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Live Reporting

Clare Spencer and Damian Zane

All times stated are UK

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  1. Scroll down for Friday's stories

    We'll be back on Monday

    That's it from us this week.

    To keep up-to-date with the news across the continent, listen to the Africa Today podcast or check the BBC News website.

    Today's wise words:

    Quote Message: Sheep wander together but have different prices." from Sent by Issiaka Konate, Abidjan, Ivory Coast
    Sent by Issiaka Konate, Abidjan, Ivory Coast

    Click here to send us your African proverbs.

    We leave you with an image from our selection of this week's best African pictures of Nigerian men in kilts welcoming Turkey's president to their capital with some bagpipe tunes.

    A convoy carrying Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, escorted by presidential guards, arrives at the presidential palace in Abuja, Nigeria March 2, 2016
  2. Banging the drum for peace in Burundi

    Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has been tweeting some pictures from his short trip to Burundi where he met President Pierre Nkurunziza.

    His visit comes at a time of continued political tension and violence sparked by his bid for a third term in office.

    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter

    The archbishop saw the president at a hotel two hours’ drive from the capital, Bujumbura, and said Mr Nkurunziza had acknowledged that there was a need for reconciliation.

    Quote Message: The situation is bad. There has been immense human suffering... Are we slipping back into the nightmare of the civil war which was really violent beyond description?" from Justin Welby Archbishop of Canterbury
    Justin WelbyArchbishop of Canterbury
  3. South Sudan government angry at continued sanctions

    Ibrahim Haithar

    BBC Monitoring, Nairobi

    South Sudan’s presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny has slammed Wednesday's decision by the UN Security Council to renew sanctions on people it sees as blocking peace in the country. 

    Assets have been frozen and a travel ban has been extended until 15 April.     

    Speaking to Radio Tamazuj, Mr Ateny said the administration was surprised by the decision, saying President Salva Kiir’s government is committed to implementing the peace agreement signed with the armed opposition in August last year. 

  4. Is the Calais Jungle better than a slum?

    In our satirical series, President Olushambles suggests the migrants who have been chucked out of the so-called Jungle in Calais still have it a lot better than a slum dweller.

    Hear his outrageous logic:

    View more on Soundcloud
  5. Why ships take the long way round Africa

    Shipping container in Suez canal

    The plummeting price of oil means it may be cheaper for ships to travel right around Africa than go through the Suez Canal.

    Shipping company Maersk estimates boats take an extra 11 days to go all the way down to the Cape of Good Hope.

    But they say there are steep fees - of approximately $350,000 (£249,000) per ship – to go through the canal.

    So more and more ships are deciding not to take the Suez route. Over 100 ships did this between late October 2015 and the end of the year.

    Read more on BBC Future.

  6. 'Release Libyan money held abroad to boost health service'

    Rana Jawad

    BBC North Africa correspondent, Tunis

    Libya’s Health Minister Reida el-Oakley is appealing to the international community to release some of the country's $67bn cash and assets frozen in foreign bank accounts to help Libyans.  

    The money was frozen in 2011 during the war. 

    Hospitals across the country have had severe shortages for over a year and the money could help ease those. 

    Libya's two rival governments and a faltering UN initiative to get a unity administration in place have complicated things.

    Quote Message: It’s a crime. Can you imagine if one of your relatives has diabetes and they need insulin, and you say ‘well, I cannot give you insulin unless… you have a unity government'? It's ridiculous." from Reida el-Oakley Libya’s Health Minister
    Reida el-OakleyLibya’s Health Minister

    Mr Oakley says that if 1% of the frozen money was released to the World Health Organization, it could fund the country's health sector needs for years.

    The UN has warned that hospitals could run out of life saving medical supplies by the end of March, which would affect 1.3 million people.

    Quote Message: The misery is that even if I have money released today, it will take us weeks, maybe months to make those essential tools available to the people, in the meanwhile, some people will die.” from Reida el-Oakley Libya’s Health Minister
    Reida el-OakleyLibya’s Health Minister
    Man on a tank in Libya
    Image caption: The ongoing fighting in Libya has damaged a lot of the country's infrastructure
  7. More than 100 arrested after Lagos market riot

    Some 105 people have been arrested after bloody riots in a food market in Lagos, Nigeria, police said on Friday, AFP reports. 

    Lagos state police spokeswoman Dolapo Badmus told AFP that three people died in the fracas.

    The fight reportedly broke out after a motorbike rider knocked someone down and then refused to take her to hospital.

    Mile 12
    Image caption: Mile 12 market is the biggest food market in Nigeria
  8. Somalia peacekeeping 'could be damaged' by funding reduction

    The African Union says that the European Union's recent decision to reduce funding to the peacekeeping mission in Somalia (Amisom) may make it less effective and damage the morale of personnel.

