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  1. Tigray's capital hit by new airstrike - reports

    Hanna Temuari

    BBC Amharic

    Tigrayan forces say Mekelle, the capital of the war-torn Tigray in northern Ethiopia, has been hit by airstrike for a second time this week.

    Kindeya Gebrehiwot, a member of the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF)'s central committee, tweeted about the airstrike being carried out in the city around 10:20 local time (7:20GMT).

    Residents have also confirmed the attack.

    The federal government has not said anything about the reported attack.

    The Ethiopian air force carried out two airstrikes on Monday, saying it targeted communication infrastructure used by the TPLF.

    The UN said three children were killed in Monday’s air raid.

    There are reports of a intensive renewed fight between Tigray forces and Ethiopian army and its allies.

  2. Ethiopian troops sent to Tigray war front - witnesses

    BBC World Service

    A man hangs an Ethiopian national flag at a school in Zarima, 140 kilometers from Gondar, Ethiopia, on September 16, 2021
    Image caption: Troops advancing to the front line are said to be accompanied by government-allied militias

    Ethiopian government soldiers are being sent towards the front line of the conflict with Tigrayan insurgents, witnesses in northern Ethiopia have told the BBC.

    A journalist from America's NPR radio station in the town of Kombolcha, said the troops were accompanied by government-allied militias equipped with improvised weapons including machetes, axes and hoes.

    They said they feared being killed by the Tigrayans if they failed to halt their advance.

    The BBC cannot independently verify the account.

    Kombolcha is also filled with desperate people fleeing Tigrayan-held areas, in some of which the UN says famine-like conditions have developed because of a government blockade.

    A Tigrayan spokesman said the rebels were advancing to push back the enemy, but said they were still far from Kombolcha.

  3. No end to Libya strife 10 years after Gaddafi's killing

    Rana Jawad

    BBC North Africa correspondent

    Former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi

    It is 10 years since the Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, was killed by rebels during an armed revolt.

    In the unrest which has beset the country since his downfall, Libya has staged two parliamentary elections, the second of which in 2014 left the country split, with rival centres of power in Benghazi in the East and Tripoli in the West.

    Libya is expected to hold more elections in December, though few believe they will go ahead.

    Libyans do not publicly mark the day of Colonel Gaddafi's death. His violent killing at the hands of rebels who captured him as he tried to flee was a sign of what was to come.

    Wars fuelled by competing powers inside and outside Libya tore the land and its people apart.

    Though there are many Libyans who continue to strive for the stability and freedoms they hoped would come 10 years ago with the overthrow of a dictator, there are many today who are nostalgic for what they now see as an era of security and peace under Gaddafi's harsh rule.

    More on this topic:

  4. EU calls on Tunisian president to reopen parliament

    Tunisian President Kais Saied
    Image caption: President Kais Saied suspended the government in July

    The European Union has called on Tunisian President Kais Saied to restore democratic order in the country and reopen parliament.

    EU foreign policy chief Joseph Borrell told EU lawmakers during a parliamentary session that the Tunisian parliament “cannot stay closed indefinitely”.

    Mr Borrell urged the Tunisian president to set a clear timetable for the reopening of parliament.

    "It is crucial for the future of the country and for its domestic and international credibility that the president and the Tunisian authorities at all levels fully restore the constitutional and institutional order, including the activities of the parliament,” he said.

    Mr Saied suspended parliament in July and fired the prime minister in what his opponents said was a coup. He however enjoys the support of many Tunisians.

    Last week, Prime Minister Najla Bouden, whom Mr Saied appointed last month, announced a new cabinet – which has 10 women including the prime minister.

  5. Fugitive Ghana musician Shatta Wale turns himself in

    Ghanaian artist Shatta Wale

    A popular Ghanaian artist who said he had gone on the run over fears of his safety has turned himself in, police say.

    Two other people have also been arrested for "spreading false information" over an alleged gun attack on Shatta Wale.

    "He has been arrested to assist the police in investigations for his alleged involvement in the creation and circulation of information intended to cause fear and panic," police said on the musician's arrest.

    Police announced the arrests on Tuesday hours after the musician had himself posted a statement on Facebook saying his "life is in danger".

    View more on facebook

    Shatta Wale, whose real name is Charles Nii Armah Mensah, had linked his going "on the run" to what he called a "false prophet".

    A Ghanaian pastor last month appeared to make a prophecy on a local radio station that Shatta Wale would be killed, according to news site GhanaWeb.

