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  1. Tanzania's information minister sacked after TV raid probe
  2. Nigeria and Kenya condemn deadly London attack
  3. French citizen abducted in Chad
  4. War games in Gulf of Guinea to fight piracy
  5. 'Ten mass graves' found in DR Congo
  6. UK mother accused of plotting against Rwandan leader pleads not guilty
  7. South African woman 'raped in front of son in fake taxi'
  8. New Kenyan scheme to sell government bonds via mobile phones
  9. Citibank agrees to pay fine over rigging
  10. Email stories and comments to - Thursday 23 March 2017

Live Reporting

By Hugo Williams and Farouk Chothia

All times stated are UK

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Scroll down for Thursday'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:

Eating raw meat is a choice of the heart."

A Swahili proverb sent by Dennis Nyacheo, Nairobi, Kenya

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

And we leave you with this picture of Lufefe Nomjana, a Cape Town businessman encouraging healthy living in townships:

Lufefe Nomjana

Gun pointed at sacked Tanzania minister

Sammy Awami

BBC Africa, Dar es Salaam

Nape Nauye
Nape Nauye says he respects the president's right to fire him

A policeman in plain clothes pointed a gun at Tanzania's sacked minister of information, Nape Nauye, in a bid to prevent him from holding a press conference at a hotel in the main city, Dar es Salaam. 

There was also a scuffle involving plain clothes officers, a man who had accompanied Mr Nauye, and other men who I could not identify. 

The gun was pointed at Mr Nauye to try and force him to return to his car. 

He eventually spoke, standing up through the sunroof of his vehicle.

Apart from journalists, many other people had come to hear Mr Nauye's reaction to his controversial dismissal from the cabinet by President John Magufuli ( see earlier post ).

Mr Nauye said he respected the president's right to sack him.

Referring to the scuffle, he said: 

Why would somebody point a pistol at me? I’ve been very patriotic to this country and my party, and I swear I will continue to be loyal."

Mauritania president defies senate to call constituional referendum

BBC Monitoring

News from around the globe

Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz
Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz

Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz has said that he will press on with plans to hold a popular referendum despite the parliamentary upper house, the Senate, voting against a set of constitutional amendments earlier this month.

The controversial amendments include the abolition of the Senate with elected local councils created in its place, as well as changes to the national flag and anthem.

Referring to the upper house, Mr Abdelaziz said that "only 33 people" rejected the amendments, as opposed to the majority of Mauritanians whom he said supported them. 

Thirty-three senators out of 56 had voted against the move after it had been overwhelmingly endorsed by the lower house. 

"Are we going to leave the matter and the right to decide the future of Mauritania to 33 people?" he asked.

Mauritania new proposed flag with red stripes
The new national flag would have red bands will represent blood shed during the fight to end colonial rule

From cattle herder to pop superstar

Steve Kekana is one of South Africa's most celebrated musicians, but his journey to the top was pretty much the opposite of the modern-day manufactured pop star.

At five, he became blind after an illness, and ended up working as a cattle herder when he grew up, after a childhood he describes as "rough but enjoyable".

He's been telling his extraordinary life story to BBC Outlook's Mpho Lakaje:

Blind singer Steve Kekana is one of South Africa's most celebrated musicians.

Somalia in the spotlight at UN Security Council

View more on twitter

Somalia was high on the agenda as UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson led today's UN Security Council meeting in New York.

Mr Johnson, who was in Somalia last week as part of a tour of East Africa, said that "if the international community learned the lessons of 2011 and acted decisively, famine could be prevented." 

An estimated 260,000 people died as a result of the famine that hit Somalia between 2010 and 2012. 

The UK's mission to the UN has been tweeting excerpts of Mr Johnson's speech:

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Mr Johnson also commented on the state of democracy in the country, after MPs elected a new president last month:

I look forward to a one-person one-vote election in four years time."

French citizen kidnapped in Chad

Chadian troops have launched an operation to rescue a French citizen who has been kidnapped in the south-eastern Sofala region, Communications Mniter Madeleine Alingue has said.  

Two gunmen on motorbikes abducted the man - employed by a French gold exploration firm in Chad - in the village of Ndoroti, as he was going to pay workers, the private Chadian news website reports  (in French). 

