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  1. ANC chief whip says party will oppose Zuma no-confidence vote
  2. Low turnout reported as Gambians vote in parliamentary elections
  3. Tanzania rapper missing after alleged arrest
  4. Somalia president declares war on al-Shabab militants
  5. Members of the group are offered a 60-day amnesty to surrender
  6. Nigerian and Eritrean former IS captives freed in Libya
  7. Ghanaians unhappy over 15% bus and taxi fare hikes
  8. Email stories and comments to - Thursday 6 April 2017

Live Reporting

By Dickens Olewe and Hugo Williams

All times stated are UK

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We'll be back tomorrow

That's all from the  BBC Africa Live  page today. 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 proverb of the day:

A sheep that wants to grow horns should ask the ram how its neck feels."

An Igbo proverb sent by Anthony Esekhaigbe, Lagos, Nigeria

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

And we leave you with this photo of Ait Ben Haddou in Ouarzazate, Morocco, a location where many films and TV series have been filmed, including Gladiator, Lawrence of Arabia and Game Of Thrones.

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UN 'working on solution for ex-IS captives released in Libya'

The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) has confirmed that a group of 35 people, mainly women and children from Eritrea who were held for nearly six months after fleeing a former Islamic State group stronghold in Libya, have been released  (see earlier entry) .

They were freed on the orders of the General Attorney in the Libyan port city of Misrata.

Their ordeal began last year when they were held by IS fighters who took control of eastern Sirte.

After escaping the city, they were investigated for possible links to the jihadists. 

They had continued to be detained even though Libyan officials cleared them of any wrongdoing in February.

28 of the group were from Eritrea and seven from Nigeria, the UN confirmed.

UNHCR spokesman William Spindler told the BBC:

The group had been held hostage by ISIS in Sirte until December 2016, when the Libyan authorities captured the city and took the refugees and migrants to a detention facility in Misrata.

They are now under UNHCR’s protection in a temporary shelter in Misrata where they are receiving support, counselling and assistance from us and other humanitarian organisations working in Libya.

UNHCR is working on finding a permanent solution to the plight of these women, children and men in need of protection who have gone through such a painful ordeal and are in a very vulnerable situation."

Kenya football administrators to investigate use of paper subs boards

Abdinoor Aden

BBC Africa, Nairobi

Kenya's football administrators will probe the use of paper instead of digital substitution boards after we reported yesterday that they had been used in a league match: 

Football players
Photo from fan at the game as received by Abdinoo
Fans snapped match officials using paper instead of electronic boards to do substitutions

Kenya Premier League said the rules require stadiums hosting the matches to provide them. 

The use of papers was mentioned as an isolated case since the stadium has hosted major international friendlies in the past. 

Football Kenya federation is expected to toughen measures against clubs to avoid a repeat of the incident.

The federation has been working to improve the status of club football in the country.

Low turnout reported in Gambian parliamentary elections

Polls in the Gambia parliamentary elections close at 17:00 GMT, a few minutes from now. 

Reports indicate that turnout was low.

Divisions in the governing coalition could have led to low interest in the election, local independent journalist Omar Wally told the BBC's Focus on Africa radio from the capital, Banjul.

He says that those who have chosen to vote see it as part of continuing the process of erasing exiled former President Yahya Jammeh's influence. 

About 238 candidates including 18 women are contesting for 23 seats. 

The results are expected to be announced from midnight local time. 

Search for missing Tanzanian musician

Aboubakar Famau

BBC Africa, Dar es Salaam

Tanzanian Bongo Fleva artist Ibrahim Musa aka Roma Mkatoliki is missing after allegedly being arrested this morning in the commercial capital Dar es salaam. 

He was reportedly picked up at a recording studio in the city, along with his producer. 

Other reports say that recording equipment was also confiscated.

People have been sharing the news on Twitter: 

View more on twitter

Family members of the two say they have visited police stations in the city but they have not been able to trace them. 

Joff Msumule, a colleague of the missing producer, says the police were likely looking for evidence to incriminate the musician: 

I was not around, but I'm told there was a song that was produced but it doesn't carry a very good message for the government. That song was not recorded at Tongo studio, but the artiste used the studio's logo. This therefore implies that we are the ones who produced the song. So, the policemen came to collect some evidence."

Joseph Mbilinyi, a former artist, who is currently an MP, raised the issue in parliament by alleging that the government was using secret agents to arrest people.

The news comes weeks after another Bongo Fleva artist Ney wa Mitego was arrested for a song decrying the shrinking space for freedom of expression, which was deemed to be insulting to President John Magufuli's government. 

