War criminal's victims cry foul over 'release campaign'

Former Chad president Hissene Habre
Chambres Africaines Extraordinaires
Habre was convicted of rape, sexual slavery and ordering killings

Victims of Chad's former leader Hissène Habré have expressed concern with what they describe as an ongoing campaign for his release from prison.

Habré, who ran the country from 1982 to 1990, was convicted in 2016 by a court in Senegal of crimes against humanity and war crimes. He was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Clement Abaifouta, who is one of the victims, told BBC's Newsday that it would be unfair for Habré to be pardoned.

"I think that Hissène Habré's wife is simply trying to create some kind of compassion to try and make people accept a potential pardoning that is not what we the victims have ever wanted. We've never wanted for Hissène Habré, who was sentenced to jail for everything he's done during his time in office, to benefit from any kind of pardon," he said.

Habré's wife Fatime Raymonne told Radio France Internationale last month that the former president's health is deteriorating and accused prison officials of ignoring him when he fell in a bathroom.

According to Mrs Habré, her husband notified her using a phone that was given to him after he suffered a heart attack and it was after the call that prison authorities heeded to Habré's calls.

Reed Brody, a lawyer from Human Rights Watch who worked with victims in the case, told Newsday he is sceptical of Mrs Habré's plea.

"When he fled Chad he literary emptied out the treasury and he used that money to buy influence and protection in Senegal and that's in fact why it took 25 years to get him to court in the first place. Now those same supporters are pressing on, they are saying he's 77-years-old, he fell in the shower, Mrs Habre has been on the front pages of Senegalese newspapers asking for his release on compassionate grounds," he said.

Habré was convicted of rape, sexual slavery and ordering killings and ordered to pay up to $33,000 (£27,000) to each of his victims or their surviving relatives.

According to Mr Brody, Habre has hidden his money under the names of relatives making it hard to trace his finances and the victims have never been paid the judgement money.

War in the Sahel

France is leading the fight against jihadists in the Sahel
France is leading the fight against jihadists in the Sahel. Louise Dewast tells Shaun Ley what it's up against. 
(Picture: French and Burkinabe soldiers on a joint patrol in the Sahel.
Credit: AFP/Getty)

Burna Boy basks in 'love' after double award win

Nigerian star Burna Boy was the night's biggest winner at Saturday's All Africa Music Awards (Afrima) in Lagos.

On Monday he thanked fans "for the love", having been named Artist of the Year and Best Male Artist in West Africa.

Other winners included:

  • Tiwa Savage (Nigeria) – Best Female Artist in West Africa
  • Sauti Sol (Kenya) – Best African Duo, Group or Band
  • Salatiel (Cameroon) – Best Male Artiste in Central Africa
  • Nadia Nakai (South Africa) – Best Female Artiste Southern Africa
  • Stonebwoy (Ghana) – Best Artist, Duo or Group in African Reggae, Ragga or Dancehall
  • Abrham Belanyeh (Ethiopia) – Best Artist, Duo or Group in African Traditional
  • Mohamed Ramadan (Egypt) – African Fans' Favourite
  • Kanvee Adams (Liberia) – Songwriter of the Year in Africa
  • Director Kenny (Tanzania) – Best Video Director Of The Year.

Here are some pictures from the night:

Manno Beats (L), Vox Sambou (C) and Afrotronix (R).
Manno Beats, Vox Sambou and Afrotronix won Best African Act in the Diaspora
Nikita Kering on stage at Afrima
Kenya's Nikita Kering won Best Female Artist in Eastern Africa
Congolese musician Awilo Longomba (C) performs on stage with dancers.
Awilo Longomba performed on stage
Liberian singer Kanvee Adams speaks after receiving the Song Writer of the Year in Africa.
Kanvee Adams won Songwriter of the Year in Africa

What caused October's deadly floods?

Heavy flooding caused by torrential rains has displaced hundreds of thousands of people and left more than 180 dead across Africa in October.

Meteorological experts at BBC Weather explain what has been going on:

A map of Africa showing flood-hit countries.

Just how much rain has fallen?

It’s difficult to give precise figures for the whole continent. Meteorological data from African countries is often not as easily available as for other global regions.

There is no reliable rainfall data from Somalia for example, where some of the worst impacts of the flooding have been reported.

