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Live Reporting

By Paul Bakibinga 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 on the continent by listening to the Africa Today podcast or checking the BBC News website.

    A reminder of today's wise words:

    Quote Message: A hand that gives will always be at the top." from A Yoruba proverb sent by Omodan Lateef in Nigeria
    A Yoruba proverb sent by Omodan Lateef in Nigeria

    Click here to send us your African proverbs.

    And we leave you with this photo of a sunbird taking off from an Aloe bush in the 104-year-old Kirstenbosch Gardens near South Africa's coastal city of Cape Town:

    A Greater Double-collared Sunbird takes off from an Aloe bush in Kirstenbosch, Cape Town, South Africa, 21 June 2017.
  2. Living as an urban refugee in Uganda

    Uganda has been described as the best country in the world to be a refugee because they are entitled to free education and health care, are allowed to move freely, and they can work and even start their own businesses.

    The majority live in rural areas where they are also given land - but some choose to go it alone in the capital, Kampala - like Hugette Nikuze, a 31-year-old jewellery maker who fled Burundi two years ago.

    Video content

    Video caption: Urban refugees face different challenges to those living in official settlements
  3. South Sudan troops 'purge' Upper Nile region

    Tens of thousands of civilians in South Sudan’s Upper Nile region have been forcibly displaced by government forces, Amnesty International has said in a new briefing today.

    This followed a military campaign between January and May this year. The campaign was to retake territory controlled by an armed opposition group, Agwelek, in the Upper Nile region. The group was made up of ethnic Shilluk fighters under a commander called Johnson Olony.

    The government troops who were assisted by ethnic Dinka militias displaced tens of thousands of Shilluk civilians who were living in numerous towns and villages along the west bank of the White Nile, Amnesty said.

    According to testimony gathered from dozens of victims and eyewitnesses, the soldiers burnt, shelled and plundered homes during the offensive, taking everything they could get their hands on, from stored food supplies to furniture and even the front doors of homes, the rights group added.

    An internally displaced woman of the Shilluk minority.
    Image caption: The Shilluk ethnic minority has been badly affected by the violence.

    While some of the Shilluk have returned to their homes since the offensive, a large number remain displaced. Ten of thousands have now become refugees in neighbouring Sudan, from which South Sudan broke away in 2011, Amnesty International says.

  4. UN backs new military force to fight militants

    The UN Security Council has welcomed plans to deploy a five-nation African military force to fight militant Islamists in the Sahel region, AFP news agency reports.

    French Ambassador Francois Delattre said the unanimous vote was proof of "maximum political support" for what is known as the G5 force.

    AFP quoted him as saying:

    Quote Message: At a time when terrorism is striking everywhere in the world, we cannot let the Sahel region become a new haven for terrorist organizations from the entire world.
    Quote Message: It is our security which is at stake in the Sahel, not just the security of the G5 countries."

    However, the French-drafted resolution was watered down, failing to give full UN authorization to the 5,000-strong force after the US opposed formal Security Council backing for the operation, AFP reports.

    Five former French colonies - Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger - agreed in March to set up the force to tackle jihadist groups which have stepped up bombings and kidnappings in the region.

    Read: New war against militant Islamists

  5. Zimbabwe's economy set to grow

    Shingai Nyoka

    BBC Africa, Harare

    A woman checks maize crop on a small scale farm in Chinhamora, about 50 km north of Harare on Febuary 10, 2011
    Image caption: Zimbabwe expects to feed itself this year

    After a crippling drought last year that left four million people in need of food aid, Zimbabwe's economy is poised for growth.

    The World Bank says the economy will grow to 2.8% but warns that public debt is straining local banks and contributing to cash shortages.

    The country expects to produce enough grain to feed itself.

    However, wider problems persist. There is still a critical shortage of money that the World Bank blames on excessive government borrowing from local banks, and a high public service wage bill.

    Read: Spending the night outside banks

  6. South Africa's #SocialMediaBlackout flops

    Pumza Fihlani

    BBC News

    A campaign to get people to boycott social media today seems to have fallen flat in South Africa.

    What was meant to be a #SocialMediaBlackout quickly turned into a chance to share memes poking fun at the fact that the tag was trending for most of the day on Twitter - proof, some say, that South Africans had not heeded the call.

    The boycott was aimed at putting pressure on network providers to lower data prices.

    Last year, popular radio personality Thabo Molefe, known as “T-bo Touch”, addressed parliament's telecommunications committee, calling for “data to fall”.

    He argued that the high cost made it difficult for many, including students, to access the internet for research or to search for jobs.

    This time around, the campaign was championed by outspoken musician and poet Ntsiki Mazwai.

    "Data costs are obscene and are not affordable for people on the ground," she was quoted by Eyewitness News as saying.

    This is how some have responded to the call:

    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter

    In its annual report, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) ranks South Africa as 85th out of 178 countries for mobile broadband prices, based on 500 MB of pre-paid mobile data.

    The ITU puts the monthly cost at $7.76 (£6.1), or about 1.37% of personal income. In Niger, the cost is nearly $8 - but that represents almost a quarter of incomes.

