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  1. Conman pretends he can get Pistorius conviction quashed
  2. Continent gears up for 'Super Sunday' of voting
  3. Somalia al-Shabab fighters 'surrounded' by Puntland forces
  4. Two new Ebola cases in Guinea after outbreak was declared over
  5. Escaped Kenyan lion attacks an elderly man before being captured
  6. Algeria gas plant hit by rocket attack
  7. Email stories and comments to - Friday 18 March 2016

Live Reporting

By Clare Spencer and Damian Zane

All times stated are UK

Get involved

  1. Scroll down for Friday's stories

    That's it from us this week

    We'll be back on Monday.

    In the meantime, keep up-to-date with what is happening across the continent by listening to the Africa Today podcast and checking the BBC News website.

    A reminder of Today's proverb:

    Quote Message: Keep a stick behind your door in case your neighbour’s dog runs mad." from A Krio proverb sent by Ibrahim Kabba, Bo, Sierra Leone
    A Krio proverb sent by Ibrahim Kabba, Bo, Sierra Leone

    Click here and scroll to the bottom to send us your proverb.

    We leave you with this picture of an Egyptian worshipper celebrating the Muslim festival Moulid from our collection of the best pictures from across Africa this week:

    Egyptian worshipper celebrating Muslim festival Moulid
  2. South Africa lose to England in T20 cricket

    Despite posting 229 runs, the second largest score ever at cricket's Twenty20 world cup, South Africa ended up losing to England.

    They got the winning run with just two balls to go in the highest successful run chase in T20 cricket.

    South African team
  3. Africa 'needs good ports'

    "Good ports are perhaps more important to Africa than any other region," writes the Economist.

    In an analysis of the state of the continent's infrastructure it visits Kenya's port of Mombasa where it quotes one businessman as saying it's "completely rotten”.

    The Economist reports that the image of decrepit infrastructure is common across the continent.

    It says that money is being invested, but a lot of it disappears through corruption.

    Port in Nigeria
  4. Africa's Super Sunday part VI: Benin presidential run-off

    Election posters

    As we've mentioned Benin, Congo Brazzaville, Senegal, Niger and Zanzibar are all going to the polls on Sunday.

    In Benin, the race to succeed Thomas Boni Yayi is between Prime Minister Lionel Zinsou and a top businessman Patrice Talon in the second round run-off vote.

    In the first round there was only a small difference in the votes that the two men got.

    Mr Zinsou topped the poll with 27% and his rival got 23.5% in a crowded field of 33 contenders.

    Most of the losing candidates have backed Mr Talon, but that doesn't mean he's a shoo-in to win.

  5. Super Sunday part V: The third-term edition

    All day we've been looking ahead to Sunday, when there are five votes going on across Africa - something we've dubbed Super Sunday.

    One of the elections, the Congo-Brazaville presidential election, brings up an ongoing theme of elections across the continent recently - third terms.

    The constitution didn't allow President Denis Sassou to run for the job because he has already won two terms.

    But in October the country voted to change that.

    Denis Sassou

    Mr Nguesso, is one of Africa's longest-serving rulers, first coming to power in 1979.

    Here's where he ranks among Africa's longest-serving leaders:

    • 36 years: Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo - Equatorial Guinea, took power in a coup in August 1979
    • 36 years: Jose Eduardo dos Santos - Angola, took over after death of the country's first president in September 1979
    • 35 years: Robert Mugabe - Zimbabwe, won the country's independence elections in April 1980
    • 33 years: Paul Biya - Cameroon, took over after resignation of the country's first president in November 1982
    • 31 years: Denis Sassou Nguesso - Congo, installed by the military in October 1979, out of power from August 1992-October 1997
    • 30 years: Yoweri Museveni - Uganda, became president after his rebel group took power in January 1986
  6. How much do you know about African players in the premier league?

    BBC Sport has devised a fiendish quiz for the weekend that will test your knowledge of Africans in the English Premier League.

    Can you answer any of these?

    • Who was the first African player to play in the English Premier League? 
    • Which club has used the most African players in the Premier League?
    • Which African player has won the most Premier League player of the month awards?

    Click here for more questions and answers. 

    Didier Drogba
  7. Man City midfielder Yaya Toure returns for Ivory Coast

    Yaya Toure
    Image caption: Toure hasn't played for Ivory Coast since February last year

    Yaya Toure will play for Ivory Coast in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier match against Sudan this month after a long break.

    Manchester City midfielder Toure's last competitive international was the Nations Cup final in February 2015.

    Bournemouth midfielder Max Gradel is also back after injury.

    Newcastle's Seydou Doumbia, Sunderland's Lamine Kone and Manchester City's Wilfried Bony are also included.

    China-based Gervinho is also in the strong 24-man squad, as is Hertha Berlin striker Salomon Kalou.

    Ivory Coast will play Sudan on 25 March.

