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Summary

  1. Nigeria warns against eating monkeys and bushmeat
  2. SA minister defends "crush balls" comment
  3. Kagame critic "denied access to lawyer"
  4. Zimbabwe's Grace Mugabe alleges coup plot
  5. SA gunmen shoot dead family
  6. Militants controlling Libya's migration hub ousted
  7. SA's VP warns of pension-looting plot
  8. Kenyan officer charged for assaulting teenager
  9. Militia attacks UN base in DR Congo
  10. Fire hits Kenyan second-hand clothes market
  11. SA power firm demands return of $70m

Live Reporting

By Dickens Olewe and Lucy Fleming

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Scroll down for Friday’s stories

We’ll be back next week

That's all from BBC Africa Live today. Keep up-to-date with what's happening across the continent by listening to the Africa Today podcast or check the BBC News website.

A reminder of today's wise words:

If the toad comes out of water and tells you that the crocodile is dead, you don't doubt it."

A Fante proverb sent by David Donkor in Tema in Ghana

Click here to send us your African proverbs.

And we leave you with this shot of creative tailoring on display at the ruling Frelimo party's congress in Mozambique:

Women attend the Frelimo congress in Maputo, Mozambique - Sunday 1 October 2017
EPA

It is from our selection of this week's top African photos.

Are African mothers causing obesity crisis?

This week on What's Up Africa satirical series Ikenna Azuike tackles the obesity crisis in Africa.

Are supermarkets or African mothers causing an obesity crisis?

Plague-hit Madagascar 'bans jail visits'

The authorities in Madagascar have announced a ban on prison visits to prevent the spread of the plague epidemic, the AFP news agency is reporting.

Prisons administrator Arsen Ralisaona is quoted as saying:

In order to protect prisoners from the plague that is spreading outside the prison, we have decided to suspend family visits."

The ban covers seven jails in the country's two worst-affected regions, AFP says.

Overcrowded prisons are unhygienic and the risk of contamination is high, it says.

Read the earlier entry on Red Cross efforts to end the outbreak.

Is masturbation sinful?

Comments by award-winning Ghanaian actor, Majid Michel, about masturbation have been obsessing the internet.

He reportedly told Ghana’s Starr FM earlier this week that he felt “dirty” about masturbating in his youth.

I think that every adolescent has masturbated before. I feel guilty about it, I feel very dirty about it…there’s a lot of debate about masturbation being a sin or not but I think it’s a sin.

There is nothing said about it in the Bible, nowhere in the scripture…[but] it is a sin completely."

According to newspaper reports, the popular actor is now a pastor.

Many people have been tweeting links to articles about his interview - and some have added the comments to their blogs:

View more on twitter

One person has even started a Twitter poll, to ask if masturbation is a sin.

View more on twitter

Militants controlling Libya's migration hub ousted

Analysis

Rana Jawad

BBC North Africa correspondent

Migrants on a boat near Sabratha - 2017
AFP
Many migrants leave Libya on wooden boats hoping to cross the Mediterranean

An armed group in the migrant-smuggling hub of Sabratha in western Libya says it has taken control of the city, following three weeks of deadly clashes there with a rival militia.

Both parties to the conflict are nominally allied to the UN-backed government in the capital, Tripoli.

Libya’s internationally recognised authorities have welcomed the latest development.

Sabratha and who controls it is significant to the international community because it is one of the two largest transit centres for migrants trying to reach Europe.

In a desperate attempt to shutdown that route, Italy is alleged to have influenced a deal between a brigade there led by a people-smuggling kingpin and the Tripoli government.

It is an allegation that has been denied by Rome.

The brigade reportedly agreed to stop migrants from leaving in exchange for "government legitimacy" – this is why migrant departures from Libya dropped dramatically mid-summer.

Their rivals have now driven out this armed group from the city.

It is not clear where the victorious group's allegiances lie, although it is also linked to the government in Tripoli.

If nothing else, the deadly events in recent weeks illustrate the complex nature and allegiances of Libya’s armed factions, the dangers of loose dealings for "quick-fixes", and how quickly the tables can turn.

