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Live Reporting

Hugo Williams and Farouk Chothia

All times stated are UK

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  1. Scroll down for Thursday's stories

    We'll be back tomorrow

    That's all from the  BBC Africa Live  page today. Keep up-to-date with what's happening across the continent by listening to the  Africa Today podcast  or checking the  BBC News website

    A reminder of today's proverb:

    Quote Message: Good news made the hyena spend the night on a rubbish heap." from A Bemba proverb sent by Shebbina Chabala, Kitwe, Zambia
    A Bemba proverb sent by Shebbina Chabala, Kitwe, Zambia

    Click here to send us your African proverbs

    We leave you with this photo of a spectacular townhouse in Algiers: 

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  2. Pope Francis 'hopes to visit South Sudan' this year

    Pope Francis gives a blessing to a young man in CAR
    Image caption: Pope Francis visited conflict-hit CAR in 2015

    Pope Francis is hoping to visit South Sudan in 2017, according to an official message from the country's bishops. 

    A statement today from the bishops says:

    Quote Message: With great joy, we wish to inform you that the Holy Father Pope Francis hopes to visit South Sudan later this year. The Holy Father is deeply concerned about the sufferings of the people of South Sudan.
    Quote Message: You are already in his prayers, but his coming here would be a concrete symbol of his fatherly concern and his solidarity with your suffering.

    The Vatican has not yet confirmed the plans. 

    Yesterday, Pope Francis called for urgent aid for the people of South Sudan, after famine was declared in some parts of the country. 

    He said it was vital now not just to make statements, but to contribute food aid and to allow it to reach suffering people.  

  3. Teenagers among migrants who 'suffocated to death'

    The bodies of 13 African migrants, including two teenagers, who died of suffocation in a shipping container bound for Europe have been found in Libya, aid officials have said, AFP news agency reports. 

    The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC), citing the Libyan Red Crescent, said the migrants had been trapped for four days in the metal container. 

    A total of 56 migrants had been rescued, and needed immediate medical attention, it added. 

    See earlier post for more details

  4. Tributes for Swahili poet

    Tributes have poured in for the renowned Kenyan Swahili poet, Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed Nabhany, following his death at the age of 90 at his home in a village in Lamu county, the local Daily Nation newspaper reports .

    He suffered a stroke and could "not walk or talk" during the past week, a relative was quoted as saying. 

    Swahili author Prof Wallah Bin Wallah said Mr Nabhany’s death was a big blow:

    Quote Message: When a tooth is pulled out there definitely will be a permanent gap and that’s what Nabhany’s death has done to us. He was a great player in the shaping of the Swahili language. We pray that the family has the strength to go through this."

    Poet Muchai Bin Chui was quoted by the Daily Nation as saying:  

    Quote Message: Prof Nabhany guided me all through my journey of Swahili writing and poetry. He is a great man and we will never forget his contributions in the growth of Swahili, not only in Kenya but [also in] East Africa."

    A leading Kenyan television station has tweeted his photo:

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  5. Nigeria manhunt for abductors of Germans

    Special forces and surveillance helicopters have been deployed to search for the gunmen who kidnapped two German archaeologists in northern Nigeria yesterday, Nigerian police have said.

    The gunmen killed two locals, and abducted the Germans who were working at an excavation site into ancient Nok culture in Kaduna state, police added in a statement. 

    The archaeologists had two police officers assigned to them, but they went to the site without them, police said. 

    The kidnapping took place off the main road linking Kaduna airport with the capital, Abuja, 220km (137 miles) away, AFP news agency reports.

    It quoted an unnamed resident as saying:

    Quote Message: The abductors came wielding guns and machetes and asked the two Germans to follow them into the bush."
  6. US TV producers apologise over Westgate footage

    The executive producers for Fox's US TV show 24: Legacy have apologised for using CCTV footage from the 2013 Westgate massacre in a plotline about a fictional terror attack in Egyp, AP news agency reports. 

    Apologising for the scene in the latest episode of the spy thriller, which was widely condemned by Kenyans on social media, AP quotes producers Evan Katz and Manny Coto saying:

    Quote Message: We regretfully included news footage of an attack in Nairobi. It will be removed from all future broadcasts and versions of the show.'
    Quote Message: [We] apologize for any pain caused to the victims and their families and are deeply sorry.''

    Some of those on Twitter who had led the complaints against the US TV network, appeared to accept the apology: 

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    While some have been explaining the offence caused by imagining an equivalent gaffe for an American audience: 

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  7. Nigerian food writer on 'soups, sex and Nigerian taste buds'

    "Afang Soup and Hairy legs", "Fish soup and love potions" and "Eating Dog" are some of the imaginatively titled essays in Yemisi Aribisala's new collection.

    Nigerian food writer Yemisi Aribisala's new book is called Longthroat Memoirs: Soups, Sex and Nigerian Taste Buds. 

    She is the first African to win an international food writing prize known as the John Avery Award.

