Africa highlights: Pregnant women 'taking pills to bleach babies' skin'
Bringing you the news from around Africa on Monday 26 February and Tuesday 27 February 2018 and every weekday at bbc.com/africalive.
Bringing you the news from around Africa on Monday 26 February and Tuesday 27 February 2018 and every weekday at bbc.com/africalive.
Flora Drury and Natasha Booty
All times stated are UK
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Hear what Mr Malema had to say on land reform after the debate below:
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Read our earlier entry on the trial here.
AFPCopyright: AFP BBCCopyright: BBC AFPCopyright: AFP
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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 Tuesday's wise words:
And we leave you with this photo from Instagram user Grace Aloyce taken with friendly turtles in Tanzania:
Kenyan student protest leader shot dead
The leader of a student protest movement in Kenya has been shot dead, local media reports.
Evans Njoroge, the secretary-general of Meru University students' union, was reportedly taking part in a demonstration against high fees and bad conditions when he was killed.
According to Kenyan newspaper The Star, running battles had been taking place between students and police since the university shut its doors at the start of the month.
Eyewtinesses have alleged to a number of outlets that Mr Njoroge was shot by police.
However, neither the university nor the police were willing to confirm the death, the Nation newspaper reports.
Attempts to reach the university and local police by the BBC have also failed.
'I saw them with my own eyes' - Dapchi schoolgirl's escape
A pupil at the school in Dapchi, northern Nigeria, where 110 girls were abducted by Boko Haram militants last week has told the BBC how she managed to escape.
It was at this point that she fell and hurt her arm.
She says she turned back into the school and ran west towards another town.
She told BBC Newsday about the ordeal alongside her father, who described seeing his daughter's "shaken" state when he was reunited with her. His first thought was that she had been bitten by a snake until he heard what had happened.
Officials 'to be held to account' for rubbish dump collapse
BBC Africa, Maputo
Officials who ignored warnings over a dangerous rubbish dump in Mozambique's capital city will be prosecuted following the deaths of 17 people.
The Maputo city attorney’s office says it is currently investigating the circumstances which led to the collapse of the Hulene rubbish dump.
The dump collapsed following heavy rains, leaving more than 150 families homeless, five injured and 17 - including a two-year-old - dead.
Maputo city municipality had been warned about the dangers the dump posed to human life and about the need for its swift closure.
Prosecutor Celia Sambo said they were considering whether the municipality should be held responsible criminally, civilly or administratively.
“Maputo city attorney’s office carried out a series of diligence to collect data. We are collecting data and in the end when we have all necessary and complete information, we’ll definitely know who to hold responsible, and what kind of responsibility to attribute to the entity," she said.
However, given the fact the municipality had been warned about the dangers posed by the Hulene dump and the urgent need to close it, lawyers say the municipality should be brought to book.
Nigerian army and police in blame game of Dapchi kidnappings
BBC Africa, Abuja
More than a week after the Dapchi school girls’ abduction, Nigerian army and police now involved in a very public argument over who should have protected girls.
The row has become a major talking point in the local media: with more than 100 girls still missing, they say security agencies should be focusing on finding them - not having a fight over whose responsibility it was to keep them safe in the first place.
The girls were taken from their boarding school during a raid by Boko Haram militants on 19 February, and have not been seen since.
The Nigerian army has now admitted withdrawing troops shortly before the abductions happened, but claimed it formally handed over to the Nigeria police division located in Dapchi.
However, the Yobe State Police Commissioner Sumonu Abdulmaliki hit back - saying the claim of a handover was “untrue".
He said the military had categorically not informed them of the withdrawal.
It is not clear if it is a common practice for the army to hand over the security of an area to the police.
Woman, 22, killed by lion in South Africa
A woman has died after being attacked by a lioness at a South African game reserve.
The attack took place at a lodge in Hammanskraal, north of Pretoria.
