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  1. Boko Haram camps 'set ablaze' in Nigeria
  2. Darfur conflict forces '73,000 to flee'
  3. Kenyan one of world's top 10 teachers
  4. Uganda officials warn of illegal ballot papers
  5. Islamic school teacher blamed for Somalia plane blast
  6. More than '90 lawyers' in court to represent accused
  7. Get Involved: #BBCAfricaLive
  8. Email stories and comments to - Wednesday 17 February 2016

Live Reporting

By Naziru Mikailu and Farouk Chothia

All times stated are UK

Get involved

  1. Scroll down for Wednesday's stories

    We'll be back on Thursday

    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 African proverb was: 

    Quote Message: If you can walk, you can dance. If you can talk, you can sing" from A Zimbabwean proverb sent by Simon Imoro, Kumasi, Ghana.
    A Zimbabwean proverb sent by Simon Imoro, Kumasi, Ghana.

    Click here to send us your proverbs.

    And we leave you with a photo of a worker cleaning paint from a statue of former South African white-minority ruler Jan Smuts, which was vandalised by students at the University of Cape Town:  

    A worker cleans off paint left by protesting students the day after violent pretests at the University of Cape Town where paintings from the walls of the main halls where burned along with vehicles, in Cape Town, South Africa, 17 February 2016
  2. Education 'key to tackling militancy'

    Will Ross

    BBC News

    Kenyan teacher Ayub Mohamud
    Image caption: Ayub Mohamud is on $1m prize shortlist

    Given the scale of the global jihadist crisis many thousands of Ayub Mohamuds are needed.  Governments are focusing most of their resources on military might as they try to crush militant Islamists.  

    But Mr Mohamud, a Kenyan teacher who has been nominated for a $1m (£690,000) global prize, is in another battle - helping ensure the youth are not tempted to swallow the jihadist ideology and turn to violence.

    I have met people who were locked up with young men accused of carrying out the 2010 Kampala bombings and with those responsible for de-radicalising Boko Haram recruits in Nigeria. 

    They all highlighted education as the key because these men were unable to reason logically and so did not have the skills to counter jihadist ideology.

    That is why Mr Mohamud’s work is so important.

    See our 15:53 post for more details

    Read: Using football to tackle Boko Haram

  3. South Africa mine tragedy

    A safety officer at a mine in South Africa where three workers have been trapped underground since 5 February has taken his life, police say, the Johannesburg-based News24 site reports. 

    "I can confirm the incident, but at this stage there is no more information available. We will keep you updated as the investigation progresses. We also don’t know what the motive is,” police spokesman Mzwandile Nyambi is quoted as saying.   

  4. Poetry in Uganda election campaign

    George Mpanga, known by his stage name George the Poet, is a British artist of Ugandan descent.

    He has recently turned his sharp verse to the upcoming elections in Uganda.

    He told BBC Africa’s Patience Atuhaire in the capital, Kampala, why he decided to write about the political life in his parents’ country:

    Video content

    Video caption: George Mpanga, 'George the Poet', is a British spoken word artist of Ugandan descent
  5. 'Over the top support' for Nigerian lawyer

    Will Ross

    BBC News

    The appearance of more than 90 lawyers in a Nigerian court was a somewhat over the top show of support for a colleague accused of committing serious crimes. 

    Nigeria's anti corruption agency says Rickey Tarfa hid two suspects in his car for more than five hours so they could evade arrest. 

    The prominent lawyer faces a second count of attempting to pervert the course of justice by telephoning a judge.  

    The judge Aishat Opesanwo was not impressed when a 90-strong legal team pitched up in court in the main city, Lagos, to defend him.  

    "There is no need for such magnitude of support," she told the packed court before describing the stunt as an act of harassment and intimidation.    

    Nigeria lawyer Rickey Tarfa (C)
    Image caption: Rickey Tarfa (C) pleaded not​ guilty to all the charges

    The case is due to continue next month when the judge will be hoping that here are far fewer wigs in the room.  

    It is extremely rare for so many legal minds to be hired for one case. 

    But then being his colleagues it seems highly unlikely that Mr Tarfa will have to pay what would be an eye watering legal bill from all 90 lawyers.

  6. Blow for Nigeria-Niger trade

    Ishaq Khalid

    BBC Africa, Diffa, Niger


    Trade between Nigeria and neighbouring Niger has been crippled because of the insurgency waged by militant Islamist group Boko Haram.

    Traders in Niger's Diffa region told me that they can no longer cross into Nigeria's north-eastern Borno state because of attacks in border towns. 

    The insurgency has led commercial activities falling by nearly 80% in the last few years, said the secretary of the Diffa Market Traders Association Alhaji Alsori. 

    Some traders who manage to travel between the two countries have to follow a different route through Kano, thus increasing the distance by nearly 1000km (600 miles).

