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Summary

  1. Nigeria building collapse 'kills 30'
  2. US commandos raid al-Shabab base in Somalia
  3. Uber taxi service to 'expand' in Africa
  4. Break-in at offices of opposition lawyers in Uganda
  5. Tanzania minister warns staff not to use social media at work
  6. Zimbabwe protest over 'abducted' activist
  7. Top UK university removes looted African statue
  8. Email stories and comments to africalive@bbc.co.uk - Wednesday 9 March 2016

Live Reporting

By Naziru Mikailu and Farouk Chothia

All times stated are UK

Scroll down for Wednesday's stories

We'll be back tomorrow

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.  

A reminder of today's proverb: 

Somalis may tell lies, but they don’t say false proverbs."

Sent by Mohamoud Omar Bile, Garowe, Puntland, Somalia.

Click here to send us your African proverbs.

We leave you with this photo of a two-day-old endangered African penguin chick at a conservation centre in South Africa's coastal city of Cape Town:

A two day old endangered African penguin chick is inspected by Romy Klusner, Head of the Chick Rearing Unit at the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) in Cape Town, South Africa, 09 March 2016
EPA

Improving the image of Nigeria's police

Nigeria's police are often accused of human rights abuses and corruption. Well, one officer, Aliyu Giwa, is determined to change public perceptions of the force through his Instagram page @Aleeygiwa using  #POLICEISYOURFRIEND

The Lagos-based officer, who has more than 10,000 followers has been sharing quotes and photos of the force:

View more on instagram
View more on instagram
View more on instagram
View more on instagram

London arrests 'over FGM'

A man and a woman have been arrested at London's Heathrow airport on suspicion of helping a non-UK person carry out female genital mutilation overseas, police say. 

The 49-year-old woman was arrested after disembarking a flight from Kenya's capital, Nairobi, while an eight-year-old girl in her company was taken into protective care, police added.

A 45-year-old man was also arrested at the airport. He was not on the flight, police said. 

The arrests followed concerns raised by a school in south London about one of their pupils being absent. The pupil was believed to have been taken to Somalia, police added.

Your reaction: Mugabe 'slur' charge

#BBCAfricaLive

Some of you have been reacting to the story about a Zimbabwen police officer who has reportedly been charged with insulting President Robert Mugabe after he allegedly said the 92-year-old leader "was too old to lead":

@BBCAfrica how can anyone say that. Our President is a young strapping,hunk with the stamina of a bull and the gallop of a stallion. 🤔🤔

@bbcafrica Amazing. So what is the said policer officer's crime?

@BBCAfrica no offence as long as,internationally we recognised freedom of expression

@BBCAfrica just when i thought #uganda was bad

@BBCAfrica no 1 is to old 2 rule,and president must rule till he die

See our 10:48 post for more details

Uber to 'expand' in Africa

US-based Uber plans to expand in Tanzania, Uganda and Ghana this year and will focus on convincing traditional taxi drivers to work for the app-based taxi service, its general manager for sub-Saharan Africa has said. 

In an interview with Reuters news agency, Alon Lits said Uber will set up East and West Africa "hubs" in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, and Nigeria's main city, Lagos, to act as launchpads for forays into Tanzania, Uganda and Ghana.

"We feel we are at a point now where we have a strong sense for what it takes to build a successful Uber business in Africa," he said. 

Uber app
Reuters

Traditional taxi operators have protested against Uber's entry into the market, saying it was knocking them out of business.

Mr Lits said there would be "more engagement" with them. 

The strategy will involve convincing traditional taxi drivers to work for Uber, showing them they can continue working on their own, but when they don't have a fare they can also choose to use the Uber smartphone app to pick up passengers and make extra money, Reuters reports.

Deadly building collapse in Nigeria

Chris Ewokor

BBC Africa, Abuja

Building collapse in Nigeria
Reuters

The number of people killed when a five-storey building under construction in Nigeria's main city, Lagos, collapsed yesterday has risen to 30, emergency officials say. 

The building, located in the wealthy Lekki district, crumbled during heavy rainfall. 

Thirteen people have so far been rescued but it's thought others may still be trapped in the rubble. 

In a statement, the Lagos State government said work on the building had continued without a permit from the authorities, who had sealed off the site. 

They have ordered the managers of the project to report to police or face arrest. 

The building had been inhabited by construction workers and their families.

Al-Shabab 'rounds up suspected spies'

Somalia's militant Islamist group al-Shabab has been arresting suspected spies following the raid on its base in the southern town of Awdhegle by US and Somali forces, a resident says, the Associated Press news agency reports. 

