Summary

  1. Conman pretends he can get Pistorius conviction quashed
  2. Continent gears up for 'Super Sunday' of voting
  3. Somalia al-Shabab fighters 'surrounded' by Puntland forces
  4. Two new Ebola cases in Guinea after outbreak was declared over
  5. Escaped Kenyan lion attacks an elderly man before being captured
  6. Algeria gas plant hit by rocket attack
  7. Email stories and comments to africalive@bbc.co.uk - Friday 18 March 2016

Live Reporting

By Clare Spencer and Damian Zane

Get Involved

Scroll down for Friday's stories

That's it from us this week

We'll be back on Monday.

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

A reminder of Today's proverb:

Keep a stick behind your door in case your neighbour’s dog runs mad."

A Krio proverb sent by Ibrahim Kabba, Bo, Sierra Leone

Click here and scroll to the bottom to send us your proverb.

We leave you with this picture of an Egyptian worshipper celebrating the Muslim festival Moulid from our collection of the best pictures from across Africa this week:

AP

South Africa lose to England in T20 cricket

Despite posting 229 runs, the second largest score ever at cricket's Twenty20 world cup, South Africa ended up losing to England.

They got the winning run with just two balls to go in the highest successful run chase in T20 cricket.

Getty Images

Africa 'needs good ports'

"Good ports are perhaps more important to Africa than any other region," writes the Economist.

In an analysis of the state of the continent's infrastructure it visits Kenya's port of Mombasa where it quotes one businessman as saying it's "completely rotten”.

The Economist reports that the image of decrepit infrastructure is common across the continent.

It says that money is being invested, but a lot of it disappears through corruption.

AFP

Africa's Super Sunday part VI: Benin presidential run-off

AFP

As we've mentioned Benin, Congo Brazzaville, Senegal, Niger and Zanzibar are all going to the polls on Sunday.

In Benin, the race to succeed Thomas Boni Yayi is between Prime Minister Lionel Zinsou and a top businessman Patrice Talon in the second round run-off vote.

In the first round there was only a small difference in the votes that the two men got.

Mr Zinsou topped the poll with 27% and his rival got 23.5% in a crowded field of 33 contenders.

Most of the losing candidates have backed Mr Talon, but that doesn't mean he's a shoo-in to win.

Super Sunday part V: The third-term edition

All day we've been looking ahead to Sunday, when there are five votes going on across Africa - something we've dubbed Super Sunday.

One of the elections, the Congo-Brazaville presidential election, brings up an ongoing theme of elections across the continent recently - third terms.

The constitution didn't allow President Denis Sassou to run for the job because he has already won two terms.

But in October the country voted to change that.

AFP

Mr Nguesso, is one of Africa's longest-serving rulers, first coming to power in 1979.

Here's where he ranks among Africa's longest-serving leaders:

  • 36 years: Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo - Equatorial Guinea, took power in a coup in August 1979
  • 36 years: Jose Eduardo dos Santos - Angola, took over after death of the country's first president in September 1979
  • 35 years: Robert Mugabe - Zimbabwe, won the country's independence elections in April 1980
  • 33 years: Paul Biya - Cameroon, took over after resignation of the country's first president in November 1982
  • 31 years: Denis Sassou Nguesso - Congo, installed by the military in October 1979, out of power from August 1992-October 1997
  • 30 years: Yoweri Museveni - Uganda, became president after his rebel group took power in January 1986

How much do you know about African players in the premier league?

BBC Sport has devised a fiendish quiz for the weekend that will test your knowledge of Africans in the English Premier League.

Can you answer any of these?

  • Who was the first African player to play in the English Premier League? 
  • Which club has used the most African players in the Premier League?
  • Which African player has won the most Premier League player of the month awards?

Click here for more questions and answers. 

Getty Images

Man City midfielder Yaya Toure returns for Ivory Coast

Getty Images
Toure hasn't played for Ivory Coast since February last year

Yaya Toure will play for Ivory Coast in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier match against Sudan this month after a long break.

Manchester City midfielder Toure's last competitive international was the Nations Cup final in February 2015.

Bournemouth midfielder Max Gradel is also back after injury.

Newcastle's Seydou Doumbia, Sunderland's Lamine Kone and Manchester City's Wilfried Bony are also included.

China-based Gervinho is also in the strong 24-man squad, as is Hertha Berlin striker Salomon Kalou.

Ivory Coast will play Sudan on 25 March.

Read more on the BBC Sport website.