    In a statement the AU says the 20% drop in money used to pay the peacekeepers' salaries is regrettable as Amisom "needs unwavering financial and logistical support to more effectively" carry out its mandate.

    In recent weeks, Amisom has come under increasing pressure from the Somali Islamist militants al-Shabab.

    AU peacekeepers
    Image caption: EU funds pay for the salaries of the African peacekeepers in Somalia
  9. Boko Haram 'cattle markets' shut down


    Authorities in north-east Nigeria have taken over four cattle markets where stolen animals were being sold to finance the Islamist militants Boko Haram.

    A management team has been set up to monitor cattle traders and butchers in an effort to clamp down on all illegal activities, Governor Kashim Shettima said in a statement.  

    He said that insurgents have been using unscrupulous middlemen to sell stolen cattle.

    Boko Haram has stolen thousands of cattle in Nigeria and nearby Cameroon.

    Trade was suspended about two weeks ago at Gamboru cattle market - one of the biggest in Africa.

    Cattle markets in Dusuman, Shuwari and Ngom have all also been suspended.

    Read more on the BBC News website.

  10. The migrant problem: What about Europeans in Africa?

    The migrants are transferred onto the LÉ Eithne and then taken to a port of refuge

    A debate has broken out on our Facebook page about Europeans going to Africa.

    It's after we asked what you thought of the European Council President Donald Tusk’s plea for economic migrants to stop paying smugglers.

    Akenji Gibbons in Pretoria, South Africa says that migration is not one way:

    Quote Message: “Europe should also stop coming to Africa. With all we have we can make a better Africa. Europe keeps flying wings because of our natural resources. Don't feel so proud Europe!

    Mohamed Lama Jalloh echoes this sentiment:

    Quote Message: Without Africa Europe is nothing......

    But Darryl Matthews in Tampa, Florida defends Europeans in Africa:

    Quote Message: The fact is.. Us Africans had so many decades/centuries to dig these minerals up, but because of our incompetency, we've been ruled by other nations, and now China is moving into Africa and stealing the resources, and trust me, they won't play as nice as the Europeans.

    Get involved in the debate on the BBC Africa Facebook page.

  11. Zambia's a 'brutal state' says opposition leader

    The leader of Zambia's main opposition UPND has reacted angrily to the arrest and charging of his deputy with incitement to violence (see 13:13 entry).

    He was speaking to the BBC outside the police station in the capital, Lusaka, where Geoffrey Mwamba was being held.

    Quote Message: This is just harassment. Basically it's a brutal state that has failed to provide leadership."

    The charges relate to comments Mr Mwamba made on Wednesday which some have complained threatened the life of the president.

    He told his cheering supporters, who were earlier tear-gassed, “I want to remind [President] Edgar Lungu today that now I will go for your throat".

    The opposition allege that the government wants to weaken the opposition in the run up to elections in August.

    Hakainde Hichilema
    Image caption: Hakainde Hichilema has made three unsuccessful bids for the presidency
  12. $20bn hoarded in Nigerian bank accounts

    Chris Ewokor

    BBC Africa, Abuja

    Nigeria's central bank says that some wealthy Nigerians are hoarding $20bn (£14bn) in their foreign exchange bank accounts.

    The bank's governor Godwin Emefiele told lawmakers that the hoarding threatens the value of Nigeria's currency, the naira.

    This warning comes as the government and the central bank try to maintain the currency's value at just under 200 naira to the dollar.

    But its black market rate is much lower than that partly due to the scarcity of foreign exchange in the country.

    Mr Emefiele also alleged that some individuals were damaging the value of the naira through currency speculation. 

    Nigeria is heavily dependent on oil sales for government revenue and foreign exchange. 

    The recent fall in the oil price has depleted the country's foreign exchange reserves.

    Naira notes
  13. MH370 search: Debris 'too clean' to be from missing plane

    Jose Tembe

    BBC Africa, Maputo

    Mozambique’s Civil Aviation Institute has denied reports that link the piece of a plane wreckage found off their coast with the Malaysia Airlines plane that went missing in 2014 with over 200 people on board.

    The Director of the Mozambican Civil Aviation Institute Joao de Abreu says that the debris is too clean to have been under the sea for over two years.    

    The debris was discovered on a sandbank on Bazaruto island off the coast of Mozambique by American tourist Blaine Gibson on 27 February.

    Blaine Alan Gibson

    The Mozambican authorities have no doubt that indeed the debris has been found and it looks like a tale of a plane. 

    But they are not yet sure whether it belongs to the Malaysian flight MH370. 

    “Any statement around this flight MH370 is premature, dangerous and speculative," Mr Abreu said.