  7. Lagos slum evictions 'unlawful'

    Stephanie Hegarty

    BBC Africa, Lagos

    A state caterpillar tries to grade with sand areas where residents were evicted at Badia East slums in Lagos on August 12, 2013
    Image caption: The government pressed ahead with demolitions despite opposition

    A High Court in Nigeria's commercial capital, Lagos, has ruled that the eviction of up to 30,000 people from a waterfront slum is unconstitutional.

    The community of Otodo Gbame was cleared between November 2016 and February this year by the Lagos State government. It said the area posed an “environmental risk”.

    Crowds cheered outside a packed courtroom where many of the evicted residents had gathered for the ruling.

    The judge ruled in their favour, saying the eviction violated their rights because there was no resettlement plan in place.

    Lagos State previously denied that they demolished the slum and said it was destroyed by a fire after which they cleared the remains in February because it was unsanitary and was a fire risk.

    But it seems that account did not hold sway in court. The judge ruled the state should pay compensation to residents and ordered the two sides to go into mediation.

    The clearing of Otodo Gbame is seen as part of a statewide policy to clear up to 300,000 people from informal waterside settlements.

    Lagos State officials have yet to respond to the verdict, though they have ignored rulings like this in past.

    Read: Solving Nigeria's megacity housing crisis

  8. 'Free sanitary pads for Kenya schoolgirls

    Anne Soy

    BBC Africa, Nairobi

    A picture taken on March 3, 2016 shows Kenyan teacher Ayub Mohamed giving a lesson in the Nairobi suburb of Eastleigh
    Image caption: Many girls do not attend school when they menstruate

    Schoolgirls in Kenya have to be provided with sanitary towels, under the amended Basic Education Act that has been signed into law by President Uhurru Kenyatta.

    The news was announced on the president's official website this afternoon

    The Act was earlier amended by parliament to make it mandatory for the government to supply schoolgirls with sanitary towels.

    This is a big win in the campaign to improve education for girls.

    While the government has been giving sanitary towels to girls at some schools, others have not been getting them. Girls, therefore, miss school when they menstruate as they cannot afford to buy sanitary towels.

    The new law will help ensure the girls continue with their education uninterrupted.

    Read: The invention that stops girls missing school every month

  9. CAR clashes 'kill 100'

    BBC World Service

    Local officials say about 100 people have been killed in the latest outbreak of religious violence in the eastern town of Bria in the Central African Republic (CAR).

    UN peacekeepers run regular patrols in Bria
    Image caption: UN peacekeepers run regular patrols in Bria

    Dozens more are being treated, mainly for gunshot wounds. The fighting began on Tuesday, just hours after the government signed a peace agreement with rebel groups.

    It is chiefly between members of the largely Muslim Seleka rebels and a group of the mainly Christian anti-Balaka militia.

    There has been an upsurge of violence in recent months, with Bria being particularly badly affected.

    Read: Peacekeeping, African warlords and Trump

  10. Bangura: Leone Stars have enough quality

    Sierra Leone are good enough to qualify for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon, according to captain Umaru Bangura.

    The Leone Stars have not been seen at African football's flagship tournament since the 1996 finals in South Africa.

    But Bangura is confident they have enough quality to emerge from a group that includes four-time champions Ghana, Kenya and Ethiopia.

    They kicked off their campaign for the 2019 edition with a 2-1 win over the Harambee Stars and lie second in the table behind the Black Stars on goal difference.

    Read the full BBC Sport here

    Umaru Bangura
    Image caption: Umaru Bangura was honoured by President Ernest Bai Koroma for services to football
  11. Pope donates '$515,000 to South Sudan'

    Pope Francis waves to thousands of followers as he arrives at the Manila Cathedral on January 16, 2015 in Manila, Philippines.
    Image caption: The pontiff is seen as a champion of the poor

    The Vatican has announced that it is donating about $515,000 ($400,000) towards aid projects in South Sudan, AFP news agency reports.

    The move comes after Pope Francis dropped plans to visit South Sudan because of security fears in a country hit by myriad conflicts since it gained independence from Sudan in 2011.

    The $515,000 would be spent on two hospitals run by nuns, a teacher training programme and a project to buy seeds and tools for some 2,500 farming families.

    Speaking at a press conference at the Vatican, Ghana's Bishop Peter Turkson said the aid was a "concrete sign" of the pontiff's closeness to the people of South Sudan.

    He added:

    Quote Message: The Holy Father does not forget the victims that no-one is listening to in this bloodthirsty and inhumane conflict."

    Read: Pope Francis in profile

  12. Egypt's constitutional court 'halts' islands transfer

    Egypt's highest court has put a temporary halt to the proposed transfer of two uninhabited Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia until it rules whether the agreement is unconstitutional.

    The High Constitutional Court's ruling came a week after parliament approved the deal which has been criticised by many Egyptians.

    One court has already opposed the decision which parliament says is within its domain.

    The Egyptian government argues that the two islands called Tiran and Sanafir belong to Saudi Arabia but had been leased to Cairo in the 1950s..

