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Live Reporting

By Damian Zane

All times stated are UK

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  1. Deal agreed to pay more to poor cocoa farmers

    Russell Padmore

    Business correspondent, BBC News

    Ivory Coast and Ghana, the world's biggest exporters of cocoa, have agreed a deal to sell the commodity with an additional living income premium of $400 (£320) a tonne added to the price.

    The scheme aims to work with the world's chocolate makers in making sure farmers are lifted out of poverty.

    Ivory Coast and Ghana produce two thirds of the world's cocoa beans, but the volatile price of the crop often means the growers, many of whom are small-scale farmers, have to accept low prices.

    Cocoa farmer
    Image caption: The deal means the farmers should get more money for their crop

    The agreement to impose what's called a living income differential sum will take effect from next year.

    The French chocolate maker Cemoi has confirmed it will be buying cocoa from Ivory Coast and paying the additional $400 a tonne, and it's reported that global players in the industry, Sucden, Barry Callebaut, Cargill and Olam have done similar deals.

    Traders have warned the scheme could backfire if it encourages a surplus of crops, which would drive prices down.

    The agreement is the latest in a series of attempts to combat poverty among African cocoa farmers.

    The price of cocoa traded in Europe hit a one year high in July, as the markets anticipated the pricing agreement by the West African producers.

  2. Cameroon lawyers force courts to close

    Killian Chimtom Ngala

    BBC News, Yaoundé

    Court rooms across Cameroon are empty as lawyers embark on a five-day strike.

    They're protesting about alleged abuses against them and their clients, committed, they say, by law enforcement officers.

    The head of the Cameroon Bar Council, Charles Tchakoute Patie, said lawyers have been physically assaulted, and denied access to their clients.

    They also complain about exorbitant court charges, the trial of accused persons in a language they do not understand, and the use of torture and inducements to extract confessions.

    An official from the ministry of justice, Jean De Dieu Momo, has been pleading with the lawyers to cooperate rather than confront the government.

    “Let the Bar Council take its responsibility to henceforth lead lawyers not through all-out protests, but through collaboration with public authorities," he said.

    "From this view point, let me underscore the fact that the Bar Council is a professional order, not an opposition political party or a human rights NGO."

    The Bar Council insists the strike is necessary to force the government to act on its demands.

  3. Polka-dotted zebra spotted in Kenya's Maasai Mara

    Idris Situma

    BBC Swahili, Nairobi

    Photographs of a polka-dotted zebra foal in the Maasai Mara game park are trending in Kenya.

    The Maasai Mara Wildlife Conservancies Association (MMWCA) first posted a photo of it on Facebook on Saturday.

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    The story was picked up on Monday by well-known blogger Mutuma Untamed, who shared other photos of the zebra with the unusual pattern:

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    He told the BBC they were taken by a guide working for the Maasai Mara Wildlife Conservancies Association.

    Kenya’s Daily Nation newspaper named the guide as Antony Tira, who is quoted as saying: “At first I thought it was a zebra that had been captured and painted or marked for purposes of migration. I was confused when I first saw it.”

    He told the paper that he realised the young zebra had a melanin disorder.

    Mutuma Untamed says the foul has been named Tira, after the photographer.

  4. The Nigerian telling stories through fashion

    Nigerian business entrepreneur Reni Folawiyo is the owner of Alara, a Lagos-based luxury fashion, homeware, textile and art brand.

    She tells the BBC about the importance of selling a vision of modern Africa to the world through the promotion of traditional African culture in fashion and art:

    Video content

    Video caption: Telling meaningful stories through fashion
  5. Ghana hit by 10% increase in transport costs

    Favour Nunoo

    BBC Pidgin

    Taxi in Accra
    Image caption: Ghanaians now have to pay more for their journeys

    All bus, mini-bus and taxi fares in Ghana have risen by 10%.

    The Ghana Private Road Transport Union said the increase was because of the rising cost of petrol, as well as the price of other items such as spare parts.

    There have been concerns that the higher cost could affect the price of goods and services in general.

    But the business group, the Ghana Union of Traders' Associations, says its members are not planning price rises.

    The increment is likely to put undue pressure on the already meagre wages of many here.

