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  1. Zimbabwe opposition allowed to protest march
  2. It is two years since 219 schoolgirls were kidnapped from Chibok in Nigeria
  3. A 'proof-of-life' video from Boko Haram militants appears to show 15 of the girls
  4. IMF 'stands ready to help' Nigeria if asked
  5. Ivorian football Didier Drogba's charity 'under investigation'
  6. South African judge denies appeal over parole for anti-apartheid hero killer
  7. Email stories and comments to - Thursday 14 April 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 all from BBC Africa Live today, on a day when Nigeria marked two years since the abduction of more than 200 girls from their school in Chibok. Keep up-to-date with news from across the continent by listening to the Africa Today podcast or checking the BBC News website.    

    A reminder of today's wise words:  

    Quote Message: One sees all sorts of knives on the day an elephant dies" from A Yoruba proverb sent by Sammy-King Bass in Calabar, Nigeria
    A Yoruba proverb sent by Sammy-King Bass in Calabar, Nigeria

    And we leave you with photo of a mural painted in Egypt on the walls of houses in the shanty area of Zaraeeb in eastern Cairo, which somehow creates a striking optical illusion:  

    A mural painted on the walls of houses in Zaraeeb on the Mokattam Hills in eastern Cairo, Egypt
  2. Nigerian government sceptical about video lead

    Nigeria’s Information Minister Lai Mohammed says the government has reservations about the new video apparently showing 15 of the Chibok girls alive.

    He told the BBC’s Focus on Africa radio programme that another such video had appeared last July but when officials had tried to pursue the matter, it led nowhere.

    “It is strange that it is at a time when we have recorded such a comprehensive success against the insurgency that some groups are now coming up with these videos,” the minister said.

    Last week another group said they would release 10 of the girls for $1m euro (£795,000) and the government had to be careful they were not being exploited, he said.

    "Having said that we are ready to explore all avenues that will lead to the release of these girls."

    Lai Mohammed
    Image caption: Lai Mohammed said all avenues would be explored
  3. The Boko Haram captives not from Chibok

    There has been huge global media attention for the case of the abducted Chibok girls, 219 of whom are still missing. 

    But Boko Haram has captured more than 10 times that number of children in other less publicised attacks. 

    Newsday's Nkem Ifejika has been speaking to one of them, a 15-year-girl in a refugee camp near the northern Nigerian city of Yola, who told him about four months as a captive of the Islamist militant group:

    Quote Message: They made us watch male captives being killed. Sometimes they would give us a knife to behead the captives, but we couldn't do it. We just cried. So they threatened us if we cried again the would marry us off or kill us. So that's how we lived. It was terrible. We suffered. Sometimes we were beaten if we couldn't read our lessons."

    Video content

    Video caption: Abducted girls are exposed to sexual violence and forced marriage to fighters.
  4. The Nigerian town that lost all its girls

    Meet some of the Nigerian girls abducted by Boko Haram militants from a boarding school in Chibok two years ago.

    They are all from the nearby town of Mbalala, one of the worst-hit by the kidnapping:

    Hansatu Abubaker information
    Jinkai Yama
    Maryam Abubakar
    Information about Aisha Greman
    Grace Paul information

    The BBC's Stephany Hegarty went to Mbalala to meet their parents.

    Read her account of one father's desperate phone calls to his daughter after she was kidnapped.

  5. South Africa drawn with Brazil at Olympics

    South Africa's men's and women's football teams will both play hosts Brazil in the group stage of the 2016 Olympics.

    The men have been drawn in Group A, along with Iraq and Denmark. The women are in Group E, with China and Sweden.

    Brazil's men were runners-up in 2012, the women runners-up in 2008. Both teams are expected to be tough opponents in their home country.

    South Africa in action against Zimbabwe
    Image caption: South Africa in action against Zimbabwe - both have qualified for Rio 2016

    Read the full BBC Sport story

  6. Hair transplants giving Kenyans confidence

    Maryam Dodo Abdalla

    BBC Africa, Nairobi

    A hair transplant operation in Kenya

    Hair transplants are growing in popularity in Kenya.

