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  1. Four Burundi coup plotters sentenced to life in prison
  2. Uganda's president fails to show up for election debate
  3. Nigeria's president orders investigation into 17 top army chiefs over corruption
  4. Kenya's president confirms that Kenyans died in al-Shabab attack
  5. Burkina Faso issues arrest warrant for Ivory Coast parliament speaker Guillaume Soro
  6. A massive poster campaigning against South Africa's president goes up in Cape Town
  7. Email stories and comments to - Friday 15 January 2016

Live Reporting

By Clare Spencer and Damian Zane

All times stated are UK

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Scroll down for Friday's stories

We'll be back on Monday

That's all for today from the BBC Africa Live page. Listen to the Africa Today podcast and keep up-to-date with developments across the continent on the BBC News website.  

Today’s African proverb: "If you are accused of being a witch, avoid being seen with meat at night." A Manjago proverb sent by Edmond Mendy, Banjul, The Gambia.  

Click here to send us your African proverbs.

And we leave you with this image from our collection of Africa's week in pictures showing peple taking part in a rally to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Arab Spring.

Women at Tunisia celebration

How Nigeria's coup haunts 50 years on

It’s 50 years today since Nigeria’s first coup.

But historian Max Siollun says the coup is still affecting the country today.

He says the 1966 coup propelled a group of young military officers onto the national stage who still wield enormous influence in Nigerian politics.

Gen Olusegun Obasanjo is one of these retired military king-makers. His withdrawal of support for then-President Goodluck Jonathan is thought to be one factor in his presidential election defeat last year, and the victory of current President Muhammadu Buhari. 

13th July 1977: Nigerian head of state Lt General Olusegun Obasanjo at the summit meeting of African heads of state at Libreville in Gabon
Olusegun Obasanjo ruled as a military general and an elected president

Read: How first coup still haunts Nigeria 50 years on

Anglican decision welcomed by African church leaders

The Archbishop of Canterbury has been defending the decision by the Anglican church to restrict a liberal US branch of the church for allowing same-sex marriage.

He said it was not for Anglican leaders to "divide the church" and that union would be "painful as well as joyful".

His comments followed an agreement between Anglican leaders on measures to curb the US Episcopal Church, including barring it from decision-making for three years.  

African Anglican leaders were at the forefront of the debate at a meeting in Canterbury around whether the church should allow same-sex marriage.

Kenyan Bishop Julius Kalu told the BBC's Focus on Africa radio programme that the leaders came to the right decision, but it was long overdue.

He said the church needs to recognise that the Bible says that marriage is between a man and a woman.

Some African gay rights activists picketed the Canterbury meeting

'More teargas than hospitals'

Seven of the presidential candidates for February's election in Uganda are in the middle of their first televised debate.

The BBC's Patience Atuhaire has tweeted this quote:

View more on twitter

Only President Yoweri Museveni, who's running for a fifth term, is not present.

You can watch on NTV Uganda's YouTube channel.

Candidates introduced at Ugandan debate

Screen grab

The hosts of tonight's presidential candidate debate in Uganda - Alan Kasujja and Nancy Kacungira - have introduced the seven participants.

Two of them - Kizza Besigye and Amama Mbabazi - got loud cheers from the audience.

Screen grab

They all stood for the national anthem - but President Yoweri Museveni has not turned up.

His campaign team said their candidate "has a tight schedule" and he is campaigning elsewhere in the country.

You can follow the debate here

What is a world passport?

We reported earlier that the American rapper and actor known as Mos Def has 14 days to leave South Africa after he was arrested for trying to leave the country using a “world passport”, according to AP News agency.

We hadn't heard of a world passport but a quick bit of googling shows they do exist.

Here's a picture of one from the World Government of World Citizens website:

World Passport
World Service.Org

So we gave the organisation who issue them a call – The World Service Authority confirmed that anyone can apply for a World Passport.

Their website claims the World Passport represents "the inalienable human right of freedom of travel on planet Earth". 

They list 184 countries they say recognise the document - something we have not confirmed with these countries.

But South Africa does not feature on the list.

Uganda’s eight presidential candidates: Key facts

Screen grab
Proceedings have begun with a prayer

Uganda's first-ever presidential candidates' debate is about to start.

You can see it on NTV's YouTube channel here 

Here is a run down of the candidates running in next month's election, but do note that President Yoweri Museveni is not be expected to be taking part.