    “[My trip from] Labone to Tema station used to cost two cedis ($0.36, £0.29), but now it is 2.20 cedis," construction worker Musa Ibrahim told the BBC.

    "If I calculate for the month, my salary will now not be enough to cover my expenses,” he added.

    Fares also increased by 10% in June last year.

    At the time some Ghanaians said they had to cut down on what they spent on food, clothing and entertainment to make up for the rise in transport costs.

  6. BreakingCaf board rejects Wydad's Champions League case

    Wydad players
    Image caption: Wyad players protested to the referee, insisting VAR be used

    Moroccan club Wydad Casablanca have had their latest appeal over May's African Champions League final rejected.

    The latest setback came after a meeting of the Confederation of African Football's (Caf) Appeal Board, who ruledthat Tunisia's Esperance won the title in May.

    Wydad are yet to confirm whether they will be taking another case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) as permitted by the Caf statutes.

    The second leg of the May's Champions League final ended in controversy as Wydad Casablanca refused to continue playing after a row over the Video Assisted Referee (VAR) system.

    Play was halted for when VAR was unavailable to judge a disallowed equaliser.

    Read more from BBC Sport.

  7. Tanzania gets new radar systems 'to aid security'

    The new terminal at Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania - August 2019
    Image caption: A new terminal, which was opened at Julius Nyerere International Airport last month, is expected to increase air traffic

    Tanzania's President John Magufuli has launched a new radar system at the country's main Julius Nyerere International Airport in the city of Dar es Salaam.

    It is one of four new radar systems the East African nation has recently acquired that will help improve security, Mr Magufuli says.

    Until now the country has had to rely on its neighbours and the military to control air traffic as it has had only one radar station that could monitor 25% of the air space.

    "This project will attract more aviation companies to use our space and therefore increase revenues," the president is quoted as saying by Tanzania's private The Citizen newspaper.

    Another station was opened at Kilimanjaro and those at Mwanza and Songwe are to follow soon.

    Last month, a new terminal was opened at Julius Nyerere International Airport, which is expected to increase traffic at the airport to at least six million annually.

    The East African nation is home to two renowned tourism destinations - Africa's highest mountain, Kilimanjaro, and wildlife-rich national parks such as the Serengeti.

  8. SA man convicted of raping child in restaurant toilet

    Pumza Fihlani

    BBC News, Johannesburg

    Nicholas Ninow
    Image caption: Nicholas Ninow pleaded guilty to raping a seven-year-old girl in the toilet of a restaurant

    In South Africa, Nicholas Ninow, 21, has been found guilty of raping a seven-year-old last year in a restaurant after the she went to the toilet.

    Ninow's trial lasted less than a week. In the trial, he pleaded guilty and explained that he had gone into the toilets to take drugs and when he found the girl in there he acted on impulse.

    Judge Mokhine Mosopa rejected this explanation and said: “The only reasonable inference the court can draw is that the accused saw the victim playing in the play area, saw her going to the bathroom, followed her and then undressed and raped her."

    The court heard graphic details of how Ninow raped the girl and threatened to kill her.

    One of the witnesses, who testified during the trial last week, was the victim’s mother who told the court that she found Ninow naked in the bathroom with her daughter.

    According to the mother, Ninow also told them not to disturb him as they tried to force the toilet stall open to rescue the girl who at this point was screaming for help.

    The highly publicised trial has led to calls for harsher sentences for sexual offences.

    The latest crime figures show that violent attacks on women and children have increased in the last year.

    President Cyril Ramaphosa has promised “firm action” against what he has recently described as a national emergency. The court will resume on 16 October when lawyers will present arguments over the length of the sentence..

  9. Kenyan Muslims 'unhappy over dreadlocks ruling'

    Vik Chege

    BBC Africa Business, Nairobi

    Muslim schoolgirls in hijabs at a class in Mombasa, Kenya
    Image caption: The Supreme Court dismissed the hijab ruling on a technicality and recommended it be pursued through the courts again

    Muslims in Kenya are unhappy with a court ruling that recognised Rastafarianism as a religion in the East African country allowing a girl to go to school with dreadlocks, privately owned newspaper Daily Nation has reported.