'Top al-Shabab leader' targeted

A Somali intelligence official says the raid on an al-Shabab base in southern Somalia was aimed at a "high-profile target" who was apparently killed in heavy fighting, the Associated Press news agency reports. 

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity about the assault by US and Somali forces, said: 

It was a high-profile target, and chances of capture were challenged by a stiff resistance by militants guarding the house targeted by the special forces, which forced the commando to resort to the kill or capture method."

British athlete switches allegiance to Ghana

Sean Safo-Antwi of Great Britain & Northern Ireland competes at 2015 European Athletics Indoor Championships in Prague, Czech Republic.
Getty Images

British sprinter Sean Safo-Antwi has been cleared to compete for Ghana with immediate effect, British Athletics has announced, the Press Association (PA) news agency reports. 

The 25-year-old asked the world athletics governing body, IAAF, in January for permission to switch allegiance and Britain did not oppose the transfer request.

The athlete won the 60 metres at the Glasgow Indoor Grand Prix last month before finishing third at the British Championships.

However, he missed out on automatic GB team selection for the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Portland.

US officials confirm Somalia raid

In this Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011 file photo, al-Shabab fighters march with their weapons during military exercises on the outskirts of Mogadishu, Somalia
AP
Al-Shabab is the most dangerous militant group in East Africa

The Associated Press news agency is now also quoting US officials as saying that American special operations were involved in the raid on a base of militant Islamist group al-Shabab  in southern Somalia. 

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the raid was carried out jointly with Somali forces. 

Earlier, al-Shabab said one of its fighters had died in the battle while a Somali official put the number of militants killed at 15.  

Roughly 50 US special operations troops have been active in Somalia on a rotational basis for the last few years, AP says. 

The raid came just days after the US carried out an air strike on an al-Shabab training camp in Somalia that the Pentagon said killed about 150 militants.

Al-Shabab said the US was exaggerating the death toll. It had lost "several" men, it said. 

See our 14:39 post for more details

Zimbabwe protest over activist's disappearance

People hold various signs of support for missing activist Itai Dzamara as they march with fellow protestors through the streets of Harare, Zimbabwe 09 March 2016
EPA

Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has joined dozens of protesters in a march through the capital, Harare, to mark one year since the abduction of anti-government activist Itai Dzamara, the Associated Press news agency reports. 

Mr Tsvangirai accused the government of using forced disappearances to silence critics of President Robert Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since 1980.     

The march only proceeded after a judge overturned a police ban on the event, the AP says.

Morgan Tsvangirai addresses journalists and activists ahead of a demonstration to mark the one year anniversary of the disappereance of activist Itai Dzamara on March 9, 2016 in Harare
AF
Mr Tsvangirai is a long-standing opponent of Mr Mugabe

Mr Dzamara, a former newspaper reporter, was grabbed by assailants when he was in a barbershop and was bundled into a waiting car, his family says. 

Two days before his abduction, Mr Dzamara said at a rally organized by Mr Tsvangirai that Zimbabweans should rebel against Mr Mugabe, AP reports.  

The government has denied that its security services abducted him. Police say they are still searching for leads.

Kenyan band sings change

Kenyan Afro-fusion band Sarabi has made a name for itself with activist music which speaks out on issues like corruption, injustice and poverty. 

The band's latest song is Tumechoka or "We've had enough", and has been released ahead of general elections next year. 

The BBC's Janet Onyango went to meet the band in Kenya's capital, Nairobi:  

View more on Soundcloud

Nigeria minister to meet striking workers

An oil tanker in Nigeria
Getty Images
Nigeria's economy has suffered because of the declining oil price

Nigeria's Petroleum Minister Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu says he will meet with trade union leaders to end a strike over the restructuring of the state oil company, Reuters news agency reports. 

Mr Kachikwu says he doesn't want the industry to shut down and " will resolve the issues very soon".   

About 7,000 refinery workers, petroleum tanker drivers and maintenance staff went on strike this morning to oppose the splitting of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation NNPC into seven different firms. 

"These changes have created real apprehension among our members," an official of the Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria said, Reuters reports. 

The government says the changes will ensure efficiency and bring the loss-making NNPC back to profit.

WhatsApp series: Young and Connected: Chapter three

Due to social media, Africa has seen a recent rise in youth groups who are trying to push leaders to be more accountable and deal with everyday issues. 

 Chapter Three of the series covers Lucha movement in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has been badly hit by years of conflict. 

The BBC's Maud Jullien went to meet the activists involved.

Young and Connected: Chapter three

To subscribe to the rest of the Whatsapp series, you can add +44 7734778817 to your phone contacts. Send a message to the number saying "SIGN UP" to receive the videos in English, or "SOUSCRIRE" to the same number for the French editions.  

