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Burundi president pleads for calm after army coup fails

Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza has appealed for calm after weeks of rioting and violent protests at his decision to run for a third term.

The president has appealed for calm after weeks of violent protests Credit: Reuters

It comes as the head of the country's army, Chief of Staff General Prime Niyongabo, admitted an attempted coup had failed, with forces loyal for Nkurunziza controlling "all strategic points".

The Burundi constitution and a peace agreement which helped end an ethnically-fuelled war in 2005 limits presidents to only standing for two terms.

But he has argued that his first term did not count, as he was appointed by law-makers, rather than elected.

Protesters say the president's decision violates their constitution Credit: Reuters

More than 20 people have been killed in the protests, while an estimated 70,000 people have fled to neighbouring nations to get away from the fighting.

Heavy gunfire has also been heard near two private radio stations in the capital city Bujumbura, one of which carried the announcement yesterday by General Godefroid Niyombare that he had "sacked" the president.


Mahama: 'Africa could seek UN mandate to fight'

Ghana's President John Mahama has said the African Union could ultimately seek a UN mandate for a force to fight Nigeria's Boko Haram Islamist insurgents but it must first establish its own regional military operation to combat the militants.

Ghana's President John Mahama (centre). Credit: Reuters

West African leaders will seek a mandate from the African Union at a summit meeting next week to put together a multinational force and it will be months before the force is ready, said Mahama, who chairs the West African body.


Gerard Depardieu repeats claims he ate and killed two lions

Gerard Depardieu also professes to quaff a half-bottle of Pastis a day. Credit: Domine-Wyters/PA Wire

Gerard Depardieu has claimed he shot two lions in self-defence and then ate them whilst in Africa, according to reports.

The French actor said the incident took place in 2011 when the car he was travelling in broke down in Burkina Faso.

He made the initial extraordinary boast in September to a French film magazine and claimed he can drink 14 bottles of wine a day, but now appears to have confirmed them to the Independent Magazine in the UK.

Asked if he ate the creatures after they were killed, he said "Yes."

He said: "The two lions waited in front of us and wouldn't move. Hours passed, we couldn't get out of the car, the African driver was very afraid. "We had no choice, we had to shoot them."

African Nations Cup in jeopardy amid Ebola fears

The nation of Morocco has failed to meet a deadline to confirm it will go ahead with the hosting of January's African Nations Cup finals amid fears over the spread of the Ebola virus, throwing the 2015 tournament into jeopardy.

African Cup of Nations Trophy. Credit: Liewig Christian/ABACA/Press Association Images

Morocco officials, who want the 16-team event postponed, said they had rejected an ultimatum set by the Confederation of African Football to confirm their hosting of the continental championship, set for January 17 to February 8.

A decision on the tournament will now be made next week when CAF have an executive committee meeting in Cairo but Morocco are almost certain to be stripped as hosts.

Zambia appoints Africa's first white leader in 20 years

Zambia has appointed Guy Scott to be its interim leader until an election can be held, making him the continent's first white head of state in 20 years.

Zambia's new interim leader Guy Scott Credit: REUTERS/Larry Downing/Files

Guy Scott, a Cambridge-educated economist born to Scottish parents, was previously vice president in the central African country.

His appointment follows the death of Zambia's President Michael Sata in a London hospital following an unspecified illness.

Mr Scott, 70, is the first white head of state in an African country since South Africa's apartheid government of F.W. de Klerk. He is not eligible to stand in the forthcoming presidential elections due to citizenship restrictions.

Poachers making African elephant losses 'unsustainable'

Poachers killed more than 33,600 African elephants each year between 2010 and 2012 making their losses unsustainable, a new study has shown.

Elephants orphaned by poaching in Kenya. Credit: Reuters

Over that period alone an estimated 6.8% of the continent's elephant population was wiped out by the illegal ivory trade, scientists said.

Writing in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences researchers said that the very existence of the African elephant was threatened.

They wrote: "Our analysis demonstrates the heavy toll illegal ivory trade is taking on African elephants, and suggests current off-take exceeds the intrinsic growth capacity of the species."

They added: "These results provide the most comprehensive assessment of illegal ivory harvest to date and confirm that current ivory consumption is not sustainable."

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