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  1. Cameroon sentences 89 Boko Haram fighters to death
  2. Sudan threatens to shut recently reopened borders with South Sudan
  3. Fifa clarifies that it does not think that South Africa bought the 2010 World Cup
  4. South Africa's president says Guptas do not appoint ministers
  5. Top Malawian gospel singer Grace Chinga dies
  6. South Africa dismisses World Cup hosting bribery allegations
  7. Email stories and comments to - Thursday 17 March 2016

Live Reporting

By Naziru Mikailu and Damian Zane

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Scroll down for Thursday's stories

We'll be back tomorrow

In the meantime, keep up-to-date with what is happening across the continent by listening to the Africa Today podcast and checking the BBC News website.

A reminder of Today's proverb:

If you lift yourself up, that's better than if others lift you up."

A Batonu proverb sent by Ryan Smith, Perere-Gourou, Borgou, Benin

Click here to send us your African proverbs.

And we leave you with this photo of Angolan biker posted to Instagram from the central town of  Luena:

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South Africa Gupta row: Angry exchanges with Zuma in parliament

South African President Jacob Zuma has strongly denied that a wealthy family alleged to have influence over him is able to appoint ministers. 

During angry exchanges, Mr Zuma told parliament that he alone chooses the cabinet. 

A senior politician has said he was offered the finance minister's job by members of the Gupta family. 

The Guptas deny the accusation.  

Opposition leader Mmusi Maimane led the accusations

Search is on for winner of African poetry prize

The 10-person short list for the African poetry prize awarded by the UK's Brunel University and Commonwealth Writers has been announced.

The judges had to whittle it down from 900 entries.

The 10 are: 

  • Nigeria's Gbenga Adesina
  • Ghana's Victoria-Anne Bulley
  • Nigeria's Mary-Alice Daniel
  • Nigeria's Chekwube O. Danladi
  • Angola's Amy Lukau
  • Kenya's Ngwatilo Mawiyoo
  • Eitrea's Momtaza Mehri
  • Mauritius' Saradha Soobrayen
  • Somalia's Warsan Shire
  • Zambia's Chimwemwe Undi

The winner, to be announced on 11 May, will get £3,000. 

Warsan Shire
Warsan Shire, on this year's short list, won the prize in 2013

Sudan's border dispute with South worsens

James Copnall

Africa editor, BBC World Service

A bus departs from Ajuong Thok refugee camp in South Sudan, less than 100 kms away from the border with Sudan, on January 28, 2016.
Getty Images
Relations between Juba and Khartoum had been tense since 2011

Sudan has threatened to shut its recently reopened borders with South Sudan.

A senior aide to Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir accused South Sudan of supporting Sudanese rebel groups, something the government in Juba has always denied. 

The borders were only reopened in January, after years of tense relations between the countries. 

The Sudanese cabinet has also decided to change the special status accorded to South Sudanese citizens inside Sudan. They will now be treated as foreigners when it comes to access to education and healthcare. 

The relationship between the two Sudans was extremely bad after South Sudan seceded in July 2011, but it gradually improved after several cooperation agreements were signed the following year.

Gunmen ambush Nigerian soldiers

Suspected pirates have killed two members of Nigeria's security forces after ambushing their patrol team in the southern Rivers state, the army says.

"Our men displayed extraordinary gallantry. Unfortunately, an officer and a soldier who sustained various degrees of injury during the encounter lost their lives", it added.

"We are in pursuit of the criminals and will surely get them," army spokesman Captain Eli Lazarus is quoted as saying. 

Political tensions are high in the oil-rich state ahead of this weekend's local election re-run with a number of people being killed in recent days.

The re-run for seats in the Rivers state assembly and the national parliament in Abuja comes after court rulings on challenges to the initial results.

West Africa solidarity in wake of Ivory Coast attack

We reported earlier (see 11:25 entry) that Liberia's President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was in Ivory Coast to express her support for the country following Sunday's attack on the Grand Bassam beach resort.

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) say they were responsible for the attack in which 18 people died.

Other regional delegations have also been in the country.

And the office of Ivory Coast's president has been tweeting some pictures.

View more on twitter

The leader of Ghana's delegation Defence Minister, Benjamin Kumbuor said that "Ghana and Ivory Coast are brother countries. If Ivory Coast can't sleep then Ghana can't sleep."

View more on twitter

And Burkina Faso's Interior Minister Simon Compaore also came: 

View more on twitter

He said: "Our support is total because we have ties of brotherhood and friendship. Anything that happens here can happen in Burkina Faso."