Major contenders: 

  • Kizza Besiyge, 59, veteran opposition leader and once personal doctor to incumbent President Museveni 
  • Amama Mbabazi, 66, former ally of President Museveni and once prime minister and also served as defence, security and justice ministers
  • Yoweri Museveni, 71, in power since 1986 – says Uganda is like a banana farm he planted that is now bearing fruit


  • Benon Biraro, retired major general
  • Venansius Baryamureeba, academic and former vice-chancellor of Makerere University
  • Abed Bwanika, vet and pastor - campaigning on an anti-homosexuality platform
  • Maureen Kyalya, only female candidate
  • Joseph Mabirizi, pastor – alleges he was kidnapped by security agents after he declared his candidacy   

Former top officials among those sentenced in Burundi

Odhiambo Joseph

BBC Africa, Nairobi

Four of those at the forefront of last year's attempted coup in Burundi sentenced to life imprisonment (see 16.30 entry) are:

  • former Defence Minister Cyrille Ndayirukiye 
  • army generals Zenon Ndabaneze and Juvenal Niyungeko 
  • a former police commissioner Hermenegilde Nimenya

The coup leader Godefroid Nyombare is still on the run.

Burundians on a tank
Some Burundians took to the streets to celebrate last year's attempted coup in May

Burundi coup plotters 'sentenced to life'

Four of the leaders of last year's failed coup in Burundi have been sentenced to life in prison, the AFP news agency reports.

Nine others were jailed for 30 years for their roles in the attempt last May to overthrow President Pierre Nkurunziza.

There has been political tension and violence in Burundi since the president announced last April that he would run for a third term - and he went on to win July's election. 

Anti-third term campaigner
There were street protests in Burundi last year against the president running for a third term

AU 'condemns' al-Shabab attack

The African Union says that it "strongly condemns" this morning's attack on an AU base in Somalia.

In a statement it says that troops from the AU mission, Amisom, "repulsed" the al-Shabab attack.

It adds that there were casualties but details "are still being verified".

AU troops in Somalia
AU soldiers have been in Somalia since 2007

Children's voices to open Uganda's presidential debate

It's not just politicians getting ready for Uganda's first-ever presidential debate. 

Children from Watoto Church , which helps disadvantaged children will be singing the national anthem at the opening.

Watoto choir

The BBC's Patience Atuhaire - who snapped the picture - explains that they are probably involved because the debate is organised by the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda.

Where is Museveni?

The candidates are arriving at the venue in Uganda's capital, Kampala, for the country's first-ever presidential debate.

One of the main opposition candidates Kizza Besigye has just walked up the red carpet:

Kizza Besigye

President Yoweri Museveni will not be turning up to face his seven challengers and Dr Besigye told journalists that "if the people of Uganda want him [to come] he should avail himself".

The apps that keep you safe in Burundi

When BBC reporter Prime Ndikumagenge woke up to gunfire in December his wife grabbed her phone and started browsing social networks to try and work out where it was coming from.

He wondered who would post such an answer.

But before long she saw a message on WhatsApp saying it was an attack at a military camp.

There’s been a huge change in his wife’s phone habits since fighting broke out in April.

Before then she only used the phone to make calls.

Now she records audio, sends pictures, uses the messaging services Imo and Telegram. She won't go to bed until she's checked SOS Medias which reports on the latest clashes.

He speaks on the BBC's Fifth Floor about the changes they've made to cope with living in a place where bodies are found on the street on a daily basis:

BBC Fifth Floor

Ugandan TV gearing up for debate

The Uganda channel NTV is covering the build-up to tonight's presidential candidates' debate - the first-ever in Uganda.

It's the official broadcaster for this debate and correspondents are live outside the venue bringing news of who has arrived.

You Tube grab

There are also pundits in the studio discussing the issues that could come up.

You can follow it on NTV's YouTube channel.

Clock ticking down to Uganda debate

It's just 30 minutes to go before Uganda has its first-ever presidential TV debate.

Seven candidates are challenging four-term President Yoweri Museveni for the top job in next month's poll.

But Mr Museveni will not be turning up to the debate, his campaign team says.

The BBC's Alan Kasujja is one of the hosts of the debate and he's been tweeting his thoughts ahead of the broadcast.

View more on twitter

The BBC's Patience Atuhaire is at the TV studio and has snapped this picture of the set before the candidates take to the stage.

Debate stage

Nigerian president orders investigation into 17 military chiefs

Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari has ordered an investigation into possible corruption by 17 military chiefs.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission will look at the procurement of arms and equipment from 2007 to 2015. 

