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Summary

  1. Alleged victim of assault 'will be happy if Zimbabwe's first lady goes to jail'
  2. Alleged offer by a third party to settle case has been rejected
  3. South Africa's borders are on 'red alert' for the first lady
  4. President Mugabe has flown into South Africa
  5. Mass burials in Sierra Leone for mudslide victims
  6. Timbuktu war criminal ordered to pay damages
  7. Funeral service for murdered Kenyan IT expert

Live Reporting

By Dickens Olewe and Farouk Chothia

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Scroll down for Thursday's stories

We'll be back tomorrow

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:

A sinking vessel needs no navigation."

Sent by Baraka Emmanuel in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Click here to send us your African proverbs.

And we leave you with this picture of a brass band busking on a street in South Africa's coastal city of Cape Town.

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Libya 'deports Nigerian migrants'

Authorities in Libya say they have repatriated 135 Nigerian migrants, including women and children, who had made failed attempts to cross the Mediterranean to Europe, the AFP news agency reports..

Hosni Abu Ayanah from the Libyan government agency tackling illegal migration told AFP that the repatriation was voluntary.

The first group of 75 men and 10 women gathered in downtown Tripoli to board buses with metal grills towards the capital's Mitiga airport. Others were set to depart from other migrant detention centres, AFP reported.

The operation was being coordinated with the International Organization for Migration.

US confirms Somalia strikes

The US Africa command says it has carried out three strikes in Somalia against militant Islamist group al-Shabab.

It adds that it conducted the operation in coordination with Somalia forces:

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South African conservationist killed

Renowned South African conservationist Wayne Lotter was shot dead last night in Tanzania's main city, Dar es Salaam.

Lotter was based in Arusha city in northern Tanzania. He was believed to have come to Dar es Salaam for meetings and was on his way to an apartment when he was killed.

Unconfirmed reports say the gunmen fled with his laptop. Police are investigating.

Lotter was the co-founder of PAMS Foundation, and was heavily involved in efforts to curb poaching.

In a statement, the conservation group said: "Wayne devoted his life to Africa’s wildlife, from working as a ranger in his native South Africa as a young man to leading the charge against poaching in Tanzania. Wayne cared deeply about the people and animals that populate this world.

"Wayne’s charm, brilliance and eccentric sense of humour gave him the unique ability to make those around him constantly laugh and smile. He died bravely fighting for the cause he was most passionate about."

Rhinos at a water hold in Mkomazi rhino sanctury on June 19, 2012 in Mkomazi, Tanzania.
AFP
Rhinos are often targeted by poachers

Grace Mugabe's alleged victim: 'She hit us with so much hate'

Pumza Fihlani

BBC News

Gabriella Engels, who claims to have been assaulted by Grace Mugabe, arrives for a news conference in Pretoria, South Africa, August 17, 2017
Reuters
Gabriella Engels has found herself at the centre of global attention

In a long telephone interview, Gabriella Engels, who has accused Zimbabwe's First Lady Grace Mugabe of assaulting her, paused and sounded shaken at times.

Giving her version of what happened, Ms Engels, 20, said she and four other people, two of whom were the sons of President Robert Mugabe and the first lady, had been “having pre-drinks” on Sunday night in a hotel room in Sandton, a plush suburb in Johannesburg.

She then went into another room and Mrs Mugabe walked in looking for her sons.

“She [Mrs Mugabe] had a black extension cord in her hand… She cornered me and started beating the hell out of me. I had to roll myself down to get away from her, that’s when she hit me with the plug and the extension cord. And I just remember being curled down on the floor with blood rushing down my face and down my neck,” Ms Engels alleged.

This file photo taken on October 30, 2012 shows Zimbabwean First Lady Grace Mugabe listening during the official opening of the last session of Zimbabwe"s parliament in Harare.
AFP
Mrs Mugabe's sons live in South Africa

I asked Ms Engels what was going through her mind at that point.

“I was just thinking, I have to get out of this hotel room right now before this woman kills me.”

