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  1. Cameroon train derailment kills at least 10
  2. Burkina Faso government says it has thwarted a coup attempt
  3. Malawi's president breaks silence on his health
  4. South Africa tells UN of plans to pull out of ICC
  5. Kenyan Afro-jazz musician Achieng Abura passes away
  6. DR Congo 'carried out extra-judicial killings' during protest
  7. Get Involved: #BBCAfricaLive WhatsApp: +44 7341070844
  8. Email stories and comments to - Friday 21 October 2016

Live Reporting

By Hugo Williams and Damian Zane

All times stated are UK

Get involved

  1. Scroll down for Friday's stories

    We'll be back on Monday

    That's all from the BBC Africa Livepage for this week. Keep up-to-date with what's happening across the continent by listening to the Africa Today podcast or checking the BBC News website.  

    A reminder of our wise words:

    Quote Message: It is a fool whose own tomatoes are sold to him." from Sent by Ebenezer Nana Botsio in Accra, Ghana
    Sent by Ebenezer Nana Botsio in Accra, Ghana

    Click here and scroll to the bottom to send us your African proverbs.  

    And we leave you with a photo of the Egyptian blind women's orchestra practicing in Cairo earlier this week. It's from our gallery of the best pictures of the week:

    Egyptian women practise their violins and oboes in the orchestra room
  2. Why is South Africa leaving the International Criminal Court?

    South Africa has formally begun the process of withdrawing from the International Criminal Court (ICC).

    It comes a year after a South African court criticised the government for refusing to arrest Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the ICC on charges of genocide and war crimes – allegations he denies.

    Video content

    Video caption: Why is South Africa leaving the war crimes court?
  3. Nigerian pastor condemns Africa's 'outdated' sodomy laws

    "People hanging on to outdated laws are themselves very backwards in their thinking," Prominent gay Nigerian pastor Jide Macaulay says. 

    He's been speaking to Focus on Africa radio as the British government prepares to pardon thousands of gay and bisexual men convicted under anti-homosexual legislation that was abolished decades ago. 

    Rev Macaulay believes the time is right for African governments to implement similar reforms: 

    Video content

    Video caption: Reverend Jide Macaulay welcomes the UK’s move to pardon gay and bisexual men
  4. Zimbabwe pays off IMF arrears

    Zimbabwe has paid the International Monetary Fund (IMF) more than $100m (£83m) to settle its arrears with the organisation, the AFP news agency is reporting.

    The IMF said in a statement that "Zimbabwe is now current on all its financial obligations to the IMF".

    The country had been in arrears since 2001, it added.

    AFP says that Zimbabwe will still not qualify for funding from the IMF until it pays off other money that it owes to other international organisations, including $1.1bn to the World Bank.

    Zimbabwe is hoping to get further loans to help its struggling economy back on its feet.

    Queues at a bank in Zimbabwe
    Image caption: A cash shortage has led to long queues at many of the country's banks
  5. Burundi starts formal ICC withdrawal

    When it comes to plans to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) the focus today has been on South Africa.

    But, in fact, it is the second African country to announce that it is pulling out of the Rome Treaty that established the ICC.

    Earlier this week, Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza signed into law his country's plan to leave the court.

    The BBC's Prime Ndikumagenge in the capital, Bujumbura, says that like South Africa, Burundi has also sent a formal note to the UN signalling the start of the withdrawal process.

    It takes a year for that process to take effect.

    Pierre Nkurunziza
    Image caption: President Nkurunziza was angry at the ICC for opening a preliminary investigation into last year's violence in Burundi
  6. At least 10 dead in Cameroon train accident

    The BBC's Randy Joe Sa'ah in Cameroon's capital, Yaounde, is reporting that at least 10 people have died in the train derailment.

    A source at a hospital near the site of the accident said that 10 corpses had arrived there.

    He added that ambulances were at the scene in Eseka - about half way between Yaounde and the port city of Douala.

    One eyewitness told him that he could see six bodies, and he thought there were some people under the overturned carriages.

    Our reporter says that the train was particularly crowded and the company added eight more carriages to cope with the demand.

