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Summary

  1. Morocco opens solar farm due to be 'world's largest'
  2. Rwanda denies 'training Burundians to oust president'
  3. Airline confirms missing passenger from Somalia plane 'blast'
  4. 'Arrests' in India over mob attack on Tanzanian student
  5. Paris deal 'could displace millions of forest dwellers'
  6. Get Involved: #BBCAfricaLive
  7. Email stories and comments to africalive@bbc.co.uk - Thursday 4 February 2016

Live Reporting

By Hugo Williams and Farouk Chothia

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Scroll down for Thursday's stories

We'll be back tomorrow

That's all for today 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 Africanproverb:

The day the billy-goat breaks its leg it will find its way home.

A Dagbani proverb sent by Issahaka Zakaria and Iddrisu Tanimu, both from Ghana

Click here to send us your African proverb. 

And we leave you with this picture of Maasai Warriors from Kenya celebrating taking a wicket during their cricket match against a team of Australians at the Sydney Cricket Ground:

maasai cricketers
AFP

Morocco unveils huge solar farm

Aerial view of the solar plant of Ouarzazate, central Morocco, Thursday, Feb.4, 2016.
AP

A solar farm designed to become the largest in the world has been officially opened in Morocco by King Mohammed VI. 

The plant, in the Sahara desert, south-east of Casablanca, will generate 500 megawatts when it reaches full capacity, comparable to a nuclear reactor. 

It's designed to store power when the sun isn't shining. It takes around two hours to walk around the array of half a million parabolic mirrors that focus heat to provide steam for the turbines. 

Environmentalists have expressed concern that water required for cooling will deplete a nearby dam.

'Residue from explosives' on Somalia plane

The head of Daallo Airlines says investigators have found what appears to be residue from explosives on the plane which was forced to make an emergency landing in Somalia on Tuesday after a hole emerged in its fuselage, the Associated Press news agency reports. 

Mohammed Ibrahim Yassin, however, cautioned that the findings were inconclusive, AP adds.   

"There's a residue, they're saying, of explosives. ... There's a trace,'' he told AP in an interview at the carrier's corporate office in Dubai. 

"But that cannot really make 100% that it's a bomb," he added. 

The Airbus 321, which was carrying 74 passengers, made an emergency landing in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, shortly after takeoff. It was due to fly to neighbouring Djibouti. 

picture of hole in the side of the plane
AP

Bony takes to the ice bath to get back from injury

Ivory Coast and Manchester City striker tweets about recovery:

Working hard and getting ready to comeback even stronger 💪💪💪 Good to see a humble guy like @HulkOficial7

Working hard and getting ready to comeback even stronger 💪💪💪 Good to see a humble guy like @HulkOficial7

Sierra Leone land dispute ruling condemned

Umaru Fofana

BBC Africa, Freetown

Environmental activists in Sierra Leone have reacted angrily to a court’s decision to find six people guilty of vandalising a palm oil plantation put up by a French-owned company, Socfin. 

They say the ruling is an attempt to intimidate people resisting the activities of multinationals across Sierra Leone. 

The activists say the six men have been out of a job since their arrest in 2013, and will not be able to pay fines of up to $10,000 (£7,000) imposed on them by the court. 

The court said they would serve jail terms of up to six months if they failed to pay. 

Socfin says it acted within the law when it obtained the land, and the government says the plots were unused.   

Somalia plane: Was blast caused by wheelchair bomber?

Investigators looking into the cause of a possible mid-air explosion on a flight from the Somali captial Mogadishu believe a passenger who boarded in a wheelchair may have been a suicide bomber, according to a Western diplomat briefed on the investigation, the Wall Street Journal reports (story behind paywall). 

massive hole in fuselage
AP
There was a large hole in the side of the plane when it landed

Life in Libya under IS: Hijabs 'must not be attractive'

hijab rules
BBC
Women have been given seven rules to abide by when wearing the hijab

The BBC has been speaking to former resident of the Libyan coastal city of Sirte, which is now in the hands of the so-called Islamic State.

With an estimated 1,500 fighters in the city, they have started to impose their own rule of law, with dress codes for men and women, segregation in school classrooms and the establishment of a religious police.  