View more on twitter

A hotel and cafe in Burkina Faso's capital, Ouagadougou, was hit by an AQIM attack in January in which 28 people died.

Niger sick opposition candidate in hospital

Niger's opposition candidate in Sunday's presidential election run-off Hama Amadou is "feeling better" after receiving treatment at a hospital in Paris, one of his aides told the AFP news agency.

The 66-year-old former premier and parliament speaker was airlifted on Wednesday from his prison, where he is being held on baby-trafficking charges, which he denies.

He came second in the first round on 21 February with 18%, far behind incumbent President Mahamadou Issoufou, who picked up 48%.

However, his party says he will boycott the Sunday's vote.

Hama Amadou poster

'Don't forget about Ethiopia', PM says

Ethiopia's Prime Minister Hailemariam Deslaegn says his country has received "very little" international aid and it has come "very late" in helping it deal with the impact of the recent drought, the AP news agency reports.

The government estimates that more than 10 million Ethiopians need food aid.

Mr Hailemariam told AP that he urges "organisations like Unicef to come in if they think this is a worst case scenario. Just talking is not a solution".

He recognised that there are lots of other emergency situations in the world but said his country "should not be neglected by any means".

AP reports that the US has given Ethiopia $532m (£370m) in humanitarian aid since October 2014 and that Ethiopia has spent $380m of its own money.

It's estimated that the country needs $1.4bn assistance in all.

Ethiopia food aid
Ethiopia wants more help in providing food aid

Emotional anti-corruption campaign in Liberia

Jonathan Paye-Layleh

BBC Africa, Monrovia

Liberia's corruption fighters are appealing to people's emotions in a new billboard campaign.

Monrovia billboard

Liberia came 83rd in the most recent Transparency International perception of corruption index.


Fighting corruption in the last years of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's tenure has proved an uphill struggle.

This month’s BBC Africa Debate will look at corruption.

The programme will be recorded on 23 March in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and broadcast two days later.

Listeners can use #BBCAfricaDebate on social media to get involved.

Sierra Leone post-Ebola match go-ahead

Mohamed Fajah Barrie

BBC Sport, Freetown

Sierra Leone will go ahead with their friendly match against Malawi after the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) secured a venue.

The Leone Stars will face the Flames at the Siaka Stevens stadium, Freetown, on 22 March, their first match at home since they hosted Seychelles in July 2014.

The match was almost cancelled over a $10,000 fee demanded by the now sacked country's sports minister Paul Kamara.

The SLFA told BBC Sport: "We will not pay any cash for the use of the stadium."

The country was banned from hosting international matches following the outbreak of deadly Ebola virus in 2014.

Read the full BBC story here

Cameroon Boko Haram death sentences welcomed

Some residents of northern Cameroon have praised a military court's decision to sentence 89 members of militant Islamist group Boko Haram to death after finding them guilty of terrorism charges. 

Two other people were acquitted by the court on the same charges in January. 

Speaking to the BBC Hausa service from Garoua, one person said:      

I'm glad justice has been served, we support the court's decision because what they are doing is against Islam."

Another person says:

They are just killing innocent people, I don't care about their fate as long as they have been confirmed to have links with Boko Haram."

Human rights groups have called for the reform of Cameroon's justice system after it emerged that those convicted have no right to appeal against the judgement. 

See our 09:15 post for more details  

Cameroon demonstration
Cameroonians have demonstrated against the activities of Boko Haram in their country

Fifa says South Africa did not buy the 2010 World Cup

Football's world governing body Fifa appears is trying to clarify a statement yesterday that gave the impression that it thought South Africa won the right to host the 2010 World Cup through bribery.

On Wednesday, in a legal submission to the US authorities, Fifa said that a payment to support the African Diaspora in the Caribbean region was "in reality... a bribe".

In a Fifa statement today described as a clarification, the organisation says it "does not allege that South Africa bought the World Cup with bribes".

It was merely pointing to documents that accuse "certain individuals of criminal behaviour".

World Cup trophy

However, the clarification does not appear to rule out the possibility of South Africa offering a bribe.   

Earlier, South Africa's Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula denied that any bribe was paid and described the allegation as despicable (see 11:40 entry).

Sierra Leone reaches Ebola milestone once again

In Sierra Leone, the recent flare-up of Ebola is now over, Reuters news agency is reporting the World Health Organization (WHO) as saying.

It has gone 42 days without any new cases, but the WHO has warned that the virus could return.