A Netcare 911 spokesman told local media:
"Reports from the scene allege that a 22-year-old female victim was attacked and mauled by a lioness.
"When Netcare 911 paramedics arrived at the scene bystanders had initiated CPR. Tragically the victim had sustained severe injuries and she died at the scene."
South Africa’s Rekord newspaper says police are at the scene.
It is unclear whether the young woman was local or a tourist.
Nigeria sets up committee to probe Dapchi failings
The Nigerian government has set up a committee to probe the circumstances which ended with the abduction of 110 girls from a school in Dapchi, the privately owned Premium Times reports.
The girls were abducted last Monday by suspected Boko Haram militants. The army and police have traded the blame over who was responsible for the security of Dapchi during the attack.
A 12-member committee was announced in a statement by the information minister, Lai Mohammed, this afternoon.
The committee, which will be chaired by a military officer of the rank of major-general, includes people from the Nigerian armed forces, intelligence agencies and police, as well as government officials.
Singer's jail sentence for River Nile joke
BBC World Service
An Egyptian court has sentenced one of the country's top singers to six months in prison over a comment she made about the River Nile.
The singer Sherine was not in court and can appeal the sentence.
She was charged with spreading fake news over a joke she made at a concert last year when a fan asked her to perform one of her most famous songs, Have You Drunk from the Nile?
She warned her audience they'd catch the waterborne disease, Bilharzia, if they did.
Sherine has since apologised, but Egypt's musicians union has since banned her from performing in Egypt.
ANC backs call to take back white-owned land without compensation
BBC Africa, Johannesburg
South Africa’s governing African National Congress (ANC) says it will back a motion brought by the radical opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) on land expropriation without compensation.
EFF leader Julius Malema led the debate in parliament this afternoon.
He told MPs: “The time for reconciliation is over. Now is the time for justice.
"If the grandchildren of Jan Van Riebeeck have not understood that we need our land, that over and above it’s about our dignity then they have failed to receive the gift of humanity. We do not seek revenge.
“Land must be expropriated without compensation for equal distribution.”
The ANC agreed with the motion.
Minister of Water and Sanitation Gugile Nkwinti said they would vote in support of the motion.
“The ANC unequivocally supports the principle of land expropriation without compensation as moved by the EFF," he said.
“Let us do away with this narrative that land was stolen, as if our people were asleep when land was taken. It was taken through brutal wars of colonialism.”
However, South Africa's largest opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, disagreed with their stance.
They warned “land expropriation without compensation cannot be part of the solution”.
A 2017 land audit report by the department of land reform states 72% of farm land is owned by white owners, followed by coloureds (people of mixed race) at 15%, Indians at 5% and blacks at 4%.
In last week’s State of the Nation Address, President Cyril Ramaphosa said while he supports land to be taken without pay, he would not agree to a “smash and grab” policy.
The debate sets in motion the process in which parliament will vote to amend the constitution. The committee is expected to meet on 30 August.
Crowd cheers generals accused of Burkina Faso coup attempt
BBC Africa, Dakar
Security is tight in the neighbourhood of Ouaga 2000 as the military tribunal gets under way. This morning, members of victims’ support groups were gathered in front of the court bearing signs demanding justice.
A total of 84 soldiers and civilians are charged with assault, murder, treason and undermining state security in the process of staging an attempted coup on 16 September, 2015. On that day, elements of the old presidential guard tried to overthrow the transitional government put in place after the fall of long-time ruler Blaise Compaore.
Among the defendants are two high profile generals - General Gilbert Diendere, who was head of the presidential guard and Djibril Bassole, a former foreign minister.
The two, who are accused of masterminding the failed coup, were cheered by their supporters as they arrived at court around 08:00 GMT. Thirteen defendants did not turn up, among whom 10 are on the run, according to the prosecutor.
In court, defence lawyers questioned the competency of the military court to try the case.
Human rights organizations see the trial as a “live test for the credibility” of Burkina Faso’s judiciary. Others fear that any irregularity in the judicial process could compromise reconciliation.