The minister said:

The government of the Republic of Chad strongly condemns this odious act and informs the public that search operations have been initiated throughout the region to find the victim and his captors."

France's foreign ministry said French authorities were in contact with their Chadian counterparts "to secure the release of our compatriot'', AFP news agency reports. 

'Bad farming' behind Tanzania tomato shortage

          Datapic shows photo of tomatoes, with current price of $1 for 1kg. 6x higher than 2016 price. 3x higher than last month.

Tanzanians are grappling with a hike in tomato prices, with residents of the country's biggest city, Dar es Salaam, saying that prices have trebled in recent weeks. 

Whilst the wide ongoing food shortage across East Africa is attributed to a prolonged drought, the tomato case in Tanzania is said to be partly due to bad farming. 

The BBC's Sammy Awami has been investigating: 

Shortage leads to pricey tomatoes

Top Islamist militant 'killed' in Burkina Faso

Sammy Maina

BBC Monitoring

Local media in Burkina Faso say a militant suspected of masterminding several attacks in the north has been killed.

Harouna Dicko was killed during a night-time raid by security forces in Soum region, near the Malian border, according to the Le Faso news site  (in French).

Eighteen other suspected militants were also arrested during the operation.

Dicko was thought to have been a "lieutenant" of Ibrahim Malam Dicko, the leader  of Ansar al-Islam, the  Burkina 24 news site reports .

The group has claimed responsibiity for most of the attacks in the region, including the killing of 12 people in December.

Super Eagles criticised over London solidarity gesture

View more on twitter

Nigeria's national football team has been accused of double standards and hypocrisy by some fans on Twitter after it announced plans to honour the victims of the terror attack in London during its friendly match in the English capital later today.

Four people were killed in the attack outside parliament on Wednesday. 

But many of those commenting on the Super Eagles' decision say there has been no special tribute offered for the huge numbers of victims killed in the Boko Haram insurgency. 

At least eight people were killed in the north-eastern capital Maiduguri on the same day as the London attacks. 

@NGSuperEagles Really? are you people aware that BOKO HARAM killed many Nigerians yesterday? we are our own problem @Gidi_Traffic

@viqueta @NGSuperEagles @Gidi_Traffic that is colonial mentality for you. They care more abt their colonial masters more than their own ppl

@NGSuperEagles @ogujohnugo Rubbish! Many were killed in Maiduguri this week. Wear black bands for them.

But not everyone agrees with the negative assessment of the team's gesture:

@NGSuperEagles This is awesome. Respect for your host community. Its called social responsibility. Tell our people to do same at home

Nigerian players observed a minute's silence before training at the Brazil World Cup in 2014, after a Boko Haram bomb attack on football spectators in northern Nigeria killed at least 21 people.

See earlier post

Uganda at 'breaking point' over refugee influx

BBC World Service

          Newly arrived refugees from South Sudan queue in line waiting to be registered on November 11, 2016 at Kuluba Reception Centre in Koboko District,
Fighting between government and rebel forces has forced people to flee South Sudan

 The United Nations refugee agency says the huge number of people who've fled to Uganda from South Sudan has pushed the country to breaking point. 

Uganda currently hosts 800,000 refugees. Almost three-quarters of them have arrived since July. 

Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda said the unprecedented influx was placing an enormous strain on public services and local infrastructure. 

Uganda and the UN are appealing for urgent support to deal with the situation. 

Read more: I spent day hiding in a swamp

Mozambican author on 'that letter' to Jacob Zuma

Mia Couto is a Mozambican writer and one of Lusophone Africa's most successful authors, shortlisted for the Booker International prize in 2015. 

He's been speaking to Focus on Africa's Hassan Arouni about his latest book and his famous open letter to President Jacob Zuma,  following a wave of xenophobic attacks in South Africa in 2015. 

I knew Jacob Zuma when he was a refugee in Mozambique. We were neighbours, living next to one another."

Mozambican author and activist Mia Couto on that letter to Jacob Zuma

Read more: Xenophobic violence - South Africa's identity crisis

2019 Afcon campaign begins with rare Djibouti win

Djibouti registered a first international victory since 2007 on Wednesday, when they beat South Sudan at the start of the race to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.