One of those who will be investigated is Nigeria's former national security adviser, Sambo Dasuki, who had previously been arrested for allegedly stealing $2bn (£1.3bn).

He accused of awarding phantom contracts to buy 12 helicopters, four fighter jets and ammunition. 

He denied the allegations.

Sambo Dasuki
Sambo Dasuki has previously said the allegations were politically motivated

Kenya's president regrets loss of Kenyan lives in Somalia

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta has confirmed in a statement that Kenyan soldiers were killed in the early morning al-Shabab attack on an African Union - or Amisom - base in Somalia, where Kenyan soldiers were stationed.

Earlier, Kenya's ministry of defence had denied that the Kenyans were the target, but Mr Kenyatta said the Amisom camp has been attacked.

He added: "Our gallant soldiers reacted swiftly to protect their camp... Regrettably, some of our patriots in uniform paid the ultimate price. It is heart-breaking."

He said that Kenya would not "be cowed by these cowards" who carried out the attack and "we will hunt down the criminals involved in today’s events".

Mr Kenyatta didn't specify how many Kenyan soldiers had died.

Al-Shabab had said earlier they had killed more than 60 people but this was dismissed as propaganda by the Kenyans.

Uhuru Kenyatta
Getty Images
President Uhuru Kenyatta says Kenya will not be cowed by the attack

US rapper Mos Def arrested in Cape Town

South African police have arrrested American hip-hop artist and actor Mos Def in Cape Town for breaking the country's immigration laws, Eyewitness news reports.

Eyewitness News

The news site reports that he entered the country legally, but has overstayed his visa.

A spokesman for South Africa's interior ministry has been tweeting about the case, using Mos Def's birth name Dante Smith: 

View more on twitter

Will president attend Uganda's presidential debate?

Move aside Donald Trump et al - in less than two hours Uganda's first televised presidential debate of this campaign is due to start.

There is already controversy as it is thought that President Yoweri Museveni will not be turning up to face his seven challengers.

This means that organisers will leave an empty space where the president was supposed to be.

Mr Museveni's campaign team has said it's more important to be out on the road meeting voters than taking part in the televised debate.

But the BBC's Patience Atuhaire says that there is speculation that the president may show up at the last minute.

Uganda's Daily Monitor newspaper has tweeted a picture of one of the leading opposition candidates getting ready:

View more on twitter

And another leading opposition hopeful says he's looking forward to the event: 

View more on twitter

Widespread impact of El Nino drought

The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has said that Ethiopia needs $50m (£35m) in emergency aid to make up for the poor harvest caused by the recent drought, the Reuters news agency reports.

The FAO also said that livestock has been decimated in Ethiopia and 10.2 million people needed food aid.

The lack of rain is being blamed on the El Nino weather phenomenon which has led to a drought in much of east and southern Africa.

Today, South Africa's government - which is also trying to cope with the impact of low rainfall - says the country needs to import up to six million tonnes of maize to make up for the poor harvest there:

View more on twitter
View more on twitter
Dead cattle in South Africa
The drought has had a severe affect in parts of South Africa

Will Crystal Palace sign Adebayor?

Emmanuel Adebayor
Getty Images

The coach of English Premier League football team Crystal Palace has just said in a press conference that he isn't dismissing the idea of signing Togolese striker Emmanuel Adebayor from Tottenham Hotspur.

Adebayor hasn't played this season so far after Tottenham Hotspur said he wasn't in their plans.

"He's there for somebody to look at, the question is are we the right club for him, is he the right player for us? Can't dismiss anyone," said Alan Pardew.

This comes a day after Adebayor's previous coach Harry Rednapp wrote that signing the striker is a "no-brainer".

Bushmeat still sold in Sierra Leone

Following the news that a new case of Ebola has emerged in Sierra Leone, the BBC's Umaru Fofana tweeted this picture of someone selling bushmeat on the roadside: 

View more on twitter

Scientists believe eating bushmeat is how Ebola was first transmitted to humans.  

Read: How world’s worst Ebola outbreak began with one boy’s death

David Cameron explains Libya intervention

British Prime Minister David Cameron was forced to confront the situation in Libya this week when he was quizzed by MPs, writes the BBC's Brian Wheeler.

David Cameron

"The failure to engage in nation building has created a breeding ground for ISIL hasn't it?" asked Andrew Tyrie.

Mr Cameron replied that the international coalition's operation at the end of Col Gadaffi's rule "clearly didn't work".

The UK is reportedly preparing to send 1,000 "non-combat" troops to help the new government stabilise Libya and stem the advance of so-called Islamic State.

