on a law that would grant amnesty to officials accused of corruption before the country's Arab Spring revolution.

The session was temporarily suspended when angry opposition MPs shouted slogans.

Critics of the law say it runs counter to the spirit of the uprising that overthrew President Ben Ali in 2011.

But government officials say it's time to end the isolation of officials suspected of corruption under the old regime, and allow them to contribute to the building of a new Tunisia.

A demonstrator hits a drum during a demonstration against a bill that would protect those accused of corruption from prosecution in front of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People headquarters in Tunis, Tunisia September 13, 2017
Reuters
A protest against the bill took place outside parliament

Ugandan judge wins global award

Susan Okalany
LinkedIn
Susan Okalany has been described as courageous

A Ugandan judge has been named Prosecutor of the Year by the International Association of Prosecutors (IAP), Uganda's privately owned Daily Monitor news site reports.

Susan Okalany - then a state attorney - played a leading role in the prosecution of the 2010 Kampala bombing suspects.

Five people were given life sentences after being convicted of terrorism over the attacks which left 74 people dead.

The case was brought to court after a major investigation across East Africa.

When he nominated her for the award, Uganda's director of public prosecutions, Justice Mike Chibita, said she had demonstrated "tremendous courage, tenacity, professionalism and ingenuity" throughout the case, despite "constant threats to her life, her team and the loss of a dear colleague".

Militant Islamist group al-Shabab carried out the attack.

'Dirty beans' used in big brand chocolate

A man handles cocoa pods
AFP

Cocoa traders who sell to big brands like Nestlé, Mars and Hershey's are buying beans grown illegally in protected forests in the Ivory Coast, The Guardian news site reports.

These so-called dirty beans are then mixed with 'clean' beans in the supply chain.

Ivory Coast, which produces as much as 40% of the world's cocoa, is "losing its forests faster than any other nation in Africa", says campaign group Mighty Earth.

It has released a report today detailing how, in several national parks in Ghana and Ivory Coast, at least 90% of land is being used for commercial cocoa production.

Mighty Earth Campaign and Legal Director Etelle Higonnet says:

The extent to which big chocolate brands like Mars are linked to destruction of national parks and protected areas is shocking.

These companies need to take immediate action to end deforestation once and for all, and remediate past damage.”

Kenya schoolgirl charged with murder

Relatives wait for news of relatives, at the entrance of Moi Girls Nairobi School September 2, 2017after a fatal pre-dawn blaze gutted one of the boarding facilities at the school leading to several deaths
Getty Images
People were in shock and grief after the fire at the school

A 14-year-old Kenyan schoolgirl has been charged with multiple counts of murder after being accused of starting a fire at a school dormitory, leaving nine girls dead.

The girl denied starting the fire at the Moi Girls High School in the capital, Nairobi, on 2 September, AFP news agency quotes a source in court as saying.

The case was held in camera at the High Court in Nairobi because she is a minor.

The nine girls who died were burnt beyond recognition, and were identified through DNA analysis, AFP reports.

Burundi 'not informed' of Kenya arrests

Burundi's ambassador to Nairobi says he has not received any official communication about the arrest of four suspected Burundian nationals in Kenya for trying to join militant Islamist group al-Shabab.

Remy Barampama told the BBC:

I'm not sure really that they are Burundians.

Let's wait [until] we meet them and talk to them, then we'll know if they are Burundian or not."

On Tuesday, Kenyan police said undercover officers arrested four people believed to be Burundian nationals at a security road block in Isiolo, around 350km (220 miles) north of Nairobi, while on their way to Mandera town.

Police also said that the four men were in Kenya as tourists on a free visa exchange programme between Kenya and Burundi.

In January this year, a Tanzanian was arrested in Mandera for trying to cross into Somalia to allegedly join al-Shabab.

The militant group has its headquarters in Somalia.

A Somali soldier patrols next to a burnt-out car used by suspected al-Shabab militants
AFP
Security forces have been battling to contain the threat posed by al-Shabab

Why are HIV mortality rates rising among Harare's youth?