They won the game 2-0, at home, to take the lead in their two-legged preliminary round tie.

In the other match,  Madagascar  beat  Sao Tome e Principe  1-0.

The teams are competing for places in the main group phase of the qualifying competition.

Read the full BBC Sport story

Kenya's M-Akiba bond aimed at small investors

Nancy Kacungira

BBC Africa, Nairobi

          A delegate uses her mobile phone to buy a M-Akiba bond during the launch of the first mobile-phone-based government bond at the Treasury building in Nairobi, Kenya March 23, 2017.
The M-Akiba bond could shake up the financial sector

Kenya’s mobile-traded government bond has been in the works since 2015, and was finally launched today. 

For as little as $30 (£24), Kenyan mobile users can now lend to the government and get paid 10% tax-free interest every six months. 

Even though the investment requirement for the M-Akiba bond is very low, government bonds have always been the preserve of the well-to-do, and a major awareness campaign will be required for less investment-savvy individuals to take this up. 

If successful, it will shake up financial services by giving small investors alternatives to low interest earning accounts in banks, mobile money wallets, and savings co-operatives. 

Apart from encouraging people to save, the platform will provide the Kenyan government with a new source of cheap money that it intends to use to finance large infrastructure projects.

Currently, only 2% of government bonds in Kenya are bought and sold by individual investors.

BBC Somali visits Minneapolis

Minneapolis, US
Farhan Jimale

BBC Somali Output Editor Farhan Jimale has been posting pictures on Twitter from Minneapolis in the United States, which he says has the biggest Somali community in the West. 

He has even found a few street names to attest to this. 

Picture of Somali street, taken in Minneapolis US
Farhan Jimale
Picture of Taleex Avenue in Minneapolis, US
Farhan Jimale

Farhan is in the US to film news stories and features ahead of the BBC Somali TV launch on 24 April. 

You can follow him  @farhanjimale

Bid to get Toure to play for Ivory Coast again

Yaya Toure celebrates winning the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations
Getty Images
Yaya Toure's last competitive match for Ivory Coast was the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations final victory over Ghana

New Ivory Coast coach Marc Wilmots wants to persuade Yaya Toure to come out of international retirement.

Wilmots, a former Belgium player and coach,  signed a two-year contract  with the Elephants on Tuesday.

Toure has not played competitively for his country since leading them to the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations Cup title.

  Wilmots said of the 33-year-old: 

I know how important it is to have experienced players. It's not yet over for Toure, we've got to get him back.

The Yaya Toure case will be one of my first missions."

Read the full BBC story here

Citibank to pay $5m over SA currency-rigging

Pumza Fihlani

BBC News

Picture of Rand, South Africa's currency

Global banking giant Citibank has agreed to pay a fine of 69.5m rand ($5.5m, £4.5m) for its role in a price-rigging scandal that broke in South Africa last month. 

Citibank is one of 17 banks which regulators accuse of colluding to manipulate the value of national currency, the rand.

Barclays, JP Morgan and HSBC were among other high-profile banks named as a result of a two-year investigation from the Competition Commission.

It says that the banks used online chat rooms to co-ordinate fictitious bids and offers in order to sway the market. 

When the news broke, South Africans took to social media to express their anger at the findings, calling for criminal charges against the banks implicated.    

The Competition Commission now wants Citibank to testify against the other financial institutions on their list, which would see them paying a lesser fine than the other banks.

As things stand, the watchdog wants the banks to be fined 10% of in-country annual turnover.

The rand is the highest it has been in almost two years, recovering some of its value after a five-year plunge, as the country went through crisis. 

War games in Gulf of Guinea to fight piracy

BBC World Service

View more on twitter

A major maritime security exercise is taking place in Ivory Coast, as part of efforts to combat piracy and trafficking. 

Naval forces from Africa, Europe, South America and North America will be involved. 

West Africa has become a key transit route for smuggling drugs from South America to Europe, and the Gulf of Guinea is now the hub for Africa's pirates.

The navies will practice scenarios related to countering smuggling, oil spills, search and rescue operations and piracy.