But the Ministry of Defence told BBC News no decisions have been made about future deployment.

Sierra Leone protesters demand Ebola answer

The BBC's Umaru Fofana has said on Facebook that loud demonstrations have been taking place this morning outside the public hospital in Magburaka, Sierra Leone.

The protesters are demanding an explanation from the health authorities as to why nobody was told that a 22-year-old who was discharged from the hospital had Ebola.

She since died and her family washed her body - something that can spread Ebola.

Sierra Leone officials had confirmed another death from Ebola, hours after the World Health Organization declared the latest West Africa outbreak over. 

Ten Somali orphans stranded in Saudi Arabia arrive in Canada

The Winnipeg Sun reports that 10 Somali orphans have arrived in Canada after their right to stay in Saudi Arabia was taken away from them when their father died:

Winnipeg Sun
Winnipeg Sun

Their father worked in the Somali Consulate in the Saudi Arabian city Jeddah.

Their mother had already died of cancer. And when he died of diabetes their documents were confiscated and they were stripped of their legal right to stay in the country, according to their Go Fund Me page.

It adds that they were born in Saudi Arabia and did not speak Somali.

They will be looked after by a Somali foster mother in Canada.

Ivory Coast's Soro warrant over Burkina coup

Abdourahmane Dia

BBC Afrique

The BBC has confirmed media reports in Burkina Faso saying that the judiciary there has issued an international arrest warrant against Guillaume Soro, the current speaker of parliament in Ivory Coast. 

Burkina Faso's ex-Prime Minister Isaac Zida had already said that Mr Soro had been heard on a recording advising a former Burkinabe Foreign Minister Djibril Bassole on how stage a successful coup. 

Mr Bassole is under arrest in relation to September's short-lived coup.

Mr Soro has always denied that his voice is the one on the tape.

Guillaume Soro
Guillaume Soro is accused of advising Burkinabe officials on how to stage a coup

#ZumaMustFall trends in South Africa

The #ZumaMustFall hashtag is trending in South Africa as people comment on the giant billboard that's gone up this morning in Cape Town (see 11:21 post).

Some locals on Twitter are noting the reaction the billboard is getting:

View more on twitter

And others have put in a comedic twist, turning the billboard into an advert for Nando's, a grilled chicken outlet:

View more on twitter

Ebola death in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone officials have confirmed a death from Ebola, hours after the World Health Organization declared the latest West Africa outbreak over.

The country was declared free of the virus on 7 November, and the region as a whole was cleared when Liberia was pronounced Ebola-free on Thursday.

Tests on a person who died in northern Sierra Leone proved positive, an Ebola test centre spokesman told the BBC.

The WHO has warned, however, that more flare-ups are expected.

The Sierra Leone death occurred earlier this week.

Reuters news agency is reporting that the victim was a 22-year-old female student.

Reuters also cites a local charity saying that she went to hospital but was treated as an outpatient.

The Ebola outbreak killed almost 4,000 people in Sierra Leone

Giant anti-Zuma billboard in Cape Town

Pumza Fihlani

BBC News, Johannesburg

A massive "Zuma Must Fall" billboard that went up in central Cape Town this morning is causing a stir on social media.

A South African radio station has tweeted a photograph of it - and it looks like it's seven floors high.

View more on twitter

There is a lot of speculation over who paid for it and many on Twitter are accusing the opposition Democratic Alliance.

The DA's national spokesperson Phumzile van Damme has said they are not responsible for the advert. 

"It isn’t ours," she is quoted as saying by the News24 website.  

South Africa's sports minister has tweeted his satirical take on the billboard:

View more on twitter

Analysis: Al-Shabab tactics

Mary Harper

Africa editor, BBC World Service

There are contradictory accounts of who exactly was attacked this morning in Somalia.

Kenya says it was not their base in el-Ade which was attacked, but al-Shabab says that more than 60 Kenyan soldiers - part of the African Union force there - died.

The AU mission in Somalia - Amisom - have tweeted that their soldiers were attacked.

Al-Shabab are usually particularly accurate when talking about what they may have done, even if the death toll that they talk about may be exaggerated.

Al-Shabab - after having been pushed out of many areas of Somalia by Amisom and Somali government forces - have adopted a tactic of either carrying out spectacular attacks on sites in Mogadishu and Kenya or big attacks on AU bases.

Kenya: Al-Shabab claim is 'propaganda'

A Kenyan military spokesman has told the BBC that al-Shabab claims that it killed more than 60 Kenyan soldiers in today's attack is "propaganda".