Arsenal Ladies sign Nigeria striker Asisat Oshoala

Getty Images

Arsenal Ladies have completed the signing of Nigeria striker Asisat Oshoala from Liverpool for an undisclosed fee.

Oshoala scored three goals in 12 games for Liverpool last season after joining the club in January 2015.

And the 21-year-old won the first annual BBC Women's Footballer of the Year award last year.

"She is quick, with excellent feet and has proven she can score goals so it's very positive she has decided to join us." manager Pedro Losa said.

Read more on the BBC Sport website.

Africa's 'Super Sunday' part IV: The video round up

Sunday 20 March is Africa's "Super Sunday" with votes in five countries across the continent - Senegal, Congo Brazzaville, Benin, Niger and Zanzibar.

We've covered what's going on in three places so far, but here's a video round up of all the contests:

Africa's 'Super Sunday' part III: Drama surrounds Niger vote

It's Super Sunday this weekend because there are five votes happening across the continent.

Part one of our preview looked at the re-run of Zanzibar’selection and part two asked what Senegal’s referendum will decide.

Drama surrounds part three which is the second round of the Niger presidential election.

An opposition candidate has been accused of baby trafficking.

Hama Amadou denies the charges, which he says are politically motivated.

AFP

On Monday he reportedly lost consciousness in prison.

His doctor told a local TV station that he had fainted but then was arrested for "revealing medical confidentiality and spreading false news".

On Wednesday Mr Amadou was flown from his prison to France for medical treatment. 

It's not quite clear what his illness is but the government claims he was suffering from "general fatigue".

Read more on the BBC News website.

Conman pretends he can get Oscar Pistorius conviction quashed

A man who allegedly posed as someone from South Africa's prosecuting authority and told Oscar Pistorius that he could get his murder conviction quashed has been arrested.

The News24 website quotes a spokesman for South Africa's police force:

A 33-year-old man was arrested on Friday afternoon in Pretoria soon after he received a deposit of 40,000 rand ($2,600) for his services which included... [having] Oscar Pistorius’s murder case destroyed

Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi

Olympic athlete Pistorius killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in February 2013. 

Last December, a South African appeals court found him guilty of murder, overturning an earlier manslaughter verdict.

He is currently awaiting sentencing.

News24 reports that the alleged conman contacted Pistorius last night saying that he could make his case disappear.

The police then set up a sting operation to catch him.

AFP

South Africa's cricketers rack up second highest score ever

Our cricket watchers have just tweeted this landmark:

twitter: https://twitter.com/bbctms/status/710852057620684802

If you don't follow cricket, it means South Africa scored 229 runs and only four of their batsmen were dismissed.

That's the second highest score at the world cup competition for the Twenty20 form of the game. 

It's bad news for England - there'll be close to elimination if they lose. 

Follow the game on the England v South Africa live page.

Niger attacked by both Boko Haram and al-Qaeda

Islamist militants from al-Qaeda and Boko Haram have killed four security forces in two separate attacks in Niger, officials have said.

Three policemen were shot dead by suspected al-Qaeda members in a village near the border with Burkina Faso.

One soldier was killed and two others wounded when a military convoy was attacked close to Nigeria's border.

Thursday's attacks came three days before Sunday's controversial presidential run-off election.

The opposition has said they will not recognise the results of the vote, and their candidate Hama Amadou, is currently receiving medical treatment in Paris after spending moths in jail.

Read more on the BBC News website.

Getty Images
The government says soldiers repelled one of the attacks

Al-Shabab fighters 'trapped in a valley in Puntland'

We reported earlier that the authorities in Somalia's semi-autonomous region of Puntland say the military has surrounded 250 fighters from the Islamist group al-Shabab. 

Puntland's Vice President Abdihakin Abdullahi Haji Omar Amey has been speaking to the BBC Somali service:  

They are confined in the area of Suj, there are around two to three caves there. The fighting continued throughout yesterday. They tried to escape the area at around 11:25 pm (20:25 GMT), but they were confronted and pushed back by our army. Only one of our soldiers was wounded yesterday. And now our army is surrounding the armed group.

One of Puntland's generals at the front line, Muhyadin Ahmed Musa, has also commented on the fighting:

The operation is continuing as we speak, they are now isolated in a small area. We are hoping to complete the operation very soon.. the important thing is to defeat them however long it may take us to complete this operation."

'If you see a lion don't panic'

Michael Kaloki

Nairobi

There have been two recent lion-escape incidents in Kenya's capital, Nairobi. 

Lions have found their way out of the wildlife park which is within the city boundaries.