The exercise, which will last until 31 march, is sponsored by the United States Africa Command, which has been sharing photos on its social media accounts:

View more on twitter

Read more: Chasing West Africa’s pirates

Super Eagles ask to honour London terror victims at friendly

View more on twitter

Nigeria's national football team have asked the organisers of their friendly game v Senegal tonight in London if they can pay tribute to the victims of yesterday's terror attack in Westminster. 

View more on twitter

The Super Eagles, who failed to make it to the Africa Cup of Nations in January, will be without star Victor Moses as they look to gain momentum before the start of their Afcon 2019 qualification campaign.   

There was a shock call-up for non-league Peckham All Stars goalkeeper Tope Okeowo, drafted in at the last minute as a replacement for the injured Carl Ekeme.

View more on twitter

UK mother denies plotting against Rwanda's leader

Violette Uwamahoro (R)
Violette Uwamahoro (R) was arrested on 14 February

A pregnant mother from the UK has appeared in court in Rwanda on charges of spreading state secrets, trying to harm President Paul Kagame and attempting to form an armed group. 

Violette Uwamahoro, a Rwandan-British national, pleaded not guilty to the charges when she appeared in the High Court in the capital, Kigali. 

She looked calm during her court appearance, and smiled as she left the building, reports journalist Phocas Ndayizera from the scene.

She was remanded in police custody until her bail hearing, which is scheduled for Monday. 

Mrs Uwamahoro, a youth worker from Leeds who is five months pregnant with her third child, was arrested on Valentine's Day after travelling to Rwanda for a family funeral.

Her husband Faustin Rukundo said his wife is being victimised because of his role as a political activist.

He is involved with the  Rwandan National Congress  opposition group.  

Mrs Uwamahoro's co-accused, a policeman, pleaded guilty to the charges, saying they had conversations on WhatsApp about "conspiring" to overthrow the government.

President Paul Kagame has been accused by his crtics of leading a repressive regime, which he denies. 

Mrs Uwamahoro's children, Samuel, aged eight, and David, 10, have written to UK Prime Minister Theresa May and Mr Kagame in a bid to help their mother.  

'Game-changer' rotavirus vaccine could save hundreds of thousands

View more on twitter

Trials of a new vaccine to fight rotavirus, a fatal diahrroeal disease which kills about half a million children a year in sub-Saharan Africa, have been hailed by health workers in the region as a potential game-changer.

It's cheaper to make than other rotavirus vaccines and needs no refrigeration.

In tests in Niger, researchers found it was more than 60% effective. 

The vaccine, known as BRV-PV, which is manufactured in India and licensed there, needs final World Health Organisation approval before it can be used worldwide.

Rotavirus, a highly infectious stomach bug can lead to diarrhoea, vomiting, stomach ache and fever - most commonly in under-fives.  

SA woman 'raped by gang in front of son'

Milton Nkosi

BBC Africa, Johannesburg

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South African police are investigating reports that a gang is using fake minibus taxis to lure and rape women in the commercial capital Johannesburg.

One woman has given shocking details to local media  on how she was gang-raped.

She said that on Sunday, while with her 10-year-old son, she hailed a taxi. The men in the vehicle then her held at gunpoint and raped her, while her son was ordered to lie face-down on the floor.

The woman, who spoke to Eyewitness News, said the ordeal lasted for four hours.

Speaking of her fear for her son, she said:

The whole time that I was there was praying that they wouldn’t even touch him.”

The woman says she hopes that by speaking about the incident, she can encourage other victims to come forward, and potentially help prevent more attacks, EWN reports.

South Africa has some of the highest rates of rape in the world.

Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini told the BBC that the suspects were armed and travelling in Toyota vans.

He added:

A group of three to four men driving in two separate Quantams, one grey and another white, pick up women pretending to be a taxi, rob them at gun point and then proceed to rape them.”

Egyptian troops 'kill' jihadists

BBC World Service

At least 10 Egyptian army soldiers have been killed in a double roadside bombing in the central Sinai peninsula. 

In a statement, Egyptian military officials said 15 jihadists from the Islamic State group were also killed by troops in the clash.

