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  1. Somali journalist sentenced to death for masterminding killings
  2. Pistorius denied leave to appeal murder conviction
  3. The LRA is abducting children again in the CAR, monitors say
  4. Egyptian student 'faces deportation over Facebook Trump threat'
  5. South Africa's ANC party apologises for bikini photo
  6. Cape Verde named top African football team
  7. Email stories and comments to - Thursday 3 March 2016

Live Reporting

By Hugo Williams and Lucy Fleming

All times stated are UK

Get involved

  1. Scroll down for Thursday's stories

    We'll be back tomorrow

    That's it from us for today. To keep up-to-date with the news across the continent, listen to the BBC Africa Today podcast or check the BBC News website.

    Here's a reminder of today's wise words:

    Quote Message: The monkey said that she can't guarantee that the baby on her back won't pluck a leaf as she goes from tree to tree

    And we leave you with this photo from drought-stricken Zimbabwe of vendors selling maize imported from Zambia at a bus terminal in the capital, Harare.

    Maize vendors at a bus station in Harare, Zimbabwe

    According to the EPA news agency, the government has directed Zimbabwe's Grain Marketing Board to slash the price of maize from $23 (£16) per 50 kg bag to $15.

  2. Laptops for Kenya primary schools: Your reaction

    Lots of you have been getting in touch to react to the launch of a new scheme by Kenya's government to provide all first year primary school students with laptops. false

    Opinion on the BBC Africa Facebook page is fairly divided:

    Eric Mutema: "Poorly paid teachers, school walls crumpling, lack of basic school equipment, lack of IT trained teachers, lack of other teachers, no electricity... Who the hell advises this government? This is a re-election ploy. Provide the laptops and few months down the line they will be turned to makeshift goal posts."  

    Cynthia Price: "Having built a school in Kenya, basic equipment is needed. Teachers need a decent salary. What is the point of laptops when a lot of schools have no power. This is an election ploy."   

    Titus Kimeu: "We call them misplaced priorities. Maybe first thing first, infrastructure, good classrooms, stores for the machines, and security would have been better before such."     

    But others are more positive about the scheme:

    Nemi Nze says: "Laptops should be provided to schools that have desks. The fact that a few schools do not have benches doesn't mean others will not benefit from the digital programme." 

    Patrick Maingi: "In this digital age, the poor children cannot afford to be left behind when it comes to technology. Kenyans are resourceful and these will inspire a new generation of Bill gates and the likes, so if it can work why not."

    kenyan schoolchildren in class
    Image caption: Roysambu Primary in the capital, Nairobi, is one of the schools included in the pilot phase of the laptop project

    Read more: Are laptops more important than desks in Kenya's schools?

  3. Anglican Church 'can help unite Burundi'

    The Archbishop of Canterbury has told the BBC on a visit to Burundi that the Anglican Church could help unite the divided country.

    Justin Welby said it could encourage Burundians to love their enemies and find a way to build a common future:

    Quote Message: All of us need to learn to disagree in a way that enables human beings to flourish and live in safety" from Justin Welby Archbishop of Canterbury, UK
    Justin WelbyArchbishop of Canterbury, UK

    The head Anglican Church is visiting the country amid recent political unrest in the capital, Bujumbura, which has left hundreds dead, and he will be meeting President Pierre Nkurunziza and those who have fled their homes.

    Listen to his whole Focus on Africa interview with the BBC’s Prime Ndikumagenge:

    View more on Soundcloud
  4. Analysis: 'End of the road' for Oscar Pistorius

    Pumza Fihlani

    BBC News, Johannesburg

    This is the end of the road for Oscar Pistorius. The Constitutional Court was his last chance to overturn his murder conviction.

    Many in the country felt that judge Thokozile Masipa had erred when she convicted him of a lesser charge, but some still believed Pistorius had not intended to kill anyone, let alone Reeva Steenkamp.

    Now a full bench of the country's most powerful judges has ruled that Pistorius' latest bid has no chance of succeeding.

    The next step now is for the two legal teams to present their arguments about the length of his sentence - and the state wants no less than 15 years.