Read more: Why is Libya so lawless?

George Weah's son plays for US in World Cup

Nick Cavell

BBC Africa Sport

Ghana have won their opening match at the Under-17 World Cup in India with a 1-0 win over Colombia – Sadiq Ibrahim scoring the only goal of the game.

The Black Starlets, who have won the title twice in the past, are playing at the tournament since 2007 in South Korea when they finished fourth.

The other two teams in Group A are hosts India and USA – whose match kicked off at 14:30 GMT.

One of the players starting for the USA has a familiar name – Tim Weah, he is the son of the legendary Liberian star George, who stands in presidential elections next week.

Tim, like his dad before him, is currently on the books of French club Paris Saint-Germain.

The African champions Mali are also in action at 14:30 GMT in Group B as they play Paraguay.

The continents other two representatives are Guinea and debutantes Niger, who both begin their campaigns tomorrow.

Guinea play Iran in Group C while Niger face North Korea in Group D.

Militia attacks UN base in DR Congo

Mary Harper

Africa editor, BBC World Service

A militia has staged a rare attack on a United Nations base in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The UN said at least three militiamen were killed and two UN peacekeepers wounded.

It is not clear why they attacked the base.

It is believed the attackers belonged to one of the Mai Mai groups active in the area. Some Mai Mai were originally armed by the Congolese government to fight Rwanda and other forces in the late 1990s.

They are many Mai Mai factions, some mainly involved in criminal activities.

UN peacekeers in DR Congo
AFP
More than 16,000 peacekeepers are deployed in DR Congo, most of them in the east

Grace Mugabe alleges coup plot

Shingai Nyoka

BBC Africa, Harare

Grace Mugabe (l) and Emmerson Mnangagwa (r)
AFP
The feud between Grace Mugabe and Emmerson Mnangagwa is growing

Zimbabwe’s first lady Grace Mugabe looked visibly angry when she departed from a prepared speech on Thursday to reprimand Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa (see earlier entry), alleging a coup plot by his supporters:

We are being threatened day and night, that if a particular person does not become president we will be killed.

We will not bow to that pressure… they says there will be a coup, but no-one will recognise you. The African Union will not recognise you. Sadc [the South African Development Community] will not."

Her remarks are a sign of growing tensions between possible successors to 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe.

These have intensified since Mr Mnangawa’s illness in August. He was airlifted to South Africa after he fell ill at a political rally led by President Mugabe.

His supporters allege it was deliberate poisoning, some suggesting by the first lady.

Mrs Mugabe defended herself describing the vice-president as of little consequence, a mere “employee”, appointed by her husband the president:

Why would my dairy business prepare a single poisoned ice cream cup just for him? Why would I want to kill him, I am the wife of the president.

Who is Mnangawa? On this earth, who is he? What do I want from him?

At a press conference held earlier, Mr Mnangagwa said while doctors confirmed that he was poisoned, it was malicious to suggest he said it was at the hands of the first lady.

He committed unflinching loyalty to the ruling Zanu-PF party and the president.

Even though Mrs Mugabe does not officially speak for the president – her candid utterances reflect the anxiety within the first family over the vice-president’s influence.

Mr Mnangagwa, who has worked with President Mugabe for more than 40 years, has been influential in previous election wins.

It is inconceivable that President Mugabe would want to sack such a key figure ahead of elections next year.

But as Zimbabweans are seeing, in Zanu-PF politics anything is possible and no position is guaranteed.

Kenyan officer charged for assaulting teenager

Wanyama wa Chebusiri

BBC Africa, Kenya

A Kenyan police officer has been charged in court with sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl who he was guarding in a cell.

The assault took place at Murang’a police station in central Kenya last weekend, where the girl was being held for allegedly stealing clothes.

Reports say the police officer had promised to grant the teenager bail in exchange for sexual favours.

The officer has been detained for five days while investigations take place.

If found guilty, the policeman faces a possible jail term of up to 25 year in prison.

The incident has ignited a public outcry on social media and among human rights organisations in the country.