    On Friday, the High Court ruled in favour of a schoolgirl banned from a school as her hairstyle did not comply with its rules.

    The girl’s father successfully challenged their rules, arguing they were discriminatory on the basis of her Rastafarian beliefs, which she had declared during admission.

    But the chairman of the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya (CIPK) says the courts are applying double standards, given that the Supreme Court said in January that schools had the right to determine dress codes.

    It had overturned an earlier ruling that had allowed Muslim students to wear a hijab in non-Muslim schools.

    CIPK's Abdallah Atek is quoted as saying that respect for all people’s religious practices and beliefs should be valued without discrimination.

    Quote Message: It is now clear that the courts in Kenya are applying double standards on the issue of the freedom of worship as enshrined in the constitution of the country. The ruling barring Muslim girls from wearing the headscarf was not only provocative but demeaning and undermining to the rights of Muslims for no apparent reason."

    The Supreme Court judges said their decision in January was made because of a technicality, which invalidated the original ruling allowing the wearing of hijabs in schools.

    They said they recognised the importance of the case and recommended it be pursued through the courts again.

  10. Doctors protest over 'abduction of strike leader'

    Shingai Nyoka

    BBC Africa, Harare

    Dr Peter Magombeyi
    Image caption: Opposition leader Nelson Chamisa said Peter Magombeyi's only crime had been to "ask for a living wage"

    Zimbabwean doctors have staged a walkout in protest at the alleged abduction over the weekend of Peter Magombeyi, head of the doctor's union who has led strikes over poor pay and working conditions.

    Hundreds marched on the streets of the capital, Harare, to demand that the country’s president takes action over the latest in a series of abductions of government critics.

    They had wanted to march to President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s office, but dozens of riot police stopped them.

    Dr Magombeyi, the acting president of the Zimbabwe Hospitals Association, sent out a distress message on Saturday night alleging he had been abducted by a group of men.

    The doctors have said they will not work until he is found.

    Meanwhile, the government says it is equally concerned and has asked security agents to investigate.

    The union says inflation has meant doctors' salaries have shrunk to about $100 (£80) a month, meaning they cannot even afford to get to work given that it costs $80 to fill up a car with petrol.

    People have been sharing images and videos from the walkout.

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  11. SA stops early release of rapist tennis star Bob Hewitt

    Nomsa Maseko

    BBC Africa, Johannesburg

    Bob Hewitt
    Image caption: Bob Hewitt was 75 when he was convicted in 2015

    Officials in South Africa have delayed the parole of convicted rapist and former tennis star Bob Hewitt after a public outcry.

    He was convicted in 2015, at the age of 75, of raping two young women and sexually assaulting a third woman while coaching them in the 1980s and 1990s. He received a six-year sentence.

    The former tennis star's case will now be referred for review to the country’s parole board.

    The department of justice and prisons said proper procedures regarding Hewitt’s parole were not followed and that his victims had not been consulted.

    One of them told a local radio station that she was devastated and angry when she heard the news of Hewitt’s imminent release.

    During his trial, the prosecutor said the former Wimbledon doubles champion deserved a harsh sentence because he had failed to show remorse and had breached the trust of children.

  12. Zambia deports Chinese CEO over 'abusive language'

    Kennedy Gondwe

    BBC News, Lusaka

    The Zambian government has deported a Chinese media executive over "derogatory and abusive language", a spokesman said.

    Yi Jian is the chief executive officer of TopStar Communications Company Limited, which is a joint venture between Beijing-based Star Times and the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC).

    Mr Yi was deported on Thursday under a warrant signed by Interior Minister Stephen Kampyongo.

    He was removed from the country “because there were reasonable grounds to believe that his presence in Zambia and conduct were likely to be a danger to peace and good order”, according to immigration department spokesperson Namati Nshinka.

    The Chinese executive was on record as having "used derogatory and abusive language, not only towards employees of Top Star, but also towards government officials, on multiple occasions", he added

    Mr Yi, who has not commented on the deportation, was also found to have broken the employment code, the government said.

