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  1. Sierra Leone president has PhD in coups - first lady

    Umaru Fofana

    BBC Africa, Freetown

    Image caption: Mrs Bio has been known to make controversial comments

    Fatima Bio, the wife of Sierra Leone’s president, Julius Maada Bio, has said her husband holds a PhD degree in staging coups therefore nobody can overthrow him.

    She was referring to the violent protests of 10 August in opposition strongholds which left 31 people killed including six police officers.

    The president blamed the protests – which were generally about the high cost of living – on the opposition alleging that they were part of a plot to overthrow him, leading to the dismissal of the top three in the army.

    Speaking over the weekend at a fundraising event in the US, Mrs Bio accused unnamed people of wanting to overthrow her husband.

    “Maada Bio has a PhD in coup d’état, can you remove him?” she asked rhetorically, before reiterating: “The man has a PhD in [staging] coups, how can you remove someone who teaches people how to stage a coup?," the first lady said in a video shared on Facebook.

    Mrs Bio was making an apparent reference to the fact that her husband first came to power in April 1992 as part of a group of young military officers who overthrew the civilian government of Joseph Saidu Momoh of the All People’s Congress, the party he defeated at the polls in 2018 and whom he accused of being behind the August protests.

    The opposition party vehemently denied the allegations.

    Many have condemned the statement with some of the moderate elements within her Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) condemning it.

    Mrs Bio, a prolific user of Facebook and TikTok, has been known to make controversial comments.

    She has not responded to the reactions following her coup comments, nor has anyone at the presidency.

  2. Ruto meets cabinet who opposed him

    Kenya's new President William Ruto has chaired his first cabinet meeting attended by some ministers who openly opposed his presidential bid.

    The Tuesday meeting at State House, Nairobi, was attended by all outgoing ministers.

    It came as the new administration grapples with drought and security situations in the northern parts of the country.

    President Ruto is expected to name his new cabinet in the coming days and had promised during the election campaigns a 50:50 gender representation among ministers.

    The president's office has tweeted pictures of the meeting:

    View more on twitter
  3. Video content

    Video caption: Fibroids: Why was it a family secret?

    Tanzania’s Olympian Magdalena Moshi confronted her father for not telling her about the family medical history.

  4. South Africa's ex-president Zuma not ruling out comeback

    Image caption: Jacob Zuma resigned in 2018 after nine years in office

    South Africa's former President Jacob Zuma is not ruling out a political comeback after he was forced to step down in 2018 amid a storm of corruption allegations.

    The former president was accused of placing the interests of corrupt associates ahead of those of his country, in a type of corruption known as "state capture".

    Mr Zuma denies any wrongdoing.

    On Monday, he said was approached by party members to take up the position of the national chairperson of the ruling ANC party ahead of its national conference in December

    "I will not refuse such a call should they deem it necessary for me to serve the organisation again at that level or any other," he said in a statement Tweeted by his daughter Dudu Zuma-Sambudla.

    He said the ANC party was facing serious organisational challenges and threw his weight behind cabinet minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma to lead the party.

    View more on twitter

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  5. Eritrean man succumbs to cancer after viral appeal

    Tesfalem Araia

    BBC Tigrinya

    Image caption: Yonas Tsegay appeared in a video with his wife and six children

    An Eritrean man who sparked a donation frenzy among Eritreans in the diaspora has succumbed to blood cancer while receiving treatment at a hospital in Istanbul, Turkey.

    Yonas Tsegay’s appeal for help in January saw fellow Eritreans raise nearly 700,000 Canadian dollars ($560,000, £410,000) within a day.

    The money was raised through a GoFundMe appeal started by Canada-based Eritrean Mebrahtu Hidray.

    Yonas died a few days ago and his funeral is expected in the coming days, sources have told BBC Tigrinya.

    He suffered from Hodgkin's lymphoma, which is described by the UK National Health Service (NHS) as an “uncommon” blood cancer that “can usually be treated successfully with chemotherapy alone, or chemotherapy followed by radiotherapy”.

    The most common symptoms include a painless swelling in a lymph node, usually in the neck, armpit or groin.

    The authorities told him to seek medical treatment abroad but his family was unable to afford this.

    With the help of Eritrea-based YouTube channel Henpas Entertainment, the family decided to seek help through GoFundMe - and Eritreans in the diaspora responded immediately.

  6. Nigeria police abuse probe urges sacking of officers

    Ishaq Khalid

    BBC News, Abuja

    Image caption: The probe came in the wake of mass street protests against police brutality

    A panel set up by Nigeria's National Human Rights Commission has recommended the dismissal and prosecution of a number of police officers for torture, extra-judicial killings and illegal detentions.

    The committee, set up in the wake of mass street protests against police brutality in 2020, has not said how many officers it wants to be dismissed or prosecuted, but that this will be made public at a later date.

    The panel headed by a senior judge, Sulaiman Galadima, has also ordered the payment of compensation to victims of police brutality.

    Earlier this month, dozens of victims or their families had received similar compensations totalling about $700,000 (£649,000) - the first such payments since the national panel was set up.

    The protests which took place nearly two years ago under the hashtag #EndSars were against a notorious police unit known as the Special Anti-Robbery Squad or Sars.

    They forced the authorities to disband the unit - created to fight violent crime including armed robberies and kidnappings.

  7. Uganda Ebola cases rise amid 23 deaths - WHO

    BBC World Service

    Image caption: Uganda has been dealing with an outbreak of Ebola since last week

    The World Health Organization says there have been 36 Ebola cases in Uganda - 18 confirmed and 18 probable cases - since an outbreak was declared last week.

