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Summary

  1. The Economist trends in Nigeria after calling ex-president a 'buffoon'
  2. African presidents meet to discuss security issues
  3. Rwanda has highest percentage of mothers who exclusively breastfeed
  4. Suicide bomb attack kills eight in Gombi town north-east Nigeria
  5. Burundi police free two foreign journalists after brief detention
  6. Fresh sex-abuse allegations emerge against European soldiers in CAR

Live Reporting

By Clare Spencer and Damian Zane

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Scroll down for Friday's stories

We'll be back on Monday

That's all for this week from the BBC Africa Live page. Listen to the Africa Today podcast and keep up-to-date with developments across the continent on the BBC News website

Today's African proverb was: 

"It is only far for a jackal if there are no chocolate berries."

A Shona proverb sent by Bhebhe E, Matsapha, Swaziland

Click here to send your African proverbs

We leave you with this from Africa's week in pictures of breaking bread in the Libyan desert:

A Touareg tribesman cuts bread in the Meggedat valley, north west of Libya"s Akakas mountain region, in the desert of the western Ghat District, in photo released on 25 January 2016
Reuters

France orders investigation into CAR sex abuse allegations

French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has ordered an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse of children by French soldiers in the Central African Republic. 

The United Nations said it had uncovered six more cases of children being sexually abused by European soldiers, at or near a refugee camp at Bangui airport. 

French soldiers serving in France's Sangaris force are already being investigated over allegations they forced children to perform sexual acts in exchange for food. 

Georgia has said it's also investigating similar allegations against its troops.

Camp near Bangui airport
AFP
A camp for displaced people in the CAR was set up at Bangui's airport when the recent trouble began in 2014

Can Africa afford free education?

We've been hearing from you on Facebook on our latest question for the BBC Africa Debate:

Can Africa afford free education?

Malueth Agany, who is currently a university student in South Sudan where he says he is charged "huge amount".

Education today has been understood by the richest as a chance for their children to study, so that they should come back and replace their seats after they have gone.

Ugandan Patrick Bihugyeho says it is possible where he lives, in South Africa:

Free education in SA is a mere breakfast bill if their economy and massive corruption can be managed.

And Brandon Max Tshabatau says this is already happening in his country.

In Botswana education is for free from primary to high school. Even students are sponsored at tertiary level and given living allowance. Unless it's a private school.

Listen to the debate on BBC World Service radio tonight at 1900 GMT.

Is there a change of plan for AU in Burundi?

There is an indication that the African Union could be changing its mind on sending a peacekeeping force to Burundi.

Just before the start of an AU Peace and Security Council meeting addressing the Burundi situation, Tanzania's Foreign Minister Augustine Mahiga told the BBC that "the issue is no longer about sending troops".

Talking to Sammy Awami in Addis Ababa Mr Mahiga said "the issue now is when and how to have a dialogue between government and opposition groups”.

Last month, the AU announced a plan to send 5,000 peacekeepers to protect civilians in Burundi.

Hundreds have died and many people have fled the country since the political crisis began last April, when President Pierre Nkurunziza said he would run for a third term.

Burundi vigil
AFP
There have been calls for more international action to end the Burundi crisis

Released journalists pictured in Burundi

Here's the latest picture of the two foreign journalists who were arrested, and then released, in Burundi's capital, Bujumbura.

Jean Philippe Remy and Phil Moore were speak in the hall outside the Prosecutor's office in Bujumbura.
AFP

French journalist for Le Monde newspaper, Jean Philippe Remy, and British freelance photographer Phil Moore were speaking in the hall outside the Prosecutor's office.

Mr Moore was originally accused of being with armed criminals, which he denied. 

The authorities are still looking at the journalists' phones and cameras, reports the BBC's Prime Ndikumagenge in Burundi.

'Stakes are high' at African Union meeting

The African Union's Peace and Security Council is meeting with many presidents present.

This is ahead of Saturday's full heads of state summit.

Topics on the agenda include the situation in Burundi and South Sudan, and the AU's commissioner for peace and security has been tweeting his reflections:

View more on twitter

The African Union is pushing for an AU force to be deployed in Burundi, but the government there does not want it.

