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Live Reporting

By Flora Drury, Natasha Booty, Mirren Gidda, Dickens Olewe and Clare Spencer

All times stated are UK

  1. Scroll down for Friday's stories

    We'll be back next week

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

    A reminder of today's wise words:

    Quote Message: Whether you touch it, or you eat it, it's still garlic." from A Hareri proverb sent by Nebila Abdulmelik, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
    A Hareri proverb sent by Nebila Abdulmelik, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

    Before we go, here's one of our favourite pictures taken this week. It was taken in the island of Lamu in Kenya.

    A man adjusts a mast aboard a dhow boat carrying tourists as it sails during the sunset off the coast of Lamu Island, a popular beach resort in Kenya.
  2. Huge crack opens in Kenya's Rift Valley

    Part of a highway has collapsed after a crack opened up in Kenya’s Rift Valley.

    Several families have been evacuated from the Suswa area in the south-western part of the country.

    Some geologists say the split could eventually lead to Africa breaking-up in two:

    Video content

    Video caption: Huge crack opens in Kenya's Rift Valley
  3. Senegal's president promises to deal with child killings

    Macky Sall
    Image caption: Mr Sall promised to bring the killers to justice

    Senegal's President Macky Sall has vowed to deal with a spate of kidnappings and killings targeting children.

    Mr Sall told RFM radio station, "I have given the firmest instructions... to track down these criminals and bring them to justice."

    In the latest case a toddler was found dead in Rufisque, a town close to the capital, Dakar.

    Police said that two children had been murdered recently and five more had faced kidnap attempts.

    The use of children in rituals has been blamed for the targeting of children but police have not given motive for the killings.

  4. Mozambique police accused of stealing electricity

    Jose Tembe

    BBC Africa, Maputo

    electricity cables
    Image caption: Many countries have issues with people diverting electricity illegally

    Three Mozambican police officers are in court charged with stealing electricity and beating up inspectors of the electricity company, EDM, in Cabo Delgado province.

    Franco Chipanga from EDM told me that when EDM staff go for inspections they "are constantly attacked by the electricity thieves, including police officers".

    "We noted that most of the attacks are perpetrated by members of the country’s law and order authority."

    He said that that some police officers have already been sentenced.

  5. South Africa's lucrative funeral insurance industry

    Laying your loved ones to rest is big business in South Africa.

    The funeral insurance industry is valued at nearly $500bn (£353bn) and people are spending large sums on items such as caskets and tombstones.

    As the financial burden on surviving relatives increases, many are putting money aside for extravagant arrangements.

    The BBC's Vumani Mkhize reports.

    Video content

    Video caption: South Africa's lucrative funeral insurance industry
  6. Togo resumes political crisis talks

    Protesters holding placards calling on President Gnassingbe to resign
    Image caption: Opposition protesters have been calling on President Gnassingbe to resign

    Talks to end the political crisis in Togo have resumed after a disagreement led to their postponement last month, news agency AFP reports.

    It reports that the talks were being mediated by Ghana's President Akufo-Addo - who met representatives of both the ruling party and the opposition before announcing the breakthrough.

    Opposition supporters have been holding weekly protests since August last year to try to force Faure Gnassingbe, who has been in power since 2005, to resign.

    They want the country to return to Togo's 1992 constitution, which set a two-term limit for presidents, to prevent Gnassingbe standing in 2020 and 2025.

    President Gnassingbe took over from his father Gnassingbe Eyadema, who ruled Togo for 38 years.

  7. Academics question Cambridge Analytica's influence in Kenya vote

    Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix
    Image caption: Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix has been suspended amid the controversy

    Three university professors have questioned the influence the data company Cambridge Analytica had on the Kenyan election.

    Cambridge Analytica was used twice to help secure victory for Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta - first in 2013, then again in 2017.

    Officially, the company's website boasts of doing in-depth research to uncover the issues driving voters.

