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Summary

  1. Nigeria's largest mass trial will be held in public
  2. SA's Jacob Zuma expected to be asked to stand down today
  3. Anger after two pilots held captive in South Sudan since January
  4. Thousands flee eastern DR Congo amid rising ethnic violence
  5. Nigerian woman tries to blame snake for missing money
  6. Ghana school shuts due after protests over factory pollution
  7. Ethiopian opposition leader will be released, says government
  8. Pride of lions eats suspected poacher in South Africa

Live Reporting

By Natasha Booty and Flora Drury

All times stated are UK

  1. Scroll down for Monday's stories

    We'll be back tomorrow

    That's all from the BBC Africa Live page today. Keep up-to-date with what's happening across the continent by listening to the Africa Today podcast or checking the BBC News website.

    A reminder of today's wise words:

    Quote Message: An elder's words are sweeter after a few days." from Sent by Pavyane Jere in Mzimba, Malawi
    Sent by Pavyane Jere in Mzimba, Malawi

    Click here and scroll to the bottom to send us your African proverbs.

    And we leave you with this photo taken by Nigerian photographer Yagazie Emezi:

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  2. 'Snake ate the money' and other excuses

    A Nigerian sales clerk who claimed a snake had eaten the money she was accused of pocketing has caught the imagination of many on social media - and even spawned a parody account:

    View more on twitter

    We asked BBC Africa's followers on Twitter to share the worst excuses they had ever heard.

    One person pointed to Zimbabwe, where former President Robert Mugabe accused foreign mining companies of stealing $15bn (£11bn) worth of diamond revenue.

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    Another pointed to a Ugandan minister who, according to local media reports, blamed termites when asked to account for missing funds.

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    While other people on Twitter simply enjoyed the headline's comedic value.

    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
  3. Thomas Cook resumes holiday flights to Tunisia

    Tourists enjoy the beach on June 25, 2016 in Sousse, Tunisia

    It has been two-and-a-half years since an Islamic State (IS) militant massacred innocent holidaymakers - 30 of them British - on a beach in Tunisia.

    Since then, the number of British tourists travelling to has dropped by 90%.

    This week, the tour operator Thomas Cook is finally resuming holidays in the region.

    It has led the BBC's security correspondent Frank Gardner to ask what has changed in the interim - and is it safe for tourists to go back?

    Read his piece here.

  4. Factory pollution 'forces closure of Ghana school'

    Thomas Naadi

    BBC Africa, Accra

    Ghanaian authorities have closed a school next to a Chinese-run toiletries and plastics factory after student protests against the high levels of pollution.

    It is thought more than 1,000 pupils could have been affected, with many complaining of respiratory problems - although local doctors in Asutuare, in the Greater Accra Region, accused them of smoking.

    An assistant headmaster, who suffered lung problems, had to be transferred because he couldn’t bear the fumes from the factory.

    Farmers producing tilapia fish, rice and bananas in Asuature are also said to be at risk of losing their livelihoods because of the waste released into the environment from the factory.

    The pollution has been going on for four years and has worsened in the last two years.

    The factory owners failed to meet a deadline given by the local government authorities after promising to fix the problem.

    The factory owners are yet to comment on the issue.

  5. South African opposition parties call for early election

    Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party leader Julius Malema (2nd L) speaks flanked by Democratic Alliance (DA) party leader Mmusi Maimane (L), United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa (2nd R) and Corne Mulder (R) of the Freedom Front Plus (FF+)
    Image caption: From left: Democratic Alliance (DA) party leader Mmusi Maimane, Economic Freedom Fighters' Julius Malema, United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa and Corne Mulder of the Freedom Front Plus (FF+)

    South Africa's opposition parties have called for the general election to be brought forward from 2019.

    Opposition leaders said the ruling African National Congress (ANC) had failed to hold President Jacob Zuma - whose tenure has become embroiled in a series of corruption scandals - to account.

    The ANC's National Executive Committee is meeting today to decide on the embattled president's future.

    However, for Democratic Alliance (DA) party leader Mmusi Maimane, it is too little, too late.

    "We must proceed to the dissolution of parliament... subsequent to that, we move on to an early election," he told reporters.

    Julius Malema, the former ANC Youth League leader who now heads the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), said change at the top would not root out the problem of alleged corruption.