“The only people that were in the room with us were her bodyguards and they were standing back while she was beating us. We were begging her to stop hitting us, but she didn’t want to, she just… She hit us with so much hate. Like, I don’t understand why she attacked us like that. ‘Til this day my friends and I don’t understand why this woman attacked us the way she did for no reason at all,” Ms Engels said.

She told me she did not know it was Mrs Mugabe until a security guard who helped her to “escape from the room" told her.

“Before I even knew who she was I knew I had to lay an assault charge because I was injured so badly. I didn’t care who the person was. And when I found out who she was, I didn’t want to go lay a charge against her... but my mother pushed me to go lay the charge, because she told me: 'What this woman did was not right. We can’t allow her to get away with it'," Ms Engels said.

The 20-year-old also said: “I would be very happy if she could go to jail, that’s…that’s my main focus right now."

Mrs Mugabe has not commented on the allegations.

Uganda's refugee policy explained in a minute

Uganda is now hosting more than one million refugees who have fled civil war in neighbouring South Sudan, according to the United Nations.

The conflict in the world’s newest country has created Africa’s biggest refugee crisis in more than 20 years, and women and children represent 85% of those who’ve crossed the border.

Our Uganda reporter Catherine Byaruhanga tells BBC Minute about Uganda’s unique system for welcoming refugees.

More than a million people have fled South Sudan for Uganda

Ghana 'sending aid' to Sierra Leone

Ghana's President Nana Akufo-Addo says he will be sending aid to Sierra Leone to help in the "recovery process" following Monday's devastating mudslide that has killed nearly 400 people and has displaced thousands more.

He said that he had called his counterpart, President Ernest Bai Koroma, to offer his condolences for the "tragic loss of lives and property".

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Grace Mugabe assault case: 'Cash offer made by third party'

Gabriella Engels, who claims to have been assaulted by Grace Mugabe, arrives for a news conference in Pretoria, South Africa, August 17, 2017
Reuters
Gabriella Engels, 20, alleges that Mrs Mugabe hit her in a hotel room on Sunday night

The family of the woman allegedly assaulted by Zimbabwe's First Lady Grace Mugabe had been approached by a third party to accept a cash settlement to drop the case, their lawyer has said.

"The family is not interested in doing that," Gerrie Nel said.

"They said let us talk and make this go away. No amount was mentioned." he added.

Mr Nel is nicknamed "the Pitbull". He successfully prosecuted former Olympic star Oscar Pistorius for murder.

'More than 80 million' bribes paid in Nigeria

This picture taken on January 29, 2016 in Lagos shows 1000 naira banknotes, Nigeria's currency
AFP
Many Nigerians complain about high levels of corruption

Roughly 82.3 million bribes were paid in Nigeria in the 12 months leading to May 2016, according to a survey by the official National Bureau of Statistics and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.

It added that almost a third of Nigerian adults (32.3%) who had contact with a public official between June 2015 and May 2016 had to pay a bribe or were asked for one.

"The magnitude of public sector bribery in Nigeria becomes even more palpable when factoring in the frequency of those payments, as the majority of those who paid a bribe to a public official did so more than once over the course of the year," the report said.

Other key points in the report include:

  • Bribe-payers pay an average of about six bribes in one year, or roughly one bribe every two months
  • The average sum paid as a cash bribe is about 5,300 naira ( $14; £10)
  • This means that every time a Nigerian pays a cash bribe, he or she spends an average of about 28.2% of the monthly salary of about 18,900 naira ( $52)
  • About 85.3% of "bribery episodes" are initiated either directly or indirectly by public officials and
  • Almost 70% of bribes are paid before a service is rendered.

The report added: "With such a large portion of public officials initiating bribes, which are paid up front, it seems that many public officials show little hesitation in asking for a kickback to carry out their duty and that bribery is an established part of the administrative procedure in Nigeria."

Aubameyang and Omagbemi only Africans on Fifa shortlists

Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nigeria's women's coach Florence Omagbemi are the only Africans in contention for Fifa's annual awards.

Aubameyang is one of 24 players nominated for The Best Fifa Men's Player award.