According to a women rights organisation, Federation of Women Lawyers (Fida), cases of sexual assault involving the police are on the increase in the country.

South Africa's drooping flower tourism

Around October, the arid landscape of South Africa's west coast blooms with millions of wild flowers and the sight draws tourists from all over the world.

But the ongoing drought conditions in sub-Saharan Africa are leading to fewer flowers and fewer tourists.

Watch BBC's Jessica Preyser report from the Western Cape town of Darling:

South Africa's drooping flower tourism

Is Charles Taylor meddling in Liberia?

In January this year former Liberian President Charles Taylor, who is serving a 50-year sentence in a prison in the UK, broadcast a message in a phone call to his supporters in the West African nation.

He is heard saying that "this revolution is his life", advising his people not to betray the party: "Go back to base and everything will be fine":

Before Mr Taylor's phone call his ex-wife, Jewel Howard Taylor, entered into a political alliance with leading presidential candidate George Weah.

Ms Howard Taylor is now Mr Weah's deputy in next week's election.

The BBC's Charlotte Attwood looks into whether the ex-warlord is influencing the election in his homeland.

Plague outbreak: Madagascar action to save lives

Someone passing Ministry of Health and Malagasy Red Cross healthcare posters
AFP

The Red Cross in Madagascar has said that it has scaled up operations to deal with cases of an outbreak of bubonic plague.

So far 194 cases had been recorded across 20 districts in 10 regions, it said in a statement.

Of those, 124 cases were found to have a pneumonic strain - the most virulent strain of the bacteria which is fatal if not treated early with antibiotics.

The organisation said it had set up a community surveillance and communication response to deal with the health crisis, which had spread panic in the island nation.

The latest outbreak was traced to the death of a 31-year-old man in August in the central highlands, where plague is endemic.

Madagascar health checkpoints
af
Healthcare checkpoints have been set up in the capital, Antananarivo

In Madagascar, cases of bubonic plague, which spread between animals to humans through flea bites, occur nearly every year.

The bubonic plague bacterium can travel to a person's lungs, causing pneumonic plague, which can spread quickly from person to person through droplets in the air.

The Red Cross said that it has responded to past outbreaks in the country and had mobilised 700 volunteers to help in its efforts.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) says it has delivered nearly 1.2 million doses of antibiotics and released $1.5m (£1.1m) in emergency funds to fight the outbreak.

WHO's representative in Madagascar said:

Plague is curable if detected in time. Our teams are working to ensure that everyone at risk has access to protection and treatment. The faster we move, the more lives we save."

Dr Charlotte Ndiaye

SA minister defends 'crush balls' comment

A South African journalist has shared a video of Police Minister Fikile Mbalula defending comments he made last week urging police to "crush the criminals' balls".

He had been speaking at the re-launch of an elite police unit in the capital Pretoria.

Mr Mbalula said that his comments were figurative and that he was telling the police to "make it unbearable for those who practise crime":

View more on twitter

Kagame critic 'denied access to lawyer'

Diane Rwigara
BBC

Rwandan opposition politician Diane Rwigara has appeared in court with her mother and sister - all three were charged by prosecutors with inciting insurrection on Wednesday.

They were supposed to be formally charged in the Kigali courtroom today.

But Ms Rwigara told the judge that she and her mother, Adeline Rwigara, had been forced to appear without their lawyer.

According to the Reuters news agency, she said the authorities had not told him about the hearing in time.

Her sister, Anne Rwigara, said she had been unable to find a lawyer to represent her.

The judge agreed their lawyers should be present and delayed the case until Monday.

They were taken back into detention amid heavy security.

The three have also been charged with forgery for allegedly faking Diane Rwigara’s registration papers to stand in August’s presidential election.

She was disqualified to run in the poll, which was won by incumbent President Paul Kagame.

A prominent women's activist and critic of Mr Kagame, she has said the charges against them are politically motivated.

Election campaign hots up in Liberia

A UK Guardian journalist in Liberia has tweeted a video of supporters of presidential candidate George Weah mocking out-going President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's handling of the economy.