He was later released following a public outcry but he was told to improve the song to include other ills that affect Tanzanians.

Death toll revised in Zimbabwe bus crash

Shingai Nyoka

BBC Africa, Harare

A passenger bus accident on one of Zimbabwe’s deadliest highways, in the country's south-east, has claimed the lives of at least 17 people. 

Earlier, there were reports of as many as 30 deaths.

Police say the bus was travelling to neighbouring South Africa when it collided with a haulage truck and then burst into flames. 

Some passengers were trapped in the blaze, while others escaped after breaking the windows.

Police say at least 40 people have been hospitalised and some are in critical condition.

Cross-border buses are popular among informal traders who travel to buy goods for resale in local markets.

Road accidents are also common on the busy highway, which is narrow and poorly maintained.

The Beitbridge-Chirundu road, where the accident happened, is an important gateway linking South Africa to landlocked central Africa.

Somali president puts country on war footing

Somalia presidency
The president has declared war on al-Shabab

Somalia's president has declared a state of war in the country, urging the nation "to stand with the armed forces in the fight against terror groups".

Mohamed Abdullahi "Farmajo" announced a shakeup of top security personnel, declaring war on Islamist militant group al-Shabab:

We have ordered all the security forces and military to be ready for making peace and today there is a new change in the military commanders, security officials."

He announced new chiefs of national security and intelligence, a commander of police and a new head of prison forces, Reuters news agency reports.

He also appointed a new mayor for the capital Mogadishu, which has been hit by a spate of deadly bomb attacks.

But Mr Farmajo also offered a limited amnesty for al-Shabab militants wanting to surrender:

We want to pardon the Somali youth who were misled by al-Shabab.

The government cordially welcomes them. We shall give them education; we shall create jobs for them. We do not want to kill our youth. We urge you again to leave al-Shabab as soon as possible.

You have 60 days."

Somalia presidency
The president (C) donned military fatigues for the briefing

He did not mention a recent directive from the Trump administration , which gives the US military more scope to carry out air strikes in Somalia and relaxes rules designed to guard against civilian casualties.

Ghanaians unhappy with fare hike

Thomas Naadi

BBC Africa, Accra

A tout counts money
Minibus taxis are affected by the increase

Commuters in Ghana's capital Accra have complained after a 15% hike in fare prices that came into effect today, saying it would translate into high costs of living.

The increase is part of a deal agreed by transport unions and the government to review fare prices twice a year, between the months of January and June, and only affects private transport companies.

The the last review of fares was done in February 2016.  

The unions are defending the increase saying it will cover their rising expenses in buying vehicle spare parts and for maintenance. 

Some commuters are however unhappy that President Nana Akufo-Addo's new government approved the hikes, having won elections in December with pledges to transform the struggling economy and improve the living conditions for Ghanaians. 

Rexmond Amankwa, a trader, asked why the increases were not captured in the national budget: 


I think it’s too much and it’s not the right time. We just had a new budget, but it was not part of the budget. People have made their budget already. It’s going to affect business because the money people will use to buy the goods they will now channel it to their transport fares."

ANC lawmakers to oppose Zuma's no-confidence vote

President Jacob Zuma
Some key allies of the ANC called for President Jacob Zuma to step down

South African MPs from the ruling African National Congress (ANC) will oppose a no-confidence motion being backed by opposition parties against President Jacob Zuma scheduled for 18 April the party has said. 

The party's Chief Whip Mphikwa Jackson Mthembu said the party would stand by the decision taken by an influential body in the party to support the embattled leader: 

We will abide by the decision of the ANC National Working Committee as announced by ANC Secretary General comrade Gwede Mantashe that the ANC does not and will not support this motion."

Mr Zuma has been under increasing pressure following his removal of widely respected Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, with the rand currency falling 12% against the US dollar since his plans began to emerge last week.

Three other cabinet ministers sacked by Mr Zuma resigned as MPs earlier. 

Cinema continues in South Sudan depsite war

James Copnall

Africa editor, BBC World Service

The civil war in South Sudan has made life hard for almost everyone - but it hasn't stopped the country's cinephiles from working on their passion.

The second edition of the Juba film festival is coming up in a few months, and this week residents of the capital were able to attend a screening of a new movie, Zawaja Gali - which means 'Marriage is Expensive'.

It's the story of a young South Sudanese man who wants to marry his girlfriend. In the best traditions of cinema, it won't be easy - as one character puts it, "love alone will not do it any more."