Pregnant women warned against baby skin bleaching pills
Women in Ghana have been warned against a growing trend for taking pills during pregnancy to lighten the skin of their unborn babies while they are still in the womb.
Medical experts say these illegal drugs can cause birth defects, including damage to limbs and internal organs.
Ghana's Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) says using Glutathione pills for this purpose is dangerous, adding it wants "the general public to know that no product has been approved by the FDA in the form of a tablet to lighten the skin of the unborn child”.
The practice is growing in Ghana, according to the FDA, with pills often smuggled into the country inside luggage at airports in large quantities.
Although comprehensive data has not yet been gathered, the body says market surveillance and stakeholder activity have helped to reveal the trend among women crosses socio-economic divides.
Security agencies and police are working together to arrest and prosecute companies and individuals in possession of the illegal tablets.
Ghana hit the headlines last month when candidates for jobs in the immigration service were disqualified from the recruitment process if they bleached skin or stretch marks, for fear they might bleed during the "strenuous" training.
Sudan appoints new army chief
Ahmed Mohamed Abdi
BBC Monitoring, Nairobi
Sudan has appointed a new army chief and announced a reshuffle of the country's military leadership not long after similar changes to the intelligence services, the state-owned Sudanese News Agency (Suna) reports.
The reshuffle might be an indication that the president is consolidating the support of Sudan's two most powerful organs as he nears the end of his second and last term in office.
"Broad changes in the leadership of the armed forces and Lt General Kamal Abdel Ma'ruf [appointed as] Chief of the Joint Staff," reads a breaking news caption on the SUNA website [in Arabic].
The Sudanese president recently carried out a reshuffle in the security sector, appointing a new head of the national intelligence and security and a new deputy.
Some high-ranking officials within the ruling party have called for amendment of the constitution to allow President Omar al-Bashir to run for a third term in office in the 2020 elections.
Second kidnap of official in Cameroon's anglophone region
An administrative official was kidnapped over the weekend in Cameroon's English-speaking region in the second case of its kind in a fortnight, state media has reported.
The man was reportedly seized by armed men near Batibo, around 40km (25 miles) from the city of Bamenda, in the same area where another local official was kidnapped on 11 February.
Cameroon Radio Television (CRTV) said the latest victim is the regional representative for social affairs for the north-west region. Regional police officials told CRTV they had found his burnt-out vehicle.
An armed group of English-separatists, the so-called Ambazonia Defence Forces (ADF), have claimed responsibility for kidnapping both men.
Earlier this month, its leader posted on social media "you kill my people, we'll chase you to the gates of hell" after the abduction of Namata Diteng, who is deputy head of the Batibo district.
Dozens have been killed in Cameroon's anglophone region since October following a violent government crackdown on protests against the mainly French-speaking government.
The arrest in Nigeria and deportation back to Cameroon of 47 separatists last month, including one of their leaders Sisiku Ayuk Tabe, was condemned by the UN and prompted a fresh wave of violence.
Nigerian army 'rescues more than 1,100 Boko Haram captives'
The Nigerian army says it has rescued more than 1,100 civilians from the clutches of Boko Haram militants.
It announced the rescues in a press release on Tuesday, revealing more than 600 people were saved in one operation along the Nigeria-Cameroon border.
Another 700 were rescued from a series of villages, the army said.
The statement comes as the army finds itself under fire for removing soldiers from checkpoints around Dapchi shortly before Boko Haram attacked the town and kidnapped 110 girls.
On Monday it was announced they were throwing resources at the hunt for the girls and their abductors.
However, many are questioning how the abduction was allowed to happen in the first place.
Life sentence for policeman who shot protester
BBC World Service
A police officer in the Democratic Republic of Congo has been jailed for life for shooting dead an opposition protester in the north-western city of Mbandaka.
The policeman is said to have killed the protester as he was walking home after a demonstration.