    The musician's collaboration with Beyoncé on her Lion King album expanded his fan base in Africa and in diaspora communities around the world.

  6. Gunmen kill traditional kings in south-east Nigeria

    Chris Ewokor

    BBC News, Abuja

    A map of Nigeria

    Gunmen have shot dead two traditional rulers in Njaba local government area in Nigeria's Imo state, police say.

    Up to 20 local kings from different communities in the area were in a meeting on Tuesday when gunmen invaded the venue and started shooting sporadically.

    Some other traditional rulers sustained gunshot wounds and were rushed to nearby hospitals for treatment.

    The state governor, Hope Uzodinma, has condemned the killings.

    He said the government was on top of the situation and promised that the attackers would be brought to justice.

    It is the latest in a series of attacks blamed on criminal gangs operating in the region.

    Separatist groups agitating for a breakaway Biafra state have been active in the area.

    Last Sunday, gunmen attacked a police post in neighbouring Ebonyi State, killing a police officer and burning two patrol vehicles.

  7. Egypt swears in nearly 100 women judges in a first

    The swearing in ceremony of the newly appointed 98 female members of the State Lawsuits Authority at the State Council headquarters in Giza, Egypt, 19 October 2021
    Image caption: The women judges were sworn in before the council's chief judge on Tuesday

    Egypt has appointed 98 women as judges in one of the country’s main judicial bodies – the State Council.

    The judges were sworn in before the council's chief judge in an event in the capital Cairo on Tuesday.

    It comes months after President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi called for women to join the country's two main judicial bodies - the council and the Public Prosecution.

    Since its inception in 1946, the State Council has been exclusively male and until now actively rejected female applicants.

    In past years, women have opposed the decisions of the council, arguing that they were discriminated against.

  8. Ethiopia airstrike killed three children - UN

    Three children were killed on Monday in an airstrike in the outskirts of Ethiopia's northern city of Mekelle, the UN has said.

    "A second airstrike in Mekelle town later in the day reportedly injured nine people and caused damages to houses and a nearby hotel," said Jens Laerke, spokesman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

    The bombing was carried out by the country's air force in its ongoing offensive against rebels in the northern Tigray region.

    The government had initially called reports of the airstrike "an absolute lie" but later confirmed the operation saying it was against fighters linked to the Tigray People's Liberation Front.

    Mr Laerke said "the intensification of the conflict is alarming," and urged both sides to protect civilians.

    Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's government has resumed its military operation against the rebels after a setback in June.

    The war, which started nearly a year ago, has killed thousands and displaced millions of people.

    Hundreds of thousands of people are facing famine conditions, according to aid organisations.

    Both warring sides have been accused of committing atrocities, which they deny.

  9. Kenyan tech bosses accused of violence against women

    Esther Akello Ogola

    Women's affairs journalist, Kenya

    There are growing calls in Kenya for two tech entrepreneurs to be questioend by police after a viral video allegedly showed them assaulting women at a top hotel in Nairobi.

    They deny that this is what happened.

    According to the alleged victims they had rejected advances by the twin brothers, Paul and Eddie Ndichu.

    Their company Wapi Pay said in a statement that the brothers were trying to "neutralise a confrontation between two women and to defend themselves from certain aggressors".

    Commenting on the public reaction, Kenya's police boss said "the incident should be reported to the nearest police station for action":

    View more on twitter

    The video comes at a time when the country is still in shock over several reported incidents of gender-based violence.

    Just last week, world record-holding runner Agnes Tirop was found stabbed to death at her home. Her husband is in custody and considered by the authorities as the main suspect.

  10. Rwanda soldiers crossed into DR Congo 'pursuing smugglers'

    Samba Cyuzuzo

    BBC Great Lakes

    Rwanda's army has said its soldiers crossed "a few metres" into neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo while pursuing smugglers believed to have been armed.

    View more on twitter

    Monday's incursion sparked a gunfight in DR Congo's eastern region forcing villagers to flee.

    According to a Congolese army spokesman the Rwandan soldiers reached "five kilometres" in DR Congo territory before they retreated.

    Rwanda's army said in its statement that it had good relations with the neighbouring army.