Sierra Leone has reached this point before - last November - and then new cases emerged.

The WHO says that nearly 4,000 people died in Sierra Leone as a result of the Ebola outbreak.

Ebola-free celebration in Freetown
There were celebrations in Sierra Leone when it was declared free of Ebola transmission in November

Kenya's Wanyama on life in English football

Southampton's Kenyan midfielder Victor Wanyama will resume playing this coming weekend after serving a five-match ban imposed on him by his club for picking up three red cards this season. 

Southampton host Liverpool on Sunday. 

He says the enforced lay off has proved to be a difficult period. 

BBC Africa's Peter Musembi caught up with Wanyama at Southampton's training ground, and first asked him how playing in the English Premier League has helped his career.

SA comedian Trevor Noah jokes he was offered job by Guptas

In South Africa, the accusations surrounding the Gupta family and their alleged influence on ministerial appointments has got a lot of people talking on Twitter.

The Guptas have denied the allegations.

Now South African ex-pats have joined in.

Comedian Trevor Noah hosts the US satirical TV programme the Daily Show.

He's been sharing a joke:

View more on twitter

Kenyan teacher proud of global prize shortlist

A Kenyan teacher who gives classes against violent extremism says he doesn't regret losing out on a $1m (£690,000) world's best teacher prize.

Ayub Mohamud lost the Varkey Foundation prize on Monday to Palestinian Hanan Al Hroub.

Mr Mohamud was nominated for his de-radicalisation classes at a school identified as a recruiting ground for Islamist militants in a suburb of Kenya's capital, Nairobi.

''I am very grateful to be recognized and to be amongst the 10 finalists, it shows I'm truly appreciated," he told the BBC's Abdinoor Aden.

Kenyan teacher Ayub Mohamud

Ivory Coast's Toure 'rejects' China move

BBC Africa sport reporter tweets

Yaya Toure wants to stay at Manchester City after turning down a chance to double his salary in China, according to his agent Dimitry Seluk.

Egypt Nefertiti tomb hunt 'finds organic material'

Queen Nefertiti
The whereabouts of Nefertiti's remains are a mystery

Egypt says a search for the resting place of the pharaonic Queen Nefertiti has revealed possible "organic material" inside empty spaces behind two walls in the tomb of Tutankhamun.

The antiquities minister said radar scans carried out in November pointed to "different things behind the walls".

A more advanced scan will be conducted later this month to ascertain whether the empty spaces are in fact chambers.

A British Egyptologist believes Nefertiti, who ruled in the 14th Century BC, was buried there.

Read the full BBC story here

South Africa's opposition leader told to leave parliament

The speaker of South Africa's parliament has ordered the country's opposition leader Mmusi Maimane to leave the chamber.

The speaker said that he ignored her calls for him to sit down.

Mr Maimane was trying to ask President Jacob Zuma a supplementary question about the appointment of ministers and the alleged influence of the Gupta family.

All members of Mr Maimane's Democratic Alliance party then walked out.

DA members walking out
SA Parliament

One MP then shouted: "You're protecting the Guptas."

'Don't ask me' about the Guptas, Zuma says

To loud cheers from his party's MPs, South Africa's President Jacob Zuma has told parliament that there is no minister who was appointed by the Guptas.

He told the opposition's Mmusi Maimane that if they want to know about whether the Guptas spoke to Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas to offer him the finance minister's job "don't ask me".

Mr Jonas made the claim yesterday and the revelation appeared to confirm a long-running accusation that the family is exercising political influence over the president.

Jacob Zuma
SA Parliament

You can follow proceedings here:

View more on youtube

Jacob Zuma: I pick the ministers

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma, in answering a written question about the appointment of ministers, has said he is responsible for the picking and dismissing ministers.

The leader of the opposition has alleged that the Gupta family has influenced the choosing of ministers.

Tanzania's Magufuli in surprise call to TV show

Tulanana Bohela

BBC Africa, Dar es Salaam

Tanzania's President John Magufuli and his wife made a surprise call to a popular morning programme on Clouds TV. 

Mr Magufuli said he was a big fan of the show, before passing the phone over to his wife Janet, who also congratulated the programme presenters.

They also asked a question about the station's campaign to encourage youth to create opportunities for themselves.

It was a big surprise for the presenters and viewers of the show to take the president's call. 

Mr Magufuli, who came to power in October, has not given any interviews to local or foreign media. 