Conservationist Ali Kaka told me that changes in the city, as the human population has increased, may have led to some lions trying to relocate to a quieter more conducive location.

He also offers some tips of what to do if you come across a lion:

  • Do not confront the animal
  • Do not make noise
  • Do not throw anything at the animal
  • Do not run
  • Do not panic as the animal may sense this and react
AFP

Is it Dr Mahama or Dr Mahami?

Ghana's President John Dramani Mahama is on a trip to Scotland at the moment and today he has received an honorary doctorate from the University of Aberdeen.

But one eagle-eyed attendee has spotted that a slightly different surname, rhyming with Dramani, appeared on the programme - and the photo is now being shared on social media:

twitter: https://twitter.com/bonti_benjamin/status/710828315758739456

Africa's 'super Sunday' part II: Senegal referendum

We reported earlier on Zanzibar's election rerun on Sunday (see 12:02 entry), and that it's just one of five major votes in Africa on that day.

The others are:

  • Senegal referendum on reducing presidential terms
  • Benin presidential run-off
  • Niger presidential run-off
  • Congo-Brazzaville presidential election

In Senegal, the referendum is on President Macky Sall's proposal to alter the constitution so that the length of future presidential mandates are reduced from seven to five years.

The BBC's Efrem Gebreab has photographed some of the campaigners in Senegal's capital, Dakar.

He came across a group of yes (or oui in French) supporters:

BBC
BBC

You might think that everyone would be in favour of reducing the length of the presidential term, but there are some backing the no (or non in French) campaign:

BBC
BBC
The graffiti reads: "We vote no"

Our reporter says that some opposition comes from people angry with the president for not sticking to a promise of reducing his current term in office, rather than the next one.

Others are concerned that the amended constitution would leave open an ambiguity about whether there should be two rounds of voting for president if no candidate gets an absolute majority - which is currently the case.

'Half a million could move to Europe from Libya'

The EU's foreign policy chief has warned said nearly half a million people displaced in Libya could migrate to Europe, reports Reuters.

The news agency has seen a letter written by Federica Mogherini which also says Brussels is looking into a civilian security mission to Libya.

The letter goes on to say that planning was underway for a mission to rebuild Libya's police, counter-terrorism and border management operations to work with the United Nations.

Getty Images
People travel on small boats from Libya to Europe

Who sent a rocket to Algerian gas plant?

Rana Jawad

BBC North Africa correspondent, Tunis

BP
Foreign workers were taken hostage at this gas plant in 2013

In our earlier post we reported that a gas plant in Algerian was hit by a rocket and there were no casualties.

The rockets hit a gas plant some 200km away from the Oasis town of Ain Salah in Central Algeria.  

The army says it "foiled a terrorist attack." 

The gas facility is jointly operated by Britain’s BP, Norway’s Statoil and the Algerian state-owned oil company.

A statement from Statoil said the explosive munitions "were fired from a distance".  

It’s not known who carried out the latest assault, but Algeria is home to militants affiliated to both al-Qaeda and the so-called Islamic State.  

In 2013, an attack on the Ain Amenas gas plant, which killed 38 workers, was claimed by al-Qaeda's North Africa wing.  

Gupta family insist they are not responsible for colonising South Africa

Milton Nkosi

BBC Africa, Johannesburg

The controversial Gupta family, currently caught up in a political storm in South Africa over their influence on President Jacob Zuma’s government, has responded to the allegations in a double-page newspaper spread:

BBC
BBC

The detailed advertisement entitled “Gupta Family, The Inconvenient Truth” is contained on pages 8 and 9 of The New Age newspaper, which the family owns.

The family, through their holding company Oakbay Investments, said it was releasing details of a meeting it held with the governing African National Congress (ANC) officials last month. 

Each “accusation” is matched by their version of the truth.

"Like any other South African businesses, we interact with the government," the family said.

"In fact, friendship with the previous president was as strong.”

These are some of the points contained in the response:

Accusation: The Guptas are responsible for the colonisation of the country

The family says this is a "ridiculous suggestion".

"However, we have created more than 4,500 jobs for South Africans and have contributed R276m in corporate taxes for 2015, which benefits the people of South Africa."

They questioned whether this was colonisation.

Accusation:Gupta firms benefit from government business

Again the family said this was "absurd" when only less than 1% of the group's business was with the government.

Accusation: Robbing the country

The Guptas are saying they benefit the country and in no way rob it.