The 27-year-old was the top scorer in the Bundesliga last season with 31 goals for Borussia Dortmund.

Omagbemi lead Nigeria to an eighth continental title in Cameroon last year and is one of the 10 names on the list for The Best Fifa Women's Coach.

Read full story

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Getty Images

Sierra Leone mudslide: Pictures of victims' burial

The BBC's Ayo Bello in Sierra Leone has sent us more pictures of the burial of victims of Monday's landslide.

Digging the graves
BBC
Digging the graves
BBC
Digging the graves
BBC

Spain rescues 600 migrants in a day

Migrants
EPA
More migrants could arrive in Spain this year than in Greece, the UN says

Spain's coastguard says it has rescued 600 migrants crossing from Morocco in a 24-hour period amid a spike in the number of migrant arrivals.

The rescued migrants were in 15 vessels including toy paddleboats and a jet ski and included 35 children and a baby.

The UN says more than 9,000 people have arrived in Spain so far this year - three times as many as the previous year.

More than 120 people are believed to have drowned attempting the crossing.

Read the full BBC story here

Sierra Leone mudslide: Burial under way

The BBC's Umaru Fofana in Sierra Leone is reporting that the burial of victims of Monday's devastating mudslide is under way in the Waterloo area outside the capital, Freetown:

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What happens if Grace Mugabe leaves South Africa?

Gabriella Engels, who claims to have been assaulted by Grace Mugabe, arrives for a news conference in Pretoria, South Africa, August 17, 2017
Reuters
Grace Mugabe allegedly hit Gabriella Engels with an extension cord

Gabriella Engels' lawyer has told a media briefing that if Zimbabwe's First Lady Grace Mugabe leaves South Africa, a warrant of arrest will be sought and executed if she ever returns to the country.

Gerrie Nel added that an investigating officer had, in fact, contacted Ms Engels and had told her that an arrest warrant for the first lady was being sought.

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Grace Mugabe 'assault victim offered money'

The lawyer of Gabriella Engels, the woman who was allegedly assaulted by Zimbabwe's first lady Grace Mugabe, has told a press briefing that his client has been offered money to settle her complaint.

Ms Engels is being represented by former state persecutor Gerrie Nel. He prosecuted former Olympic star Oscar Pistorius, who was convicted of murdering his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentine's Day 2013.

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Woman 'assaulted' by Grace Mugabe holds media briefing

An Al Jazeera journalist has tweeted a picture of Gabriella Engels, the woman who was allegedly assaulted by Zimbabwe's First lady Grace Mugabe in a hotel room in South Africa's main city, Johannesburg.

Ms Engels is due to hold a press conference, and we will bring you all the details as they unfold.

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South Africa issues 'red alert' for Grace Mugabe

South African police have issued a "red alert" at the country's borders for Zimbabwe's First Lady Grace Mugabe, Police Minister Fikile Mbalula has said.

South Africa's News24 site has quoted him as saying:

We, in terms of South African police, already put tabs in the borders in relation to her leaving the country, so there is no question about that.

So tabs have been put, a red alert has been put, so she is not somebody who has been running away."

Congo landslide 'kills more than 40'

Mary Harper

Africa editor, BBC World Service

More than 40 people have been killed in a landslide in the north-east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Most of the dead were from a fishing village on the banks of Lake Albert.

Heavy rains caused parts of a nearby mountain to collapse and engulf the village.

A few others died as they searched old mines for gold.

There have been a number of deadly landslides in eastern DR Congo in recent years.

Uganda receives one million South Sudan refugees

A woman holds a baby as refugees from South Sudan wait to board a truck at Dzaipi Refugee Transit Centre in Adjumani, northern Uganda, to be transferred to nearby Nyumanzi Resettlement CampImage copyrightAFP Image caption The UN says that 85% of the refugees who have arrived in Uganda are women and children
AFP
The UN says that 85% of the refugees who have arrived in Uganda are women and children

The number of refugees fleeing violence in South Sudan to Uganda has passed the one million mark, the UN says.