    Reeva Steenkamp and Oscar Pistorius in 2012
    Image caption: The Paralympian said he shot his girlfriend through a closed door, thinking she was an intruder

    Read Pumza's piece about the reaction to his murder conviction in December: Relief and tears

  5. Tunisia raid 'foiled terror attack plot'

    Rana Jawad

    BBC North Africa correspondent, Tunis

    Tunisian soldiers stand guard at the scene of an assault near the border town of Ben Guerdan
    Image caption: Tunisian soldiers stand guard at the scene of the assault on the IS hideout

    Five militants killed by Tunisian forces near the Libyan border had slipped across with the aim of carrying out "terrorist attacks", Tunisia’s prime minister has said on his Facebook page.

    Habib Essid praised the operation that targeted a hideout of so-called Islamic State militants near the border town of Ben Guerdan.

    It has eliminated a "terrorist cell sent in from Libya", he said.

    One civilian was also killed in the crossfire, according to Tunisia’s state news agency Tap. 

    The nationalities of the suspected militants killed are still not known. Tunisia is the largest exporter of jihadists in the region - many end up fighting for IS in Syria, Iraq, and Libya. 

    Two major attacks on tourist hot spots last year killed dozens of foreigners in the country. 

    The assailants were all Tunisian nationals affiliated to the radical group. Tunisian officials believe most of the militants are trained in Libya. 

  6. Save the Children employees kidnapped in DR Congo

    Three employees of Save the Children were kidnapped on Wednesday by unidentified armed men in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the charity has said, Reuters news agency reports.

    The three Congolese men were in a convoy of two vehicles driving through the North Kivu province when one of the cars was stopped and attacked by the gang, Reuters adds, quoting a Save the Children official. 

    In March 2015, two local employees of the charity were held hostage for 48 hours before being freed by Congolese authorities. 

    At least 175 people were kidnapped for ransom in eastern DR Congo last year, according to Human Rights Watch.   

  7. Nigeria's state oil firm to be broken up

    Nigeria's state oil firm is to be broken up into 30 “profit-making companies”. 

    A statement from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said this would take place in the next few weeks with each firm getting its own managing director responsible for different stages of oil production.

    This was part of “the ongoing transformation of the national oil company”, the statement said. Junior Oil Minister Ibe Kachikwu said that the NNPC had moved from “a loss position of 160bn naira [$803m, £567m] to some 3bn naira by January 2016”, and would be making some profit by the end of the year. 

    The BBC’s Bashir Sa'ad Abdullahi in the capital, Abuja, says there have been years of accusations that the NNPC is one of the most corrupt government agencies in the country - an allegation denied by successive heads of the organisation.

    It has also been operating at a loss for many years, prompting some oil experts to call on the government to sell its stake to the private sector to make it profitable.

    Workers on an oil rig in Nigeria - archive
    Image caption: Nigeria is Africa's top oil exporter
  8. Mozambican elephants 'on the verge of extinction'

    Jose Tembe

    BBC Africa, Maputo

    Mozambican wildlife authorities have been using the occasion of World Wildlife Day to sound the alarm over the devastating impact of poaching. 

    One prominent Mozambican biologist and conservationist revealed his devastating prediction to an audience at a conservation event in the capital Maputo:

    Quote Message: The black rhino is extinct in Mozambique. The elephant is generally also on the verge of extinction
    Quote Message: Five years, ago we had 20,000 elephants in the country. But now, we only have between 4,000-5,000 elephants
    Quote Message: With the intensive killing of the animals on a daily basis, the species may become extinct in the coming five years
    Quote Message: The poachers are eager to become rich. This is harmful to the Mozambican economy.” from Carlos Bento
    Carlos Bento
    Baby elephant and mother
    Image caption: Elephant tusks are prized in Asia, where they are carved into ornaments and used in medicine
  9. Al-Shabab journalist: 'I'm indifferent if you kill me'

    Hassan Hanafi with a big scar across his forehead
    Image caption: Hassan Hanafi helped identify targets for the Somali militants to kill

    More details are emerging about the case of a former Somali journalist, who was sentenced to death earlier for helping al-Shabab kill five fellow reporters (see 11.22 post).

    Hassan Hanafi would call up journalists and threaten them with death if they refused to join the militant group, the BBC Somali's Mohammud Ali says.

    After the sentence was announced Hanafi said: "I am indifferent if you kill me. You will see if killings will stop even after my death," the Reuters news agency reports.  

