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  1. Video content

    Video caption: Kenya's motorbike ambulances are saving the lives and limbs of people bitten by snakes

    Kenya's motorbike ambulances are saving the lives and limbs of people bitten by snakes

  2. Scroll down for Wednesday's stories

    We'll be back on Thursday

    That's all from BBC Africa Live for now. We leave you with an automated service until Thursday morning.

    A reminder of our wise words of the day:

    Quote Message: Don't ignore the coconuts, for mangoes are seasonal." from Sent by George Mwita in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Joe Akure in Kakuma, Kenya
    Sent by George Mwita in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Joe Akure in Kakuma, Kenya

    And we leave you with this picture of Angola's Sofia Higino performing during the Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships on Wednesday:

    Angola's Sofia Higino performing during the Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships
  3. Journalists attacked in Malawi protests

    Peter Jegwa Kumwenda

    BBC News, Malawi

    President Peter Mutharika
    Image caption: President Peter Mutharika was narrowly elected to a second term in May

    There were chaotic scenes in Malawi's capital, Lilongwe, on Wednesday as civil society groups and opposition supporters protested against the results of May’s election.

    The demonstrations descended into chaos with shops and property destroyed and at least two local journalists assaulted.

    This was the latest round of protests organised by civil society organisations. They have been supported by the main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and the fairly recently formed UTM party headed by the previous Vice-President, Saulos Chilima.

    Protesters are demanding the resignation of the chair of the election management body, Jane Ansah, who they accuse of mismanaging the election.

    Ms Ansah insists she will only resign if proven guilty in an ongoing case in which the opposition have petitioned the Supreme Court to nullify the presidential election results.

    Protests have been routinely held across Malawi since the vote and have often ended in violence and looting. But Wednesday marked the first time journalists had been targeted.

    The two journalists who were attacked sustained minor injuries.

    President Peter Mutharika was narrowly elected to a second term in office with 38.5% of the vote in May.

  4. Third arrest over Nigeria serial killings

    Karina Igonikon

    BBC Pidgin, Lagos

    Police Commissioner Mustapha Dandaura
    Image caption: Police informed protesters that a third arrest had been made on Wednesday

    A third suspect has been arrested in connection with a series of killings at hotels in the southern Nigerian city of Port Harcourt, police say.

    At least eight women have been found strangled in various hotel rooms in Nigeria’s oil capital in Rivers state since August.

    On Wednesday, more than 70 women's groups and NGOs embarked on a peace walk to protest over the killings.

    They demanded that the government and security agencies apprehend those who are responsible and make the city safe.

    Police Commissioner Mustapha Dandaura told the protesters of the third arrest when they went to the department's headquarters.

    He said police apprehended a man in a hotel who was about to strangle a woman with a towel.

    Earlier on Wednesday, police told the BBC that one man had been arrested after he offered around $80 (£70) to spend the night with a woman in the city.

    The other suspect was arrested in Kaduna in central Nigeria.

  5. Remembering the Eritreans jailed without trace

    Teklemariam Bekit

    BBC Tigrinya

    Eighteen years ago, Eritrean security forces detained 11 high-profile officials who had written an open letter to President Isaias Afwerki calling for democratic reforms.

    Since that day - Tuesday 18 September 2001 - there has been no word from them.

    They were part of a group known as G-15 and many were prominent politicians, who had been involved in the struggle for independence and had become members of the now-defunct parliament.

    Seventeen journalists who reported on their letter - which asked the president to uphold the constitution and hold elections - were also detained and similarly disappeared.

    None of them has ever been charged, although the government called them "traitors" who had sold out the country to Ethiopia during the 1998-2000 border conflict.

    Following last year’s peace deal with Ethiopia, ending years of hostility between the two neighbours, many Eritreans and human rights organisations hoped there would be an opening up of the political space in the country and that Mr Isaias would agree to holding the first national election since independence.

    But there has been no change, indefinite conscription continues, political prisoners remain in detention and its borders remain closed.

    Amnesty International is running an 18-day social media campaign to remember the detainees.

    But there are few archive photos of the G-15 prisoners, so BBC Tigrinya has commissioned illustrations of some of those who were jailed without trace:

    • Ogbe Abraha: an army general, who had served as a defence force chief of staff, trade minister and labour and social welfare minister:
    Illustration of Ogbe Abraha
    • Aster Fissehatsion፡ a top official in the Labour ministry and National Union of Eritrean Women; member of the EPLF rebel movement since 1977:
    Illustration of Aster Fissehatsion
    • Berhane Gebregziabeher፡ an army major-general; head of the National Reserve Force; EPLF political bureau member since 1977
    • Beraki Gebreselassie፡ a former ambassador to Germany, who had also served as minister of education and minister of information:
    Illustration of Beraki Gebreselassie
    • Hamad Hamid Hamad፡ Arabic department head in the foreign ministry and a former ambassador to Sudan
    • Saleh Kekiya፡ a former transport minister, who had also served as deputy foreign minister and head of the president’s office
    • Germano Nati: a regional administrator
    • Estifanos Seyoum፡ an army brigadier-general and former head of the tax office
    • Mahmoud Ahmed Sherifo፡ a former vice-president, who had also served as foreign minister and local government minister. He was a co-founder of the EPLF:
    Illustration of Mahmoud Ahmed Sherifo
    • Petros Solomon፡ a former maritime minister, who had also served foreign minister. An EPLF military commander and intelligence chief, he was one of the most senior members of the rebel movement from 1977:
    Illustration of Petros Solomon
    • Haile Woldetensae: a former trade and finance minister, he also served as foreign minister during peace talks to end the border conflict. He was the EPLF’s former head of political affairs:
    Illustration of Haile Woldetensae

    Read more:

    Jailed without trace in Eritrea: 'I haven't seen my parents for 17 years'

  6. Liberia fire death toll rises to 27

    Image shows crowds gathered near the school
    Image caption: Large crowds gathered near the school in the wake of the disaster

    At least 27 people, many of them children, are now confirmed to have died in the fire at a boarding school in Liberia overnight.

    Earlier on Wednesday, police said the death toll was 23.

    Officials told AFP news agency that the victims were 10 years old and above.

    Police have told the BBC they are still looking for bodies in the building, which is in the Paynesville suburb of the capital, Monrovia.

    The fire is believed to have broken out in the early hours of the morning, when Koranic school students were sleeping in a building near their mosque.

    Police spokesman Moses Carter told Reuters news agency that the fire was caused by an electrical problem, but investigations are continuing.

  7. SA action plan to fight sexual violence

    Protesters march against gender-based violence in South Africa

    South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced an urgent action plan to address violence against women.

    At an emergency sitting of parliament, Mr Ramaphosa said the number of crimes targeting women and children were similar to those of a country at war.

    He called for South Africans to unite and turn the tide.

    The latest crime statistics show that 2,700 women and 1,000 children were murdered by men last year - and that at least 100 rape cases are reported in the country every day.

    Mr Ramaphosa said on Wednesday that laws and policies must be amended to ensure harsher sentences for perpetrators of sexual offences.

    He said the government would make more than $75m (£60m) available in the current financial year for measures including public education, strengthening the criminal justice system, increasing sentences and providing better care for victims.

    The plan also includes measures to improve the economic power of women.

  8. Video content

    Video caption: South Africa's Naledi Pandor on 'Afrophobia'

    The country has seen a spate of xenophobic attacks in recent months.

  9. Ivory Coast's Aurier wants Spurs to repeat CL glory

    Stanley Kwenda

    BBC Africa

    Serge Aurier (left) of Tottenham Hotspur during a Premier League match in London - 14 September 2019
    Image caption: Serge Aurier is looking to re-launch his career at Tottenham

    Tottenham Hotspur's Ivorian defender Serge Aurier is looking to re-launch his career at the north London club after spending much of last season on the sidelines.

    Aurier played his first game of the season at the weekend, his first start since February.

    He was ready to leave the club at the end of last season but now says he has had a change of heart. Aurier says he is looking forward to helping his side repeat last season's successful run in the Champions League, when they reached the the final of the tournament before losing to Liverpool.

    Tonight his side kick-off their European football campaign against Olympiacos in Greece, but Aurier won’t be involved because he has been left in London alongside other players as part of the club’s squad rotation system.

    “Champions League is another competition, it is not the same intensity or same game, it is completely different," he told the BBC. "It is the best tournament in the world, after the World Cup. We need to stay calm. We need to take it game by game and after we will see."

    He continued: “The new season has started for me. Now I am calm and happy to stay. I speak with everyone, I don't want to leave.

    "I didn't want to leave [because of] the gaffer or the chairman. It was my personal situation and now it is OK, everyone wants to give me another chance and now I am happy to stay and happy to play.

    "We need to give the best for this season and for the trophies,” he added.

  10. Nigerian forces barricade office of Sahara Reporters

    BBC Monitoring

    The world through its media

    Omoyele Sowore
    Image caption: Omoyele Sowore, who founded Sahara Reporters, has been in detention since the beginning of August

    Nigerian security forces have barricaded the office of the online paper Sahara Reporters in the commercial capital, Lagos.

    A Premium Times reporter at the scene said armed officers were preventing people from entering or leaving the building.

    Sahara Reporters says the move is intended to intimidate its staff ahead of a planned protest to demand the release of Omoyele Sowore, the website’s publisher and founder of the Coalition for Revolution movement.

    He was arrested in August for trying to organise nationwide protests - dubbed #RevolutionNow - against poor governance, corruption and insecurity.