  11. Tributes honour Powell's role in South Sudan freedom

    Nichola Mandil

    Juba

    Colin Powell (centre), flanked by Sudan's Vice President Ali Osman Taha (L) and the country's main rebel leader John Garang, 08 January 2005, before a press conference in Nairobi, on the eve of signing of a final peace accord to end fighting in the oil-rich Sudan
    Image caption: Colin Powell (left) with South Sudan's founding father the late John Garang on the eve of the signing of the comprehensive peace agreement in 2005

    South Sudanese have been paying tributes to Colin Powell, the former US secretary of state who died on Monday at the age of 84.

    President Salva Kiir sent a condolence message to US President Joe Biden, Powell's family and the American people on behalf of the unity government and the people.

    He said Powell’s efforts and determination led to the signing to the comprehensive peace agreement (CPA) on 9 January 2005, which ended the 21-year civil war in the country.

    The agreement between rival Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), led by then rebel leader John Garang, and the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) of former president Omar al-Bashir paved way for South Sudan's independence from Sudan.

    "I pray that God will give his family, the American people and all those affected by his death the comfort they need, at this time to endure the loss of this national icon,” President Kiir said in a statement read on the national broadcaster on Monday night.

    South Sudanese on social media have also been paying tribute to Powell, praising him for the role he played during the negotiations between SPLM and NCP in Kenya.

    Apart from witnessing the signing of the agreement in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, Powell also witnessed the declaration of independence of South Sudan in the capital, Juba, on 9 July 2011.

    On the same day, Powell also participated in the laying of the foundation stone as they inaugurated the first US embassy in the new country.

  12. South Africa wary of Sputnik vaccine over HIV fears

    Dorcas Wangira

    Africa Health Correspondent

    A medical worker demonstrates a vial with Sputnik V
    Image caption: WHO has not yet approved Sputnik V for emergency use

    South Africa’s health products regulator, Sahpra, has withheld approval for Russia’s Sputnik V Covid vaccine over concerns that it could increase the risk of HIV infection among men.

    The decision was based on two earlier studies that tested the safety of a modified form of adenovirus contained in the Russian jab.

    The Gamaleya Institute, which developed Sputnik V, said it would produce information to show that Sahpra's concerns were completely unfounded.

    The country has the highest HIV burden in Africa. It has about 7.8 million cases of HIV among its population of over 60 million people, according to UNAids. About 13.5% of men aged between 15 and 49 are infected.

    Sahpra said its concerns followed consultations with local and international experts.

    South Africa has so far approved Covid vaccines manufactured by Pfizer/BioNTech, Johnson & Johnson and the Chinese-made Sinovac.

    The World Health Organization has not yet approved Sputnik V for emergency use. The vaccine is however being administered in at least 45 countries including Zimbabwe and Namibia.

  13. DR Congo forces clash with Rwanda troops

    Samba Cyuzuzo

    BBC Great Lakes

    A Rwandan soldier
    Image caption: The Rwandan army has not responded to claims of the incident

    The Democratic Republic of Congo says its forces clashed with their Rwandan counterparts near the eastern border on Monday.

    An army spokesperson in North Kivu province said Rwandan forces crossed into Congo and tensions culminated into a clash.

    “A military company of Rwandan forces reached five kilometres into Congo…You can’t explain how armed forces cross the border firing guns," Brig Gen Sylvain Ekenge told the BBC Great Lakes.

    The Rwandan army has not responded to the claim or to BBC's request for a response.

    A map of DR Congo and Rwanda

    Videos circulating online show locals in panic and fleeing as two forces exchanged gunfire. Rwandan soldiers later retreated back home.

    “Fortunately, no one died from the incident”, Gen Ekenge said.

    Local leaders said residents returned to their homes after calm was restored.

    Cross border tensions between the two East African neighbours are common due to illegal trade, lack of clear boundary demarcation and attacks by rebels.

    In 2012, a regional Expanded Joint Verification Mechanism (EJVM) was set up to handle cross border security issues.

    Gen Ekenge said they had reported the latest incident to the EJVM for investigations because “we want to know why”.

  14. Ghana musician Shatta Wale in fear for his life

    Shatta Wale smiling
    Image caption: Shatta Wale's hit song ALREADY with Beyoncé has 91 million streams on Spotify

    A popular Ghanaian artist has posted a statement on Facebook saying his "life is in danger" and that he is "on the run" until he can be assured of his safety in the country.

    Shatta Wale, whose real name is Charles Nii Armah Mensah, said he had received "threats" and that he was going through "emotional trauma".

    Shatta Wale's collaboration with Beyoncé on her Lion King album expanded his fan base in Africa and in diaspora communities around the world.