HIV-related deaths are rising among children who are surviving into adolescence, despite the expansion of anti-retroviral therapy (ART) globally, research published by the London School of Hygeine and Tropical medicine shows.

The study looked at children living with HIV in Zimbabwe's capital Harare, and found they had a "15% higher chance of surviving or controlling their HIV load if they receive community support visits".

The report's authors also say pressure on "resource-limited" health systems and "poor adherence to ART treatment" is to blame for rising mortality rates in sub-Saharan Africa, "where 90% of the world’s HIV-infected children live".

More can be done to stop young people with HIV dying by expanding existing support from community-based caregivers, they added.

A woman queues at Phedisong clinic on April 8, 2013 during the launch of the new single dose anti-AIDs drug in Ga-Rankuwa, 100 kms north of Johannesburg.
AFP
There has been a big push to give patients anti-retroviral drugs in Africa

South African student fights to keep thesis in robbery

Video from security cameras in a suburb of the South African city Johannesburg shows the moment a student was attacked by armed robbers.

As we reported earlier, Noxolo Ntusi - a medical scientist doing a master's degree at the University of Johannesburg - fought to hold on to the bag containing a hard drive with the only copy of her thesis.

The 26-year-old told the BBC:

I was thinking about my master's. I’m almost done with what I’m writing - there’s no way I will let them take it.

It wasn't very smart but I guess it worked."

Ms Ntusi has since backed up her thesis. She says she would not advise others to do what she did:

It’s best to give them what they want. You can always write again if you are worried about your work."

Sierra Leone accepts deported citizens in U-turn

Umaru Fofana

BBC Africa, Freetown

Sierra Leone has agreed to receive 27 of its citizens deported from the US, foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Turay confirmed to the BBC.

Earlier today the US stopped issuing visas to staff at Sierra Leone's foreign ministry after their government failed to take back the 27 convicted criminals.

The written press release from Sierra Leone's government
SIERRA LEONE GOVERNMENT

Mr Turay says the Sierra Leone embassy in Washington DC will give emergency travel documents to the 27 people who will be brought back home within the next 30 days.

The US embassy has not yet responded to this latest statement.

Egyptian lawyer detained ahead of UN meeting

BBC World Service

Human rights activists in Egypt have called for the release of a lawyer who was detained as he was about to travel abroad to address a UN body on the issue of forced disappearances.

Ibrahim Metwaly was due to speak about the case of an Italian student, Giulio Regeni, who disappeared and was then tortured to death in Egypt.

The Egyptian authorities deny any involvement in his killing.

Mr Metwaly is being held on charges that include "establishing an illegal group".

He's the founder of an association for families of the disappeared, which has recorded 1,300 cases in the last two years.

SA ex-deputy minister pleads guilty to assault

Pumza Fihlani

BBC News, Johannesburg

Mduduzi Manana apologised for what he called the "shameful" incident
SA Government

South Africa's former deputy minister of higher education has pleaded guilty to assault during an appearance at a magistrates' court.

Mduduzi Manana was accused of beating two women at a nightclub in Johannesburg last month.

The incident caused a public outcry, forcing Mr Manana to resign from President Jacob Zuma's government. He remains an MP for the governing African National Congress.

Today, a number of students were outside the courthouse to support him, saying they wanted him to be “rehabilitated”.

Mr Manana is currently out on 5,000 rand ($382; £288) bail.

He is due to be sentenced on 7 November.

US air strikes 'kill' militants in Somalia

Al-Shabab fighters (archive shot)
Getty Images
Al-Shabab has waged a brutal insurgency in Somalia

The US has killed six members of militant Islamist group al-Shabab in three air strikes in southern Somalia, the US Africa Command has said.

The operation was carried under new powers given to US forces by President Donald Trump in March, allowing for "lethal action" against the al-Qaeda affiliate.

Mr Trump designated some areas of Somalia as active war zones, meaning US forces required less high-level vetting to carry out strikes against the militants, US-based Newsweek magazine reported.

The US Africa Command has tweeted its statement about the latest operation:

View more on twitter

Sudan condemned for 'deporting Eritreans'

Map of Eritrea
BBC

The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) says it is "deeply concerned" by reports that 30 young asylum-seekers have been deported from Sudan to Eritrea.