She reports that they are chanting about the exchange rate: "Common US rate. It's 150".

View more on twitter

Mr Weah, a former footballer who has lost to Ms Sirleaf twice, is among at least 20 candidates in the presidential race.

The governing Unity Party's candidate for the 10 October election is Joseph Boakai, Ms Sirleaf’s deputy.

The Economist reports that Mr Boakai is a mild-mannered vice-president, who is seen by many as safe and not corrupt .

Zambia turns to drip irrigation to save crops

Kennedy Gondwe

BBC Africa Business Report, Lusaka

Much of sub-Saharan Africa is feeling the consequences of the drought that started more than two years ago, and Zambia is no exception.

Watch how farmers are having to adopt new irrigation techniques in response to the severe water shortage:

Zambian farmer: 'Water is becoming a problem'

SA gunmen shoot dead family

Milton Nkosi

BBC Africa, South Africa

Five people from the same family have been shot and killed in Mariannhill near Pinetown, in South Africa's troubled coastal province of KwaZulu-Natal.

Police said unknown gunmen opened fire at the family’s home last night at around midnight.

Four men were killed at the scene and a woman later died in hospital.

Capt Nqobile Gwala said: “We have opened five counts of murder for further investigation. The motive for the murders is still unknown.

“This is the second attack this week following the killing of eight people in Matimatolo.”

On Tuesday, gunmen entered two homes next to each other in Matimatolo village near Greytown.

Capt Gwala appealed to community members to assist the police and urged them “not to take matters into their own hands”.

KwaZulu-Natal has experienced a spate of political killings in recent months but it is not entirely clear whether these latest killings are linked to politics.

Kenyatta vows to 'rebuild' razed market

Kenya's Daily Nation is reporting that President Uhuru Kenyatta has pledged to rebuild the Gikomba market after fire destroyed several stalls.

He has also ordered an investigation into the cause of fire at the popular second-hand clothes market in the capital, Nairobi.

View more on twitter

A statement from one of government minister says initial reports "point to foul play":

View more on twitter

SA power firm demands return of $70m

Andrew Harding

BBC News, Johannesburg

State corruption in South Africa is now having a global impact: First it was the British PR firm Bell Pottinger and then the auditing giant KPMG.

Now the global consulting firm McKinsey has found itself dragged into a vast scandal involving allegations that government and business elites are looting public institutions.

It has been asked to pay back tens of millions of dollars that it earned working in South Africa.

The country’s energy utility, Eskom, said the money had been paid unlawfully and should be refunded.

McKinsey, working with a controversial local company, cut a deal to advise Eskom in 2015.

McKinsey was paid almost 1bn rand ($70m, £50m) for a few months’ consultancy work. Its local partner, Trillian, earned half that sum.

Now Eskom itself has said that the deal was dodgy, and McKinsey should return the cash.

But McKinsey insists it did nothing wrong, and that it withdrew from the deal as soon as it became suspicious.

This scandal, like so many in South Africa today, involves allegations against the Gupta family – powerful businessmen accused of buying influence over President Jacob Zuma, members of his cabinet and other key officials.

All deny any wrongdoing.

The fact that international firms are allegedly involved has helped to focus attention on South Africa’s growing corruption problem.

KPMG is battling to save its reputation and business here.

Bell Pottinger is facing bankruptcy.

Monkeypox virus: Medics monitor 40 people

Igho William

BBC Africa

I have just spoken to the medical director of the Niger Delta University hospital in Nigeria's southern state of Bayelsa about the reported monkeypox cases.

Dimie Ogoina told me that the hospital was treating 13 infected patients, among them are three adults and one child, who had also been quarantined.

The hospital was working with the Nigerian Center for Disease Control, which had sent a team from the capital, Abuja, to visit the hospital, he said.

They were currently monitoring more than 40 people in Bayelsa who had had contact with the quarantined patients, but none had so far shown any symptoms, he added.

Mr Ogoina also sought to allay fears, urging members of the public not to panic.