    Nigeria's secret police was given permission on 8 August to hold him under terrorism laws for 45 days as they investigate allegations that he was plotting to overthrow the government.

    Mr Sowore has become a vocal pro-democracy campaigner and stood for president in February, coming 10th out of more than 70 candidates.

  11. Rwandan Hutu militia leader killed in DR Congo

    A Rwandan Hutu militia commander who was wanted for war crimes has been killed in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo), the country's military says.

    Sylvestre Mudacumura, who was wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC), led the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).

    He was killed in Rutshuru in the east of the DR Congo, an army spokesman said on Wednesday.

    FDLR leaders are accused of taking part in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. That year, during just 100 days, ethnic Hutu extremists killed about 800,000 people as they set out to exterminate Rwanda's minority Tutsi community and their political opponents.

    The ICC issued an arrest warrant for Mr Mudacumura in 2012 for nine counts of war crimes, including murder, rape and torture.

    He was a senior member of Rwanda's presidential guard during the 1994 genocide, before he fled across the Congolese border.

    The Rwandan government cited the FDLR's presence on Congolese soil to justify repeated interventions across that border.

  12. SA's top court rules against smacking children

    Milton Nkosi

    BBC Africa, Johannesburg

    A stock image of a child fearfully sitting on wooden stairs
    Image caption: The court said there were effective ways to discipline a child without the use of corporal punishment

    South Africa's Constitutional Court has ruled that the use of corporal punishment at home violates children's rights.

    It ruled that the "reasonable and moderate chastisement" of children as a form of physical discipline is unconstitutional.

    The court said there were effective ways to discipline a child without the use of corporal punishment.

    It upheld an earlier High Court ruling from a trial that involved a father who was found guilty of assaulting his 13-year-old son after he discovered he had been watching pornography.

    In that case, the father argued that he was entitled to chastise his son because he was doing so in accordance with his religious beliefs. But the court found the defence of reasonable chastisement to be unconstitutional.

    A pressure group, Freedom of Religion South Africa, has criticised Wednesday's ruling.

    It argued that the judgement made criminals of people of faith who believe that the Bible permits or even commands them to physically correct their children.

    But Tshebo Mokoena, from the children’s rights NGO ChildLine, welcomed the ruling.

    "We must agree that you cannot correct a child’s behaviour with violence," he told the BBC.

  13. BreakingLiberia school fire kills at least 23

    Map showing Paynesville in Liberia

    At least 23 children have been killed in a fire at a boarding school in Liberia, police say.

    Emergency services are at the scene, which is near the capital, Monrovia, and are looking for further bodies.

    The children were sleeping in a building attached to a mosque when the fire is believed to have broken out at in the early hours of the morning.

    In a tweet, President George Weah said a "deadly fire had engulfed their school building" in Paynesville and expressed his "deepest condolences".

    "My prayers go out to the families of the children," he said.

    View more on twitter
  14. Somali army ‘kills 17 militants’

    BBC Monitoring

    The world through its media

    Somali soldiers pictured at Sanguuni military base
    Image caption: The Somali army conducted operations against the militants in central and southern regions (file image)

    Seventeen Islamist militants have been killed during security operations in Somalia, the country's army says.

    The army's commander, Gen Odawaa Yusuf Raage, told state media that 15 al-Shabab fighters were killed in the southern Lower Juba region and two more were killed in the central Hiran region.

    He added that an al-Shabab commander, Ibrahim Abdi Ture'y, was killed in the operation in the Hiran region. He was reportedly an expert in assembling explosive devices.

    The Somali army and allied forces often carry out operations against al-Qaeda-allied al-Shabab fighters, who control rural areas of south and central Somalia.

    The group has been waging an insurgency in Somalia for more than 10 years.

    Separately, on Wednesday, the US Africa Command said it had killed two al-Shabab fighters in an air strike in the Lower Juba region.

    US President Donald Trump expanded military operations against al-Shabab in March 2017.

  15. Detained Tanzanian journalist 'given medical tests'

    Detained Tanzanian journalist Erick Kabendera in court in August 2019
    Image caption: Eric Kabendera is a respected freelance journalist who has written for local and international papers

    Top investigative Tanzanian journalist Erick Kabendera, who has been in detention for more than seven weeks, has told a court in Dar es Salaam that he was taken to hospital on Tuesday for tests.

    His family and lawyer have expressed concern about his health - he was seen limping into court last week when the court was told that he was also having trouble breathing.

    “Yesterday I was able to access medical facility at Amana Hospital where different tests were conducted on both my spine and blood samples were taken,” Mr Kabendera is quoted as saying by Tanzania's private The Citizen newspaper.

    The journalist is facing charges of money laundering, tax evasion and involvement in organised crime.