    His going "on the run" is linked to what he called a "false prophet" in his Facebook message.

    At the end of September a Ghanaian pastor appeared to make a prophecy on a local radio station that Shatta Wale would be killed, according to news site GhanaWeb.

    Though the musician was not named, the pastor seemed to be referring to Shatta Wale.

    On Monday, police in Ghana said in a statement posted on Facebook that they had seen unconfirmed reports that the musician had been allegedly shot:

    "On hearing the news, the police have launched an investigation into the matter including making contacts with some of his close friends and family members and all of them claim not to have knowledge of his whereabouts or the alleged incident.

    "A team has visited the house of Shatta Wale and he cannot be found there," the statement said.

    Some people online have said they think it was a prank, but fans of Shatta Wale have expressed concern for him.

    View more on facebook
  15. Uganda unveils locally made armoured combat vehicle

    Uganda's commander of land forces, Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, has tweeted photos of what he says is the country's first locally made infantry fighting vehicle.

    He said it was "fully designed and manufactured in Uganda", but did not offer details of its features and cost.

    The vehicle, christened chui - Swahili word for leopard, was commissioned by his father, President Yoweri Museveni.

    View more on twitter

    The Ugandan army was last year involved in a brutal crackdown on protests that rocked the capital, Kampala, following the arrest of presidential candidate Bobi Wine.

    Officials defended the use of live fire, saying the police and army were responding to rioters.

  16. UN removes Nigeria militia from child recruiter list

    Ishaq Khalid

    BBC News, Abuja

    A member of Civilian Joint Task Force
    Image caption: The vigilantes are normally armed only with homemade weapons

    The United Nations has removed a Nigerian vigilante group from the list of armed groups recruiting and using child soldiers.

    The Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) has been working alongside and liaising with the Nigerian military in the fight against Boko Haram insurgency.

    It was added to the list in 2016 after being accused of using more than 2,000 children in combat and non-combat roles in the north-east of the country.

    The UN said the removal of the group from the list followed a "significant reduction" in the number of children recruited into its ranks.

    The UN children’s agency, Unicef, said CJTF has so far released more than 2,000 children from its ranks following an agreement signed in 2017.

    Unicef said between 2013 and 2020, at least 3,500 children were enlisted into the group and used as suicide bombers, spies and labourers. The girls often suffered gender-based violence, including rape.

    Many of the boys and girls have since been enrolled in schools and given psychological support, it said.

    The Boko Haram insurgency began over a decade ago and has claimed nearly 350,000 lives.

    Read more:

  17. Sudan PM sets up crisis team to end political row

    BBC Monitoring

    The world through its media

    Sudan's new Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok
    Image caption: Abdalla Hamdok announced the committee during a special cabinet meeting on Monday

    Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has formed a "crisis cell" to resolve what he has called the country's "most dangerous" political crisis since the 2019 military coup, state news agency Suna reported.

    Mr Hamdok announced the committee, which includes members of opposing political blocs, during an "emergency" cabinet meeting in Khartoum on Monday.

    He called for restraint and dialogue to end weeks of political tensions that have threatened to derail the country's transition to democracy.

    His comments came after police dispersed military-backed protests demanding the dissolution of the transitional government.

    The protests began on 16 October in front of the presidential palace to call on the army to seize power.

    Sudan is currently run by a joint military-civilian Sovereign Council in a coalition that was troubled by a failed 5 September coup attempt.

    The military wing is scheduled to hand over the leadership of the Sovereign Council to the civilian component next month, although there is speculation that the coup attempt was a move to scuttle this transfer.

  18. UN chief urges Eswatini to respect children's rights

    Eswatini army
    Image caption: The army was deployed during riots in July

    The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says he is concerned about reports on the use of excessive force against student protesters in Eswatini.

    Students have been staging demonstrations in schools in recent weeks across the small southern Africa kingdom, leading to the army being deployed in some areas.

    The UN chief said the deployment of armed forces and the indefinite closure of schools “adversely affects children and young people”.

    He said the security forces should respect human rights standards “including the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child” - and emphasised the need to allow people to “exercise their civil and political rights peacefully”.

    "The Secretary-General condemns all acts of violence and urges all parties and the media to refrain from disinformation, hate speech and incitement,” Mr Guterres said in a statement.

    The demonstrations in Eswatini, formerly called Swaziland, come amid complaints of high levels of unemployment and poverty.

    There have also been calls for democratic reforms in the kingdom, which is Africa's last absolute monarchy.