Billboards instructing women how to dress according to Sharia were erected in Sirte in July 2015. The poster (pictured above) reads:

Instructions on wearing the hijab according to Sharia

1. It must be thick and not revealing

2. It must be loose (not tight)

3. It must cover all the body

4. It must not be attractive

5. It must not resemble the clothes of unbelievers or men

6. It must not be decorative and eye-catching

7. It must not be perfumed.

Read the full BBC story to find out more about life under IS in Libya

UN hit by new sex abuse allegations

UN peacekeepers in Central African Republic (CAR) raped or sexually exploited at least eight women and girls between October and December, a leading rights group says, in the latest of a series of such cases reported against the troops. 

Among the survivors are a 14-year-old girl and an 18-year-old woman who said peacekeepers gang-raped them near Bambari airport in the centre of the country, Human Rights Watch (HRW) added in a statement.  

“In a country where armed groups routinely prey on civilians, peacekeepers should be protectors, not predators,” said HRW's Hillary Margolis. 

 In a statement, the UN force in CAR said it had "identified seven new suspected victims of sexual exploitation and abuse in Bambari", AFP news agency reports.

UN peacekeeping forces patrol during presidential and legislatives elections in the streets of the Muslim PK-5 district of Bangui on December 30, 2015
AFP
The UN has about 11,000 peacekeepers in CAR

Banned drugs 'marketed with impunity' in Africa

selling drugs in market in Ivory Coast
AFP
Many drugs in Africa are available without prescription

New research from Oxford University in the UK suggests that drugs banned elsewhere in the world are being marketed with impunity in Africa. 

The study found that since 1950, 462 medicines had been withdrawn from sale worldwide after patients reported harmful effects. 

But of those, only 63 had been taken off the market in Africa. 

The report's lead author, Dr Igho Onakpoya, told the BBC's Focus On Africa radio programme that fewer than 5% of African countries had adequate drug monitoring systems. 

He said the poorer the country, the more likely it was that potentially harmful drugs would be on sale.  

Focus On Africa TV

The programme is live at 17:30 GMT on BBC World News. Presenter Sophie Ikenye gives us a quick preview of what to expect: 

View more on twitter

Italian team fined after 'racist chants' towards Senegalese defender

players surround referee after stoppage
AFP
The Serie A match was stopped in the 68th minute with Napoli two goals up

Italian club Lazio have been fined $55,850 (£38,250) after their match against Napoli on Wednesday was halted following claims of racist chanting.

Lazio will also have to close three sections of the Stadio Olimpico ground for their next two Serie A home games.

The match against Napoli was stopped for three minutes in the second half after some fans were alleged to have aimed racist chats at Napoli’s French-born Senegal defender Kalidou Koulibaly.

He praised referee Massimiliano Irrati for stopping the match, which Napoli went on to win 2-0 to stay top of the league.

Last year, Lazio were sanctioned for racist chanting from their fans in a home game against Genoa.

Lazio manager Stefano Pioli told media after the game that he disagreed with the stoppage: 

"It was chanting from the minority, but I don't think they were racist...I would not have stopped the match," he said.  

Mali through to CHAN final after Ivory Coast win

Nick Cavell

BBC Africa Sport

Mali have qualified for the final of the African Nations Championship (CHAN) in Rwanda with a late goal against Ivory Coast to win the match 1-0. 

Yves Bissouma scored the all-important goal with just two minutes left to play to send Mali into the final to play DR Congo on Sunday. 

Mali’s Mamadou Coulibaly had also missed a first-half penalty – his spot kick was saved by Ivory Coast keeper Ali Badra Sangare after a handball in the area.

Rwanda denies training Burundi rebels

image of police in burundi
Reuters

Rwandan foreign minister Louise Mushikiwabo has responded to allegations in a leaked report by UN experts, which said that Rwanda had been recruiting and training Burundian rebels trying to overthrow its President Pierre Nkurunziza (see entry at 09:03).

Burundi's government has previously made the same allegations.

Ms Mushikiwabo sent the BBC the following statement:

"The Burundi crisis is very serious, and of the Burundian leaders' own making, and the sooner the international community focuses on that, and not look for scapegoats, the better! 

"The unfounded allegations come from the fact that Rwanda has been hosting refugees considered hostile to Bujumbura, but we cannot send them back unless there is a fair system that will protect their lives. 

"Assuring the people of Burundi a good night sleep, and overall  protection is what the United Nations should be bothered with, the rest is just predictable and transparent diversion." 

map of east africa with drc, rwanda and burundi
BBC

Is Burundi on the verge of return to ethnic conflict?