    But company executive Mark Turnbull told Channel 4 investigation that they "staged the whole" election.

    In a joint article in the conversation British academics Gabrielle Lynch, Justin Willis and Nic Cheeseman reveal they were monitoring social media activity during the election:

    Quote Message: We set up multiple profiles on Facebook to track social media and political adverts, and found no evidence that different messages were directed at different voters. Instead, a consistent negative line was pushed on all profiles, no matter what their background."

    This, they explain, indicates that Cambridge Analytica's messages were not targeted.

    Instead they accuse Cambridge Analytica’s of exagerating their powers, which they say is part of the company's marketing strategy. They warn:

    Quote Message: We should beware of flattering those firms by exaggerating their power and reach.
  8. Buhari assures Dapchi schoolgirls of security

    Nigeria's President Muhamadu Buhari
    Image caption: Mr Buhari met the freed schoolgirls in the capital, Abuja

    Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari has said that security will be beefed up in schools to ensure the safety of teachers and students.

    Boko Haram militants reportedly warned the freed Dapchi schoolgirls not return to the school.

    In a statement, Mr Buhari said:

    "To the rescued students, we want to reassure you as our daughters, that you will freely live and pursue your dreams in Nigeria of peace and order, without fear of violence or molestation."

    The statement said that 107 students from Dapchi were released by the militants. The number includes two other students kidnapped in the town.

    At least five girls were reportedly killed when the militants raided the girls' school last month in the northeastern state on Yobe.

    One remains in captivity because she has reportedly refused to convert from Christianity to Islam.

  9. UN: Extinction looms for half of animals in Africa

    BBC World Service

    sudan the rhino
    Image caption: This week the world's last male northern white rhino died

    Half of animal species in Africa could disappear by the end of the century, a UN-backed study says.

    It focused on the state of global biodiversity and warned of the adverse consequences adverse human activity is having on plant and animal species.

    Some 550 world experts said the alarming decline in biodiversity is imperiling the quality of life for people everywhere.

    They conclude that pollution, climate change, and deforestation for new farmland are among the biggest threats to food and water security.

  10. Former death row prisoner graduates with law degree

    Susan Kigula

    A former death row inmate has graduated with a law degree she studied for while in a Ugandan maximum security prison.

    Susan Kigula was convicted of murder when she was 21 years old and sentenced to death.

    It was while on death row that she was convinced to study law:

    Quote Message: We had no classes - I was studying under a tree. I weathered the sun, I weathered the rain.
    Quote Message: Some of my fellow inmates and some of the staff did not understand why a death row inmate would study law but it was because of the determination, the commitment, the perseverance and hardwork that I put in because I had set a goal to change my life for better."

    She successfully challenged her sentence in a landmark ruling and now wants the death penalty to be abolished:

    Quote Message: I want people to know that we do not need a death sentence in our country. Had I been executed I would not be here sharing my story with you".

    Even Uganda's Deputy Chief Justice Owiny Dollo is questioning the death penalty.

    He attended the party for Ms Kigula at Luzira Maximum security prison in the capital Kampala, complete with a dance troop from the prison.

    He told the BBC:

    Quote Message: When you attend such a function even as a judicial officer you begin questioning whether we need a death penalty in this country. You question because a person who is on the wrong side of the law today could be a person of great influence tomorrow.''
  11. Spanish police bust not the end of Nigeria gang

    Sam Piranty

    BBC News

    A picture on a group of women
    Image caption: Some of the women rescued were underage girls

    The welcome news that Spanish police have broken up a Nigerian sex trafficking gangfollows a BBC investigation we did in 2016.

    After our story came out, the UK's National Crime Agency (NCA) flew to Barcelona to meet Mossos - the Catalan police - who conducted the investigation into the Supreme Eiye Confraternity (Sec).

    Information was passed over and the NCA, alongside partners in Madrid, conducted further investigation into the group, leading to these arrests.