    He said:

    Quote Message: They want Zuma to go because it is the time for Cyril's group to eat and they call it a transition? Transition from what? It can't be a transition, its not a transition. That is an abuse of concepts. Its a factions changing, swopping seats. Instead of transition we must call it swopping. Its not transition, its swopping. From one corrupt fellow, to another corrupt fellow."

    Meanwhile, the whole country continues to hold its breath as it waits to hear whether Mr Zuma will be recalled by the ANC - and, then, if he will actually stand down.

    If not, the EFF has asked for its no confidence motion, due to be held on the 22 February, to be brought forward to tomorrow.

  6. Day Zero conspiracy theorists protest in SA

    A group claiming Cape Town's "Day Zero" is a hoax have gathered outside the Western Cape Premier Helen Zille's official residence.

    The small group, chanting "water for all", held posters with slogans including "no to Day Zero" and "fair access to natural springs".

    Day Zero is the day Cape Town, which has been suffering a drought for the last few years, is due to run out of water.

    Currently it is set for 11 May, with residents asked to keep their consumption below 50 litres a day.

    Ms Zille has been one of the strongest advocates behind the campaign to avoid the water running out.

    But Shaheed Mohammed told News24 there was plenty of natural water in the city which should be made available to the city's residents.

    Quote Message: The City is deliberately creating a scarcity, scaring the people about the Day Zero. Day Zero is a myth, Day Zero is fake, it's news being promoted by the City and by the province."

    Jenni Evans, a reporter with South African site News24, tweeted a short video of the campaigners outside the gates of the property:

    View more on twitter
  7. Ethiopia to free ailing opposition leader

    Emmanuel Igunza

    BBC Africa, Nairobi

    Residents of Bishoftu crossed their wrists above their heads as a symbol for the Oromo anti-government protesting movement during the Oromo new year holiday Irreechaa in Bishoftu on October 2, 2016
    Image caption: Protests, like this one in 2016, have led to thousands of arrests in recent years

    The Ethiopian government says it will free an ailing opposition politician even as massive anti-government protests continue in parts of the country.

    The attorney general announced today the state would drop charges of incitement to violence against Bekele Gerba, the secretary-general of the Oromo Federalist Congress.

    The government has freed and dropped charges against thousands of people as part of reforms promised to end more than three years of demonstrations in Ethiopia.

    Merera Gudina, the Oromo Federalist Congress leader, was freed early last month.

    Mr Gerba, who was arrested in December 2015, was initially accused of having links to terror groups, but the charge was later downgraded to one of inciting violence.

    He will now be released alongside six others who were arrested with him.

    While in prison his health has deteriorated, with family members saying he could lose his sight if he doesn’t receive urgent medical attention.

    The announcement comes a day after at least six people were killed in eastern Ethiopia, when police fired on a crowd of protesters who were calling for the release of all jailed politicians.

    Many roads in Ethiopia’s largest region Oromia have been barricaded and businesses shut down as demonstrators began a three-day "stay at home" boycott.

    Hundreds of people have died and thousands detained since anti-government protests erupted in Ethiopia in 2015.

  8. Zuma spokesman denies deal reached

    President of South Africa Jacob Zuma attends the 54th National Conference of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) at the Nasrec Expo Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa December 16, 2017

    South Africa's most powerful politicians are still discussing the fate of the country's president - more than three hours after they sat down together to make a final decision.

    Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is leader of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), and the 111 members of the ruling party's National Executive Committee (NEC) met at 14:00 local time (12:00 GMT).

    The group have one task: to decide whether or not to recall Jacob Zuma, whose tenure as the country's president has become increasingly embroiled in corruption scandals.

    As yet, however, there is no news on which way the group is leaning.

    A flurry of reports suggesting a deal had been reached have been strongly denied by the presidential spokesman.

    Bongani Ngqulunga dismissed reports he had agreed to resign as "fake news" - an announcement which was quickly followed by South Africa's rand losing some of its gains.

    Expectations remain high some sort of deal will be reached today.

  9. Three soldiers killed in Cameroon

    Laeila Adjovi

    BBC Africa, Dakar

    Three Cameroonian soldiers have been killed, allegedly by separatists, in the English speaking part of the country over the weekend.

    The attack took place in the small north western town of Batibo, 20km from Bamenda, the capital of the North West province, on Sunday.