The short film is is directed by Cont de Monk, and is written by and stars Sam Lukudu.

Lukudu told the BBC that Zawaja Gali "touches on two sensitive issues in our society. Namely, tribalism, and the commercialisation of marriages."  

You can watch the film's trailer here:

View more on youtube

DR Congo PM 'steps down' as part of Kabila deal

Sammy Maina

BBC Monitoring

View more on twitter

Democratic Republic of Congo Prime Minister Samy Badibanga has handed in his resignation as part of a deal brokered by the Catholic church to end a political crisis in the country, UN-backed Radio Okapi reports .

It follows a speech yesterday from President Joseph Kabila, in which he told MPs that he would name an opposition prime minister within the next 48 hours.

Mr Kabila said he would stick to the electoral calendar agreed as part of the deal with the opposition, which requires polls to be held before the end of 2017. 

There has been growing unrest in the country after he failed to step down when his second and final term in office ran out in December.

Mr Badibanga handed in his notice at the presidential palace in the capital Kinshasa, Radio Okapi adds, quoting one of his aides. 

Kenyan troops aid thirsty buffalo

We've just spotted these photos on The Kenyan army twitter account. 

They show troops near the border with Somalia aiding a thirsty buffalo in the drought-stricken region.

Soldiers giving water to a buffalo
Soldiers giving water to a buffalo

South Sudan 'denying UN access' to Pajok

BBC World Service

UN peacekeepers in South Sudan say they have twice been prevented from accessing the town of Pajok, where the army is accused of killing civilians. 

The peacekeepers say they are concerned about the reports of fighting and attacks on civilians, and are calling on the government to allow them to visit the area. 

Several thousand people have fled Pajok into neighbouring Uganda. Some said government troops shot their relatives as they ran, or arrested and then killed them. 

The army has denied targeting civilians. 

Read more: South Sudan declares famine

Ethiopia criticised over alleged civilian mass shooting

BBC World Service

The campaign group Human Rights Watch has criticised the Ethiopian authorities for failing to hold accountable a paramilitary force it accuses of killing at least 21 civilians in June last year. 

The incident took place in the village of Jaamac Dubad in Ethiopia's Somali regional state. 

Human Rights Watch said the force, known as the Liyu police, started shooting indiscriminately after an officer had been wounded in a dispute with traders, killing at least 14 men and seven women.

It says nine months later survivors said they were not aware of any investigation and had not received compensation.

There was no immediate reaction from the Ethiopian government.  

An HRW researcher has tweeted a copy of the report:

View more on twitter

Ruling on SA rhino horn sale divides conservationists

Alastair Leithead

BBC Africa correspondent

Getty Images
A third of South Africa’s rhinoceroses are privately owned

A court ruling legalising the domestic trade in rhino horn in South Africa has been criticised by some conservationists and welcomed by others, but there’s still uncertainty over its impact. 

South Africa’s Constitutional Court lifted a ban on trade within the country, which has been in place since 2009, but only under licence, and the selling of rhino horn abroad is still banned under an international treaty.

A third of South Africa’s rhinoceroses are privately owned – that’s more than 60,500 according to the Private Rhino Owners’ Association. 

Its members want to painlessly harvest the horns – which grow back – and sell them to pay for the conservation of their rhinos. 

This Constitutional Court ruling once again allows them to do that – but only within South Africa and only with a permit. 

The main market for rhino horn is Asia where it is used as a medicine and to make cups and jewellery – and an international treaty prevents their sale abroad.

There is already a thriving illegal trade – every year in South Africa more than a 1,000 rhinos are killed for their horns which can fetch more than $90,000 (£72,000) a kilo on the open market.

Critics say it will be hard to regulate the legal trade and it will result in more illegal rhino horn being trafficked to Asia by criminal syndicates. 

Kenya's electoral commission approves parallel tallying

Kenya's electoral commission has agreed to allow political parties to independently monitor the voting process of the 8 August general election. 

View more on twitter

It however said that it will have the exclusive responsibility of announcing the results. 

Opposition leader Raila Odinga had caused a political storm over the weekend after he told supporters that the opposition coalition, Nasa, will set up a parallel vote tallying system and announce results during the elections. 

Opposition leaders say that a parallel tallying system would guard against manipulation of votes. 

President Uhuru Kenyatta is seeking a second term and is expected to face a candidate backed by major opposition parties.

Egyptian professor investigated over bellydance video

An Egyptian professor fears she may lose her job after posting a video of herself bellydancing on Facebook.