    Elizabeth Mutunga says her problems started after she had a baby: “As soon as I started breasting I lost my hairline, and when you don’t have a hairline, you are not confident, what I did, I had bought a weave that had a hairline."

    When someone told her about scalp specialist Muli Musyoka, who opened up a clinic two years ago, she immediately investigated.

    But hair transplants do not come cheap - the procedure can last up to six hours and cost as much as $2,000 (£1,400).

    And there can be the side effects, such as bleeding and swelling from the incisions made on the scalp that sometimes become infected.

    Elizabeth decided to go ahead with the procedure… but was it worth it?

    “Yes I am happy, it is not as fast as you would want it to be, you have to know it's not an instant,” she says snapping her fingers, “because we are in that generation where people want instant results.

    "It's a journey, you have to keep working along with them, you have to come for many more procedures, so that your hair can grow, but it's one day at a time and, I mean... I am confident!”

  7. Ivory Coast reggae star calls for release of ex-leader from ICC

    Alpha Blondy
    Image caption: Alpha Blondy is a music icon in Ivory Coast

    Ivory Coast reggae legend Alpha Blondy has called on President Alassane Ouattara to pardon all those still being held over the violence which followed elections in 2010, including ex-President Laurent Gbagbo, who is currently being tried for war crimes at the International Criminal Court (ICC). 

    Following his appeal for the amnesty in a video posted on his official YouTube channel, addressing President Ouattara directly, the musician said:

    "It is imperative that you put all your weight behind an effort to secure the release of Laurent Gbagbo and Mr Ble Goude from The Hague. Imagine if Laurent Gbagbo dies in a cell in The Hague. It would create an irreversible split in Ivorian society, jeopardising the future of our children and grandchildren, along with our own." 

    Ex-militia leader Charles Ble Goude is being tried alongside Mr Gbagbo at the ICC.

    Mr Gbagbo and his wife Simone sit on a bed after their capture in April 2011 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast
    Image caption: Mr Gbagbo and his wife Simone were captured in April 2011

    Who is Laurent Gbagbo?

    Seven things to know about Ivory Coast

  8. Video: Who wears Indian hair?

    The BBC's Justine Lang has been investigating the market for human hair, which is often shaved from the heads of Hindu pilgrims in India, and finds out how women like wearing it in South Africa:

    Video content

    Video caption: Why South African women like Indian hair
  9. Uganda's broken radiotherapy machine 'had unsafe radiation levels'

    Radiotherapy machine being held together with straps

    There's more bad news about Uganda's only radiotherapy machine, which broke down last week, leaving thousands unable to get potentially life-saving cancer treatment.

    The machine, already second-hand when it was donated in 1995, should have been disposed of in 2012, according to the national body in charge of radiation safety inspections, the privately owned Daily Monitor newspaper reports

    Uganda's Atomic Energy Council (AEC) had first recommended in 2013 that the machine was defective and giving off insufficient levels of radiation, potentially harmful to patients' health, the paper adds.

    Cancer patients would have been receiving treatment of "little or no value" even before the machine broke down last week, according to Deo Ssekyanzi, a senior radiation protection officer at the AEC, who the paper says was giving evidence before a parliamentary committee. 

    "The Cobalt 60 machine is supposed to be automated, but it got stuck three times in our presence and a radiation worker had to enter the machine to fix the problem before it could start again," he added.

    Read more about Uganda's broken radiotherapy machine

  10. Nigeria's Shia leader 'partly paralysed'

    The detained leader of a pro-Iranian Shia group in Nigeria is partly paralysed, the AFP news agency quotes his lawyer as telling reporters in Kaduna today.

    Ibrahim Zakzaky, who leads the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), and his wife have been in detention since their home in the northern city of Zaria was besieged by troops in December.

    The IMN alleges that the military killed hundreds of its members and destroyed a religious shrine and Mr Zakzaky’s house during the raid. 

    "The leader of the IMN now walks with a limp. The left eye of the leader of the IMN is completely damaged. The left hand... has lost its motor function," his lawyer Maxwell Kyon is quoted as saying. 

    Mr Zakzaky is also challenging his continued detention in an Abuja court, claiming 2bn naira ($10m; £7m) in damages, AFP reports.