    Read more on the BBC Sport website.

  8. Arsenal Ladies sign Nigeria striker Asisat Oshoala

    Asisat Oshoala

    Arsenal Ladies have completed the signing of Nigeria striker Asisat Oshoala from Liverpool for an undisclosed fee.

    Oshoala scored three goals in 12 games for Liverpool last season after joining the club in January 2015.

    And the 21-year-old won the first annual BBC Women's Footballer of the Year award last year.

    "She is quick, with excellent feet and has proven she can score goals so it's very positive she has decided to join us." manager Pedro Losa said.

    Read more on the BBC Sport website.

  9. Africa's 'Super Sunday' part IV: The video round up

    Sunday 20 March is Africa's "Super Sunday" with votes in five countries across the continent - Senegal, Congo Brazzaville, Benin, Niger and Zanzibar.

    We've covered what's going on in three places so far, but here's a video round up of all the contests:

    Video content

    Video caption: A guide to Africa's 'Super Sunday'
  10. Africa's 'Super Sunday' part III: Drama surrounds Niger vote

    It's Super Sunday this weekend because there are five votes happening across the continent.

    Part one of our preview looked at the re-run of Zanzibar’selection and part two asked what Senegal’s referendum will decide.

    Drama surrounds part three which is the second round of the Niger presidential election.

    An opposition candidate has been accused of baby trafficking.

    Hama Amadou denies the charges, which he says are politically motivated.

    Hama Amadou

    On Monday he reportedly lost consciousness in prison.

    His doctor told a local TV station that he had fainted but then was arrested for "revealing medical confidentiality and spreading false news".

    On Wednesday Mr Amadou was flown from his prison to France for medical treatment. 

    It's not quite clear what his illness is but the government claims he was suffering from "general fatigue".

    Read more on the BBC News website.

  11. Conman pretends he can get Oscar Pistorius conviction quashed

    A man who allegedly posed as someone from South Africa's prosecuting authority and told Oscar Pistorius that he could get his murder conviction quashed has been arrested.

    The News24 website quotes a spokesman for South Africa's police force:

    Quote Message: A 33-year-old man was arrested on Friday afternoon in Pretoria soon after he received a deposit of 40,000 rand ($2,600) for his services which included... [having] Oscar Pistorius’s murder case destroyed from Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi
    Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi

    Olympic athlete Pistorius killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in February 2013. 

    Last December, a South African appeals court found him guilty of murder, overturning an earlier manslaughter verdict.

    He is currently awaiting sentencing.

    News24 reports that the alleged conman contacted Pistorius last night saying that he could make his case disappear.

    The police then set up a sting operation to catch him.

    Oscar Pistorius
  12. South Africa's cricketers rack up second highest score ever

    Our cricket watchers have just tweeted this landmark:

    View more on twitter

    If you don't follow cricket, it means South Africa scored 229 runs and only four of their batsmen were dismissed.

    That's the second highest score at the world cup competition for the Twenty20 form of the game. 

    It's bad news for England - there'll be close to elimination if they lose. 

    Follow the game on the England v South Africa live page.

  13. Niger attacked by both Boko Haram and al-Qaeda

    Islamist militants from al-Qaeda and Boko Haram have killed four security forces in two separate attacks in Niger, officials have said.

    Three policemen were shot dead by suspected al-Qaeda members in a village near the border with Burkina Faso.

    One soldier was killed and two others wounded when a military convoy was attacked close to Nigeria's border.

    Thursday's attacks came three days before Sunday's controversial presidential run-off election.

    The opposition has said they will not recognise the results of the vote, and their candidate Hama Amadou, is currently receiving medical treatment in Paris after spending moths in jail.

    Read more on the BBC News website.

    Nigerien soldiers
    Image caption: The government says soldiers repelled one of the attacks
  14. Al-Shabab fighters 'trapped in a valley in Puntland'

    We reported earlier that the authorities in Somalia's semi-autonomous region of Puntland say the military has surrounded 250 fighters from the Islamist group al-Shabab. 

    Puntland's Vice President Abdihakin Abdullahi Haji Omar Amey has been speaking to the BBC Somali service:  

    Quote Message: They are confined in the area of Suj, there are around two to three caves there. The fighting continued throughout yesterday. They tried to escape the area at around 11:25 pm (20:25 GMT), but they were confronted and pushed back by our army. Only one of our soldiers was wounded yesterday. And now our army is surrounding the armed group.

    One of Puntland's generals at the front line, Muhyadin Ahmed Musa, has also commented on the fighting:

    Quote Message: The operation is continuing as we speak, they are now isolated in a small area. We are hoping to complete the operation very soon.. the important thing is to defeat them however long it may take us to complete this operation."
  15. 'If you see a lion don't panic'

    Michael Kaloki


    There have been two recent lion-escape incidents in Kenya's capital, Nairobi. 

    Lions have found their way out of the wildlife park which is within the city boundaries.