    A district official by the name of Namata Diteng is also reported to have been taken by gunmen. His car was later found burnt out. Mr Diteng is still missing.

    Sunday was the anniversary of the 1961 referendum which resulted in the creation of a federation joining English and French-speaking provinces of Cameroon.

    In 1966, the government proclaimed it National Youth Day.

    This weekend’s incidents came amid heightened security and a night curfew prompted by threats of attacks by secessionists.

    North-west and south-west Cameroon, the two English-speaking provinces of the country, have been shaken by over a year of unrest that has gradually turned into an armed conflict.

    After months of demonstrations, last October, the separatists of West Cameroon declared independence under the country name ‘Ambazonia’.

    The government reacted by sending in troops and cracking down on protests.

  10. Heroin haul suspect arrested at airport

    Jose Tembe

    BBC Africa, Maputo

    A Zimbabwean woman has been arrested for questioning in the Mozambican capital after allegedly attempting to smuggle 11 kilos of heroin onto a plane, the privately-owned STV reports.

    The illegal drug was discovered hidden in her luggage before the flight left Maputo for the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

    Police say they want to know the real origin of the drug. The 39-year-old suspect has reportedly refused to speak to the press.

    Border records in her passport reveal that the Zimbabwean woman had been in four countries - Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa and Mozambique - in less than a week.

    The airport in Maputo has been, on several occasions, used as a transit point for drugs mainly to Asia.

    A map showing the location of capital city Maputo in Mozambique
  11. Zambia threatens clampdown on sex toys

    Kennedy Gondwe

    Lusaka

    The Zambian government has threatened to clamp down on individuals and businesses selling sex toys.

    There has been a surge in adverts promoting sex toys on social media, prompting the ministry of religious affairs to speak out.

    Zambia, which by constitution has been declared a Christian nation, is highly conservative and practices such as same sex marriages are frowned upon.

    Reverend Godfridah Sumaili, the minister in charge of National Guidance and Religious Affairs, says her ministry would work closely with law enforcement agencies to ensure the sale of sex toys was completely halted in Zambia:

    Quote Message: The penal code under Section 177 forbids the importation, sale, conveyance and engaging in the promotion of obscene materials or objects that can corrupt morals.
    Quote Message: Therefore, the government will not allow this evil and immoral act of using sex toys.”

    But Sean Tembo, a leader of an opposition party, has disagreed with the minister.

    He said:

    Quote Message: What the Honourable Minister of Religious Affairs is trying to do by wrongly threatening those that wish to purchase sex dolls, is that she is trying to impose her personal values on the rest of our citizens, which is a violation of both the Holy Bible and our republican constitution, which encourage and protects an individual’s right to exercise free will.
    Quote Message: It must be noted that salvation is an individual choice and must not be imposed by the state.”
  12. S Sudan opposition figure sentenced to death

    Tomi Oladipo

    BBC Africa security correspondent

    James Gatdet Dak, a former spokesman of rebel leader Riek Machar, sits inside the dock in the High Court in Juba, South Sudan February 12, 2018

    A former opposition party spokesman has been sentenced to death for treason by a court in South Sudan.

    James Gatdet Dak, of the SPLA-IO, has been in detention since November 2016 when he stated his party’s support for the removal of the UN’s peacekeeping force commander in South Sudan on Facebook.

    The UN troops, led by a Kenyan general, had been accused of failing to protect civilians during the war.

    At the time, he was living in Kenya, where he had been granted refugee status. After the post was published, he was expelled from the country.

    Back home in South Sudan, he was brought before a court and accused of treason, among other charges.

    Last month, his lawyers said the trial was in violation of a ceasefire agreement between the government and rebels, which states that all political detainees should be freed.

    They then withdrew from the case in protest.

    He now has two weeks to appeal the verdict.

    Despite repeated truces between both warring parties, South Sudan’s conflict has continued.

    Even fresh talks aimed at bring peace to the country are in jeopardy. This morning, delegates representing the rebels walked out of the discussions taking place in Ethiopia claiming government forces attacked their troops last night.

  13. 'I am more handsome than Donald Trump'

    Is this Africa's biggest Trump impersonator?

    Comedian Samba Sine entertains Senegalese viewers every night with the Kouthia show. But it's his impersonation of President Donald Trump which has made him famous beyond his country's borders.

    The diaspora living in the United States has been following his skits in Wolof, Senegal's main local language, since the presidential campaign.