In a statement, the UNHCR's deputy representative for Sudan, Elizabeth Tan, said:

The forcible return of refugees to their country of origin is a serious violation of international refugee law.

They were deported on charges of illegal entry into Sudan, which is not supported under international refugee law... [These charges] are waived in the case of refugees."

Privately owned Radio Dabanga, which broadcasts to Sudan from the Netherlands, reports that Sudanese courts deported 104 Eritrean refugees in August and sentenced others to imprisonment after they were accused of "illegal infiltration into the Sudanese territory".

Ethiopia in bid to resolve violent dispute

Ethiopia's government says it is is working towards resolving what it calls a boundary dispute between its Oromia and Somali regional states, reports BBC Ethiopia correspondent Emmanuel Igunza.

Protests erupted in towns in the east on Tuesday, resulting in at least two deaths, the displacement of more than 600 people and damage to property and vehicles, he adds.

Activists from Ethiopia’s Oromo ethnic community - which has been at the forefront of anti-government protests - accuse a special unit of police from the neighbouring Somali region of killings and human rights violations.

The authorities have not yet commented on the allegation.

See earlier post for more details

Sub-Saharan Africa 'least developed' in the world

A report by the World Economic Forum has ranked sub-Saharan Africa as the least developed region in the world in terms of education.

The Human Capital Report rates Norway as the most advanced and Yemen as the least. Mauritania came 129th out of the 130 countries surveyed. Ethiopia was only two places ahead of it.

The top performing countries in sub-Saharan Africa are Rwanda, Ghana, Cameroon and Mauritius.

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UK diplomat: 'I like Nigeria well-well'

If you want to learn some Pidgin, Britain's high commissioner in Nigeria could give you some pointers.

Paul Arkwright told the BBC's Pidgin service what he enjoyed about being in Nigeria, in Pidgin.

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

British High Commissioner to Nigeria gives BBC interview in Pidgin

Visit the BBC News Pidgin website

Curfew imposed in Nigerian state

Pro-Biafra activists (Archive shot)
AFP
Activists have waged a long campaign to create a breakaway state

A dusk-to-dawn curfew has been imposed in the main commercial hub in Nigeria's south-eastern Abia state following clashes between the military and activists campaigning for the creation of the independent state of Biafra.

Abia State Governor Okezie Ikpeazu announced the curfew for Aba on Tuesday after a meeting with top security officials, and said it would remain in office until Friday.

Mr Ikpeazu said his government was determined to protect the lives and properties of people, and he urged people not to engage in confrontation with troops.

At the same time, efforts were being made to "reduce friction between the civil populace and military personnel in the state", he added.

Nigeria's military has launched Operation Python Dance II in a bid to end the campaign for secession by the Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob) group. It is pushing for a Biafran state to be created in the south-east.

* This entry has been amended to reflect that the curfew is for Aba, and not the whole state.

Read: 'Nigeria treats us like slaves' on the BBC News website

What's it like to start reading at 60?

Florence Cheptoo
BBC
Florence Cheptoo began to learn to read when her grandchild brought home a library book

What's it like to read your first words at the age of 60? What difference does it make after a lifetime of getting by without reading?

Florence Cheptoo, who lives in a village near Chesongoch in Kenya, has turned her first page as a 60-year-old.

Her path to reading began when her granddaughter brought home books from primary school. Many of the parents and grandparents of the schoolchildren were themselves unable to read, so teachers began literacy lessons for adults.

Florence, forwarding her answers to the BBC through a local librarian, said she now felt "part of those who are in the modern world".

She says she particularly enjoyed reading storybooks for the first time, getting letters from her family and being able to read the Bible for herself.

The world of maps has been opened up. "I like knowing where other parts of the country are located," she said. And she has been getting books on agriculture "so that I can learn how to farm".

It had given her a new confidence, she said, letting her feel more knowledgeable and able to have an opinion alongside people, either literate or illiterate.

"I am able to identify what is good and bad in society."