    Read the full BBC News story 

    Hasan Ali, chairman of the Somali military court in Mogadishu - 3 March 2016
    Image caption: The chairman of the military court read out the verdict this morning
  10. Guinea's former army chief freed from jail

    Alhassan Sillah

    BBC Africa, Conakry

    Guinea’s former army chief Gen Nouhou Thiam and five other officers linked to an alleged plot to overthrow President Alpha Conde have been freed by an appeals court.

    The general grinned widely when he heard the court’s decision. 

    The officers have all been in detention since July 2011 following a heavily-armed attack on President Conde's home.

    They were brought to trial in 2014, but were only convicted of reduced charges of dereliction of duty and desertion.

    Mr Conde won Guinea's first democratic elections since independence in 2010 – and has since gone on to win a second term in office. 

    Nouhou Thiam
    Image caption: Nouhou Thiam served as army chief from 2008 until 2010
  11. World Wildlife Day trends in Africa

    The hashtag #WorldWildlifeDay has been trending on Twitter with many conservation groups, charities and others using the designated UN day to celebrate the world's wildlife. 

    Here are some of the posts that have been most popular among followers of @BBCAfrica on Twitter:

    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
  12. BreakingOscar Pistorius 'cannot appeal murder verdict'

    A South African legal journalist has tweeted that the Constitutional Court has made its decision on Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius' request to appeal his murder verdict:

    View more on twitter

    In December a South Africa appeals court overturned an earlier manslaughter verdict.

    Pistorius killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day in 2013 after shooting her four times through a locked toilet door. 

    He is currently under house arrest after spending one year of his original five-year sentence in jail.  

  13. Emir of Kano rides out in style

    BBC Hausa's Yusuf Yakasai in Nigeria's second largest city Kano has sent us some footage of the Emir of Kano riding to his palace court in. A guard can be seen shielding the Emir from the sun with a yellow parasol, which is just as well given it's 36C there today. 

    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter

    Read more about Lamido Sanusi II

  14. Nigeria Lagos market clashes

    Umar Shehu Elleman

    BBC Africa, Lagos, Nigeria

    Police in Lagos have arrived in Lagos’ huge Mile 12 vegetable and fruit market to stop clashes between the Yoruba and Hausa communities in Nigeria’s commercial capital.

    Trouble began on Tuesday when unemployed youths, known as “area boys”, began to charge riders of motorcycle taxis a fee to pass by certain roads.

    This inflamed tempers and led to clashes involving the bike riders.

    Things took a turn for the worse the next day when a Yoruba man was killed in an accident by a Hausa man on a motorbike near the market.

    This has led to clashes between the people from the Yoruba  community, who are from the south-west, and Hausa bike riders and business people, who originate from northern Nigeria.

    There are are unconfirmed reports of deaths from the violence. One witness at the scene told me by phone that he had heard that seven people had died in the violence.

    Mile 12 is a huge wholesale market and vendors come from all over West Africa to sell on fresh produce elsewhere.

    Local media is reporting that arrests have been made:

    View more on twitter
  15. Eddie Izzard brushes up his Xhosa

    Eddie Izzard is running a marathon a day for 27 days in South Africa for Sport Relief to mark the number of years Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first black president, was imprisoned by the apartheid government.

    Mid-run and in 30C heat, he told the BBC's Newsday programme when asked about his Xhosa skills that he wasn't able to do the clicks, but could manage the greeting "molo", pronounced "mm-o-ll-o" - meaning hello.

    Take a listen:

    Video content

    Video caption: Eddie Izzard is trying to run 27 marathons in 27 days

    For a proper Xhosa lesson, click here to watch the BBC's Pumza Fihlani trying to teach her boss Joseph Winter how to get his tongue around some famous South African words in 2013. 

    Joseph Winter and Pumza Fihlani
    Image caption: Joseph Winter trying to pronounce Nelson Mandela's second name "Rolihlahla"
  16. Libya forces storm Islamic State hideout

    Rana Jawad

    BBC North Africa correspondent

    Italy’s foreign ministry says two Italian hostages abducted in July may have been killed in Libya during a raid by Libyan forces on a hideout used by militants of the so-called Islamic State (IS). 