The video, as well as a photo of Mona Prince in a bikini, has been widely shared and has attracted online criticism. Now the professor, who teaches English literature at Suez University, is being investigated over them,  Ahram Online reports .

While some have defended her, many on social media said they expected a university professor to act within the norms and traditions of Egypt's mostly conservative society, and to be a role model.

Read full story

          A video of Ms Prince dancing may have landed her in trouble with her bosses in Egypt
A video of Ms Prince dancing may have landed her in trouble with her bosses in Egypt

BreakingSomalia president offers amnesty to al-Shabab militants

Somalia's President Mohamed Abdullahi "Farmajo"  has declared war against Islamist militant group al-Shabab, in what is being seen as a key moment in his four month-old presidency.

He announced an amnesty of 60 days for militants to surrender, in exchange for training, employment and education.     

It comes a day after a suicide attack near a government building in the capital Mogadishu that killed seven people and a spate of kidnappings of aid workers by armed militants in the drought-hit country. 

"Terror attacks have become frequent and all Somali forces were on the state of alertness to combat insecurity and terror" he said. 

He also said that he had replaced senior security officers in the intelligence service and police force to prepare for the escalating war against the militants.

He wore full military fatigues during the press briefing:

View more on twitter

Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khayre also said that the new measures would be implemented in Mogadishu and other main regions. 

Analysts think the new security measure is about reinforcing gains made by UN mission in Somalia Amison and Somalia forces. 

Last week the New York Times reported that US President Donald Trump had relaxed some of the rules for preventing civilian casualties in Somalia when counter-terrorism air strikes are carried out, laying the ground for an intensification of the campaign against the group.

Read more: Somalia's 'Mr Cheese' president has a lot on his plate

Tributes from Hollande after French soldier killed in Mali

View more on twitter

French President Francois Hollande has expressed his condolences after a French soldier was killed by militants in Mali last night.

The soldier, named as Julien Barbe, was killed "in a clash with terrorists after an operation in the country's southeast", according to an official statement from the president's office.   

With France's presidential election less than three weeks away, candidates have been quick to show their support. 

Leading candidates, including Marine Le Pen, Francois Fillon and Emmanuel Macron have all paid their respects on Twitter.

The troops were attacked after an explosive device blew up an armoured vehicle, with the soldier killed in the ensuing clash, an official statement added.

Some 3,500 French soldiers are deployed to five countries in the Sahel as part of Operation Barkhane, a French-led operation against militant groups that began in 2014.  

Read more: France - the Saharan policeman

US white woman who identifies as black to visit SA

Rachel Dolezal -  the white US woman who said she was black  - sparking huge controversy, has announced that she will be visiting South Africa to promote a book she has written about her experience. 

View more on twitter

Ms Dolezal will be a special guest of the inaugural Quest for Non Racial South African Society Dialogue (QfNRSASD), Reading List publication reports.

The group's founder Bishop Clyde NS Ramalaine had defended Ms Dolezal after she was exposed, saying that her critics were envious that she had "successfully transitioned race".

He added: 

They collectively critique and butcher Rachel Dolezal ONLY because she successfully transitioned race, a stuck reality for them, and inconceivable only because it is believed it is not possible, if not an unpardonable sin. Thus, we can conclude they are envious of Rachel Dolezal that she becomes the evidence of the myth of race."

Ms Dolezal insists that she is a transracial woman in a white body. 

She's also said that that she faces "more stigma for race fluidity" than people do for gender fluidity.  

Rachel Dolezal to BBC: 'The idea of race is a lie'

Gambians begin voting in first polls of post-Jammeh era

Woman with UDP painted on her face
Gambians look forward to new political era

Gambians have begun voting for members of their one-chamber parliament in the the first polls since Yahya Jammeh left power after more than 22 years.

Under Mr Jammeh, the National Assembly was frequently ignored as the president enacted executive decrees without consultation.

Expectations are high that under the new president, Adama Barrow, parliament will play a key part in lawmaking.

Mr Barrow has pledged to carry out political, security and media reforms.

A coalition of seven parties that supported Mr Barrow during last year's presidential election has collapsed, with candidates from each now competing against each other. 

The party that supported Yahya Jammeh, the APRC, is also taking part.

One of those helping to organise the poll has been tweeting from the capital Banjul:

View more on twitter

The US ambassador to The Gambia herself, Patricia Alsup (pictured below holding clipboard) appears to be among the observers:

View more on twitter

Read the full BBC story 

The BBC's Umaru Fofana demonstrates The Gambia's marble voting system

Ugandans 'try to earn a living' betting on EPL

Betting on English football is big business in Uganda - and it's growing.