  13. Protests over Ethiopian Orthodox Church attacks

    Scenes depicted on the wall of Debre Birhan Selassie Church in Gondar, Ethiopia
    Image caption: The Orthodox Church is the largest religious group in Ethiopia

    Thousands of members of the Ethiopian Orthodox church staged protests on Sunday in Amhara State, saying there had been a series of recent attacks targeting the church and its followers.

    In the historic city of Gondar and three other cities, protesters called on the Ethiopian government to do more to protect their churches - some of which have been set on fire.

    While ethnic violence is a major problem, displacing more than one million people last year, religious tension is less common, the BBC's Kalkidan Yibeltal reports from the capital, Addis Ababa.

    However, there have been numerous recent reports of attacks on religious institutions - mainly targeting Orthodox churches but also affecting some mosques.

    About 45% of Ethiopia’s population of more than 100 million people belong to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church - one of the oldest Christian denominations in the world.

    The Orthodox Church has recently been trying to stop a breakaway by a group of its clergy in the populous Oromia region which is unhappy that the services are conducted in Amharic, Ethiopia’s official working language.

  14. Zambian lorry drivers 'hijacked in South Africa'

    Kennedy Gondwe

    BBC News, Lusaka

    Four lorries belonging to Zambian companies were hijacked in South Africa on Sunday, according to an official at the Zambian high commission in the South African capital, Pretoria.

    It is not clear who is behind the hijackings, but they come after a wave of attacks on foreign-owned shops and businesses, which followed a strike by South African lorry drivers protesting against the employment of foreign drivers.

    The trucks that were driven by Zambians were travelling from Zambia to South Africa. They were transporting vehicle engines for reconditioning, the Zambian high commission says.

    “It was reported that the drivers were tied with cable wires and bundled in a car before being dumped at the roadside near the area were the attack happened,” Naomi Nyawali, spokesperson for the Zambian high commission, said in a statement.

    No injuries were reported.

    Ms Nyawali said the matter had been reported to local police for investigation.

  15. Burundi musician Kidum 'confused by Rwanda ban'

    Burundian musician Jean Pierre Nimbona, popularly known as Kidum
    Image caption: Kidum is popular across East Africa and sings in his mother tongue Kirundi and in Swahili

    Burundian musician Jean Pierre Nimbona, popularly known as Kidum, has told the BBC he is confused by Rwanda's decision to ban him from playing at the upcoming Kigali Jazz Fusion festival.

    Kidum is one of Burundi's biggest music stars and has performed in Rwanda for the past 16 years.

    But a police official phoned the musician's manager to warn that he would only be allowed to make private visits to Rwanda.

    "[My manager was told] Kidum is not supposed to perform, tell him to leave. If he comes for private visits fine, but no performances," the musician told BBC's Focus on Africa radio programme.

    The mayor of Rwanda's capital said that in this instance permission had not been sought from the authorities for him to perform at the festival in Kigali.

    Kidum was a leading peace activist during Burundi's civil war between 1993 and 2003 and used his songs to call for reconciliation.

    The 44-year-old musician said he had never had problems with Rwandan authorities until recently when three of his shows were cancelled at the last minute - including one in December 2018.

    That month Burundi had banned Meddy, a musician who is half-Burundian, half-Rwandan, from performing in the main city of Bujumbura.

    Kidum said he was unsure if the diplomatic tensions between Burundi and Rwanda had influenced his ban.

    "I don't know, I don't have any evidence about that. And if there was politics, I'm not a player in politics, I'm just a freelance musician based in Nairobi," he said.

    He said he would not challenge the ban: "There's nothing I can do, I just wait until maybe the decision is changed some day.

    "It's similar to a family house and you are denied entry... so you just have to wait maybe until the head of the family decides otherwise."

  16. SA's anti-xenophobia mission 'a PR exercise'

    A team of envoys sent by the South African president to express solidarity in the wake of the recent wave of xenophobic violence has been dismissed as a public-relations exercise by the head of a group representing African migrants in South Africa.

    The envoys, who will be visiting seven countries including Nigeria, will reassure people "that South Africa is committed to the ideals of pan-African unity and solidarity", a statement from the South African president's office says.

    Nigeria has been notably outspoken in its condemnation of the trouble.

    But Vusumuzi Sibanda, chairperson of the African Diaspora Forum, told the BBC's Newsday programme that this was about South Africa being "concerned about its image in other countries, it is not a real concern about the people".