    The state-owned CRTV has shared a picture of people giving first-aid at the scene:

    View more on twitter
  7. Blaise Compaore followers 'behind coup plan' in Burkina Faso

    Presidential guards stand on ceremony, armed with rocket propelled grenades
    Image caption: Members of the elite presidential guard were behind last year's failed coup

    Followers of former Burkina Faso leader Blaise Compaore, who was ousted during popular protests in 2014, were behind a coup attempt that was thwarted earlier this month, AFP news agency reports, quoting the country's interior minister. 

    The plan was "foiled following the arrest at the beginning of October, of four former members of the presidential guard at a checkpoint" in the capital, Ouagadougou, local news website quotes Interior Minister Simon Compaore as saying. 

    The presidential guards (RSP), an elite unit of 1,200 highly-trained and well-armed soldiers loyal to Blaise Compaore, were disbanded after they led a failed coup in September 2015. 

  8. Cameroon train accident: 'There was a lot of smoke'

    The Reuters news agency is reporting that the passenger train that has derailed in Cameroon was "packed".

    It says that one of its journalists was in a carriage near the front of the train.

    He said:

    Quote Message: There was a loud noise. I looked back and the wagons behind us left the rails and started rolling over and over. There was a lot of smoke."

    People are sharing pictures from the scene:

    View more on twitter
  9. French condolences for Cameroon after train accident

    The French ambassador in Cameroon has tweeted his condolences after the train accident in Cameroon (see earlier post).

    The death toll is still unclear.

    View more on twitter

    The tweet says: "I send my condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims of the crash on the train from Yaounde to Douala." 

  10. Burkina coup plotters 'planned to attack presidential palace'

    A local news website in Burkina Faso is reporting details of the government's reported foiling of a coup attempt. reports that "30 former members of the presidential guard (RSP), who were behind the failed coup in 2015, were planning various actions to destabilise the country", quoting Interior Minister Simon Compaore. 

    The 30 were fomenting attacks on home soil in an operation that was due to be launched on 8 October,  it reports the minister as saying at a press conference. 

    He added that the plan was to target the presidential palace and the headquarters of the gendarmerie in the capital, Ouagadougou, and the detention centre where last year's failed coup leaders were being held.

    They also intended to create a mutiny in the army barracks and launch a rebellion using social media, Mr Compaore added. 

  11. 'Many dead' in Cameroon train derailment

    People in Cameroon are continuing to share pictures of the train derailment on the line between the country's two main cities of Douala and Yaounde (see earlier story).

    Earlier, local reports were saying that seven people had died and many were badly injured.

    This post speaks about "many" dead.

    View more on twitter
  12. BreakingReported coup attempt in Burkina Faso

    Burkina Faso govt says it has thwarted attempted coup, AFP news agency is reporting. 

    More details to follow. 

  13. Saudi king sends congratulations to Somalia - but on wrong day

    BBC Monitoring

    News from around the globe

    Saudi Arabia's King Salman has congratulated Somalia "on the anniversary of the country's national day", but on the wrong date.

    Bizarrely, it does not appear to be a slip-up. 

    Since 2007, the monarchy has sent his congratulations on 20 October, despite the fact that Somalia does not commemorate a national day then.

    On 21 October 1969, Col Mohamed Siad Barre took power in a military coup.

    Although the day was marked during President Barre's regime, it has not been observed since he was deposed in 1991.

    Somali independence day is marked on 1 July, the date in 1960 when British Somaliland and Italian Somaliland merged to form the Republic of Somalia.

    In his message, King Salman "sent a cable of congratulations to President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud of federal republic of Somalia on the anniversary of his country's national day", according to a report by the official Saudi Press Agency on 20 October.

    The Saudi deputy prince and crown prince also sent similar messages.

    King Salman
    Image caption: King Salman
  14. Tears of joy for BBC Hausa women's writing award-winner

    Our colleagues at BBC Hausa have translated a sneak preiview of the winning story from their first writing competition for women (see earlier entry), which will be aired later this month. 

    Prize-winner Aisha Muhammad Sabitu's story deals with the devastation visited on families in the north-east of Nigeria by Boko Haram.

    It is about a young girl called Falmata, who has a mental breakdown after her father is killed by the militants, and then she witnesses her mother and brother being shot in the head. 