    It said 23 deaths had occurred in three districts of central Uganda, of which five were confirmed cases.

    The WHO said this was the first Ebola outbreak in Uganda since 2012 caused by the Sudan strain of the disease, for which there are no licensed vaccines.

    On Monday, Uganda denied reports of a strike by medical staff at the Mubende hospital.

    Thirty-four trainee medical staff said they were refusing to work and accused the government of not providing them with appropriate safety kits.

  8. Kenyan accused of ICC witness bribery found dead

    Image caption: Paul Gicheru was facing trial at the International Criminal Court

    Kenyan lawyer Paul Gicheru, who was facing charges of witness interference at the International Criminal Court (ICC), has died, his family and the police have confirmed to local media.

    The police said Mr Gicheru was found dead at his home in the capital, Nairobi, on Monday night.

    Mr Gicheru was accused of bribing witnesses that were to testify against William Ruto - who is now president - over Kenya’s 2007-2008 post-election violence in which more than 1,000 people were killed.

    He denied the allegations.

    The lawyer had surrendered himself to the court in November 2020, five years after the ICC issued an arrest warrant against him.

    Prosecutors said the allegations against him undermined the case Mr Ruto faced at the court.

    Mr Ruto was accused of murder, deportation and persecution charges during Kenya's post-election violence - accusations that he has always denied.

    The ICC terminated the case against him citing lack of evidence.

    A Kenyan rights body asked the police to “conduct swift and conclusive investigations” into the death even as “details are still emerging”.

    View more on twitter
  9. Ethiopia tells aid groups to avoid active military zones

    BBC World Service

    The Ethiopian government has warned aid organisations against operating in areas where the military is targeting Tigrayan rebels.

    This comes after the UN's World Food Progamme said one of its lorries had been damaged by flying debris following an apparent drone strike on Sunday.

    The UN agency said the driver had sustained minor injuries and called on all sides to respect international humanitarian laws.

    Almost two years of war have created a major humanitarian crisis in northern Ethiopia.

    After a lull for several months, a resumption of intense fighting in recent weeks has undermined international efforts at peace talks.

  10. Senegal marks anniversary of ferry disaster

    BBC World Service

    Ceremonies have been held in Senegal to mark the 20th anniversary of a ferry disaster in which 1,900 lives were lost.

    Relatives and officials took part in Catholic and Muslim prayers on the outskirts of Ziguinchor where many victims were from.

    The sinking of "Le Joola" is far less known compared to that of the Titanic which saw 1,500 lives lost 90 years earlier.

    The head of a victims' association has repeated a call for the wreck to be raised.

    The overloaded ferry sank to a depth of twenty metres and is thought to still hold many bodies.

    Watch: Remembering Senegal's Joola tragedy

  11. Kenyans criticise State House plan for monthly prayers

    Some Kenyans are criticising plans by First Lady Rachel Ruto to host monthly prayer meetings at the official presidential residence in Nairobi.

    On Sunday, dozens of church leaders met and prayed at State House.

    The first couple are evangelical Christians and President William Ruto has attributed his faith as having played a key role in his election victory.

    Mrs Ruto told the religious leaders that they would always be welcome at State House.

    "The doors of State House are open and know that you have Mama Rachel here that will always open the doors for you when the president is busy,” she said.

    Local newspaper the Daily Nation shared a clip of the first lady's remarks:

    View more on twitter

    But some Kenyans say the regular prayer meetings should not happen as Kenya is a secular state and no religion should be given preference.

    "If a Muslim president did what the Christians are doing in State House right now, there would be countrywide protests. We are a secular state; no religion comes before any another," a Kenyan said on Twitter

    "The involvement of the church in this current government will be interesting to watch for the next five years in Kenya," another Twitter user said.

    Others have a positive view. "We all need prayers and so does every institution. What's wrong with offering prayers in the State House?" this Kenyan asks.

    Read: William Ruto: How Kenya's new president is influenced by religion

  12. Nigeria suspected kidnappers targeted 'high-profile' people

    Ishaq Khalid

    BBC News, Abuja

    Police in Nigeria have paraded four suspected kidnappers, including a "notorious" one called John Lyon, who we reported about earlier.

    A spokesperson for the police told the BBC that Mr Lyon was tracked down after three alleged members of the same gang gave information about his whereabouts.

    He was then traced to a central district of the capital Abuja where he was said to be living ''lavishly''.

    Officers then transferred him to the southern state of Bayelsa where he allegedly committed the crimes.

    The authorities said at least 10 kidnappings had been traced to the gang.

    Police say the suspects usually targeted ''high-profile'' individuals so that they could get ''huge ransoms''.

    In one incident, they allegedly collected a ransom of 60m naira ($140,000; £130,000) from their victim - a senior bank executive.

    In another kidnapping, they allegedly extorted more than $150,000.

    The authorities say the suspects usually hid their weapons by a riverside outside the state capital - and picked them up whenever they planned a kidnapping.

    Police say they hope the arrest of "the most notorious kidnapping gang in Bayelsa" will help bring peace to the area.

    But more members of the gang remain at large.

    None of those arrested has commented.

  13. Top Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood cleric dies

    BBC World Service

    A prominent Egyptian Muslim cleric, Youssef al-Qaradawi, has died aged 96.

    He was considered one of the spiritual leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood.

    The former chairman of the International Union of Muslim Clerics was born in Egypt but was later based in Qatar.

    Youssef al-Qaradawi published numerous books on Islam.

    A television programme hosted by him on al-Jazeera was watched by tens of millions of people worldwide.

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