So what was the country's foreign minister telling Kenya's president here? 

View more on twitter

One hundred days of African fashion

Kenyan fashionista Diana Opoti has been on a mission to wear African clothes for 100 days.

And it looks like she's nearing the end of the challenge.

She stopped counting at day 87 but by our reckoning she's on day 98.

She's been sharing her outfits on Instagram, which shows she has been getting clothes from all over the continent.

Her latest outfit is inspired by the Tanzanian style of art TingaTinga:

View more on instagram
View more on instagram

Day 61's beaded corset was designed in Kenya.

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  Her day 51 shift dress came from Nigeria.

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And it all began in Uganda on day one.

Nigeria attack death toll rises

Ishaq Khalid

BBC Africa, Bauchi, Nigeria

The number of people killed by a suicide bomber at a market in Gombi town in north-east Nigeria (see 13.55 entry) has risen to at least eight.

A spokesperson from Nigeria's National Emergency Management Agency told me eight people have been confirmed dead, but hospital sources put the figure at 15 and the number injured at 40.

#TroTroVibes trends in Ghana as people share commuter tales

What started as a hashtag to promote literacy in Ghana has turned into an opportunity for Ghanaians to share stories about their commute on the minibus taxis, or tro tros.

#TroTroVibes was initiated by a group of performance poets who designated today as the day to perform their work on minibuses of Ghana's capital, Accra.

According to an online statement, they want to "educate their audience about social issues" and get them more interested in reading.

View more on twitter

But people are using the hashtag to share transport tales:

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

A mate is the conductor on the tro tro - and tro tro literally means pennies.

AU meeting starts with a minute's silence

The African Union's Peace and Security Council, with heads of state leading the delegations, has just started its meeting in Addis Ababa with a minute's silence.

View more on twitter

Kenyan soldiers, who were part of the AU force in Somalia, were targeted in an al-Shabab attack a fortnight ago.

A full heads of state summit will start on Saturday.

French ex-Chelsea player moves to Egyptian club

In an earlier post we pointed out how many footballers are announcing they are moving clubs today.

In the frenzy we missed a particularly significant part of this.

The BBC’s Piers Edwards points out that one of the footballers, French ex-Chelsea player Florent Malouda, is going to an African club.

Malouda will move to Egypt’s Wadi Degla FC.

This is a reversal of the normal trend for African players ending up in Europe.

Sports news website King Fut has one explanation as to how this came about -  the 35-year-old has a strong relationship with Patrice Carteron, who recently agreed to manage Wadi Dagla. 

Florent Malouda
Getty Images

South Sudan's Kiir 'will not be at AU summit'

Salva Kiir
AFP

South Sudan President Salva Kiir will not be attending the African Union summit in Ethiopia, reports South Sudan's Eye Radio website.

South Sudan's ambassador in Addis Ababa, Akuei Bona Malwal, said the president is busy in Juba forming a new cabinet. 

The summit is expected to discuss the South Sudan peace process which has failed to be implemented due to disagreements between the two warring sides. 

Eye Radio quotes the ambassador as saying that the president will be represented by the chief negotiator Nhial Deng Nhial and Foreign Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin. 

The extent of South Africa's 'schools crisis'

When news came out that 25% of students in South Africa failed their end of school exams, the education minister declared schools as in a "state of crisis".

But the BBC’s Milton Nkosi found the level of education may be worse than that figure indicates. 

That's because there is a massive drop out rate before pupils even take the exams.

One figure indicates slightly less than half of children who registered at school at seven years old went on to take the school leaving exam.

Read more on the BBC News website.

School
BBC

Boko Haram 'degraded' and 'will be destroyed'

There have been a series of security meetings ahead of Saturday's African Union heads of state summit.

The AU's Peace and Security Council has tweeted a comment by Nigeria's Defence Minister Muhammad Dan Ali that Boko Haram "will be destroyed":

View more on twitter

Detained foreign journalists in Burundi freed

Two international journalists have been freed by the authorities in Burundi. 

Jean-Philippe Remy from France and a British photographer, Phil Moore, were arrested on Thursday along with 15 local people and accused of accompanying armed criminals. 