    A farm house south of the western city of Sabratha was stormed following a tip-off by IS militants arrested last week. 

    The mayor of Sabratha told the BBC he believes that two out of 12 people killed in the shootout were the kidnapped Italian construction workers.

    The Italian foreign ministry says it is still trying to verify the reports and was examining the images of those killed.

    Four Italian workers from the oil and gas services company Bonatti were abducted by unknown gunmen in July, near Libya’s border with Tunisia.  

    A local official in Tripoli says their abductors had previously demanded a ransom of millions of euros.  

    Libya has fragmented since the 2011 uprising and has rival parliaments, backed by various militias and brigades.

    The chaos has allowed IS fighters to gain a foothold in the country.

    Last month, US war planes destroyed an IS training camp near Sabratha:

    People gather after an air strike in February on a house and training camp belonging to the Islamic State group, west of Sabratha, Libya
    Image caption: US officials said it was "likely" a militant linked to attacks in neighbouring Tunisia last year was killed in the air strikes on the IS camp in February

    For more on the problems the North African country faces, read Can peace be achieve in lawless Libya?

  17. South Africa ends its 'game of chicken' over chicken

    agricultural work in SA
    Image caption: Thousands of agricultural jobs were under threat in the trade row

    The South African government has made an important announcement this morning on its Twitter feed, though it might be hard to guess why unless you've been following the story: 

    View more on twitter

    That single consignment of chicken from the US could be worth tens of millions of dollars to the South African economy. 

    It marks the end of a long-running trade row with the US, which had threatened to throw South Africa out of a preferential trade agreement over its refusal to allow the importation of chickens from the US.  

    President Barack Obama had given South Africa a deadline of 15 March to change its mind or face exclusion from the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa).

    South African farmers exporting citrus fruits, wine and nuts stood to lose $170m (£117m) each year if the dispute had not been resolved. 

    Local media have been posting the story on Twitter: 

    View more on twitter
  18. Odion Ighalo up for London Premier League award

    Stanley Kwenda

    BBC Africa

    Odion Ighalo in December 2015

    Nigerian and Watford striker Odion Ighalo has been nominated for the London Premier League Player of the Year Award to be presented tonight at a ceremony in London.

    Ighalo has scored 14 goals in 28 premier league appearances this season.

    Others up for the prize are:

    • Willian Borges da Silva – Chelsea
    • Harry Kane - Tottenham Hotspurs
    • Mesut Ozil – Arsenal
    • Dimitri Payet - West Ham.

    The London Manager of the Year, Football League Player of the Year, London Young Player of the Year (under 23), London Women’s Player of the Year, London Goalkeeper of the Year and London Community Project of the Year awards will also be given out.

    Chelsea captain John Terry will get an award for Outstanding Contribution to London Football.

  19. Zambia’s war of words

    Meluse Kapatamoyo

    BBC Africa, Lusaka, Zambia

    Police have opened an inquiry after a complaint that an opposition politician made a threat against the president’s life.

    Geoffrey Mwamba, the vice president of the main opposition United Party for National Development (UPND), made the comments following after he was released on bail yesterday. 

    He faces charges of training a private militia, which he denies. 

    “I want to remind [President] Edgar Lungu today that now I will go for your throat,” he told his cheering supporters, who were earlier tear gassed outside the police station in the capital, Lusaka.

    Frank Bwalya, a spokesman for the ruling Patriotic Front (PF), said he felt the statement was “a very serious threat on the life of the president” and he had asked the police to investigate the matter. 

    Frank Bwalya, deputy PF spokesman
    Image caption: Frank Bwalya, pictured here, said it was up to police to decide if the statement was illegal
  20. MTN puts aside $600m to help settle Nigeria fine

    Shares in South African mobile phone giant MTN have risen almost 9% today after the company announced it had set aside $600m (£430m) to settle an ongoing dispute over a massive fine from the Nigerian authorities.

    Nigeria's telecom regulator issued the $3.9bn (£2.8bn) penalty last year after MTN Nigeria missed a deadline to disconnect 5.1 million unregistered Sim cards.  

    Nigeria is the MTN group's largest market, where it had more than 62.8 million subscribers by the second quarter of 2015.   

    Last week, the company made a "good faith payment" of $250m (£180m) to Nigerian authorities.

    View more on twitter