According to figures, which they say their auditors have verified, the family has invested more than R10bn ($650m) in the country, created more than 4,500 jobs and contributed to corporate taxes.

Zambia needs austerity measures, says IMF

The International Monetary Fund says that Zambia's government is committed to austerity measures to rein in the country's budget deficit.

An IMF team has just finished its visit there and says in a statement that the "current levels of the budget deficit [are] unsustainable".

It also says that reducing energy subsidies will be key to cutting back on government spending.

The IMF says that Zambia's economy has suffered because of low commodity prices and reduced rainfall, which has affected the harvest.

But it adds that prospects are brighter in the medium term as structural reforms kick in.

AFP
Zambia's President Edgar Lungu is under pressure to cut the budget deficit

Zanzibar poll, one of the elections on Africa's 'super Sunday'

There are five major votes taking place on the continent this Sunday.

  • Zanzibar election re-run for the islands' government
  • Senegal referendum on reducing presidential terms
  • Benin presidential run-off
  • Niger presidential run-off
  • Congo-Brazzaville presidential election

The results of last year's elections on Tanzania's semi-autonomous Zanzibar islands were controversially annulled after the opposition presidential candidate declared himself the winner.

The BBC's Tulanana Bohela has put together this short video explainer:

The banker who ended up in a Tunisian women's prison

We wrote in our 10:22 post that the BBC's Rana Jawad has been given rare access to a new all-women prison in Tunisia, designed to ease overcrowding.

One of the inmates our correspondent spoke to was a former banker who was convicted of stealing public money.

Fatima told her that it's shameful for her family to visit her in prison:

New Ebola cases in Guinea were not unexpected

Tulip Mazumdar

Global Health Correspondent

We reported in our 9:03 post that there are two new Ebola cases in Guinea, the first since the outbreak was declared over last December. 

This is yet another blow in the long lingering fight against the virus. But it is not unexpected.

Guinea was in fact the only one of the three worst-affected countries that hadn't had a re-emergence of the virus once it had been declared over.

Both Sierra Leone and Liberia have reported little clusters of new cases after declaring the outbreaks over. But they've been dealt with quickly.

A risk of new flare-ups remains because Ebola can persist in body fluids of some survivors for months after they recover.

A very small number of new cases have been linked to sexual transmission.

The world is in new territory here, scientists are still learning as the worst Ebola outbreak in history continues to unfold.

Getty Images
Before the new cases, Guinea's last known Ebola patient left this treatment centre in November

South Africans carrying a heavy weight

It's the South African Powerlifting championships today and the BBC's Christian Parkinson sent us these pictures from the competition in Potchefstroom:

BBC
Antionette Kriel won the overall ladies 52kg competition
BBC
A Naidoo also competed in the ladies 52kg competition
BBC
But she lost out to Kriel
BBC
Powerlifting is still a minority sport

Hundreds of al-Shabab fighters 'surrounded' in Puntland

Mary Harper

Africa editor, BBC World Service

The authorities in Somalia's semi-autonomous region of Puntland say the military has surrounded 250 fighters from the Islamist group al-Shabab. 

Puntland's Vice President Abdihakin Abdullahi Haji Omar Amey told BBC Somali that the militants were trapped in a valley, with no food to eat. 

He said some had tried to escape but had been either killed or captured. 

Al-Shabab has had bases in Puntland for several years. 

Last year, a splinter group in the area declared allegiance to so-called Islamic state. 

Most of al-Shabab is allied to al-Qaeda.

AFP
African Union and Somali forces are trying to wrest control of parts of the country from al-Shabab

Zuma's future in the spotlight in South Africa

Milton Nkosi

BBC Africa, Johannesburg

South Africa is on tenterhooks today as the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the governing African National Congress (ANC) begins its two-day meeting near the capital, Pretoria, amid allegations that the wealthy Gupta family is influencing President Jacob Zuma's decisions.

The 100-member NEC is expected to discuss the unfolding political crisis sparked by the revelation by Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas this week that he was offered the job of finance minister by the Guptas.

The family denies this.

Newspaper headlines are dominated by the scandal:

BBC
BBC

Yesterday Mr Zuma denied that he has outsourced his constitutional duties of appointing cabinet ministers to his friends. 

He told a raucous parliament: “I am in charge of the government, I appoint in terms of the constitution."

'No casualties' from Algeria attack

There were no casualties in the early morning rocket attack on a gas plant in southern Algeria, the AFP news agency is reporting.

It says that jihadists were responsible, but they were beaten back.

"At around 6 am, a terrorist group launched a rocket attack on the Krechba gas plant," AFP quotes an employee as saying.