    Our colleagues from BBC Minute went to meet him:

    Video content

    Video caption: 'I am more handsome than Donald Trump'

    Video Journalist: Raïssa Ioussouf

  14. 'Poacher' eaten by lions in South Africa

    A lion relaxes on the banks of the Luvuvhu river at the Pafuri game reserve on July 21, 2010 in Kruger National Park, South Africa

    A suspected poacher has been eaten by a pride of lions, leaving just his head behind, South African police say.

    The unidentified man's remains were found lying next to a loaded hunting rifle in a private game reserve near the Kruger National Park in Limpopo province on Saturday morning.

    According to the UK's Daily Mail, locals were first alerted to something amiss by the sound of screams and scattered gunshots.

    But it was too late to help.

    Limpopo police spokesman Moatshe Ngoepe told news agency AFP: "It seems the victim was poaching in the game park when he was attacked and killed by lions. They ate his body, nearly all of it, and just left his head and some remains."

    Police are now trying to establish exactly who the man was.

    It is not known what animal he was hunting when he died - however it may have been the lions.

    Just 12 months ago, a number of lions were found poisoned with their heads and paws sawn off, AFP said.

    Lion body parts can be used in traditional medicine.

  15. Nigerian official says missing money 'swallowed by snake'

    Perry During

    BBC Pidgin

    Many a child has told their teacher that their dog ate their homework over the years.

    But no-one has ever been audacious enough to claim a snake swallowed missing money - until now.

    A saleswoman working for the Nigerian exam board gave just that excuse after auditors discovered 36 million naira ($100,000; £72,000) was missing from her accounts.

    Some reports suggest the woman, who worked in the central city of Makurdi, tried to accuse her house help of being in on the plot with one of her colleagues.

    But it seems the excuse did not impress officials from Nigeria’s examination body, the Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB), who suspended the member of staff.

    Dr Fabian Benjamin, head of press for the organisation, has confirmed the incident.

    However, he said the body - responsible for organising admission exams into universities - is ignoring the incredible claim, adding disciplinary proceedings have been launched.

    The BBC's Pidgin service has tried to reach Nigeria’s anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, in order to confirm the story.

    So far they have not responded to requests for a comment, but they did tweet this:

    View more on twitter
  16. Promoting homemade fashion in Malawi

    Meet fashion stylist Godfrey Kampewa, the man clients hire in part for his frank opinions:

    Quote Message: I remember walking in and seeing someone's wardrobe. I was like 'no...no...no....no.' I'll usually make sure it's harsh so that you hire me."
    View more on twitter

    He says the historical emphasis on modest fashion in Malawi has ended up killing creativity.

    Another challenge, he tells BBC Newsday, is that all materials have to be imported from Zambia and South Africa because of a lack of factories.

  17. SA ruling party bosses to "finalise" Zuma question

    Andrew Harding

    BBC News, Johannesburg

    South African President Jacob Zuma gestures as he gives his closing remarks during the closing session of the South African ruling party African National Congress policy conference in Johannesburg on July 5, 2017.

    The ANC’s top decision making body, the national executive committee, is meeting this afternoon to “finalise” the issue of President Zuma’s resignation.

    ANC leaders are gathering on hilltop near Pretoria to discuss the fate of President Zuma.

    At the weekend, the new leader of the party, Cyril Ramaphosa, promised this meeting would bring “closure” for South Africans – that Mr Zuma’s resignation would be “finalised,” here after days of anxiety and confusion.

    But it’s not clear yet exactly where things stand.

    It’s possible that President Zuma has finally agreed to step down, and this meeting will simply approve it.

    It’s equally likely that the 75-year-old is digging his heels in.

    In which case the ANC's often fractious leadership will have to come to an agreement on what happens next.

    They can demand that he steps down. But again, Mr Zuma can decline.

    In which case the matter would go to parliament and a vote of no-confidence in the president.

    Cyril Ramaphosa clearly feels confident that the party will now rally behind him, but if there are more delays or disagreements, his own position could be undermined.

  18. Somaliland soldiers defect to Puntland

    Farah Yussuf

    BBC Monitoring Nairobi

    More than 160 soldiers have defected from the self-declared republic of Somaliland to Puntland, a semi-autonomous region in north-east Somalia, a local radio station has reported.