The BBC's Prime Ndikumagenge reports that the journalists' phones have been held for further investigation.

The national council of communication has cancelled their accreditation.

Your comments: Economist calls Goodluck Jonathan a 'buffoon'

Our Twitter and Facebook post highlighting the angry reaction in Nigeria to The Economist newspaper calling the former President Goodluck Jonathan "an ineffectual buffoon" (see 11.04 entry) has led to a lot more comments.

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View more on twitter

And these reactions are mirrored on Facebook:

Why should we Africans buy anything these Europeans sell to us? It is inconsequential what they say about Africa, because we know our country better than they do. We can also say things about them."

Sam Ime

And another commenter says we should be praising the former President Jonathan

We know why this comment would come out of Britain because they are our problem. Under Jonathan our economy rose to number one in Africa.

Jason Black

Africa's liberation leaders on show

While the BBC's Sammy Awami waited for the African Union's Peace and Security Council meeting to get going today, he snapped the portraits hanging at the AU's headquarters in Addis Ababa of some of Africa's liberation leaders.

Ethiopia's Emperor Haile Selassie, one of the founders of the Organisation of African Unity, can be seen bottom right, Kenya's first President Jomo Kenyatta is just above him, and to the left of his picture is Uganda's Milton Obote

Portraits hanging at African Union
BBC

In this set, you can see Zambia's first President Kenneth Kaunda and his Tanzanian counterpart Julius Nyerere, among others.

Portraits of African leaders
BBC

Who else can you spot?

An African Union heads of state summit is due to open on Saturday.

Suicide attack in Nigeria's Adamawa state

Ishaq Khalid

BBC Africa, Bauchi, Nigeria

A suicide bomber has attacked a market in Nigeria's north-eastern town of Gombi, Adamawa state.

The casualty figures are still unclear, but Adamawa state police spokesman Othman Abubakar said three people including the bomber were confirmed dead, while 17 others were injured.   

An eye witness told me that he saw at least eight dead bodies, after the blast which happened at 12:00 GMT (13:00 local time). 

Residents told me they saw mutilated bodies as they ran in panic, with traders abandoning their stalls.

Chibok bombers 'were men disguised as women'

The bombers who attacked Chibok, north-east Nigeria on Wednesday were men wearing hijabs, according to Nigerian military, the AP news agency reports. 

AP adds that the explosives were strapped to their backs to look like babies.

At least 13 people were killed in multiple explosions. 

Chibok is the town where the Islamist militant group Boko Haram abducted more than 200 schoolgirls in 2014.

Arrested photographer in Burundi 'ran away with armed criminals'

Phil Moore and Jean Philippe Remy
Le Monde
Phil Moore (left) has been detained along with French journalist Jean Philippe Remy

We reported earlier that two foreign journalists are in police custody in Burundi’s capital Bujumbura (09:02). 

The police spokesman Moise Nkurunziza said British photographer Phil Moore was caught in a meeting of suspected armed criminals.

"Security forces were surprised that he chose to run away from them with criminals. He should have come and shown to the security forces that he was doing his job of journalist. That’s not what he did.’’

But the Foreign Correspondents Association of East Africa says that Phil Moore denies that he was with armed men at the time of his arrest. 

Here's a job title: Virginity tester

South African journalist Andi Makinana has just spotted this curious job title on eNca News:

View more on twitter

She says it has flashed up on the screen at least five times in the last hour alone.

This week a South African mayor defended the decision to award scholarships

to 16 female university students on condition they remain virgins and get regular virginity tests.

Rwanda tops world breastfeeding list

Rwanda has the highest rate of breastfeeding in the world, according to new figures from the World Health Organization. 

The figures say 85% of mothers exclusively breastfeed their babies for the first six months. 

That's compared to just 1% in the UK, which comes at the bottom of the list.

Here's what the situation is in the rest of the world:

Breastfeeding across the world
World Health Organization

In a report in the medical journal the Lancet researchers say breastfeeding improves child development and reduces the incidence of breast cancer among women.

Inside the Zika forest

The World Health Organization has warned that the Zika virus is spreading "explosively".