Yellow fever concerns at Angola children's hospital

We reported in our 9:28 post that a yellow fever outbreak in Angola has killed 158 people. 

The head of the Luanda paediatrics hospital, Mateus Campos, said 27 children died there on Monday alone, with many suspected cases turning up each day.

Authorities launched a mass vaccination campaign in February and the government urged residents to sterilise stagnant water before drinking it.

SPL
Aedes aegypti mosquitos carry yellow fever and are found throughout tropical Africa and parts of South America.

Are Tunisian drug laws too harsh?

BBC

Tunisia's long-standing anti-drug law slaps offenders with a minimum, automatic one-year jail term.  

When the BBC's Rana Jawad got rare access to a women's prison in the capital, Tunis, she met one woman who told her that her three children are now staying in an orphanage as she has been charged with smoking a joint. 

"In most countries, they don't have these cases against drugs - it's just us. It's destroyed so many people. A whole family has been destroyed for something like this? Children are in orphanages, schooling is disrupted, and their future is lost.

Arouseya Mezouzi,Menouba prison inmate

The prisons are overcrowded and Tunisia's government is under pressure to jail fewer people.

Our correspondent says that there is a serious ongoing debate among lawmakers to amend some laws 

But the conversation is moving slowly.

Read more on the BBC News website.

BreakingAlgeria gas plant hit by rocket fire

A gas plant in Algeria has been hit by rocket fire according to a statement from Statoil quoted by the AP news agency.

AFP is quoting employees at the plant saying that jihadists launched a rocket attack.

Two cases of yellow fever in Kenya from people who were in Angola

Anne Soy

BBC Africa, Nairobi

Kenya has confirmed two cases of yellow fever for the first time in about two decades. 

Both cases were imported from Angola (see 09:28 entry) where an outbreak of the disease has killed more than 150 people. 

The disease has been eradicated in Kenya.

The two Kenyan men with yellow fever arrived from Angola where they had been living and working for more than 10 years. 

The first died on Wednesday at the country's main hospital where the second man has now been admitted. 

Health officials have however assured Kenyans that there is no danger of direct human-to-human transmission as the disease is spread through infected mosquitoes. 

AFP
The Aedes Aegypt mosquito is responsible for the spread of yellow fever

Angola's yellow fever death toll rises to 158

A yellow fever outbreak in Angola that began late last year has killed 158 people, up from 50 a month ago, as deaths from the disease transmitted by mosquitoes accelerate, a World Health Organization official said on Friday, Reuters reports.

There has also been an increase in malaria, cholera and chronic diarrhoea in the capital, Luanda, and other cities, partly due to a breakdown in sanitation services and rubbish collection, health officials say. 

South Africa's satirists tackle #GuptaGate

South Africa's cartoonists are having fun with the allegations that the wealthy Gupta family have been attempting to influence ministerial appointments in the country.

The family denies that, and so did President Jacob Zuma in a rowdy session in parliament on Thursday.

But that hasn't stopped the satirists:

twitter: https://twitter.com/madamevecartoon/status/710708603691393024

Escaped lion in Kenya attacks elderly man

Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has been tweeting details of the escape and capture of a lion in the capital, Nairobi.

It got out of the city's wildlife park and was seen in the morning around a busy Nairobi highway.

twitter: https://twitter.com/kwskenya/status/710690481244606464
twitter: https://twitter.com/kwskenya/status/710700290152988672

One person driving by made a short film of the lion wandering along the side of the road, and you can hear all the motorists honking their horns.

twitter: https://twitter.com/TRENDINGKENYA/status/710711604258738176

KWS' Pual Udot told the AFP news agency that "people were there, hooting their horns, taking selfies and all that and the lion got agitated".

This is the second time a lion has escaped from the park in recent weeks.

Two new Ebola cases in Guinea

Two people have tested positive for Ebola in Guinea, three months after the outbreak was declared over in the country. 

They are being cared for at a treatment centre in the south of the country, close to where the worst Ebola outbreak in history was first identified two years ago. 

It's understood three members of their family had recently died after showing symptoms of Ebola. 

The government says their village is now in lockdown and vaccines are being taken to the area to try and protect those at risk. 

The World Health Organization has warned sporadic cases of Ebola are likely to re-emerge as the virus can linger on in body fluids of some survivors. 

Both neighbouring Liberia and Sierra Leone have reported new cases after the outbreaks were declared over there - but this is another major blow in the continuing fight against Ebola.

AFP

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