Colonel David Obonyo said that it was a Somali military base in el-Ade that was attacked, but that base was very close to where Kenyan soldiers, fighting with the AU's Amisom force, are stationed.

He said they then got involved in the fighting, and that clashes are continuing.

Burundi security forces 'gang raped women'

Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein
Getty Images

The United Nations human rights chief says he has evidence that Burundian security forces gang-raped women while searching the homes of suspected opposition supporters, Reuters news agency reports. 

Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein said the abuses occurred in the immediate aftermath of rebel attacks in mid-December against three military camps. 

"All the alarm signals, including the increasing ethnic dimension of the crisis, are flashing red," he said in the statement.

Who is Amisom?

The AU force in Somalia, Amisom, says its troops were attacked earlier today, an attack the Islamist militants Al-Shabab say they carried out.

Kenya's ministry of defence says it was a Somali army base that was attacked.

Here’s a few details on who Amisom are:

  • Amisom stands for African Union Mission in Somalia 
  • The regional peacekeeping force was created in 2007
  • They are in the country to “provide support for the Federal Government of Somalia in its efforts to stabilize the country”
  • The bulk of the forces come from Uganda, Burundi, Djibouti, Kenya, Ethiopia and Sierra Leone
  • There are 22,126 troops and police in Amisom

Read more on the Amisom website

Amisom troops

Who controls what in Somalia

Somalia's government, based in the capital Mogadishu, only controls part of the country.

The AU force is backing the government in its attempt to defeat al-Shabab.

This map from September 2015 - which includes the location of el-Ade, where today's attack happened - shows who is in control of what in Somalia.

Map of Somalia
BBC/Updated September 2015

Past al-Shabab attacks on African Union soldiers

It is still not clear if it was an African Union base, belonging to its Amisom mission, or a Somali army base that was attacked this morning in el-Ade.

Kenya's army - whose soldiers are part of the Amisom force - says the Somali army was targeted, but al-Shabab militants say that the Kenyans were the target.

Al-Shabab have attacked Amisom before including in June last year, when Burundian Amisom soldiers were killed.

There was also an attack on Ugandan Amisom soldiers in September 2015.

Ugandan soldiers bringing coffins home
The bodies of the Ugandan soldiers who died in last year's attack were brought home to Entebbe airport

Who are al-Shabab?

Somalia has not had a government in charge of the whole country for more than 20 years, during which there has been a lot of conflict there.    

Al-Shabab emerged and gained support from some by promising people security.

It advocates the Saudi-inspired Wahhabi version of Islam, while most Somalis are Sufis, and it pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda.

There have been reports that some members of al-Shabab have switched their loyalty to the so-called Islamic State group.  

It still has control in some rural areas and is believed to have between 7,000 and 9,000 fighters.

Read more on the BBC profile of al-Shabab

Al-shabab fighters

Somali army: Base stormed after suicide attack

The AFP news agency is quoting a Somali army colonel Idris Ahmed giving details of today's al-Shabab attack in el-Ade.

He said: "There was suicide attack followed by the fighting and it seems that the base was stormed.

"And there was heavy fighting which caused casualties."

He did not confirm whether it was the Kenyans at the African Union base in el-Ade which was targeted or a Somali army base.

Analysis: Significance of al-Shabab attack

Tomi Oladipo

BBC Africa security correspondent

Despite some recent set-backs the Somalia-based Islamist group al-Shabab is keen to stress that is the force to be reckoned with in Somalia. 

This is a message to the Somali and African Union forces and to those Islamists who have recently split from al-Shabab. 

It is true that the group exaggerates the scale of its attacks but whether or not the death toll from today’s action is as high as claimed the AU force - Amisom - will be reminded of the lingering threat. 

It says a lot for the militants to be daring enough to strike close to a Kenyan base and engage troops in hours of combat. 

They have done this before, carrying out major attacks on the Ugandan and Burundian contingents of Amisom - as well as targeting the Somali government.

Attack comes as Somalis discuss elections

Mohammud Ali Mohamed

BBC Somali, Nairobi

The attack on the military base in the Somali town of el-Ade - close to the Kenyan border - comes as leaders from Somalia's regions are concluding two days of talks on how the elections can be held in the country.

This is significant as security is a big concern when it comes to holding elections.

Why things are unclear in Somali attack

The numbers of people killed in the attack on a military base in Somalia are unclear. 

The BBC's African Security correspondent explains why this might be:

View more on twitter

The KDF stands for the Kenya Defence Forces.