    Puntland officials paraded the soldiers who claimed they defected because of constant mistreatment by Somaliland authorities, privately-owned Somali station Radio Risala said.

    “The forces you see here today are the same forces that were paraded to the media in Arraweyn in June 2007 as they joined the Somaliland army. Today, February 2018, we are joining the Puntland state of Somalia. We have withdrawn our allegiance from Somaliland. We have now joined Puntland,” the station quoted one of the soldiers’ as saying.

    There has been no independent or official confirmation of the defections.

    A member of the Somali security forces stands guard on the beach on the coast in 2016.
    Image caption: A Somali security officer, pictured in 2016, stands guard on Somaliland's coast

    Somaliland unilaterally declared independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991 but has not received international recognition as a sovereign state.

    It is locked in a territorial dispute with Puntland over the border regions of Sool and Sanaag which are claimed by both sides.

    Last month, Somaliland’s military took control of Tukaraq village in Sool region following heavy fighting with Puntland forces. The fighting took place as Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi “Farmajo” visited Puntland.

  19. Kenyan pilots threaten strike over kidnap ordeal

    Map showing Akobo in South Sudan

    Kenya's pilots' association is hoping to force the release of two colleagues who have been held hostage for more than a month after crashing their plane in South Sudan.

    Captain Frank Njoroge and his co-pilot Kennedy Shamalla are being held by rebels in Akobo, in the Greater Upper Nile region.

    The Kenya Airline Pilots Association say rebels are demanding a reported 20 million shillings (£140,000; $200,000) in compensation for the family of a local woman killed in the accident on 9 January.

    Eleven cows also died in the accident.

    The amount, the association says, is over what would normally be offered in such circumstances, while the treatment of the captured pilots is "in total contravention of their human rights and poses a potential risk to their health and well-being".

    As a result, they were calling for fellow pilots to refuse to fly in or out of the area.

    "We urge all Kenya commercial and charted flights operators to withhold flights into and within the North-Eastern Upper Nile State until such a time as our Kenyan colleagues are released, and the security of Kenyan pilots, as well as Kenyan-registered aircraft within the region is guaranteed," the association's acting General Secretary Captain Murithi Nyagah said.

    The pilots' families said at the weekend they were going to start fundraising to pay the compensation after becoming disheartened with government action, Kenya's NTV reported.

    View more on twitter
  20. DR Congo's peace festival draws the crowds

    Now in its fifth year, the Amani festival in the eastern town of Goma promotes peace and culture in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Great Lakes region.

    Belgian-Congolese singer Témé Tan, who was among the performers at the event over weekend, described the festival to French broadcaster RFI as a Congolese-style Woodstock.

    Here are our favourite photos of fans and performers at the event:

    A Congolese festival-goer dressed as a robot attends the Amani Festival on February 10, 2018 in Goma. The Amami Festival runs from Febraury 9 to 11, promoting peace and culture in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and Great Lakes region.
    Congolese festival-goers cheer and dance during the Amani Festival on February 10, 2018 in Goma. The Amami Festival runs from Febraury 9 to 11, promoting peace and culture in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and Great Lakes region.
    Congolese festival-goers dance during a performance at the Amani Festival on February 10, 2018 in Goma. The Amami Festival runs from Febraury 9 to 11, promoting peace and culture in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and Great Lakes region.
    Congolese festival-goers dance during the Amani Festival on February 10, 2018 in Goma. The Amami Festival runs from Febraury 9 to 11, promoting peace and culture in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and Great Lakes region.
    French reggae group Dub Inc singer Aurelien Zohou performs during the Amani Festival on February 10, 2018 in Goma. The Amami Festival runs from Febraury 9 to 11, promoting peace and culture in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and Great Lakes region.
    Congolese festival-goers look on during a performance at the Amani Festival on February 10, 2018 in Goma. The Amami Festival runs from Febraury 9 to 11, promoting peace and culture in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and Great Lakes region.
    A Congolese festival-goer smokes from a hookah during the Amani Festival on February 10, 2018 in Goma. The Amami Festival runs from Febraury 9 to 11, promoting peace and culture in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and Great Lakes region.
    A traditional Congolese dance group performs on stage during the Amani Festival on February 10, 2018 in Goma. The Amami Festival runs from Febraury 9 to 11, promoting peace and culture in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and Great Lakes region.