His hospital and staff were well trained and adequately prepared for a scenario like this, he said.

See earlier post for more details.

Smoked monkey
AFP
Monkey meat is a delicacy in some communities in Nigeria

Kenyan police disrupt opposition protest

Police in Kenya have fired tear gas at opposition protesters in the capital, Nairobi.

They had gathered for the second time this week to call for changes in the electoral system before the presidential election re-run.

Opposition coalition Nasa had earlier shared these pictures of some of its leaders and supporters marching in the capital:

View more on twitter

Local media are also reporting that demonstrations are taking place in the coastal city of Mombasa and in the western city of Kisumu.

The Daily Nation paper says that protesters in Kisumu broke into a supermarket and have also destroyed a water pipeline that has disrupted the supply in parts of the city:

View more on twitter

Opposition leader Raila Odinga has been warning that he will not take part in the 26 October presidential election re-run unless changes are made to the electoral system.

He also wants officials of the electoral commission, whom he accuses of bungling the 8 August election, to be fired.

Nobel winner: Liberia's healthcare failure

Leymah Gbowee shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for their work helping bring an end to the Liberian civil war.

Ms Gbowee now has new campaigns, including tackling the poor state of healthcare in her country.

She criticised her fellow laureate's legacy, telling BBC's Newday programme that President Sirleaf had only pushed an agenda that benefited her political career.

Listen to the interview below:

Fire at Kenya clothes market 'suspected arson'

A Kenyan radio station is reporting that a government minister has said that this morning's fire which has hit a popular second-hand clothes market in the capital, Nairobi, could be as a result of arson.

Devolution Minister Mwangi Kiunjuri said that an investigation had been launched.

View more on twitter

Today's fire adds to several other suspicious incidents.

Local TV station KTN has put together a reel of its news presenters announcing fire incidents at Gikomba market over the past five years:

View more on youtube

Gikomba is a vast market, very near to Nairobi's central business district.

SA's VP warns of pension-looting plot

Andrew Harding

BBC News, Johannesburg

Cyril Ramaphosa
Reuters
Cyril Ramaphosa is eyeing the presidency

South Africa’s deputy president has warned of a plot to loot the country’s huge multi-billion dollar pension fund.

Cyril Ramaphosa spoke of nefarious forces seeking to divert money from the Public Investment Corporation.

It is the biggest pot of public money in South Africa - and for weeks, sensational allegations and rumours have been circulating.

Claims that powerful political forces are plotting to seize control of the Public Investment Corporation.

Speaking to union members on Thursday, Mr Ramaphosa gave new credence to those alarming claims.

South Africa’s Finance Ministry has insisted that the money, and the pensions of the country’s civil servants, are safe.

But the warnings are linked to a growing scandal about “state capture” - the allegation that President Jacob Zuma and his business allies are seeking to create a corrupt shadow state here.

Mr Ramaphosa is hoping to succeed Mr Zuma as president - and his comments must also be seen in the context of an increasingly vicious succession battle.

Kenyan clothes traders count losses after fire

The BBC's Ferdinand Omondi and Mercy Juma are at Kenya's Gikomba market, where firefighters have been fighting a blaze at the popular second-hand market.

One trader told them he had lost 250 bales of clothing, worth an estimated 23,000 (£17,600).

They have snapped photos at the market, not far from Nairobi central business district, of firefighters and traders working to recover some of their properties:

fire fighters in Gikomba market
BBC
Gikomba traders
BBC
Traders
BBC
Gikomba market
BBC
Traders
BBC

Cartoonist takes on Rwandan politics

East Africa's best-known cartoonist, Gado, turns his satirical pen on Rwanda.

This morning politician Diane Rwigara is due in court on charges of inciting insurrection.

A renowned women's activist in Rwanda, she was disqualified to run in the recent presidential race, won by incumbent President Paul Kagame, who Gado pictures below:

View more on twitter

Ivory trade to be banned in UK 'to protect elephants'

Matt McGrath

Environment correspondent, BBC News

Elephants ornaments carved from ivory
Getty Images
Tiny elephants carved from ivory are the type of product that would be banned

The UK government wants to ban the sale and export of almost all ivory items.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove has announced a consultation to end the trade in ivory of all ages - previous attempts at a ban would have excluded antique ivory produced before 1947.