Kenya government launches bond for mobile investors

Kenya's Treasury is launching a new government bond called M-Akiba, aimed at small investors who will be able to purchase the bonds via their mobile phone at a low cost.

So how exactly does it work? Aly Khan Satchu, a financial analyst and the chief executive of Rich Management in Nairobi, told BBC Newsday why he thought it was such an important development:

It allows anybody who has a mobile phone in Kenya to buy and sell government securities across that phone.

It really is democratising the financial markets. It's giving access to every Kenyan citizen to government securities.

People with as little as $30 can now invest in the capital markets."

Kenya is a global leader in mobile money payments

Nigeria's biggest airline 'shut down' over industrial dispute

Arik Air passenger jet

Angry workers have shut down Nigeria's largest airline, Arik Air, accusing the management of failing to reinstate sacked colleagues, local media report.

The Nigerian government announced a takeover of the airline last month to prevent it going bust.

But the main union representing aviation workers has accused the new management of intolerance to unionism, Nigeria's Premium Times reports.

The government agency - Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, now responsible for supervising the cash-strapped airline - said the decision was made to "instill sanity in the country's aviation sector and to prevent a major catastrophe."  

Read more: Nigeria's Arik Air and aviation industry in disarray

Pilot and co-pilot pose for a photo
Arik Air has previously pleaded with customers not to attack its staff over the airline's dysfunctional operations

'Mass graves' found in DR Congo

United Nations investigators have found 10 mass graves in the Democratic Republic of Congo's violence-hit Kasai region, UN human rights officer Barbara Matasconi has said, AFP news agency reports. 

The government has been informed of the discovery of seven of the mass graves in Demba town and three  in Tshimbulu, she added. 

The remote region has been hit by violence since August when government forces killed a traditional ruler and militia leader, Kamwina Nsapu, who had rebelled against the central government of President Joseph Kabila. 

Tanzania's information minister fired

President John Magufuli
President John Magufuli is famously disciplinarian

Tanzania's President John Magufuli has sacked his information minister, who launched an investigation into a powerful government administrator accused of intimidating a popular private media station in the main city, Dar es Salaam. 

In a mini-reshuffle announced this morning, President Magufuli did not explain why Nape Nauye had been pushed out of the cabinet. 

On Tuesday, an investigating team, formed by Mr Nauye, recommended disciplinary action against embattled Dar es Salaam regional commissioner Paul Makonda following allegations that he stormed into the offices of Clouds Media Group (CMG) on Friday. 

CCTV footage
CCTV footage showed Mr Makonda (L) in the offices

Reports say that Mr Makonda was unhappy that the TV station had failed to run a story that would have portrayed a local cleric in a bad light.

Mr Makonda and the religious leader have had a public disagreement over an alleged drugs scandal. 

President Magufuli appeared to defend his administrator, a move that sparked off public outrage, especially among social media users.   

Mr Makonda, who is said to enjoy a close relationship with the president, is yet to comment on the incident.     

London attack: African countries show solidarity with UK

Armed policeman
Police have arrested seven people in connection with the attack

Nigeria and Kenya have voiced their solidarity with the UK after yesterday's deadly attack near the Houses of Parliament in London.

A lone attacker was shot dead after he used a car to run down pedestrians, killing three, and fatally stabbed a police officer outside Parliament.

In a statement, Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhai said Nigerians "stand with Britons at this sad and trying moment in their country". 

He added that the whole world should unite to defeat "terrorism". 

In a tweet, Kenya's Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed said: "Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, families and friends of the brutal terrorist attack in London."

She added:

View more on twitter

Seven people have been arrested and six addresses raided in London, Birmingham and elsewhere in the country in connection with the attack, police say.

A total of 29 people injured in the attack have been treated in hospital and seven remain in a critical condition.

Police Acting Deputy Commissioner and Head of Counter Terrorism Mark Rowley said:   

The inquiries in Birmingham, London and other parts of the country are continuing. It is still our belief - which continues to be borne out by our investigation - that this attacker acted alone and was inspired by international terrorism."

Follow the latest updates here

Today's wise words

Our African proverb of the day: 

Eating raw meat is a choice of the heart."

A Swahili proverb sent by Dennis Nyacheo, Nairobi, Kenya

Click here to send us your African proverbs .

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