    He has not yet been asked to enter a plea and the charges are considered too serious for him to be granted bail.

    After he told the court on Wednesday about the medical tests, the prosecution again asked for more time to continue its investigation.

    The case was postponed until 1 October - by which time he will have been in custody for more than two months.

    The manner of his arrest and detention has raised concern about media freedom in Tanzania, both locally and internationally.

    The US and UK have condemned the handling of his case.

    Since Mr Magafuli came to office in 2015, laws overseeing the media have been toughened and a number of newspapers and radio stations have been suspended for "incitement".

    He has often warned about fake news in the wake of articles critical of the government, saying there are limits to press freedom.

  16. SA poultry farmers fight frozen chicken threat

    South African Poultry industry farmers, workers and members of the Food Allied Workers Union (FAWU) during a protest - February 2017
    Image caption: Farmers want higher tariffs on imports from Brazil and United States

    South African poultry farmers are up in arms over the importation of frozen chicken from Brazil and United States.

    The farmers say they cannot compete with the exporters and want their government to impose higher tariffs.

    Izaak Breitenbach, from South African Poultry Association, told BBC's Focus on Africa radio programme that 13 local companies had declared bankruptcy in the last three years because of competition from frozen imports.

    The imported chicken is being sold at $0.50 (£0.50) per kilogram in South Africa, against locally reared chicken that goes for about $1.50 - depending on the cut, he said.

    "Countries that overproduce will sell the product that they don't want in other markets, at prices lower than it is produced in other countries like South Africa," he said.

    "As we sit here, 73% of all per capita consumption has gone to imports, predominantly from Brazil and US... that has caused enormous amount of job losses."

    Mr Breitenbach wants South Africa to adopt the European Union's policies on anti-dumping and controls on import volumes.

    "We've done a study that covered the last 10 years. The earnings in the South African poultry industry was not enough to invest in the industry. That is not what you want for a country that has 23% of unemployment, we need to create jobs."

  17. ‘Supernatural python’ saved from Tanzanian pilgrims

    Eagan Salla

    BBC Swahili, Geita, Tanzania

    People holding the giant python in Geita province, Tanzania

    The authorities in Tanzania have rescued a giant python from a forest after it was mobbed by pilgrims who believed it had supernatural powers.

    People began flocking to Kasala forest in the north-west of the country when the snake, which is estimated to be at least 3m (10ft) long, was spotted two weeks ago.

    They came to give it offerings of live animals in the belief that if it ate them it would deliver their wishes.

    Pythons wrap themselves around their prey and suffocate it to death before swallowing it whole.

    Some of the pilgrims gave the python goats while asking for its help with curing diseases and cleansing away evil spirits.

    Locals told the BBC that this was common practice in superstitious mining areas such as north-western Geita province.

    They deny it is a form of witchcraft, saying it is their way of worshipping.

    Issa Kawandiba
    Image caption: Issa Kawandiba said he is hoping for good rains after the python swallowed his offering of goat's blood

    Issa Kawandiba, who led a group from his village to the forest, told the BBC they were seeking the python’s blessing for good rains.

    The python had rejected a goat but swallowed an offering of goat’s blood, so he was hopeful they would receive their wish.

    During the trip to the forest, he said they had seen church services being conducted under the trees in the presence of the snake.

    Others were seen creeping up close to the giant snake to take photographs of it with their phones.

    A man taking a photo of the giant python

    But the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism later intervened after growing alarmed at the high number of people who were trekking to see the snake.

    People putting the python in a box in Geita province, Tanzania

    It has organised for the python to be moved to a neighbouring game reserve to ensure its safety - and that of its devotees.

  18. Women protest against Nigeria hotel serial killings

    Karina Igonikon

    BBC Pidgin, Port Harcourt

    Women protesting against serial killings in Port Harcourt, Nigeria

    Women have been marching through Port Harcourt calling for more protection in the wake of serial killings in Nigeria’s oil city.

    At least eight women have been found strangled in a similar way in different hotel rooms in the capital of Nigeria’s southern Rivers state since August.

    The police have arrested two suspects in connection with the case, but those taking part in the protest - organised by more than 60 women’s group in the state - feel more needs to be done.

    They chanted and sang in the Igbo language repeating the word "iwe", which means "anger".

    One of the protesters told reporters: “The women in Port Harcourt no longer feel safe. We ask for protection.”

    Women protesting against serial killings in Port Harcourt, Nigeria

    Another said: “We say no to femicide… we are angry. We are scared of going out. We are scared of going out to work.”

    Women protesting against serial killings in Port Harcourt, Nigeria

    A representative of the African Women Lawyers’ Association added that so many had turned up for the demonstration because the women of Rivers state were aggrieved.

    “The killing of women must stop. Even one death is too much - enough is enough,” she said.