'My son was killed by hired assasins'

Journalist Jerome Starkey has tweeted from the inquest into an unsolved murder in Kenya:

View more on twitter

Mr Starkey added on Instagram that the unsolved murder of Mrs Trzebinksks's son has become "something of a crusade which his split the family and their friends".

The Evening Standard reports that the magistrate set four days in April to hear from more than 30 witnesses.

It has been dubbed the White Mischief case because of the parallels it draws with the murder of a British aristocrat in Nairobi in 1941 depicted in the film White Mischief. 

Ivory Coast versus Mali: No goals so far

Ivory Coast and Mali are 0-0 at half-time in the second semi-final of the African Nations Championship being played in Rwanda.

The Confederation of African Football is tweeting from the stadium:    

View more on twitter

Sierra Leone convictions over vandalised plantation

Umaru Fofana

BBC Africa, Freetown

A court in Sierra Leone has found six people guilty of vandalising a palm oil plantation put up by a French-owned company, in a protest against alleged exploitation. 

They've been told to pay fines of up to $10,000 (£7000) or serve up to six months in jail. 

Activists say the government has backed land grabs by foreign firms. They say some smallholders were induced to sell plots for as little as $200, or rent them out for $2.50 per acre per year. 

The firm in this case, Socfin, says it acted within the law and the government says the plots were unused. 

Tunisia curfew ends

Rana Jawad

BBC North Africa correspondent, Tunis

Unemployed graduates shout slogans during a demonstration to demand the government for job opportunities, in front the Assembly of People"s Representatives in Tunis, Tunisia, January 27, 2016
Reuters
Tunisia has been hit by protests over unemployment

The night-time curfew imposed across Tunisia following unrest last month has been lifted, the ministry of Interior has announced. 

This decision follows "the improvement of the security situation", it adds. 

The curfew came into force on 22 January following protests against unemployment in 15 cities and towns, including the capital, Tunis. 

The demonstrations ave largely stopped, but there are still sporadic reports of some sit-ins and hunger strikes in front of government buildings in the central region by young people demanding jobs. 

Fifa presidential contenders in Rwanda

Nick Cavell

BBC Africa Sport

Tokyo Sexwale,
AFP
Mr Sexwale is hoping to be the first African to lead the world football governing body

Fifa presidential candidates Tokyo Sexwale, Gianni Infantino and Jerome Champagne are all on the seating plan to watch the African Nations Championship semi-final between Ivory Coast and Mali this afternoon in Rwanda. 

The trio will be sat next to each for the match at the Stade de Kigali to decide who will play DR Congo in the final of the tournament only open to players who appear in their own national leagues. 

The Confederation of African Football is holding a meeting of its executive committee on Friday in Kigali at which they are expected to announce who they will be backing in the Fifa presidential elections on 26 February.

See our 12:00 post for more details

Airline confirms passenger missing after Somalia 'blast'

plane with a hole in it
Darren Howe
The hole in the fuselage appeared close to the wing

Daallo Airlines CEO Mohamed Ibrahim Yasin Olad has confirmed that a male passenger is missing from the flight which was forced to land with a gaping hole in its side in the capital Mogadishu on Tuesday.

Mr Olad told the BBC Somali service that the missing man has been identified from the plane's manifest.

US government sources have been quoted as saying that investigators believe a bomb exploded on the plane, but there has been no confirmation of this.

The company has maintained until now that all 74 passengers from the flight were accounted for. 

Investigators will need to establish whether a body found by residents near Mogadishu matches the identity of the missing passenger. 

Mr Olad said the company expected an outcome of the investigation within the next two days.

The plane was flying to neighbouring Djibouti, when it was forced to make an emergency landing soon after take-off.  

Daallo Airlines is Djibouti's national carrier.  

Zambia students due in court after university closures

Twenty-six students are due to appear in court today in the Zambian capital, Lusaka, following their arrest during protests on Tuesday, the state-owned Zambia Daily Mail reports.

The government decided to close two of the country's leading universities indefinitely on Wednesday, after students rioted over unpaid meal allowances. 

Higher education minister Michael Kaingu said the government had closed the University of Zambia and Copperbelt University to protect people's lives and property, Reuters news agency reports. 

The minister said that the government had agreed to pay the outstanding money to students on Tuesday, but they had decided to continue protesting anyway. 

front page of zambia reports headline
ZambiaReports