Clouds TV presenters from the left are Hudson Kamoga, Babbie Kabae, and Sam Sasali
Clouds TV
The show presenters were suprised by the president's call

SA's opposition leader ready to ask about Gupta family

South Africa's opposition leader Mmusie Maimane is waiting to ask President Jacob Zuma about the appointment of the country's finance minister and whether the Gupta family had any influence on it.

He alleges that there is "growing body of evidence that suggests the Gupta family enjoys enormous and improper influence" over the president".

Mr Maimane tweeted the question he is about to ask:

View more on twitter

Zuma facing MPs' questions

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma is answering questions in parliament in the midst of allegations that the wealthy Gupta family is exerting a political influence on the country.

Mr Zuma has started by talking about his recent diplomacy:

Jacob Zuma
SA Parliament

You can follow it live here:  

View more on youtube

SA minister: "We are not run by Guptas"

South Africa's Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula was asked at the press conference about the World Cup bribery allegations about the claims surrounding the influence of the Gupta family.

He said:

We are not governed by Guptas, we are not run by Guptas... the onus is on those who make such allegations to prove them."

Minister Mbalula

South Africa World Cup bribery allegation 'despicable'

South Africa's sports minister has said that the country did pay $10m for an African diaspora football programme and to suggest it was a bribe "is despicable".

He added that the government considers the suggestion that this money was to be used for anything other than supporting the diaspora as an insult.

The South African government news service is tweeting parts of the statement:

View more on twitter

Four murdered in Zambia

Meluse Kapatamoyo

BBC Africa, Lusaka, Zambia

Police in Zambia have found four mutilated bodies near a compound in the capital, Lusaka.

The bodies were discovered this morning by members of the public with multiple head injuries.    

The ages of two of the four have been identified as 21 and 18 years old.

Preliminary investigations indicate that the deceased were dumped in the area after being murdered elsewhere.

South Africa won right to host World Cup 'on merit'

South Africa's sports minister is addressing accusations that his country paid a bribe to secure the hosting of the 2010 World Cup.

Fikile Mbalula said that South Africa won the bid "based on merit".

You can watch the press conference here:

View more on youtube

Liberia expresses solidarity with Ivory Coast over fight against terror

Liberia's President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is on a visit to neighboring Ivory Coast four days after 18 people were killed by gunmen on the beach in the Grand Bassam resort.

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb said they carried out the attack.

The office of the president of Ivory Coast is tweeting photographs of Mrs Sirleaf's visit:

View more on twitter

The Liberian president told Ivorians: "We are standing with you in the fight against terrorism."

View more on twitter

SA minister 'invited to Gupta home'

Reuters news agency is reporting that the South African cabinet minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi was invited to the home of the wealthy Gupta family shortly after he was appointed mineral resources minister.

It's another revelation which will add fuel to the fire surrounding the allegations that the Guptas are exerting a political influence on the country.

Mr Ramatlhodi told Reuters that:

"We did receive an invite as soon as the minister was appointed but he told them he was not taking any invites because his focus was to resolve the platinum strike."

The Gupta family said an earlier allegation that they tried to influence the appointment of a minister was political point scoring.

Zuma and Gupta dominate South Africa press

Pumza Fihlani

BBC News, Johannesburg

South African newspapers

The newspapers here are full of stories about South Africa President Jacob Zuma's alleged relationship with the Guptas, a wealthy family with business ties here.

This follows claims by some government officials that they were offered ministerial positions by the members of the family during private meetings. 

Opposition parties are expected to lean on the president during a question and answer session in parliament. 

In addition to the revelation by Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas that he was asked to be Finance Minister, former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor this week revealed that she was approached by the family to be minister of public enterprises when Barbara Hogan was sacked.

Read: The Zumas and the Guptas - the Zuptas

Nigeria's NNPC denies $16bn missing oil revenues

Nigeria's state-owned oil company has denied official allegations that it had failed to pay the government $16bn (£11bn) in oil revenues in a suspected case of fraud in 2014. 

On Tuesday, the auditor general said Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) provided no explanation for the missing funds.

The report "may have been borne out of misunderstanding of how revenues from crude oil and gas sales are remitted [into the government] account," the NNPC said in a statement.

As of January 2015, the figure owed to the government was $1.64bn only, it quoted the company's Chief Financial Officer Isiaka Abdulrazaq as saying.

The auditor general's declaration is "erroneous," Mr Isiaka said, adding that the report had failed to account for costs including a fuel subsidy, pipeline vandalism and maintenance.  