    Conservationist Ali Kaka told me that changes in the city, as the human population has increased, may have led to some lions trying to relocate to a quieter more conducive location.

    He also offers some tips of what to do if you come across a lion:

    • Do not confront the animal
    • Do not make noise
    • Do not throw anything at the animal
    • Do not run
    • Do not panic as the animal may sense this and react
    Lioness in Kenya
  16. Is it Dr Mahama or Dr Mahami?

    Ghana's President John Dramani Mahama is on a trip to Scotland at the moment and today he has received an honorary doctorate from the University of Aberdeen.

    But one eagle-eyed attendee has spotted that a slightly different surname, rhyming with Dramani, appeared on the programme - and the photo is now being shared on social media:

    View more on twitter
  17. Africa's 'super Sunday' part II: Senegal referendum

    We reported earlier on Zanzibar's election rerun on Sunday (see 12:02 entry), and that it's just one of five major votes in Africa on that day.

    The others are:

    • Senegal referendum on reducing presidential terms
    • Benin presidential run-off
    • Niger presidential run-off
    • Congo-Brazzaville presidential election

    In Senegal, the referendum is on President Macky Sall's proposal to alter the constitution so that the length of future presidential mandates are reduced from seven to five years.

    The BBC's Efrem Gebreab has photographed some of the campaigners in Senegal's capital, Dakar.

    He came across a group of yes (or oui in French) supporters:

    Yes campaigner
    Yes campaigners on a march

    You might think that everyone would be in favour of reducing the length of the presidential term, but there are some backing the no (or non in French) campaign:

    Non campaigner
    The graffiti reads: "We vote no"
    Image caption: The graffiti reads: "We vote no"

    Our reporter says that some opposition comes from people angry with the president for not sticking to a promise of reducing his current term in office, rather than the next one.

    Others are concerned that the amended constitution would leave open an ambiguity about whether there should be two rounds of voting for president if no candidate gets an absolute majority - which is currently the case.

  18. 'Half a million could move to Europe from Libya'

    The EU's foreign policy chief has warned said nearly half a million people displaced in Libya could migrate to Europe, reports Reuters.

    The news agency has seen a letter written by Federica Mogherini which also says Brussels is looking into a civilian security mission to Libya.

    The letter goes on to say that planning was underway for a mission to rebuild Libya's police, counter-terrorism and border management operations to work with the United Nations.

    Boat in Libya
    Image caption: People travel on small boats from Libya to Europe
  19. Who sent a rocket to Algerian gas plant?

    Rana Jawad

    BBC North Africa correspondent, Tunis

    Ain Amenas gas plant
    Image caption: Foreign workers were taken hostage at this gas plant in 2013

    In our earlier post we reported that a gas plant in Algerian was hit by a rocket and there were no casualties.

    The rockets hit a gas plant some 200km away from the Oasis town of Ain Salah in Central Algeria.  

    The army says it "foiled a terrorist attack." 

    The gas facility is jointly operated by Britain’s BP, Norway’s Statoil and the Algerian state-owned oil company.

    A statement from Statoil said the explosive munitions "were fired from a distance".  

    It’s not known who carried out the latest assault, but Algeria is home to militants affiliated to both al-Qaeda and the so-called Islamic State.  

    In 2013, an attack on the Ain Amenas gas plant, which killed 38 workers, was claimed by al-Qaeda's North Africa wing.  

  20. Gupta family insist they are not responsible for colonising South Africa

    Milton Nkosi

    BBC Africa, Johannesburg

    The controversial Gupta family, currently caught up in a political storm in South Africa over their influence on President Jacob Zuma’s government, has responded to the allegations in a double-page newspaper spread:

    Gupta family add
    Gupta family newspaper ad

    The detailed advertisement entitled “Gupta Family, The Inconvenient Truth” is contained on pages 8 and 9 of The New Age newspaper, which the family owns.

    The family, through their holding company Oakbay Investments, said it was releasing details of a meeting it held with the governing African National Congress (ANC) officials last month. 

    Each “accusation” is matched by their version of the truth.

    "Like any other South African businesses, we interact with the government," the family said.

    "In fact, friendship with the previous president was as strong.”

    These are some of the points contained in the response:

    Accusation: The Guptas are responsible for the colonisation of the country

    The family says this is a "ridiculous suggestion".

    "However, we have created more than 4,500 jobs for South Africans and have contributed R276m in corporate taxes for 2015, which benefits the people of South Africa."

    They questioned whether this was colonisation.

    Accusation:Gupta firms benefit from government business

    Again the family said this was "absurd" when only less than 1% of the group's business was with the government.

    Accusation: Robbing the country

    The Guptas are saying they benefit the country and in no way rob it.

    According to figures, which they say their auditors have verified, the family has invested more than R10bn ($650m) in the country, created more than 4,500 jobs and contributed to corporate taxes.