Experts do not know much about the virus, but it was discovered in a Ugandan forest.

The BBC's Catherine Byaruhanga has been there.

Ugandan army's new war front

Uganda's New Vision newspaper says the army - the UPDF - has a new enemy in its sights:

New Vision front page
BBC

The BBC's Patience Atuhaire in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, says soldiers will be doing door-to-door spraying to get rid of bedbugs as part of their community activities during army week. 

The New Vision says there is an infestation in the low-lying areas in a slum just outside Kampala.

The annual army week is an opportunity for the military to get involved in different community activities, such as cleaning up streets and open drains. 

Our reporter says it is part of what the army does to get closer to ordinary Ugandans.

Europe's last rush to nab footballers

We're getting lots of announcements of African footballers moving clubs around Europe.

The BBC's Nick Cavell says this is because the January transfer window will soon be closing.

Here are a few of the footballers who are one the move:

View more on twitter
View more on twitter
View more on twitter
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View more on twitter

Victims' representative speaks at Gbagbo trial

The lawyer representing the victims at the trial of the former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo has been speaking in court for the first time since it opened on Thursday.

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

The BBC's Anna Holligan in The Hague says 726 victims will be participating in the trial.

Mr Gbagbo has denied the charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity,  

Presidents fly in to Addis

The twice-yearly African Union heads of state meeting is due to start in Addis Ababa tomorrow, and the presidents (and their advisors) have been tweeting about their journeys:

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View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Some meetings have already started and Senegal's President Macky Sall has been pictured busy at work:

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Later today there is a Peace and Security Council meeting.

The BBC's Sammy Awami in Addis Ababa says there will be an open session on the efforts to tackle terrorism as well as the situation in South Sudan.

There will then be a closed-door session on the situation in Burundi.

Our reporter says South Sudan and Burundi are expected to dominate the agenda.

The search for a missing billion dollars

Exasperated Kenyans have asked the US Attorney General Loretta Lynch for help in finding almost $1bn of public funds which have appeared to have gone missing.

The government sold loans to investors in 2014 but the money is now allegedly unaccounted for.

BBC Trending reports a Twitter hashtag #KenyansToLorettaLynch has been used thousands of times. Here's a couple of examples:

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View more on twitter

She played a key role in indicting 14 Fifa in 2015. This may go some way to explaining why tweeters like the last one have decided she is up to the job. 

Footage of cannon fired at women's march shown at Gbagbo trial

It's day two of Ivory Coast's ex-President Laurent Gbagbo's trial for crimes against humanity in the International Criminal Court.

Mr Gbagbo and ex-militia leader Charles Ble Goude - he is also on trial - deny murder, rape, attempted murder and persecution charges.

A lawyer for Human Rights Watch has tweeted the latest goings-on in the court:

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View more on twitter

View more on twitter

Meanwhile the Reuters correspondent in Ivory Coast has noticed a change from other cases at the International Criminal Court:

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The trial is taking place in The Hague, the Netherlands and is being streamed live.

But if you're planning to watch the whole thing, take note: It could last three or four years.  

Have you been paying attention?

Do you know the answer to this question:

Quiz
BBC

Test yourself on the 7 days quiz.

Fuel tanker bursts into flames in Lagos

We're just getting in photos from our cameraman Ayo Bello in Lagos state in Nigeria of a fuel tanker which exploded last night:

fuel tanker
BBC

A crowd gathered round the tanker which exploded at MRS fueling in Surulere area of Lagos state. 

fuel tanker flames
BBC

No life was lost but property was destroyed.

Teams of firefighters managed to put out the blaze after a few hours.  

Fuel tanker
BBC

It is not uncommon for fuel tankers to burst into flames on the streets of Lagos.

For the last decade photographer Akintunde Akinleye has been capturing the moment firemen turn up.

Court orders reinstatement of SA reality show judge accused of being racist

Milton Nkosi

BBC Africa, Johannesburg

A South African High Court has ordered a TV channel to re-instate a judge of the reality show Idols.

The pay TV channel M-Net sacked Gareth Cliff for what they described as a "racial slur".

He had Tweeted a response to widely-circulated comments from a white estate agent who had said that black people were "monkeys".