Read the full story on the BBC News website

Older people reading from school books in Kenya
BBC
Adult literacy classes began after the library was opened

Deadly protests hit Ethiopia

BBC World Service

At least two people have died in protests in Ethiopia. More than 600 have been displaced during the clashes on Tuesday in towns in the east of the country.

Demonstrators accuse a police unit of carrying out killings and human rights abuses against the Oromo people.

The government has blamed the clashes on a border dispute between the Oromo and their neighbours in the Somali region of Ethiopia.

It says it has now sent in the military to carry out a disarmament exercise.

The conflict has been raging for months but escalated this week in violent confrontations.

In August, the government lifted a 10-month state of emergency imposed following more than two years of anti-government protests.

emonstrators hold up a placard reading 'Oromia shall be free - remove excessive military from Oromia' as members of the Oromo, Ogaden and Amhara community in South Africa demonstrate against the ongoing crackdown in the restive Oromo and Amhara region of Ethiopia on August 18, 2016 in Johannesburg.
AFP
Ethiopians in the diaspora had joined in the protests

Can Ghana profit from London's coconut fad?

A man drinks fresh coconut from a roadside stall
AFP
In Ghana, fresh coconuts are cut open for customers to drink

In our series of letters from African writers, Ghanaian journalist and former government minister Elizabeth Ohene reflects on how London has changed since she left the city 17 years ago and how it compares to Accra.

I went to what used to be my local supermarket in north London and there on the shelves were Star and Gulder beers and Guinness and MaltaL Guinness.

I took a second look and noticed they were imported from Nigeria. The Nigerian population in town must be more powerful economically than I had thought.

The natives themselves have discovered coconut in a big way. Coconut water is the latest fad in town.

Apparently, London has overtaken New York and Los Angeles as the largest coconut drinking city in the world, and the UK comes third after the US and Brazil.

It is being sold here as having truly magical powers, as a cure for hangover and as a diet aid.

Even though I have never been entrepreneurial in outlook, I suddenly had images of exporting planeloads of truly fresh coconuts from Ghana to London.

Read Elizabeth Ohene's full piece here

London's Oxford Circus
Getty Images

Yaya Toure fails to make the cut for City

Nick Cavell

BBC Africa Sport

Yaya Toure looking exasperated
Getty Images

Former Ivory Coast captain Yaya Toure has once again fallen out of favour at Manchester City. He is not part of their squad that has travelled to the Netherlands to play Feyenoord in the European Champions League this evening.

City coach Pep Guardiola said:

I spoke with him and he knows the reason why, but it is between him and me.”

The 34-year-old midfielder has not played a single minute so far this season and was not even on the substitute’s bench on Saturday when City thrashed Liverpool 5-0.

Guardiola added:

It’s just a sportive decision. Yaya was so important last season – six players’ contracts finished last season and the only one who stayed is Yaya because he is a special player."

Toure didn’t play at the start of last season after his agent criticised Guardiola for dropping the Ivorian.

SA student fights attackers to save her thesis

A master's student in South Africa has fought off thieves who tried to steal a computer hard drive containing her thesis, which is due at the end of this month, reports the Sowetan Live news site.

Noxolo Ntuli, a 26-year-old medical scientist in Johannesburg, says she took self-defence classes after being robbed in the same area previously and this time she managed to fend off the attackers who left only with her lunch bag.

Many people praised her for her bravery, the news site reported.

The whole incident was captured on CCTV camera, and three men were arrested, it added.

"I hope the law works this time," Ms Ntuli told Sowetan Live.

"I am happy that they were found...I hope they charge them for attempted kidnapping and theft,” she added.

View more on twitter

CAR defence minister fired

BBC World Service

Central African Republic President Faustin-Archange Touadera has sacked his defence minister.

The presidential statement did not say if Joseph Yakete's dismissal was linked to continuing instability and sectarian unrest.

In its latest assessment, the United Nations reported at least 25 people had been killed this month and thousands more made homeless in a new wave of violence.

It said fighting between two rival armed factions left ten people dead in the central city of Bria.

At least 15 people were killed in a violent confrontation between two communities in the eastern village of Yakapi.

Good morning

Welcome to BBC Africa Live for the latest news from around the continent.