The organisation is appealing to the international community for "urgent additional support".

It adds that at least another one million refugees have fled to Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Central African Republic.

South Sudan has been wracked by civil war, which has seen numerous atrocities, since 2013.

Read the full BBC story here

Why has Sierra Leone seen so much rain?

BBC Weather

Hundreds of people are dead or missing in Freetown, Sierra Leone, after torrential rain led to devastating mudslides.

But is it unusual to see so much rain in this part of the world?

BBC Weather has been looking into it:

Sierra Leone mudslide: Why I'm in tears

A Sierra Leonean student, Kobina, has been at the scene of the devastating mudslide in the outrskirts of the capital, Freetown.

Kobina reports on the recovery effort and his conversation with local people.

He struggles to keep his composure while describing the devastation and the shock at finding out a church and an orphanage could have been swept away.

His report was broadcast by the BBC's OS programme:

One man at the scene of Sierra Leone's mudslide describes what he has heard from locals.

Nigeria women's coach gets Fifa nomination

World football governing body Fifa has just announced its list of nine nominees for the award of best women's coach.

The list includes Nigerian national team coach Florence Omagbeni . Her nomination follows her feat of becoming the first woman to win the Africa Women Cup of Nations both as a player and a coach.

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Dangote will 'sack Wenger if he buys Arsenal'

Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote, who ranks as Africa's richest person, has said he will he will sack Arsena's long-serving manager Arsene Wenger if he succeeds in buying the English Premier League club, Bloomberg news agency reports.

In an interview with the agency, Mr Dangote said he would try to make a bid for the club once the construction of an $11bn (£8.5bn) oil refinery in Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos, is completed toward the end of the decade.

Mr Dangote says he has supported Arsenal since the mid-1980s

Wenger is one of Europe's high profile football managers and recently signed a two-year contract to extend his more than two-decades reign at the club.

He has divided opinion amongst the club's supporters with his detractors saying that he is past his best days and that the club needs a new manager to return to its glory days.

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Zambia determined to push for mandatory HIV testing

Kennedy Gondwe

BBC World Service, Lusaka

A Zambian man waits on November 28, 2014 in the HIV Voluntary Testing and Counseling ward of a Zambian health center in Lusaka
AFP
Health centres currently offer voluntary HIV testing and counselling services

Zambian Health Minister Chitalu Chilufya has threatened to shut down all privately-owned health centres that refuse to implement a compulsory HIV testing policy.

President Edgar Lungu on Tuesday announced that testing, counselling and treatment were no longer voluntary in his bid to make the country free of Aids by 2030.

This means that anyone who goes to a private or state health centre for any treatment should automatically be tested for the virus.

Despite the move being condemned by some politicians and human rights campaigners, the government says it is determined to make it work.

Mr Chilufya wondered why people did not want to know their HIV status, according to a report in the state-owned Zambia Daily Mail newspaper:

“Why are people afraid of knowing their status? It’s better you know so that if you are positive, medication is given to preserve your life.”

He said that a further proclamation aimed at implementing the decision would be issued.

He disclosed that 81% of admissions at the University Teaching Hospital, the country’s biggest referral hospital, were HIV-related.

Al-Shabab miitants 'killed in air strike'

Ahmed Adan

BBC Africa, Nairobi

Seven al-Shabab militants have been killed in a security operation in Somalia's Middle Juba region, the government has said.

Residents in Jilib town told the BBC that there had been air strikes in the area.

A government official said the operation had been conducted "in coordination with our international partners".

This is usually a reference to the US, which carries out strikes in Somalia from its base in neighbouring Djibouti.

The Somali government said the dead included a senior al-Shabab leader responsible for multiple bombings in the capital, Mogadishu.

Jilib is controlled by al-Shabab, which is affiliated to al-Qaeda.

Funeral service for murdered Kenyan IT expert

A funeral service for the Kenyan electoral commission's murdered IT expert, Chris Msando, is taking place at a church in the capital, Nairobi.