Read: Buhari's battle to clean up Nigeria's oil industry

Nigeria oil worker
Nigeria is Africa's largest oil producer

South Africa to respond to World Cup bribe allegation

South Africa's sports minister is due to make a statement on the allegations of bribery in connection with the country's bid to host the 2010 World Cup.

Fikile Mbalula comments come a day after a submission to a US court by football's world governing body, Fifa, said South Africa paid a bribe to help it secure the competition.

This was the first time that Fifa had made such a claim.

Mr Mbablula had previously said the allegation was untrue.

South African football fan
South Africa hosted the World Cup in 2010

Top ANC figure says no-one in the party is untouchable

The secretary general of South Africa's governing ANC party has said that no-one is untouchable including President Jacob Zuma, the Reuters news agency is reporting.

Gwede Mantashe's comment comes in the wake of the revelation by the country's Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas that he was offered the job of finance minister by the wealthy Gupta family.

The family denies the allegation.

Mr Zuma is under pressure over persistent claims about his relationship with the Gupta family, with the suggestion that they are exerting a political influence on the country.

Jacob Zuma
President Zuma is set to answer questions in parliament at 12:00 GMT today

Egypt warns against Libya intervention

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has warned that any Western military intervention in Libya could provoke uncontrollable developments, Reuters news agency reports.

Libya has had two competing governments since 2014, following the downfall of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

But a UN-brokered peace deal is aimed at forming a unity government.

In an interview with the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, Mr Sisi urged the foreign powers to support Khalifa Haftar's Libyan National Army - which is linked to the internationally recognised government based in the eastern city of Tobruk - in the fight against jihadists.

"If we give arms and support to the Libyan National Army, it can do the job much better than anyone else, better than any external intervention that would risk putting us in a situation that could get out of hand and provoke uncontrollable developments."

He said Egypt was putting pressure on the parliament in Tobruk to accept the unity government and wanted all parties to take their share of responsibility.  

Libya fighter

Malawi mourns famous gospel singer Grace Chinga

The well-known Malawian gospel singer Grace Chinga has died.

Malawi's Nyasa Times newspaper reports that a family friend Pastor Chris Suya said she was taken to hospital "after complaining of headache".

We received a call that she was down with headache and we rushed there around seven in the evening. We took her to Queens Elizabeth Hospital where she, sadly passed away."

According to a post on her Facebook page uploaded a day before she died, the gospel singer was about to release a new album.

Grab from her Facebook page

Malawians have been posting memorial messages on Twitter:

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

You can see Grace perform here:

View more on youtube

#StateCaptureMovieTitles trends in South Africa

South Africans are tweeting about the alleged political influence of the Gupta family.

It comes after Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas said he was offered the finance minister's job by a member of the controversial family.

The Guptas have said the statement was political point-scoring.

But this hasn't stopped South Africans having some fun with the story.

The buzzword for what the Guptas are alleged to have done is "state capture".

View more on twitter

And people seem to like a certain movie franchise:

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Cameroon sentences 89 Boko Haram members to death

Boko Haram fighters
Boko Haram video

Cameroon has sentenced 89 members of the Nigerian Islamist militant group Boko Haram to death on terror charges, the BBC Hausa service is reporting.

The 89 were convicted by a military court for their roles in several attacks in Cameroon's northern region which borders Nigeria - the area has often been targeted by the insurgents.

These people are part of the 850 in detention over alleged involvement in Boko Haram insurgency in the country.

This is the first time that people have been sentenced to death since a new anti-terror law was passed in 2014. 

Twenty-two people were sentenced to death in 2013.

Zuma under pressure

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma is set to face questions in parliament a day after Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas said  he was offered the position of finance minister by a member of the wealthy and controversial Gupta family.

The revelation appeared to confirm a long-running accusation that the family is exercising political influence over the president.

Last month, as Mr Zuma was giving his state of the nation address in parliament, members of the opposition EFF party chanted "Zupta must go!" before being thrown out.

South Africa's News24 website is reporting that the opposition Congress of the People party will be laying treason charges against the president.

Jacob Zuma in parliament

Deadly clashes in Somalia

At least 30 suspected members of militant Islamist group al-Shabab have been killed in two separate battles with Somali and Kenyan forces, officials say.

The authorities in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland say 11 Islamists were killed when they attempted to seize several coastal villages.

The Kenyan army said it killed 19 militants who attacked a military camp in the southern Somali city of Afmadhow. 

Al-Shabab has not yet commented on the incidents which happened on Wednesday.

Read: Who are Somalia's al-Shabab?