    He said the solution was more police action to protect migrant communities in South Africa.

    The recent violence, which began a fortnight ago, has seen foreign-owned shops and businesses targeted by mobs.

    Twelve people, including two foreign nationals, died in the violence, officials say. The police arrested more than 400 people suspected of being involved in the trouble.

    The South African delegation will be visiting Nigeria, Niger, Ghana, Senegal, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia.

    But Mr Sibanda asked why the delegation was not going to Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi - the countries which have the most migrants in South Africa.

    Answering his own question, he said that some of the countries - like DR Congo and Nigeria - were where South Africa had big investments.

    Earlier this month, the BBC spoke to foreigners in South Africa caught up in the violence:

    Video content

    Video caption: Businesses were destroyed in the xenophobic attacks

    Read more:

  17. Twitter war over Lupita's role as Nigerian character

    Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong'o pictured in Cannes, France - May 2018
    Image caption: Lupita Nyong’o will star as Ifemelu in the TV mini series

    Kenyans and Nigerians have exchanged bitter words on social media over why Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong'o has been picked to play a Nigerian character in the 10-episode screen adaption of the novel Americanah.

    Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's prize-winning bestseller was published in 2013 and tells the story of a Nigerian woman who goes to the US to attend university and her subsequent return to Lagos.

    In reaction to WarnerMedia's announcement on Twitter on Friday, Nigerians began arguing over the weekend that the role should have not have gone to the Oscar award-winning Nyong'o but would be better suited to a Nigerian who could do the accent.

    "Lupita playing that role will suffer one thing and one thing alone... the Igbo accent," one tweeter said.

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    Another said: "We have fine actresses from Nigeria who can play these roles better."

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    But Kenyans on Twitter lept to Nyong'o's defence, saying she was not "creating unemployment in Nigeria" by being a good actor.

    View more on twitter

    Others reminded Nigerians that Beyoncé's recent album to accompany Disney's remake of The Lion King failed to feature any East African artists despite the film being inspired by the landscape of Kenya's Rift Valley.

    View more on twitter
  18. Gunshots cause panic at Nigeria university

    Gunshots heard at a university in the north-eastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri caused panic on Sunday night.

    Sources at the University of Maiduguri (UniMaid) told the BBC they heard an explosion and gunshots on campus at about 21.30 local time (20:30 GMT).

    Fleeing students believe the attack was carried out by Boko Haram militants and the hashtag #UniMaid was trending overnight.

    Security forces are said to be on high alert and reinforcements have been sent to the university, which is in the capital of Borno state, reports BBC Nigeria correspondent Mayeni Jones.

    There have been no confirmed reports of casualties so far.

    “It was a Boko Haram attack which has been repelled effectively by our soldiers,” a top army official in Maiduguri told Nigeria’s Premium Times newspaper.

    “We have all been lying down on the floor since the shooting commenced; it lasted for about one an hour,” one student told the newspaper.

    A local journalist told the BBC Newsday programme that people are on edge in the city, which has been prone to attacks from Boko Haram militants.

    The militants have waged a 10-year-long insurgency in the region, which has displaced hundreds of thousands of people.

  19. DR Congo's ex-Ebola minister 'mismanaged $4.3m'

    Will Ross

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    Former DR Congo Health Minister Oly Ilunga visiting an Ebola centre in the east -  March 2019
    Image caption: Oly Ilunga resigned in July after being stripped of responsibility for the fight against Ebola

    Lawyers for the former health minister in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Oly Ilunga, say the authorities have accused him of mismanaging $4.3m (£3.4m) from money allocated to the fight against the Ebola virus.

    But they have stressed that he denies wrongdoing, saying almost half the money in question was spent after he had resigned in July.

    A statement says that there is documentation to prove that the rest of the money was spent exclusively on combating the virus.

    Dr Ilunga was arrested on Saturday. He has denied police allegations that he was trying to flee DR Congo.

    When Dr Ilunga resigned as minister he criticised the decision to remove him as head of the Ebola response team and to replace him with a committee, which he said had interfered with his work.

    He also criticised the World Health Organization's plan to use an unlicensed vaccine against Ebola.