Mr Msando was tortured and his body dumped in a forest a week before elections, leading to opposition allegations that his murder was linked to an attempt to rig the poll.

Speaking at the service, his wife, Eve Msando, said his death would not be in vain.

Addressing her husband's killers, she added: "I know you are watching, may you not have peace."

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The Kenyan government vowed to find Mr Msando's killers but the privately-owned Standard newspaper reported on Wednesday that the police had not made any progress in their investigation.

Mr Msando was a key figure in managing the voter identification and result transmission system.

President Uhuru Kenyatta won the 8 August election, defeating veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga by a comfortable margin.

M Odinga said the commission's IT system had been hacked and the result manipulated to give Mr Kenyatta victory.

The commission said there had been a hacking attempt, but it had failed.

Foreign observers said the poll was free and fair.

Mr Odinga has said he will challenge the result in court.

Gordhan: ANC values still 'crucial' for South Africa

The values and policies of South Africa's governing African National Congress (ANC) are "still absolutely crucial" to the country's future, sacked Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has said.

But corruption needed to be tackled head on, he told BBC Hardtalk's Stephen Sackur:

Gordhan: ANC values still 'crucial' for South Africa

Historic ruling over destruction of historic sites

Anna Holligan

Reporter BBC News, The Hague

This file still from a video taken on July 1, 2012 shows Islamist militants destroying an ancient shrine in Timbuktu.
AFP
The destruction of historic sites caused global outrage

Former Islamist rebel leader Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi was found guilty of tearing down sacred mausoleums in Mali's ancient city of Timbukutu and sentenced to nine years in prison last September.

The Malian was the first jihadist to appear before the International Criminal Court (ICC), the first suspect to plead guilty, and the first person to be charged with the destruction of cultural heritage by the ICC.

He has now been ordered to pay victims of the attacks more than $3m (£2.3m) in damages.

The apologetic jihadist listened as the judge highlighted the importance of cultural heritage and the three types of harm caused by its destruction - the physical damage to the mud-brick buildings, the economic loss suffered by those whose livelihoods depended on them and the moral harm to those whose ancestors were buried inside the tombs, and everyone who shared an understanding of their value to mankind.

The specific amount of individual and collective damages will be calculated by the ICC's independent Trust Fund for Victims. It will also provide the money which al-Mahdi doesn't have.

A symbolic one euro was awarded to both the Malian state and to the global community via Unesco. The ICC hopes this landmark case will resonate beyond Mali and send a message of hope to communities in Iraq and Syria witnessing brutal attacks on their cultural heritage.

See earlier post for more details

In pictures: Timbuktu's manuscripts

Nigerian among business tycoons fired by Trump

Nigerian-born businessman Adebayo Ogunlesi was among prominent advisers dismissed by US President Donald Trump when he dissolved a council set up to advice him on the economy, the Vanguard newspaper reports.

Mr Ogunlesi was the only African on the Strategy and Policy Forum.

The US president tweeted his decision:

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His decision was seen as preempting a plan by members of the business councils to quit over Mr Trump's response to Saturday's clashes between far-right and counter protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, in which he blamed "both sides" for the violence.

War criminal ordered to pay damages

Judges at the International Criminal Court have ruled that a former Islamist rebel who was jailed for destroying sacred sites in Timbuktu in Mali should pay victims of the attacks more than $3m (£2.3m) in damages.

Amad al-Faqi al-Mahdi was jailed for nine years last September after pleading guilty to war crimes for his involvement in the destruction of 10 mausoleums and religious sites in Timbuktu.

Read: The destroyer of mausoleums

Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi
AFP
Alleged Al-Qaeda-linked Islamist leader Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi looks on during an appearance at the ICC

Grace Mugabe assault case 'in limbo'

South Africa's Police Ministry says it will not act against Zimbabwe's First Lady Grace Mugabe until it receives clarity from the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) on Zimbabwe's claim that she qualifies for diplomatic immunity in the assault against her, South Africa's Eyewitness News reports.