    This is a major blow to the Sec, but by no means the end.

    We know the group has cells across Europe, Africa and the Middle East. The group regularly moves women and narcotics between different cities in Europe depending on demand.

    We know that Sec is back at work in Barcelona, and given time, they will be sure to continue their work in the UK and the rest of Spain.

    This is an international network with connections across three continents and without more international cooperation like that between the NCA and Spanish police, the group will continue to thrive.

  12. Moise Katumbi denies Italian citizenship report

    A spokesperson for Democratic Republic of Congo presidential candidate Moise Katumbi has dismissed a report that he has Italian citizenship which could lock him out of the DR Congo elections.

    He told the BBC that Mr Katumbi is Congolese and will contest next year's election.

    French news site Jeune Afrique reported that Mr Katumbi had acquired Italian citizenship in 2000 which he relinquished in January last year.

    It reports that it got the information from a local registry in the southern Italian town of San Vito dei Normanni:

    View more on twitter

    The news site reports that DR Congo's constitution prohibits " bi-nationality", quoting article 10, which says, "the Congolese nationality is one and exclusive.It can not be owned concurrently with another".

    DR Congo Justice Minister Alexis Thambwe Mwamba said last year that Mr Katumbi would have to take steps to recover his nationality, Jeune Afrique reports.

    Mr Katumbi has been on self-exile since 2016 and launched his presidential campaign under the "Together for Change" party in South Africa.

    He is hoping to replace President Joseph Kabila in the December elections.

    Read:DR Congo country profile

  13. Ghana’s quiz show host wins academics award

    A Ghanaian quiz show host will be awarded the 2018 Golden Torch Award for International Academic Leadership in the USA.

    Effah Kaufmann will get the prize at the 44th Annual National Society of Black Engineers.

    The award is given to people who demonstrates excellence in support of academics on an international level and show commitment to the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

    In an interview she said “I feel incredibly honoured. It is also gratifying to know that the activities in which I have been involved are appreciated and beneficial to so many people. I am grateful for the opportunity to make an impact.”

    View more on twitter
  14. Mauritius president bids farewell

    Yasine Mohabuth

    Port Louis, Mauritius

    It's official: Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, Africa's only female head of state, has resigned as president of the island nation of Mauritius after a tumultuous few weeks.

    She is said to have used a credit card given to her by the Planet Earth Institute (PEI) in London to buy jewellery and clothes abroad.

    Ms Gurib-Fakim's office has however said that she "had an identical credit card from the same bank [and] inadvertently used the card from the PEI for expenses not linked to her mission".

    Local L'Express newspaper reported that she has refunded the $27,000 (£19,335).

    She released a farewell video on You Tube:

    View more on youtube

    Despite her resignation the government has decided to set up a commission of inquiry to see whether she violated the constitution.

  15. Putting pastors before politicians

    Nigeria has become the centre of the Pentecostal movement in Africa since the 1970s and with its rise, the number of preachers and pilgrims has grown significantly.

    While some pastors have attracted a lot of negative attention because of their lavish lifestyles, others insist that ministry is a much needed service because the church seems to be doing more to tackle social problems in communities than the government.

    The BBC's Lerato Mbele reports.

    Video content

    Video caption: Why many Nigerians put pastors before politicians
  16. Miguna Miguna to return to Kenya on Monday

    Dickens Olewe

    BBC Africa

    Miguna Miguna (L) and opposition leader Raila Odinga
    Image caption: Miguna Miguna (L) played a key role in the "inauguration" of Raila Odinga (R)

    Kenyan lawyer and opposition supporter Miguna Miguna told me that he will return to Kenya on Monday.

    He was deported to Canada on 6 February after the government stripped him off his citizenship for his role in the unofficial swearing-in of opposition leader Raila Odinga as "the people's president".

    A court in Kenya has since ordered the Kenyan government to facilitate his return to the country.