    Yesterday the Malaysia's transport minister said there is a "high possibility" that debris came from a Boeing 777, the same model as missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

  14. Mugabe: 'I can punch you to prove I'm still here'

    Zimbabwe's long-serving President Robert Mugabe gave short shrift to a journalist's question about who could succeed him during an interview to mark his 92nd birthday.

    "Why do you want a successor?" He asked the interviewer. "You want me to hit you so that you fall down for you to feel that I'm still here?", the state-owned Herald newspaper quotes him as saying

    Mr Mugabe, who's been in power since 1980, said that he's not going to retire in the middle of this term, which began in 2013.

    "Why would I accept the office if I had an ailment or I am sick or I can't do it?" he asked.

    Robert Mugabe
  15. Zambia's deputy opposition leader charged

    We had reported that the deputy leader of Zambia's main opposition UPND party Geoffrey Mwamba was being questioned by police (see 12:41 entry).

    Our reporter in the capital, Lusaka, Meluse Kapatamoyo now says that he has been formally arrested and charged.

    The charges relate to comments he made on Wednesday which some have complained threatened the life of the president.

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

  16. Who is al-Shabab journalist Hassan Hanafi?

    Somali journalist Hassan Hanafi was sentenced to death by firing squad by a Mogadishu court on Thursday after conspiring with the al-Shabab militant group in the killing of five fellow reporters.

    Hanafi was a household name to many radio listeners in Somalia after joining the popular Quran FM station, reports the BBC's Abdinoor Aden.

    He left in 2006 to become an online reporter for a leading Somali website.

    He later joined al-Shabab and ran a secret bureau, monitoring news and threatening any reporter who spoke out against al-Shabab or portrayed the group in a bad light.

    He would summon the offending journalists to meet him at his car.

    Some were killed on the spot while others wisely declined and went on to flee the country.

    You can read more on Hanafi here.

    Hassan Hanafi
  17. Zambia opposition deputy leader questioned by police

    Supporters of Zambia's opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) have gathered outside a police station in the capital, Lusaka, reports the BBC's Meluse Kapatamoyo.

    Scene outside the police station

    The party's vice president Geoffrey Mwamba was taken there for questioning earlier today, but it is not exactly clear why, our correspondent says.  

    She says it could be in connection with complaint against Mr Mwamba that he made a threatened the life of President Edgar Lungu.

    But it could be to do with an earlier police raid on Mr Mwamba's offices.

    The UPND's leader Hakainde Hichilema has joined the crowds to lend his moral support.  

    Zambia's opposition have been complaining of police harassment in recent weeks.

  18. Ebola crematorium shut its doors in Liberia

    In the midst of Liberia's Ebola crisis, a crematorium was hastily expanded as it was being overwhelmed with bodies. 

    Now that the Ebola outbreak is over the BBC's Jonathan Paye-Layleh went to the crematorium in Boys Town, near the capital, Monrovia, to find its doors shut.


    While he was there he met 28-year-old Brian Jiplah who was one of the people who volunteered to cremate over 3000 bodies of people who died after contracting Ebola.

    Brian Jiplah

    Mr Jiplah recalled the volume of bodies he had to work with at the height of the crisis:

    Quote Message: We would pack about 500-600 bodies together, cover them with wood, and then pour gasoline and sawdust on them to set them on fire. After burning, we would then return the next morning to pack the bones."

    More than 4,000 people died of Ebola in Liberia.

    The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised that cremation was the safest way to deal with the victims' bodies.

    But cremation was not part of the Liberian tradition.

  19. Trying to survive by Lake Chad

    The BBC's Stuart Phillips has been filming in Chad, finding out about the impact of climate change there.

    One of the most obvious changes is the shrinking of Lake Chad - it's reduced by nearly 90% in the last 50 years.

    Stuart snapped these women drawing water from a well that was once covered by the lake.

    Drawing water from Lake Chad

    Fishermen can still get a daily catch from the lake, but they complain that the amount of fish they're netting is getting smaller.

    They're not allowed to fish in deeper water because of the security threat from Boko Haram, and there is more competition between fishermen due to the shrinking lake.


    Some fishermen are turning to farming. As the lake recedes fertile land is being made available and farming is proving more profitable than fishing at the moment.    

    The film crew in the village of Bolo, western Chad, caught the attention of some local children, interested in what they were doing: 

    Women in a village near Lake Chad
  20. South African DJ sentenced to 20 years for murdering girlfriend

    Milton Nkosi

    BBC Africa, Johannesburg

    Former Jozi FM DJ Donald Sebolai has been sentenced to 20 years in prison. He was found guilty of murdering his girlfriend Dolly Tshabalala. 

    Dressed in a light blue shirt and khaki trousers Sebolai broke down and cried. He was embraced by family members who were in the gallery. 

    The judge said that he believed a harsher sentence than the prescribed minimum was appropriate.