Next BBC Africa Debate in Tanzania

Will you be in Dar es Salaam on March 22nd? Would you like to attend a #BBCAfricaDebate on #corruption? Inbox africa.debate@bbc.co.uk

'Joint operation' against al-Shabab

The US official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the overnight raid on a militant Islamist base in southern Somalia was carried out by both US and Somali forces, AFP news agency reports.

The al-Qaeda-linked militants said they fought off foreign commandos who attacked them in the town of Awdhegle, some 50km (30 miles) west of the capital Mogadishu. 

Breaking'US troops' raided al-Shabab base

US troops were involved in the helicopter-borne raid on an al-Shabab base in southern Somalia, a US official has said, AFP news agency reports. 

#RhodesMustFall protest in UK

Students are protesting in the UK city of Oxford to demand the removal of a statue of British imperialist Cecil Rhodes from the prestigious local university.

A journalist is tweeting from there:  

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

IS names new Libya leader

BBC Monitoring

The new leader of the militant Islamic State (IS) group in Libya has been named as Shaykh Abd-al-Qadir al-Najdi, following the killing of his predecessor in a US air strike last year. 

His name, announced in IS's weekly newspaper Al-Naba, suggests that he is not Libyan and could be from the Najd region in Saudi Arabia. 

His predecessor, Abu-al-Maghirah al-Qahtani, was from Iraq.  

Unlike in other regions where IS appoints local leaders, it appears so far to have chosen individuals from outside Libya to lead its activities there.

In the interview with the newspaper, Al-Najdi said that IS in Libya was still in its infancy but was growing in strength.

The Tunisian government's decision to build a wall along its border with Libya would not protect it, the newspaper quoted him as saying.  

'Documents stolen' from Uganda lawyers

Documents were stolen from the offices of legal representatives of Uganda's opposition, following a burglary last night.

It comes days before they are due back in the Supreme Court to challenge election results. 

Opposition candidate Amama Mbabazi says the 18 February poll was rigged to extend President Yoweri Museveni's 30-year rule. Election officials deny the allegation, and are defending the case.

The BBC's Catherine Byaruhanga reports from the capital, Kampala:

Inside the office of burgled Ugandan opposition lawyers

Frenchman 'arrested with knives' in Morocco

A Frenchman described as "radicalised" has been arrested in Morocco after flying there with knives and a gas bottle in the hold, a local official has said, AFP news agency reports. 

The items were discovered in the 31-year-old man's luggage after he was held upon arrival in the historic north-eastern city of Fez, it adds. 

He had been under house arrest in France , but managed to take the low-cost airline Ryanair from the western city of Nantes, AFP reports.

The Dublin-based carrier told the news agency that the case was "the responsibility of Nantes airport security officials who are investigating".

Your reaction: Tanzania social media warning

#BBCAfricaLive

Some of you have been commenting on BBC Africa Facebook on the directive by Tanzania's Transport and Communication minister that workers should stop using social media while on duty:

Priscilla Mwenelupembe: "I better be spending more of my time on social media than working hard for the government that is gonna give me very little coins."

Linus Edem:  "I would prefer a worker who spends his or her spare time reading news and other information on social media to the one indulging in unhealthy gossip." 

Moses Mabika: "They should be barred from using social media during working hours."

Menker Casey: "How does the minister know? Perhaps, he's one of them too. If you have codes of conduct in your government, enforce them and stop looking for attention."

Nixon Jasson: "It's a distant dream which will never become true." 

Uganda opposition leader at burgled offices

Former Ugandan Prime Minister Amma Mbabazi has visited the burgled offices of lawyers representing him in a court case to challenge President Museveni's victory in last month's election. 

A local journalist tweets from the capital, Kampala:

@AmamaMbabazi doing a site assessment of the offices that were vandalised last night @nbstv @sadabkitatta1

@AmamaMbabazi doing a site assessment of the offices that were vandalised last night @nbstv @sadabkitatta1

See our 09:00 post for more details

Nigeria women in anti-rape protest

Yusuf Ibrahim Yakasai

BBC Africa, Kano, Nigeria

Women in Kano, Nigeria
BBC

Women have marched through the streets of northern Nigeria's main city, Kano, to protest against the "rising cases of rape".

The demonstrators, who included lawyers and religious leaders, demand that the authorities do more to protect young children and ensure that culprits are brought to justice.

About 30 cases of rapes are reported weekly in the state, lawyer Husaina Aliyu Ibrahim told me.

A mother of a 13-year-old says her daughter is still suffering from trauma and psychological stigma since she was raped by a 35-year-old man last January. 

The Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi, who is an influential Muslim leader in northern Nigeria, recently suspended a district head for allegedly having an affair with a 13-year-old girl and infecting her with HIV/Aids. 

The government says it supports the campaign to end rape. 

Women right activist in Kano, Nigeria
BBC

Foreign commandos 'kill 15' in Somalia

A Somali government official says 15 al-Shabab fighters were killed in the raid by unnamed foreign commandos on their base in the town of Awdhegle, some 50km (30 miles) west of the capital Mogadishu. 

Mohamed Aweis, the district commissioner of the area, told the BBC Somali service that four positions of the militant Islamists were attacked inside and outside the town by "white soldiers". 

He said the foreign commandos arrived at around midnight in at least two helicopters, which gave air support to ground troops "most probably dropped outside the town minutes before the actual attack".

Mr Aweis added:

Their targets were three al-Shabab positions at the outskirts of the town plus one position inside the town. There are reports that they captured some al-Shabab members alive.

They also took with them some al-Shabab dead bodies. I can confirm the death toll is 15."

See our 09:00 and 09:26 posts for more details

Zimbabwe ex-player accused of match-fixing

Edzai Kasinauyo
PA
Edzai Kasinauyo represented Zimbabwe in the Cup of Nations in 2006

The Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) has provisionally suspended committee member Edzai Kasinauyo over allegations of match-fixing.

Mr Kasinauyo is accused of involvement in a "match-fixing scam" around the country's Africa Cup of Nations qualifier with Swaziland on 25 March.

A statement from Zifa said investigations were continuing.

Kasinauyo, 40, has denied the allegations in the local press.  

He is a former Zimbabwe midfielder who represented his country at the Africa Cup of Nations in 2006.

He was elected to the Zifa executive committee in December.

Read the full story on BBC Sport

SA prosecutors confirm Mandela rape case dropped

Pumza Fihlani

BBC News, Johannesburg

South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has confirmed that rape charges against a grandson of anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela have been provisionally withdrawn. 

The NPA told the BBC that the case against the 24-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was struck off the roll “pending further investigations”. 

It added that “new information has come to light” and more time was needed to carry out investigations, without holding up the courts.

This means that charges against him could be reinstated at a later stage. 

The 24-year old was accused of raping a 15-year-old in the toilets of a bar in Johannesburg in August last year. He denied the charge. 

In her affidavit, the 15-year-old said he had forcefully kissed her before raping her. 

He said they had consensual sex and he thought she was much older because the bar didn't allow patrons under the age of 21.

Nigeria oil workers on 'strike'

An oil worker in Nigeria
AFP
Nigeria is Africa's largest oil producer

Oil workers have shut down offices of Nigeria's state oil company in protest at the government's decision to break up the loss-making firm.

Last night, President Muhammadu Buhari approved the splitting of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) into seven "profit-making" companies - a plan rejected by the main union in the industry.

One worker told the BBC that union leaders denied them entry to their office in the capital, Abuja. 

A union spokesman said they were not consulted before the decision to split the company was taken, Nigeria's Premium Times newspaper reports.

It's not clear if the strike has affected the NNPC's exploration activities in the oil-rich Niger Delta region.

There are fears the protest could result in more fuel shortages.

Nigeria is Africa's biggest oil producer, but the economy has suffered because of the declining oil price. 

The NNPC has been mired in corruption allegations and has been losing money for many years.

Read: Can Nigeria defeat oil corruption?

Zimbabwe man 'insulted Mugabe and his wife'

Newspaper cocer
NewsDay

That's the headline in a privately owned Zimbabwean newspaper today. NewsDay reports that a 44-year-old police officer has appeared in court after being accused of saying President Robert Mugabe, 92, is "too old to rule".

Thompson Joseph Mloyi is also alleged to have called Mr Mugabe's wife, Grace, a prostitute, the newspaper reports.

He did not enter a plea when he appeared before a magistrate in the capital, Harare, yesterday, NewsDay says

Mr Mloyi was freed on $100 (£70) bail, and is due to appear in court again on 15 March to stand trial for "insulting the office of the president", it adds. 

Mr Mugabe, the world's oldest ruler, turned 92 last month.

Niger opposition boycotts presidential run-off

Niger opposition leader Hama Amadou
Getty Images
Mr Amadou denies baby trafficking charges

Niger's opposition coalition says its jailed presidential candidate Hama Amadou will boycott this month's run-off election. 

President Mahamadou Issoufou, 64, won 48% of the vote in the first round on 21 February while Amadou, who contested the election from jail where he has been held since November on baby-trafficking charges, took 17% of the ballots.