The government says there will be some exemptions, for musical instruments and items of cultural importance.

Conservation groups have given a guarded welcome to the plan.

A 12-week consultation on Mr Gove's proposals is due to start immediately, and draft legislation covering a ban on sales and exports is likely in the new year.

Britain will host a major illegal wildlife conference in 2018 and it would be embarrassing if the UK was continuing to allow a domestic market in ivory while countries like China were moving to close theirs as they have promised to do by the end of this year.

Click here to read more of Matt's story

Fire hits Kenyan second-hand clothes market

Firefighters in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, are battling a fire that broke out at the popular Gikomba market near the city centre.

Local media report that the fire started early on Friday morning.

The Daily Nation reports that the firefighters are struggling to access the area because of congestion and bad roads in the market.

The Star is reporting that city authorities have appealed to private operators of fire engines to assist in putting out the fire.

Gikomba is a popular second-hand clothes market but is also renowned as the centre of the capital's informal economy, attracting a diverse number of traders.

The market's name is trending on Twitter with people sharing pictures, videos and reports from the scene.

Here's a sample of some of the posts from mainstream media and the public:

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

Nigeria warns against eating monkeys

Monkeypox
Alamy
Monkeypox is a rare smallpox-like disease

Health authorities in Nigeria have warned the public against eating monkeys and bushmeat after 10 people contracted suspected monkeypox in the southern Bayelsa State, Nigeria newspapers are reporting.

Health Minister Isaac Adewole said in a statement that investigations into the outbreak was still ongoing.

He added that despite no known cure for the disease there was no cause for alarm because the virus was mild.

However, he advised the public to take preventative measures:

The virus was mild and there was no known treatment and no preventive vaccines hence the public should be at alert and avoid crowded places as much as possible."

Mr Adewole said that medical samples had been sent to the World Health Organization centre in Senegal's capital, Dakar, for further tests.

He said the disease was a viral illness by a group of viruses that included chickenpox and smallpox.

Monkeypox is a rare but usually not fatal to humans.

Yesterday a health official in Bayelsa was quoted as saying that the virus could be found in monkeys and all bush animals such as rats, squirrels and antelopes.

Grace Mugabe scornful of 'ice cream poison plot'

Grace Mugabe
Reuters
Grace Mugabe is seen a possible successor to her husband

Zimbabwe’s First Lady Grace Mugabe has dressed down Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, once seen as President Robert Mugabe’s heir apparent - calling him nothing but an “employee”.

It is the latest in a row over allegations that he was poisoned by ice cream from Mrs Mugabe’s farm. It is not clear where the ice cream allegations came from as he never made the claim.

Mr Mnangagwa fell ill in August at a political rally led by President Mugabe and had to be airlifted to South Africa.

The governing Zanu-PF has been battling to contain tensions within the party between rival groups wanting to succeed the 93-year-old president.

The first lady, also seen as a possible successor to her husband, denied claims that she would be involved in such dirty politics.

"I can’t prepare one cup of an ice cream to kill Mnangagwa. Who is he? I am the wife of a president,” she is quoted as saying.

Her comments came as Mr Mnangagwa fought back against allegations that he lied about being poisoned.

"I never said I was poisoned in Gwanda but that I fell ill," the AFP news agency quotes him as saying on Thursday.

He accused the country’s other Vice-President, Phelekezela Mphoko, of "subjective falsehoods and mischievous perceptions".

"I have an impeccable history of unflinching loyalty to the party, and his excellency the president, comrade Robert Gabriel Mugabe and have never acted in a manner that undermines his authority or the stability of Zimbabwe."

Wise words

Today's African proverb:

If the toad comes out of water and tells you that the crocodile is dead, you don't doubt it."

A Fante proverb sent by David Donkor in Tema in Ghana
An African bullfrog
AFP

Click here to send us your proverbs.

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