But figures are available for Kenya, which show that there have been some very high levels of rainfall. On 16 October, the port city of Mombasa recorded more than 100mm – that’s around the monthly average in one day.

What’s behind the floods?

October is within the second rainy season for much of central Africa – in many of the East African countries this season generally lasts until December.

Several different climate patterns in the area have a big influence on seasonal rainfall in the region.

One of those which can cause heavier rains is a weather phenomenon known as a positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), which occurs when the western part of the Indian Ocean becomes significantly warmer than the eastern part.

Whether this is directly attributable to the recent flooding is uncertain but it increases the risk of excess rainfall.

There are other climate patterns, including El Niño, that could be playing a role as well.

Is climate change to blame?

It’s always difficult to attribute specific, localised rainfall to climate change, but we can talk about trends. In a warmer world, we would expect more moisture in the atmosphere and therefore could expect rainfall events to be more extreme.

'Milestone' in polio eradication achieved

A child receives a polio vaccination drop.
There is no cure for the virus but the polio vaccine protects children for life

The second of three forms of the polio virus has been eradicated, experts have announced.

There are three types of the wild polio virus, which, while scientifically different, cause the same symptoms, including paralysis or even death.

The world was declared free of type 2 four years ago - and now the World Health Organization (WHO) has said type 3 has also been eradicated.

But type 1 is still circulating in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The last case detected case in Nigeria, where it was also endemic, was in 2016.

It has been seven years since the last case of type 3 polio was detected, in northern Nigeria.

Since then, experts from the Global Commission for the Certification of Poliomyelitis Eradication, of which the WHO is a member, have watched patterns of polio cases to be sure type 3 had been eradicated.

But Dr Moeti added: "This job is not finished until wild polio virus type 1 is globally eradicated, along with concerning outbreaks of circulating vaccine-derived polio virus."

Children who do get immunised are given a weakened form of the polio virus so their body can build up immunity to the disease. But they also then excrete the virus, which can then spread in the community.

There are currently outbreaks of vaccine-derived polio virus in 12 countries: Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Niger, Nigeria, Togo and Zambia.

Deadly flooding causing problems across Africa

BBC World Service

Destroyed house
The flooding has destroyed houses in northern Ghana

Heavy rain has caused serious flooding in several countries in Africa with northern Ghana amongst the worst hit.

There, 28 people have died in recent days and hundreds of homes have been destroyed.

Benin, Chad, the far north of Cameroon and South Sudan are also badly affected by floods.

At least 11 people have died in the Morogoro region of eastern Tanzania.

BBC Weather's Tomasz Schafernaker says a weather pattern featuring enhanced storms has stayed over Africa for an unusually long period.

He says this is possibly due to the relatively high water temperatures in the Indian Ocean creating unusual air currents that are stopping the storms from moving away from the African continent.

Many feared dead in Chad gold mine landslide

Will Ross

Africa editor, BBC World Service

Map showing location of mine collapse

At least 30 people are feared to have died following a landslide at a gold mine in Chad, close to the border with Libya.

Defence Minister Mahamat Abali Salah says the mine at Kouri Bougoudi, in the Tibesti region, caved in early on Tuesday.

News of the accident has taken some time to emerge because of the remoteness of the area and the state of emergency that is in place due to insecurity.

The area where the accident happened is home to many unlicensed gold mines.

Uproar over sultan's appointment in Chad

BBC Monitoring

The world through its media

Security forces have surrounded the Ouaddaï Royal Palace in Chad's eastern town of Abéché to prevent possible demonstrations after President Idriss Déby's appointment of a new sultan.

The opposition accuses the government of interfering in tradition as the new sultan, Chérif Abdelhadi Mahdi, is not related to his predecessor.

The former ruler of Ouaddaï was among six sultans suspended by the president in May for incompetence.

He was later dismissed in July following ethnic clashes in the troubled region that left 46 people dead and more than 20 injured.

Chadian rebel arrested in France

Mary Harper

Africa editor, BBC World Service

One of Chad's main rebel leaders has been arrested in Paris in connection with alleged crimes against humanity committed in Sudan.

The exiled leader of the Union of Forces for Democracy and Development (UFDD), General Mahamat Nouri, is accused of committing crimes in Sudan between 2005 and 2010.

Two other Chadian rebels were also picked up.

The UFDD has been fighting the government of President Idriss Deby for years.

In 2010 he was expelled from Sudan, from where he commanded his operations.