    Earlier this week, officials told an inquiry that the military had secretly buried more than 300 Shia Muslims in a mass grave following the crackdown in December. 

    Ibrahim Zakzaky
    Image caption: Ibrahim Zakzaky is in detention with his wife

    More about Shias in Nigeria:

    • Shias are minority in Nigeria but their numbers are increasing
    • The IMN, formed in the 1980s, is the main Shia group led by Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky
    • They operate their own schools and hospitals in some northern states
    • They have a history of clashes with the security forces
    • The IMN is backed by Shia-dominated Iran and its members often go there to study
    • Sunni jihadist group Boko Haram condemns Shias as heretics who should be killed 

    Read: Meeting Sheikh Zakzaky

  11. EU ambassadors fly to Tripoli

    Ambassadors to Libya from France, the UK and Spain have arrived in Tripoli to show support for the new UN-backed unity government trying to establish itself in the capital. 

    It is the first such visit since European Union countries closed their embassies in 2014 because of unrest.

    The country has had two competing administrations backed by militias. 

    The leaders of the new government, chosen by rival politicians in December at negotiations brokered by the UN, arrived in Tripoli earlier in April at a naval base - where the EU envoys held talks.

    For more on hopes for peace read: Has Libya pulled back from the brink?

    From L-R: Spanish ambassador Jose Antonio Bordallo, France's Antoine Sivan and Peter Millet of the UK holding a press conference
    Image caption: From L-R: Spanish envoy Jose Antonio Bordallo, France's Antoine Sivan and Peter Millet from the UK showing expressing their support after talks
  12. Chibok abductions: Has President Buhari made a difference?

    When Boko Haram kidnapped students from a girls' school in Chibok in north-eastern Nigeria in April 2014, world leaders and online activists united to call for their return.

    But two years later, and 11 months since President Muhammadu Buhari came to power, 219 students are still missing.

    So where does that leave the #BringBackOurGirls campaign? BBC Africa Security correspondent Tomi Oladipo explains:

    Video content

    Video caption: #BringBackOurGirls: Nigeria's abducted Chibok girls two years on
  13. Zimbabwe's placards of displeasure

    Brian Hungwe

    BBC Africa, Harare

    MDC supporters in Harare, Zimbabwe

    Today's march in Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, was sanctioned by the High Court, not the police.

    The officers could not do much besides watch about 2,000 MDC supporters, supported by trade unions and students, express their misgivings about the state of the economy and President Robert Mugabe's continued rule.  

    The young and the old, in red, took to the streets and their placards told a story of displeasure. 

    This had not been seen in Harare for many years.

    The ruthlessness of police against dissenting voices is well documented.

    But the march was peaceful and countrywide demonstrations are planned in the coming weeks, although it is not clear if those rallies will be allowed.

    The march shows that Mr Mugabe's long-time rival, Morgan Tsvangirai, who has been lying low since losing the 2013 election, remains a force to reckoned with.

    Elections are due in 2018 and President Mugabe, 92, says he will run again.

    Opposition to that is now building both within and outside his party.

  14. Analysis: The difficulties of negotiating with Boko Haram

    Will Ross

    BBC News, former BBC Nigeria correspondent

    Any peace deal with Boko Haram to secure the release of captives will be fraught with challenges.

    But sources have told me there are ongoing efforts to negotiate and past attempts have come close to success.

    The jihadist group is not a united entity – it is split and that poses other risks. 

    An ex-government official told me that on one occasion dozens of the Chibok girls were on the point of being released and were being taken to a handover site when another faction ambushed them and took them away.  

    Another issue has been the demands of the jihadists.

    They have in the past supplied precise lists of the commanders or members of the group they want released from detention in exchange for setting free any captives.

    Nigerian officials have not always been able to locate all those named. 

    Bearing in mind how many of the thousands arrested have died or been killed in detention, that is not too surprising.

    A Bring Back Our Girls protester in Abuja, Nigeria - Thursday 14 April 2016
    Image caption: Bring Back Our Girls protesters marched in Abuja today
  15. IMF 'ready to help' Nigeria

    The International Monetary Fund “stands ready” to help Nigeria if the country asks for help, IMF head Christine Lagarde has said.