The protester is one of two people were shot dead by the security forces during recent opposition protests backed by the Catholic Church.
There have been months of demonstrations against President Joseph Kabila who has stayed in office despite his mandate expiring in 2016.
Seven killed in Nigeria blamed on 'girl converting to Islam'
At least seven people have been killed in a fight which reportedly broke out after a Christian girl converted to Islam in north-west Nigeria.
The fight in Kaduna State also left at least 15 people with injuries after homes were torched.
An eyewitness told BBC News Pidgin that trouble started after a Christian girl from Gwari converted to Islam because of her boyfriend.
The witness said this provoked some Christian youths in the area.
Other reports suggest tensions between the two faiths had been simmering for some time.
However, Kaduna State Police Command Muktar Aliyu told BBC Pidgin while they have arrested 10 people in connection with the incident, officers are still investigating the cause of the fight.
“We cannot confirm that the fight started because someone converted to Islam or whatever religion," he said.
"People have a right to convert to any religion they want, it’s not supposed to start a fight.”
He said measures had been taken to stop it spreading from Kasuwan Magani, which is 36km from the state capital, to other areas.
'Kenya won't leave ICC' - Attorney General
Kenya's outgoing attorney-general has surprised many by saying the country "has no plans" to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC), reports the Daily Nation.
It comes five years after Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta accused the court of "race hunting" on behalf of its benefactors and being a tool to oppress Africans.
But Attorney-General Githu Muigai has now reportedly said at an event at Strathmore University in Nairobi:
President Uhuru's comments in 2013 sparked an African onslaught against the ICC.
Kenyan MPs voted to withdraw from the ICC that year, followed by South Africa which began the process of withdrawing from the court in 2016.
Both Mr Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto were charged by the ICC in connection with post-election violence in 2007-08 - charges that were later dropped.
Attorney-General Githu Muigai resigned from office two weeks ago, after six years in the post.
Justice Paul Kihara Kariuki is expected to step into the role.
Death toll in Rwanda refugee protests double
The number of refugees killed during protests against food cuts in Rwanda has risen to 11, the United Nation's refugee agency has said.
The UNHCR said eight refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) in Karongi town, in the west, while another three died in Kiziba camp.
Rwandan police said on Friday five people had died during Thursday's violence, which also left officers and aid workers injured.
It is not entirely clear how the refugees died.
The altercation came two days after thousands of people walked almost 15km (10 miles) from the Kiziba refugee camps to the UNHCR offices, angry at a cut in food aid.
The World Food Programme (WFP) has been forced to cut the amount it gives refugees twice in the last six months.
The first cut of 10% came in November, followed by 25% in January.
The UNHCR said in a statement on Monday it plans to resume its activities in the camps, which is home to more than 17,000 people, today.
Minister's anger at 'primitive' rape resolution case
A Kenyan government minister has warned chiefs and leaders who use "primitive" community resolution to deal with rape cases will be jailed.
Fred Matiang’i hit out at the practise of "maslaha" after it was reported to have been used in the case of a 15-year-old girl who had been gang raped in Wajir County, Nairobi News reported.
According to The Citizen, the interior cabinet secretary was "visibly irked" when he spoke about the issue, promising to jail anyone who did not prosecute alleged rapists to the full extent of the law.
Rape carries a life sentence in Kenya.
African elephants revealed as 'two species'
BBC World Service
A groundbreaking genetic study of living and extinct elephants has confirmed the existence of two separate African species.
It found the African forest and African savannah elephants have not interbred for nearly half a million years - despite living in close proximity.
The earliest Homo sapiens fossil remains ever found date back only 300,000 years.
The research found multiple instances of interbreeding - or gene flow - between different extinct species such as the woolly mammoth.
Scientists say the data gives a clue as to how interbreeding helped mammoths live across varied environments for so long.
Only 500,000 elephants remain in the wild and 50,000 die every year from poaching.