    File photo taken on 14 January through the window of an airplane shows the islands of Tiran (foreground) and Sanafir (background) in the Red Sea
    Image caption: Tiran (foreground) and Sanafir (background) are uninhabited, except for troops
  13. New UN envoy for Libya approved

    Ghassan Salame from Sciences Po, appears on stage on Day 1 at the International New York Times/Energy Intelligence Oil & Money Conference at The InterContinental Hotel on October 29, 2014 in London, England
    Image caption: Ghassan Salame will have to mediate between three rival governments in Libya

    The UN Security Council has approved the appointment of Lebanese academic Ghassan Salame as the new UN envoy for Libya.

    This follows a four-month search for the person expected to lead negotiations to end the instability which has hit Libya since Nato-backed forces overthrew Col Muammar Gadaffi's government in 2011.

    Mr Salame, 66, is dean of the Paris School of International Affairs and a professor of international relations at the Paris Institute of Political Studies.

    Mr Salame was Lebanon's culture minister from 2000 to 2003 and later an adviser to then-UN chief Kofi Annan.

    He replaces Martin Kobler from Germany, who has held the post since November 2015.

    A number of other candidates were vetoed by council members.

    Read: Why is Libya lawless?

  14. Hunger hits Swaziland schools

    Kingdom of Swaziland flag flies on a mast by a public school on January 22, 2017 in Mbabane, Swaziland. Swaziland's schools opened for the new academic year on January 24, 2017
    Image caption: Parents are urged to give sweet potatoes to school children

    Officials in Swaziland have appealed to parents to send their children to school with food because of shortages that have hit the government's feeding scheme, the state-owned Times of Swaziland newspaper has reported.

    Headteachers said hunger was written all over the faces of pupils, making it difficult to teach them, it added.

    The Swaziland Association of Schools Administrators pleaded with parents to at least put sweet potatoes, boiled peanuts, or jugo beans in their children’s lunch boxes so that they have something to eat during break time, the Times of Swaziland reported.

    Southern Africa has been affected by a severe drought, making people more dependent on aid.

  15. The Somalis dying to get married

    Many young Somalis risk everything trying to seek a better life in the Middle East or Europe - often because this is the only way they can afford to get married.

    Mohamud Ali and video journalist Christian Parkinson report from Hargeisa, capital of Somalia’s self-declared republic of Somaliland, on what it means for those left behind.

    Video content

    Video caption: The Somalis dying to get married
  16. Kenyan teachers to face 'mass transfers'

    Teacher Emily Monje (R) shows pupils of Kibera School for Girls how to use computers at Nairobi on May 19, 2016.
    Image caption: Many Kenyan teachers prefer to teach in town schools

    More than 300,000 teachers in Kenya are to face transfers following a directive from President Uhuru Kenyatta, The Standard newspaper reports

    Some schools have more teachers than they need while others are inadequately staffed, the president is reported to have said.

    In a speech read on his behalf by Education Minister Fred Matiang'i at an annual meeting of secondary school headteachers, he said:

    Quote Message: I direct the Teachers Service Commission to rationalise teacher distribution in all counties so as to avail teachers to those currently disadvantaged."

    The ratio of pupils to teachers in many schools is heavily skewed because many teachers prefer to be based in towns and cities rather than rural areas, the Standard paper says

  17. Sudan helicopter crash 'kills crew'

    A Sudanese military helicopter has crashed, killing all four crew members, the army has said, AFP news agency reports.

    Bad weather caused the the Russian-built Mi-17 helicopter to come down yesterday in Dongola, the capital of Northern State, army spokesman Brigadier Ahmed Khalifa Shami said in a statement.

  18. #SocialMediaShutdown trends


    #SocialMediaShutdown and #SocialMediaBlackout are trending on Twitter in South Africa, according to Trendsmap, in a clear sign that calls for a mass boycott of social media have flopped.

    Police Minister Fikile Mbalula believes he has a perfectly valid reason to break the boycott:

    View more on twitter

    So, what were the excuses of other Twitter users?

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

    See earlier post for more details

  19. Brussels bomb suspect was 'Moroccan'

    The initial explosion was captured by a local lawyer

    A man suspected of setting off a bomb at Brussels Central Station on Tuesday has been identified as a 36-year-old Moroccan from a city district that has spawned a number of jihadist attackers.

    The unnamed suspect came from Molenbeek, and a number of raids in the area were reported early on Wednesday.

    Read the full BBC story here

  20. Luanda world's most expensive city

    Luanda, the capital of Angola, has regained top spot as the world's most expensive city for expats, pushing Hong Kong back into second place.

    The claim is made in the 23rd annual cost-of-living survey carried out by the advisory firm Mercer.

    Tokyo, Zurich and Singapore comprise the rest of the top five.

    London fell 30th place in the rankings, partly because of the pound's devaluation.

    The annual survey looks at more than just the cost to expats of renting an apartment or house.

    It examines the cost of 200 items in each place, including housing, transport, clothes, food and entertainment..

    Read: Angolan capital 'most expensive city for expats'

    The skyline of central Luanda, Angola, with the 'Estadio da Cidadela' stadium in foreground