    Some reporters following the press briefing in Washington have been tweeting about her comments:

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

    Earlier this week, the IMF lowered its forecast for Nigeria’s economy, expecting the oil-producing country to grow 2.3% this year, compared to the 4.1% growth it had forecast in January.

    Africa’s largest economy has been hit hard by falling oil prices and the official rate of its currency, the naira, is being maintained even though black market exchange rates have fallen.

    Ms Lagarde today said the currency's official rate should be re-adjusted.

    When Ms Lagarde visited Nigeria in January she said she was not holding talks on a loan or a bailout as she saw no reason why Nigeria would need IMF money.  

  16. Chibok girl's 'new life' after Boko Haram escape

    Shot of the hands of one of the Chibok girls to avoid identifying her
    Image caption: This Chibok student is now studying computer science and has learnt English

    Of the 276 Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram two years ago today, 57 managed to escape within the first few hours. 

    Of those, 25 have received full scholarships to study at the American University of Nigeria in northern Yola city. 

    Their stories give a powerful insight into what the 219 girls still missing have been denied since their abduction.

    One of the girls, who we won't name in order to protect her identity, is now studying computer science and wants to become a lecturer.

    She has been speaking to Newsday's Nkem Ifejika, in English, a language she has learnt from scratch since starting her studies 18 months ago.

    You can listen to the interview below:

    Video content

    Video caption: Hear from one of the few schoolgirls who managed to escape Boko Haram
    Quote Message: "The first time I came here, I couldn't speak English, so I felt shy because people might laugh at me... but for now, thank God I can speak and interact with people and friends."

    She also tells Nkem that she often thinks of her family and the community back in Chibok:

    Quote Message: "What brings me here to study is so I can help my people at home... they are very poor, I know that... I want to improve so many things there like to build a school, to build a fuel station."

    And she says that the Chibok girls studying with her at the university have not forgotten their missing classmates:

    Quote Message: "I think of them and pray that one day they will come back to us... We still love them and we pray for them up to now. They are still our people, they are still our friends."
  17. Adebayor 'the perfect captain' for Togo

    Emmanuel Adebayor is fully committed to Togo, says coach Claude LeRoy.

    The 30-year-old has quit Togo twice and often criticised the set-up but LeRoy is sure the striker is now happy.

    "He wanted to retire but he told me that as soon as he heard I was coming to coach Togo he changed his mind," LeRoy told BBC Sport.

    "I told him that I see him as a perfect captain and an example for all the players to try and build something strong for the next few years."

    Now playing his club football at English Premier League side Crystal Palace, Adebayor ended a self-imposed international exile to return for Togo in March in the 0-0 draw with Tunisia in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.  

    Emmanuel Adebayor in action for Crystal Palace
    Image caption: Adebayor is Togo's all-time top scorer with 30 international goals

    Read the full BBC Sport story 

  18. What's it like for Africans living in India?

    That's what BBC Pop Up wanted to find out after Benjamin Pratt, a student from Sierra Leone now living in India, told us that many African immigrants were victims of racism and prejudice.

    BBC journalists Christian Parkinson and Vikas Pandey joined Benjamin on the streets of Delhi to find out more but ended up in a small village in the western state of Gujarat.

    There they discovered a surprising and little-known culture alive and well.

    Video content

    Video caption: Being black in India
  19. Mali's president 'operated on in France'

    Mali's President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita has had an operation at a hospital in Paris this week as part of treatment for a benign tumour on his neck, Reuters news agency quotes a statement from the presidency as saying.

    "The after effects are generally simple… The recovery is progressing normally," the statement said.

    The 71-year-old won elections in 2013 several months after former colonial power France intervened in Mali to oust Islamist rebels who had overrun the north of the country. 

    Ibrahim Boubacar Keita
    Image caption: The president is usually known as called "IBK"
  20. 'Chibok girls video' shown to Nigerians

    Some of the parents of the missing Chibok girls are in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, for the Bring Back Our Girls march.

    They and the other campaigners were shown the new video which appears to show 15 of the 219 girls abducted two years ago.

    A mother of one of the girls, Ester Yakubu, told  journalists that she recognised the girls:

    Video content

    Video caption: Nigerians react to 'Chibok girls video'