    She's been speaking to the BBC's Kim Chakanetsa, starting first by reading an extract from her book: 

    Video content

    Video caption: Yemisi Aribisala's book is a collection of essays discussing the Nigerian palate
  8. Migrants 'suffocate in shipping container'

    BBC World Service

    Thirteen African migrants have suffocated inside a shipping container while being transported between two towns in Libya. 

    Officials from the local Red Crescent aid organisation say nearly 70 people were crammed in together during a four-day journey. 

    Many of the survivors emerged from the ordeal with broken limbs or other injuries. 

    The migrants were being moved to the coastal town of Khoms, where they hoped to take a boat to Europe. 

    Human traffickers have thrived in the chaos that has engulfed Libya since it descended into civil war.    

  9. Kiir in Ethiopia amid famine at home

    Emmanuel Igunza

    BBC Africa, Addis Ababa

    Salva Kiir
    Image caption: President Salva Kiir

    South Sudan's President Salva Kiir has arrived in Ethiopia on a three-day state visit. 

    On Friday he is expected to hold talks with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and President Mulatu Teshome. 

    Ethiopia has played a key role in hosting peace talks following the eruption of a bloody civil war in December 2013. 

    It now hosts nearly 300,000 refugees who have fled the conflict. 

    President Kiir’s visit comes at a difficult time when famine has been declared in parts of the country, with nearly half of South Sudan’s population said to be facing life-threatening hunger this year. 

    The US has led the international community in calling the famine man-made, accusing South Sudan’s leaders of prolonging the political crisis in the country by failing to honour a peace deal signed in Addis Ababa in August 2015.

    That fragile peace deal is yet again expected to feature highly in talks between President Kiir and the Ethiopian prime minister.

    Read more: Famine declared in South Sudan

  10. Is this really the worst city in Africa?

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    A survey of 100 African cities has revealed the best and worst places to live on the continent. 

    Four Moroccan cities, topped by Marrakesh (pictured above) made it into the top 10, based on criteria including social and living conditions, infrastructure, governance and environment. 

    The South African cities of Cape Town and Johannesburg were also named among the best African cities in the study by the Swiss research institute, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne. 

    View more on twitter

    Bottom of the pile was the Zimbabwean city of Bulawayo. 

    But Valentine Tusai, an entrepreneur from the city, is not happy with the assessment. He's been telling the BBC why: 

    Video content

    Video caption: A Swiss survey bases its claim on criteria including social and living conditions.
  11. South Africa's 'immigration crisis'

    Pumza Fihlani

    BBC News, Johannesburg

    South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba has been talking tough, saying inspections will be carried out at workplaces to see whether companies are employing illegal immigrants. 

    But the sense in some circles is that there will be little action simply because there are not enough people to carry out inspections. South Africa, the minister said in parliament, has 700 inspectors compared with 3,000 in London alone. 

    South Africa is amongst the top 10 picks in the world for migrants looking for safety or a fresh start, according to the office of President Jacob Zuma. 

    In the spirit of “ubuntu” (a Zulu word for humanity), millions of migrants have settled in the country since apartheid ended in 1994. 

    Businesses have been accused of taking advantage of the situation by hiring illegal immigrants as cheap labour, rather than adhering to immigration and labour laws.

          Nigerian migrants take cover during an attack by an angry mob outside a church in Pretoria, South Africa February 18, 2017. REUTERS
    Image caption: Nigerian migrants were attacked by an angry crowd in Pretoria on 18 February

    This is one of the main reasons why the “foreigners are taking our jobs" sentiment has emerged. 

    And with the economy struggling and the unemployment rate standing at around 35%, the government is under pressure to act. 

    Mr Gigaba has warned that companies which employ undocumented foreigners will be penalised, but many people feel that border controls have to be tightened, with a distinction made between genuine asylum seekers and economic migrants.

  12. MTN offices in Abuja shut

    Naziru Mikailu

    BBC Abuja editor

    Security at MTN offices in Nigeria

    Mobile phone giant MTN's head office in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, has been sealed off after protesters against xenophobic attacks in South Africa tried to storm it. 

    Police are now guarding the building of the South African-owned firm and all staff have been evacuated.

    MTN offices in Nigeria

    No-one is being allowed to enter the building.

    From outside, I could not see any damage to it.

    Earlier, a crowd had protested at the building against attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.

    See earlier post for more details

  13. Artist 'addicted to creative process'

    Nigerian-British artist Adeniyi Olagunju, who takes everyday objects and reshapes them in surprising ways, says he's "addicted to the creative process".

    Olagunju, who has a show on in London at the moment, spoke to the BBC's Focus on Africa programme about his art.

    Video content

    Video caption: Nigeria-UK artist Adeniyi Olagunju on his work
  14. MTN offices in Nigeria 'vandalised'

    Motorists drive past a MTN billboard across Lagos-Ibadan expressway on November 15, 2015.
    Image caption: Nigeria is MTN's biggest market

    Reuters news agency is quoting an MTN spokesman as saying that its offices in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, have been attacked and vandalised in apparent retaliation for anti-Nigerian violence in South Africa. 