    Boko Haram has killed hundreds of people in southern Niger prompting authorities to declare a state of emergency in the region. The country is also part of a regional coalition fighting the insurgents.   

    Bags of onions
    Image caption: Niger traders import foodstuff and vegetables from Nigeria
  7. Freeing people chained for being ill

    Man in chains

    For almost 30 years, Gregoire Ahongbonon, a former mechanic from Benin, has helped thousands of West Africans affected by mental illnesses, caring for them through a charity he runs. 

    He says he is determined to stop the practice of keeping mentally ill people in chains.   

    "Mental patients here [in Benin] are seen as possessed by the devil or victims of witchcraft," Mr Ahongbonon says.

    "That's the case in Africa in general, but in Benin it's even worse, because Benin is the home of voodoo, so it's even stronger here," he adds. 

    Read the full BBC story here 

  8. Niasse looking forward to life at Everton

    In football, Everton's new signing, Senegalese international Oumar Niasse, says he's looking forward to playing alongside the club's leading striker Romelu Lukaku.

    The English side paid $18m (£12m) for Niasse's move from Lokomotiv Moscow last month.

    Niasse told BBC World Service Sport that his partnership with Lukaku would be a "good combination":

    Video content

    Video caption: Everton signing Oumar Niasse says he's looking forward to playing alongside Romelu Lukaku
  9. Libya's militias 'follow orders'

    Rana Jawad

    BBC North Africa correspondent, Tunis

    The alliance in charge of western Libya and the capital, Tripoli - and their militia backers - are divided over the UN-backed deal to unite the country.

    But Western diplomats and some politicians say several brigades are ready to support a new unity government, when it materialises.  

    Prime minister of the Tripoli administration, Khalifa al-Ghuweil, an opponent of the deal in its current form, told me reports of divisions were false.

    Quote Message: These are lies and it’s untrue… They get their salaries from the government and they take orders from the government.”
    Libya's malitias
    Image caption: Libya has two different governments

    All sides in Libya have faced criticism for paying militias – it is felt they hold the politicians to ransom for payment. Last month Mr Ghuweil was alleged to have promised to double militia salaries. He denied this too but added:  

    Quote Message: The revolutionaries - who are protecting the country - were integrated into the army and they were given salaries and bonuses because they were working for all these years without salaries.”
    A militia man in Libya
    Image caption: Both sides are backed by armed militias​

    Five years on from the uprising, Libya is also facing a financial crisis: Oil production has nearly ground to a halt, and its banks are strapped for cash. Mr Ghuweil acknowledged the difficulties and says his government has been “limiting spending”:  

    Quote Message: Despite this, the Libyan people are living comfortably and have money, with the exception of a minority of the people who are suffering from low wages.”

    An estimated 400,000 Libyans are internally displaced.

  10. Thousands flee Darfur conflict

    Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) militants wait to receive the African Union mediator in the Darfur conflict, Salim Ahmed Salim, at the SLA-controlled Galoul locality in Jebel Marra area in North Darfur State, 31 August 2005
    Image caption: Rebels are said to be in control of the violence-hit area

    About 73,000 civilians have fled the Marra mountains in Sudan's Darfur region since conflict between government and rebel forces escalated in mid-January, the UN has said in a statement. 

    The Marra mountains, which rise to more than 3,000 metres (nearly 10,000 feet) and are one of Darfur's most fertile areas, are controlled by rebels of Abdulwahid Nur's faction of the Sudan Liberation Army, AFP news agency reports.

    Government forces and militias allied with them have been waging an offensive against rebels in the area for the last four weeks, it adds. 

    Many of those fleeing have taken refuge at a base in Sortoni town, run by peacekeepers from the UN and African Union, the UN added. 

  11. Uganda voters ready for key poll

    Uganda’s President Yoweri Museni is seeking to extend his 30-year rule in elections tomorrow.

    Seven candidates are challenging him. His two main rivals are his former physician, Kizza Besigye, and former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi.

    Voters have been speaking to the BBC's Tulanana Bohela ahead of the hotly-contested elections:

    Video content

    Video caption: Uganda voters ready for key poll
  12. Kenyan teacher excited to be nominated for global prize

    Ayub Mohamud

    A Kenyan teacher who was been short-listed for a $1m (£690,000) teaching prize says he is excited about his nomination.  

    Ayub Mohamud told the BBC's Abdinoor Aden that his work was not confined to the classroom but also involved challenging extremism among youth who were out of school.

    He said he had also helped changed the mindset of students by urging them to be job-creators rather than job-seekers. 

    The winner of the prize, set up by the UK-based Varkey Foundation, will be announced next month. 

    See our 12:55 post for more details

  13. Nigerian 'politicians supported Boko Haram'

    Wole Soyinka
    Image caption: Mr Soyinka won the Nobel prize in literature

    Nigeria's Nobel Prize-winning author Wole Soyinka says some of the country's politicians had supported militant Islamist group Boko Haram before it started its violent campaign in 2009.