The Copa coalition parties accused the government of fraud in the first round and "unfair treatment between the two candidates". 

They have also demanded all their representatives to withdraw from the national electoral commission, the opposition's Seini Oumarou said in a statement. 

The government denied the allegations and insisted it would press ahead with the election on 20 March. Mr Issoufou is seeking his second term.

Mr Amadou denies the baby-trafficking charges, and says they are politically motivated. 

Charges against Mandela grandson 'withdrawn'

Rape charges against a grandson of Nelson Mandela have been provisionally withdrawn in the High Court in South Africa's main city, Johannesburg, the local News24 site reports

He was accused of raping a 15-year-old girl at a restaurant in Johannesburg's upmarket suburb of Greenside on 7 August. 

In her affidavit, the teenager said that he had forcefully kissed her, put his hands in her pants and raped her.  

The 24-year-old grandson of South Africa's first black president denied this, saying that they had consensual sex and he had no idea she was a minor.

'Awoken by shooting' in Somalia

Residents have been speaking about the foreign commando raid on a militant Islamist base near the southern Somalia town of Awdhegle. 

Ahmed Farah told AFP news agency:  

We were awoken by exchange of heavy guns. We could see the helicopters land and fly."

Another resident Abdikarim Nure said al-Shabab had now sealed off the base: 

The fighters were patrolling the area this morning, and people are not allowed to go close to the area."

UK university removes looted Africa statue

A leading Cambridge University college in the UK has removed an African bronze cockerel from display in response to a student campaign. 

Jesus College said it would hold discussions about the future of the Benin bronze, known as Okukor, including its repatriation to Nigeria as demanded by the students union. 

The move follows the Rhodes Must Fall campaign at Oxford University, which demanded the removal of a statue of the British colonialist Cecil Rhodes.

Athinangamso Nkopo from the Rhodes Must Fall In Oxford group during a meeting at the Regent"s Park College, Oxford University, following the announcement that the statue of British colonialist Cecil Rhodes will be kept at Oriel College
PA

Student groups are due to march through Oxford later today to demand the removal of statues associated with Britain's imperial past.

The campaign started in South Africa, where students forced the removal of Rhodes' statue from the University of Cape Town last year. 

Tanzania order to cut back on social media

Abdinoor Aden

BBC Africa, Nairobi

The Facebook and WhatsApp applications' icons are displayed on a smartphone on February 20, 2014
AFP

Tanzania's Transport and Communication minister has issued a directive, warning his staff that they risk being fired if they use social media at work. 

Makame Mbarawa said the decision was aimed at boosting service delivery and getting workers to concentrate on their jobs. 

He said the department should set an example for the rest of the civil service. 

Mobile phone companies have promoted cheap data bundles to target the growing number of  Tanzanians who are active on platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

Uganda break-in at offices of opposition lawyers

Catherine Byaruhanga

BBC Africa Uganda correspondent

Supporter of Kizza Besigye, the leader of the main opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) and the main opposition candidate, burn a campaing poster of Yoweri Museveni as they await for the arrival of Besigye at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, 15 February 2016
EPA
Mr Museveni won a fifth term in disputed elections

Two offices of lawyers representing former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi in his court challenge against President Yoweri Museveni's victory in last months election were broken into overnight. 

Mohamed Mbabazi, the lead counsel for Mr Mbabazi, said laptops, computers and documents were taken from his office. 

At least one security guard was beaten up by the burglars. 

The other law firm broken into belongs to Fred Muwema. 

Police say they are investigating.

'Masked' foreign commandos raid al-Shabab

Foreign commandos have carried out a helicopter raid on a base of militant Islamist group al-Shabab near the southern Somali town of Awdhegle. 

The militants fought off the masked commandos, but lost one fighter in the battle, al-Shabab spokesman Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab told Reuters news agency. 

 "They were masked and spoke foreign languages which our fighters could not understand. We do not know who they were but we foiled them," he is quoted as saying.

Al-Shabab fighters in Somalia
AFP
Al-Shabab is fighting to establish Islamic rule in Somalia

A local official, Mohamed Aweys, confirmed the raid on the base, some 50km (30 miles) west of Somalia's capital Mogadishu. 

"We have reports al-Shabab militants suffered casualties," he said, AFP news agency reports.

Read: Who are al-Shabab?

Today's wise words

Our African proverb of the day: 

Somalis may tell lies, but they don’t say false proverbs.

Sent by Mohamoud Omar Bile, Garowe, Puntland, Somalia.

Click here to send us your African proverbs. 

Good morning

Welcome to the BBC Africa Live page where we will bring you up-to-date news from around the continent.