The original comments sparked widespread outrage.

Mr Cliff said people criticising the comment did not understand free speech.

The channel said they could sack Mr Cliff because he did not have a contract.

But Judge Caroline Nicholls said that actually there was a contract.

TV host Gareth Cliff arrives at the johannesburg high court for the ruling against his layoff on January 29, 2015 in Johannesburg.
Getty Images
Gareth Cliff attended high court this morning

The Economist trending in Nigeria

The UK-based Economist weekly newspaper has written a damning critique of Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari's economic policy

But it's a line about former President Goodluck Jonathan that has got a lot of people hot under the collar.

It called him "an ineffectual buffoon".

And some Nigerians have taken offence:

View more on twitter
View more on twitter
View more on twitter

But others have wondered what the problem is:

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The main thrust of the article is that President Buhari should abandon his policy of trying to shore up the value of the naira, which has been under pressure in recent months.

Kenyan soldier remembered

Front page of Kenyan Standard newspaper
BBC

Kenya's Standard newspaper features a picture from the funeral of one of the Kenyan soldiers who died in the al-Shabab attack a fortnight ago.

They were attacked while at an African Union base in southern Somalia.

The authorities have not yet given a death toll and say they are still identifying those who have been killed. 

Mbia 'proud' to be at Hebei China Fortune

Cameroonian footballer Stephen Mbia has been tweeting about joining his new Chinese club: 

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France demands release of detained journalists in Burundi

France's Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has called for the immediate release of the two foreign journalists - one of them a French national - who have been detained by police.

British photojournalist Phil Moore and French reporter Jean Philippe Remy were arrested with 15 other people in an opposition neighbourhood of the Burundian capital, Bujumbura, on Thursday.  

Both men, who have won several awards for their work, have travelled to Burundi several times since the crisis began, reports the BBC's Maud Jullien. 

The association of foreign journalists in East Africa said they were extremely concerned by the arrests of their colleagues who they described as consummate professionals.

Police in Burundi in 2015
AFP
Detained photojournalist covered last year's street violence in Bujumbura taking pictures like this

Georgian troops also accused of child abuse in CAR

We are getting more information in about the new allegations that French troops sexually abused children in the Central African Republic (CAR).

The AP news agency reports that UN human rights chief Zeid Raad al-Hussein says his staff has found six more cases of sexual abuse of children by European troops.

The allegations date back to 2014 in a camp for displaced people near Bangui airport.

Mr al-Hussein's office says a UN team interviewed five girls and a boy.

A 7-year-old girl and a 9-year-old boy said their abusers were French. 

While other girls believe their abusers were from the Georgian peacekeeping contingent.

AP say Mr al-Hussein  raised the cases with the European, Georgian and French authorities, as well as with another country last week.

Fresh sex abuse allegations against French troops in CAR

The Reuters news agency is reporting that there are new allegations of French troops sexually abusing children in the Central African Republic in 2014.

More details to follow.

Nigeria's ex-Air Force chief questioned over corruption

The former head of Nigeria's air force has been questioned by the country's anti-corruption commission over the alleged diversion of funds meant for the military, the AFP news agency reports.

An anonymous source at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission told AFP that Air Marshal Adesola Amosu has been with them since Wednesday. 

He is among 20 former military chiefs and officers who President Muhammadu Buhari wanted questioned over an alleged arms procurement fraud.  

Air Marshal Adesola Amosu
AFP

'Mass graves' detected in Burundi

Rights group Amnesty says it has found five possible mass graves near Burundi's capital, where security forces are accused of killing scores of people in December:

A DigitalGlobe satellite image released by Amnesty International shows what the human rights organization describes as a possible mass grave in Burundi
Reuters

Amnesty says satellite images show disturbed earth at sites in the Buringa area on the edge of the capital, Bujumbura, that are consistent with witness reports.

"These images suggest a deliberate effort by the authorities to cover up the extent of the killings by their security forces and to prevent the full truth from coming out," said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty's regional director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

At least 87 people were killed in December's crackdown, which came after military bases were attacked by gunmen, but the UN said the true number may be much higher.

Read more on the BBC News website.