    They supported them because they were ready to sacrifice anything to defend their power but the group later turned against them, he said in an interview with the UK's Channel 4 News.

    Mr Soyinka also spoke about the row at Oxford University over a controversial statue of 19th Century British imperialist Cecil Rhodes.

    You can watch the interview here

  14. Shoemaker invests in disabled artisans

    Ghanaian student Mabel Suglo runs Eco Shoes, a forward-thinking social enterprise which turns old tyres and scraps of Africa fabric into stylish footwear and accessories.

    The company, based in Kumasi, employs both able-bodied and disabled artisans to make its shoes and bags.

    Ms Siglo and two friends were inspired to start the business to challenge local perceptions of disabled people as burdens to society.

    Video content

    Video caption: Women of Africa: Ghana shoemaker invests in disabled artisans

    Women of Africa is a BBC season recognising inspiring women across the continent. The second series, Africa's New Businesswomen, introduces eight female entrepreneurs who are finding success in their country - and beyond.

  15. Meningitis epidemic risk in Niger

    People receive a free meningitis vaccine from Dr. Wayne Chen at the AIDS Healthcare Foundation pharmacy on April 15, 2013 in Hollywood, California

    Niger needs about 3.2 million vaccination doses to prevent a possible meningitis epidemic, the UN has said, AFP news agency reports. 

    Some 75 meningitis cases, including one death, have been reported since January in four of the country's eight regions, including the capital, Niamey, the UN is quoted as saying.

  16. Extra police for Uganda elections

    Ugandan police have deployed 5, 500 extra personnel ahead of tomorrow's tightly contested elections. 

    Special constables will also be placed at each polling station for crowd control in the capital, Kampala.

    The BBC's Tulanana Bohela captures some police officers taking their positions:

    Video content

    Video caption: Uganda election: Police deploy extra personnel
  17. Your reaction to 90 lawyers in Nigeria case


    Some of you have been reacting to our story of more than 90 Nigerian lawyers representing a colleague, Rickey Tarfa, in court after he was charged with obstructing justice - a charge he denies:

    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
  18. Somali cleric doubts teacher was bomber

    A Somali Muslim cleric says he finds it hard to believe that Islamic school teacher Abdullahi Abdisalam Borleh was behind the explosion which caused a hole in the fuselage of a plane in the country on 2 February, the Associated Press news agency reports. 

    Mr Borleh was "chatty", and sometimes walked with a cane because he had a problem with his leg, said Sheikh Mohamed Abdullahi, an imam who knew the suspected bomber in the self-declared republic of Somaliland, AP reports. 

    "He travelled to Mogadishu [Somalia's capital] to obtain a passport to go to either Turkey or India for medical reasons,'' the cleric told AP. 

    "He was probably travelling overseas to straighten his leg." 

    hole is photographed in a plane operated by Daallo Airlines as it sits on the runway after an emergency landing at the airport in Mogadishu, Somalia Tuesday Feb. 2, 2016
    Image caption: Militant Islamist group al-Shabab said it carried out the attack

    See our 09:01 post for more details

  19. Kenyan teacher in world's top 10

    Ayub Mohamud

    A Kenyan teacher has reached the top 10 finalists for a global teaching prize. 

    Ayub Mohamud, who teaches business at a high school in Eastleigh, a suburb of the capital, Nairobi, is competing to become the world's most exceptional teachers.

    Organisers say Mr Mohamud, who is passionate about innovation, design and creativity, tries to equip students with the skills to become successful social entrepreneurs.

    He is active in attempting to combat extremism and prevent radicalisation on both local and national levels, they added.

    Mr Mohamud is selected alongside teachers from the US, UK, Australia, India and Finland.  

    The winner will receive a prize of a $1m (£690,000) at an awards ceremony in March.

  20. Drought worsens food crisis

    Will Ross

    BBC News

    A shool girl tries to collect water from a dry puddle in Nongoma, north west of Durban, that has been badly affected by the recent drought, near a free water point sponsored by concerned citizens on November 9, 2015
    Image caption: Parts of South Africa are badly affected by the drought

    The UN children's agency, Unicef, says nearly one million people are suffering from severe hunger due to a devastating drought in East and southern Africa. 

    Two years of drought and the strongest El Nino weather pattern for 50 years has left children in the region severely short of food and water, it adds.   

    The situation is aggravated by rising food prices forcing families to skip meals and sell their belongings, Unicef says.  

    The crisis is worst in Ethiopia where it estimates that the number of people in need of food assistance is expected to increase from 10 to 18 million by the end of the year.  

    It has also appealed for funds to tackle the problem in Angola, Lesotho, Malawi, Somalia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.

    Read: Devastating drought