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Thousands protest against extending Burkina president's mandate

At least 10,000 people marched in Burkina Faso's capital Saturday to protest against plans by President Blaise Compaore that could allow him to extend his mandate by another five years, police said. The rally in Ouagadougou was called by the opposition over a planned change to the constitution which currently limits the president to two five-year terms. Compaore is set to reach that limit next year. "We are tired of Compaore's rule," shouted some in the crowd in the capital's main square, as others carried signs saying "2015 - the terminus for Blaise Compaore".

Mali arrests judge accused of key role in Islamist occupation

The Malian army on Friday arrested a judge accused of being a key figure in the brutal 2012 Islamist occupation of the country's northern desert, the government said. Houka Houka Ag Alfousseyni, who is said to have sat in the ancient caravan town of Timbuktu during the occupation, was taken into custody at midday and handed over for questioning, government spokesman Youssouf Toure said in a statement. The arrest comes three weeks after Aliou Mahamar Toure, the former chief of the Islamic police in Gao, Mali's largest northern city, was taken into custody by the army.

Benin confirms former C. African leader heading to Cotonou

Benin's government on Saturday confirmed that former Central African Republic president Michel Djotodia was heading to Cotonou, after the former rebel leader resigned. "I confirm that Mr Djotodia is arriving in Cotonou this afternoon," Benin Foreign Minister Nassirou Bako Arifari told AFP. "Benin accepts to welcome him at the request of member states of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and it is our contribution to the search for peace in central Africa." str-phz/ric

Former C.African president en route for Cotonou

Benin's government on Saturday confirmed that former Central African Republic president Michel Djotodia was heading to Cotonou following his resignation. "I confirm that Mr Djotodia is arriving in Cotonou this afternoon," Benin Foreign Minister Nassirou Bako Arifari told AFP. "Benin accepts to welcome him at the request of member states of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and it is our contribution to the search for peace in central Africa."

French defence minister in Africa's Sahel for security talks

France's defence minister visited Mali on Tuesday at the beginning of a tour of Africa's Sahel region focused on coordinating action against "the threat of destabilisation" across the vast, rebel-infested hinterland. Jean-Yves Le Drian flew from Bamako to the northern city of Gao in a plane carrying cargo destined for troops from France's Operation Serval, a miltary mission launched in January to oust Al-Qadea-linked extremists who occupied northern Mali for nine months last year.

Chinese candidate a Shanghai surprise in Mali polls

Unassuming and affable, election candidate Astan Coulibaly would be unremarkable on the campaign trail in Mali, except that as a Chinese national she has been hailed as an embodiment of racial harmony in the fractured west African nation. The 54-year-old, born Yu Hong Wei in the eastern Chinese metropolis of Shanghai, is competing for a constituency in the city of Segou, 230 kilometres (145 miles) northeast of Malian capital Bamako, in the November 24 parliamentary election.

AFP Africa News Agenda

What's happening in Africa on Thursday: + DR Congo prepares refugee return after rebel defeat + UN chief in Burkina Faso, Chad as part of Sahel tour GOMA, DR Congo: Congolese authorities prepare for the return of tens of thousands of refugees after driving out M23 rebels from the east of the country. (DRCONGO-UNREST)

Corrupt police blamed as jihadists return to Mali's streets

The city of Gao is once again under attack by Islamists, but Malians' anger is increasingly directed at allegedly corrupt security services and a government failing to address grinding poverty. In the latest spate of attacks, jihadists wounded two civilians when they blew up a bridge a week ago, a day after shelling the town and injuring a soldier. But while the residents of Gao have become used to living under fire, many say they were unprepared for the jihadists acting with near-impunity, regularly let back on the streets by police for the sake of a small bribe.

Football: World Cup Africa play-off results

World Cup Africa zone play-off first leg result Saturday: At Ouagadougou Burkina Faso 3 (Pitroipa 45+2, D. Kone 65, Bance 86-pen) Algeria 2 (Feghouli 50, Medjani 69) At Abidjan Ivory Coast v Senegal 1700GMT Sunday At Addis Ababa Ethiopia v Nigeria 1400 At Rades Tunisia v Cameroon 1700 Tuesday At Kumasi Ghana v Egypt 1600 Second leg: Nov 16, 17, 19 Note: winners qualify for 2014 World Cup in Brazil afp

Football: World Cup Africa play-off fixtures

World Cup Africa zone play-offs, first leg fixtures this weekend (times GMT): Saturday At Ouagadougou Burkina Faso v Algeria 1600 At Abidjan Ivory Coast v Senegal 1700 Sunday At Addis Ababa Ethiopia v Nigeria 1400 At Rades Tunisia v Cameroon 1700 Tuesday At Kumasi Ghana v Egypt 1600 Second legs: Nov 16, 17, 19 Note: winners qualify for 2014 World Cup in Brazil afp
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