    The unnamed spokesman for the South African-owned company told the agency: 

    Quote Message: They vandalised equipment, stole customer phones and I-Pads. Some customers too were attacked."

    See earlier post for more details

  15. Kenyan fury after Westgate footage used in US TV thriller

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    The makers of one of the biggest TV shows in the US, 24:Legacy, have been condemned by Kenyans for using CCTV footage of the Westgate mall attack as part of a fictional storyline about a potential terror attack in Egypt. 

    In the latest episode of the hit Fox show, real pictures from the attack are introduced by one of the main characters at a security briefing. 

    "This is the footage from Al-Jegrad market in Alexandria Egypt three years ago. The attack was planned and executed by Bin Khalid and his men," the character says. 

    At least 67 people were killed when al-Shabab militants attacked the popular Nairobi mall in Septmeber 2013. 

    Kenyans on Twitter have lashed out at the producers, who have now issued an apology for using the footage and have said it will be removed from future broadcasts of the episode, Quartz website reports.

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  16. SA-owned MTN targeted by Nigerian protesters

    Naziru Mikailu

    BBC Abuja editor

    A protest against xenophobic attacks in South Africa has taken place at the offices of South African-owned mobile phone giant MTN in Nigeria's capital, Abuja. 

    There are reports that some windows were broken and staff were evacuated through the back door. 

    MTN head office in South Africa has issued a statement, saying it is concerned about violence which appears to be directed at foreigners in both South Africa and Nigeria. 

    We'll bring you more details as they come in.

  17. Why is Nigeria's president still in London?

    Martin Patience

    BBC News, Nigeria correspondent

    Buhari (archive shot)
    Image caption: Rumours are rife about Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari's health - and grip on power

    As Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari was beginning his latest visit to London more than a month ago, a new series of Big Brother Nigeria was getting under way.

    A former military ruler known for his no-nonsense style would appear to have little in common with a reality TV show where contestants engage in attention-seeking behaviour.

    But both subjects were soon generating headlines for the same reason - neither of them were in Nigeria.

    It turned out that Big Brother was actually being filmed in South Africa - a decision that led Nigeria's information minister to launch an investigation.

    While the howls of protests from outraged Big Brother fans soon died down, the clamour over Nigeria's leader's extended medical stay in London is not going away.

    President Buhari's absence comes as Africa's most populous nation is gripped by its worst economic crisis in decades, and faces the threat of famine in north-east Nigeria, which has been devastated by the Boko Haram insurgency.

    And unlike Big Brother, there are no constant updates...

    Read my full story here 

  18. The spelling stars of Ghana

    Eugenia Tachie-Menson set up a charity in Ghana 10 years ago to help children improve their spelling and literacy.

    Despite many challenges, the charity has helped thousands of children, with one child even reaching the finals of the Scripps Spelling Bee in Washington in the United States.

    This is part of a regular series on African Women You Need to Know.

    Video content

    Video caption: Helping Ghanaian children through a love of reading
  19. South Africa to target 'illegal immigrants'

    A man holds a placard as he and others attend a silent vigil against xenophobia, held at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg on April 21, 2015.
    Image caption: Many protests have been held in South Africa against xenophobia

    South African officials will carry out inspections at workplaces to see whether firms are employing undocumented foreigners, Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba has said.

    He added that more than 60 people employed by retail chain Spar "without documentation" had been arrested. 

    Mr Gigaba warned that firms would be "penalised" if they breached the law, and said they should not fuel tensions by "playing locals against foreigners". 

    He added that 33,339 people had been deported during the 2015-2016 financial year.  

    Mr Gigaba's comments - to parliament  and the media - come amid growing concern that xenophobia is on the rise in South Africa. 

    Nigeria's government has condemned attacks on its nationals in the capital, Pretoria, at the weekend and yesterday MPs called on the government to recall its ambassador from Pretoria. 

    On Monday, 34 foreign-owned shops were looted in neighbourhoods in Pretoria, and a local group has planned a march for tomorrow to protest against immigrants allegedly taking their jobs.  

    Mr Gigaba, whose comments have been published on the government's Twitter account, said South Africans should not be portrayed as "mere xenophobes":     

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  20. Africa eyes 10 places at expanded World Cup

    Nigeria in action at the 2014 World Cup
    Image caption: Nigeria (pictured) and Algeria were the best performing African sides at the 2014 World Cup, reaching the last 16

    Africa will be looking to double the number of places it has at an expanded World Cup from 2026. 

    The continent's football association presidents have told football's world governing body Fifa they want at least 10 spots in the 48-team World Cup.

    "All associations back the idea to expand the World Cup and there is hope that Africa can have 10 places," said South African FA chief Danny Jordaan. 

    That would be double the five places Africa has at the 2018 and 2022 events.

    Read the full BBC Sport story