Ministry spokesman Vuyo Mhaga is quoted as saying:

As soon as Dirco gives us an indication on the diplomatic immunity, we’ll then be able to brief South Africans on what’s happening and the police should be able to do their work.”

Sierra Leone mudslide: Mass burials expected today

Mass burial of victims of Sierra Leone's mudslide that occurred four days ago is expected today as authorities allowed more time for families to identify the bodies.

Nearly half of the 400 people known to have died in the mudslide and flooding on the outskirts of the capital Freetown have already been buried, health officials say.

The BBC's Umaru Fofana in Freetown snapped this picture of pathologist Dr Owiz Koroma signing the death certificates for the victims:

Dr Owiz Koroma
BBC

Analysis: South Africa's diplomatic dilemma over Grace Mugabe

Farouk Chothia

BBC News

Zuma nd Mugabe
AFP
The leader of South Africa and Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe (L) and Jacob Zuma (R), are close allies

South Africa's government risks a public backlash if it lets Zimbabwe's First Lady Grace Mugabe go scot-free.

This happened in 2015, when it failed to execute an international arrest warrant for Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir, who was wanted by the International Criminal Court.

South Africa's government argued that he qualified for diplomatic immunity, but the country's judges disagreed. The government was then strongly criticised for undermining the rule of law.

It seems that the government wants to avoid a similar backlash and is therefore insisting that that Zimbabwe’s first lady must appear in court.

But by taking such an approach it risks a diplomatic row with Zimbabwe's government - a staunch ally whom it has resolutely defended over the years despite international criticism of President Robert Mugabe's human rights record.

So the two governments - including Mr Mugabe and his South African counterpart Jacob Zuma - are bound to be in talks to resolve the crisis over the first lady.

One option being mentioned in the South African media is that Mrs Mugabe should plead guilty during a short court appearance, and pay a fine.

But it is unclear whether Mr and Mrs Mugabe - known for their uncompromising nature - will agree to this, especially after Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF party said in a tweet on Tuesday that the first lady was "attacked", contradicting the version of her accuser.

Accuser's mother: 'Don't give Grace Mugabe immunity'

The mother of 20-year-old Gabriella Engels - a model who has accused Zimbabwe's First Lady Grace Mugabe, 52, of assaulting her - has appealed to the South African government not to grant her diplomatic immunity, South Africa's privately owned eNCA news site has reported.

Ms Engels' mother, Debbie, said the attack was unprovoked, it reported.

She said she told her daughter that even if the assault case failed to reach court, she should be "proud of herself for speaking out, no matter what people are going to say about her because there will be people who will thrash her".

Police opened a case of assault against Mrs Mugabe after Ms Engels accused her of hitting her over the head with an extension cord.

The alleged assault took place after Mrs Mugabe found her with the first lady's two sons, Robert and Chatunga, in a hotel room in Sandton, a wealthy suburb north of Johannesburg, on Sunday evening.

Mrs Mugabe's sons, who are both in their 20s, live in South Africa.

Ms Engels released an image of a head injury online.

Gabriella Engels
Gabriella Engels
Gabriella Engels says she was beaten with an extension cord

Mugabe arrives in South Africa amid family crisis

Grace Mugabe is the second wife of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe
Reuters
Grace Mugabe is the second wife of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has arrived in South Africa amid an attempt by his wife, Grace Mugabe, to gain diplomatic immunity in an assault case filed against her by a model who accuses the first lady of hitting her with an extension cord at an upmarket hotel in Johannesburg on Sunday evening.

Mr Mugabe is in South Africa to attend a Southern African Development Community summit of regional leaders, due to start on Saturday, Zimbabwe's state-owned Herald newspaper reported.

It did not mention the assault case against his wife.

South Africa's privately owned Eyewitness News reported that Mr Mugabe, 93, had been scheduled to only arrive - along with other regional leaders - on Friday but he came early to diffuse the situation around the first lady, aged 52.

Read: The rise of Grace Mugabe

Today's wise words

Our African proverb of the day

A sinking vessel needs no navigation."

Sent by Baraka Emmanuel in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Click here to send us your African proverbs of the day

Good morning

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