In a country with high unemployment levels, young men in particular are gambling to try and earn a living. 

But there are fears that many of them are now starting to get addicted to betting. 

BBC Minute reports from the capital Kampala: 

How young Ugandans are turning to betting to earn a living

US condemns Sudan church attack

The US embassy in Sudan has condemned a police raid on a church in the capital Khartoum, in which one person was killed following a land ownership dispute. 

Another person was injured and 13 were arrested in the 3 April incident. 

The church members were staging a two-week sit-in when the police stormed the property.

An embassy statement called the attack "heinous" and said it was "deeply saddened" about the incident at the Omdurman Evangelical School and the Omdurman Presbyterian Church. 

It says that the police action is linked to a dispute over the land with a private investor claiming to have purchased the property. 

The church which runs a school on the property was founded by American Presbyterian missionaries in 1924.

Read more : Sudan country profile

Five aid workers kidnapped in Somalia

Armed men have abducted five aid workers from the central Somali town of Beledweyne, locals have confirmed to the BBC Somali service.

The staff, who included two volunteers, a nurse, a driver and a veterinary, were working with the region's Veterinary Medical Association, the privately-owned Jowhar news website reports.

"The kidnapped workers were on an immunisation programme in a place 10km (6.2 miles)from Beledweyne town," the site added.

No group has said it was behind the abduction yet, but Islamist militant group al-Shabab has carried out attacks in the region before.

The abduction comes a day after al-Shabab released four aid worker who were doing work paid for by the World Health Organization (WHO) in the south-western town of Luuq.

Somalia's President, Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, had declared the drought a national disaster, with nearly three million people in the country facing severe food insecurity.

Map showing food insecurity

Dozens killed in Zimbabwe bus crash

At least 30 people have been killed in a road accident in central Zimbabwe after their bus heading to neighbouring South Africa hit a haulage truck, the local  NewsDay newspaper reports. 

The paper quotes an eyewitness saying the bus caught fire when it came into contact with the side of the truck. 

Another witness says it was impossible to evacuate the causalities: 

Nobody could help. The bodies were burnt to ashes. The accident took place around 8 or 9 pm. It is traumatising to witness such an event and this is a loud call for immediate further development of the road into dual carriageway. The lives that have been lost along this road have become too many to ignore.”

Survivors have been rushed to Mvuma District Hospital and Driefontein Mission Hospital, the report says.   

View more on twitter

Nigerians and Eritreans 'freed from Libya prison'

Map shows Misrata along northern Libyan coast

Libyan authorities in the northern port city Misrata have freed 28 Eritreans and seven Nigeria nationals who had been in detention for months as authorities investigated their ties to the ousted Islamic State (IS) group, the Reuters news agency reports. 

The group, all but two of whom are women and children, escaped from Sirte, a former IS stronghold in central Libya, while forces from the nearby city of Misrata battled to oust the militants late last year.  

Some of the women were on their way to Europe when IS fighters kidnapped and held them as sex slaves. 

Samer Haddadin, head of the UNHCR's Libya mission, told Reuters that those released would be processed as refugees and given protection and medical treatment.

Dozens of women and children who escaped from Sirte or were picked up there by Libyan forces are still being held in Misrata. They include Libyans, Tunisians, and nationals from several sub-Saharan African countries, Reuters reports.

IS took control of Sirte in early 2015, turning the coastal city into its most important base outside Syria and Iraq, stationing hundreds of foreign fighters there. 

It took Misrata-led forces almost seven months to recapture the city.

Libya has been beset by chaos since Nato-backed forces overthrew long-serving ruler Col Muammar Gaddafi in October 2011. 

Read more: Why is Libya so lawless? 

Ghana bus and taxi fares jump by 15%

BBC World Service

Bus and taxi fares in Ghana have gone up by 15% today, sparking criticism of the government of President Nana Akufo-Addo. 

He came to power last year promising to transform Ghana's struggling economy and improve living conditions. 

But the government has agreed to the fares increase, to compensate operators for higher fuel prices and the rising cost of spare parts and maintenance. 

Many Ghanaians say the rise will add to the cost of living at a time when they are struggling to survive.

Today's wise words

Our African proverb of the day:   

A sheep that wants to grow horns should ask the ram how its neck feels."

An Igbo proverb sent by Anthony Esekhaigbe, Lagos, Nigeria

Good morning

Welcome to  BBC Africa Live,  where we will bring you the latest news from around the continent.