    This passage follows their killing: 

    Quote Message: From then, I lost track of everything. When I regained my consciousness, I found myself lying down in a displaced persons' camp. I wasn't surprised to find myself there; what surprised me was the fact I was heavily pregnant.
    Quote Message: That realisation traumatised me so much that I lost consciousness again. When I came back to my senses, I found myself on a hospital bed, but there was no pregnancy. Yagana, who was sitting close by, told me that I lost the baby.
    Quote Message: She told me that I became mad after witnessing the slaughter of my family."

    There is hope in Aisha's story though. Falmata eventually recovers and is able to devote herself to helping other victims of the insurgency. 

    The author wept with joy in an interview with BBC Hausa about her win. 

    Aisha, in a hijab, weeps with joy
  15. Kenya's first albino beauty pageant

    Kenya is holding its first albino beauty pageant to counter negative attitudes towards albinism. 

    Many albinos in some parts of Africa suffer stigma, alienation and even physical abuse.

    The pageant, to be held in the capital, Nairobi, aims to boost the confidence of young people with albinism.

    Video content

    Video caption: First contest for Mr and Miss Albino held in Kenya
  16. 'Seven dead' after train derails in Cameroon

    People in Cameroon have been sharing pictures of a derailed train.

    View more on twitter

    A local news agency says on Facebook that the accident happened in Eseka on the line between the country's two main cities, Douala and Yaounde.

    It says, in French, that the train, travelling from Yaounde to Douala, left the track and went out of control.

    It says early reports suggest that seven people have died and there are more than 60 people badly injured.

    View more on facebook

    BBC Africa's Veronique Edwards, who is from Cameroon, says that that route is very popular and the trains are usually very crowded.

  17. Malawi's president 'as strong as a 30-year-old'

    Malawi's President Peter Mutharika has broken his silence over the state of his health.

    There was speculation that he was unwell after he spent a month in the US, where he travelled for the UN General Assembly. 

    This was fuelled by his failure to use his right arm to wave or shake hands when he arrived home on Sunday.

    But today, the president said he had rheumatism - or "nyamakazi" in the Malawian language Chichewa - which is why he wasn't moving his arm.

    He has just been giving a press conference in the capital, Lilongwe. The government's official Twitter account has been sharing details.

    View more on twitter

    He said, in fact, that he was very fit:

    View more on twitter

    So fit that he joked about taking on Malawi's world champion boxer:

    View more on twitter
    Tony Bellew of England (L) is caught by Isaac Chilemba of Malawi
    Image caption: Isaac Chilemba (R) has been an IBO and WBC boxing world champion
  18. Coastguard 'beat migrants with clubs'

    Armed men have attacked a boat carrying migrants off Libya, leaving at least four dead and 15 missing, German NGO Sea-Watch has said, AFP news agency reports. 

    The NGO says the attackers were wearing Libyan coastguard insignia and beat those on board with clubs, sending many of them into the water. 

    On its Twitter feed, the organisation says that the attack happened while it was carrying out a rescue operation: 

    View more on twitter
    Migrants scramble to escape their sinking rubber dinghy
    Image caption: More than 3,600 people have died trying to reach Europe by sea in 2016
  19. Can Visa grab some of Kenya's mobile money?

    Kenya is home to one of the world’s most successful mobile money platforms, M-Pesa. 

    Now the world’s leading payment network Visa is launching its own mobile money platform in the country. 

    The BBC’s Nancy Kacungira unpacks the facts and figures around the mobile money market in Kenya.

    Video content

    Video caption: Can Visa grab some of Kenya's mobile money?
  20. Uganda 'still to decide' on future with ICC

    Uganda is not yet sure if it will leave the International Criminal Court (ICC), the AP news agency reports.

    One of its journalists asked Deputy Foreign Minister Oryem Okello what the country's position is on the ICC following South Africa's announcement that it is pulling out.

    Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni has in recent years been one of the ICC's most vocal critics, but his government referred some Lord's Resistance Army cases to the court when it was first established.

    Mr Okello told AP that the issue should be discussed by the African Union as a whole and it's likely to be a "hot issue" at the next AU summit.

    Joseph Kony
    Image caption: Joseph Kony of the Lord's Resistance Army has been indicted by the ICC at Uganda's request