    The self-declared general of Kenya's opposition National Resistance Movement is in the UK for what he says is a part of a global mobilisation and recruitment tour.

    Watch the full interview on Facebook Live:

    View more on facebook
  17. Father of last missing Dapchi girl proud of daughter's bravery

    Mayeni Jones

    BBC Nigeria correspondent

    The father of the Dapchi schoolgirl still in captivity says he is happy to hear his daughter had refused to convert to Islam, but is a little surprised, as she was usually quiet and obedient.

    He urged her to stand strong regardless of how much she suffered. He promised that if she was released he would send her back to school.

    Islamist militants Boko Haram reportedly held on to her after she refused to denounce her Christian faith.

    Boko Haram threatened to kidnap anyone who returned to the school where they captured 110 students six weeks ago.

    Five girls have reportedly died.

    Since being released on Wednesday, the other 104 girls were flown to Abuja where they received medical treatment.

    They're due to meet Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari Friday afternoon.

    Abandoned school dormitory
    Image caption: After the kidnapping girls refused to return to school because they felt unsafe
  18. Mali PM visits former rebel stronghold

    BBC World Service

    The prime minister of Mali is visiting the former rebel stronghold of Kidal in the north of the country.

    Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga's visit was postponed by a day following a rocket attack on United Nations and French bases.

    Five French soldiers were injured. The last time a high-ranking politician went to Kidal was four years ago, when clashes between the Malian army and rebels left 60 soldiers dead.

    The government has little control in northern Mali, where there are regular attacks by separatists and Islamists.

    A Tuaregs fighter of the Coordination of Movements of the Azawad (CMA) points his weapon near Kidal, northern Mali on September 28, 2016,
    Image caption: Tuaregs fighters, like this two years ago, have fought in Kidal
  19. Lungu dismisses impeachment move

    Nomsa Maseko

    BBC Africa, Johannesburg

    President Edgar Lungu
    Image caption: Mr Lungu also dismissed reports that he was ailing

    The spokesperson of Zambia's President Edgar Lungu has dismissed a plan by the main opposition party to impeach him.

    He said that he was confident that the motion will not be successful and described it as a continuation of the opposition’s failed court challenge of the president’s election victory.

    Members of Zambia’s United Party for National Development say misconduct and corruption are some of the reasons why they’re calling for Mr Lungu’s impeachment.

    The motion which is expected to be debated next week was submitted to parliament last night and signed by a third of lawmakers, including two former government ministers.

    The motion would need the backing of two-thirds of the lawmakers to succeed.

    President Lungu has also dismissed reports he is too ill to run the country, saying that he is well and healthy.

    He also said his marriage was blissful after reports that his wife was leaving him.

    The political atmosphere has been volatile since last year's arrest of opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema who was in custody for four months after his convoy failed to make way for President Lungu’s motorcade last year.

    Treason charges against Mr Hichilema were subsequently dropped.

  20. Where's Bill Gates' $1.6bn?

    Bill Gates

    Microsoft founder Bill Gates revealed yesterday that his foundation has spent $1.6bn (£1.14bn) in Nigeria, reports Nigeria's Vanguard newspaper.

    The newspaper added that, on a visit to the capital Abuja, Mr Gates criticised politicians, saying the economic strategy does not reflect people's needs.

    Kaduna state Governor, Nasir el-Rufai refuted Bill Gates' complaint, reports Vanguard.

    He said the federal plan was fine and the problem was states needed to follow suit.

    But he did concede that there are serious problems in the health system:

    Quote Message: The disease burden of the country is largely at the primary healthcare level and this primary healthcare system is broken completely. We need to rebuild it."

    This comment came after Mr Gates pointed out that Nigeria has one of the worst maternal death rates in the world.

    How Africa reports that Mr Gates is due to attend Aliko Dangote's daughter's wedding today.

    So that's the man who was once the world's richest man visiting the man who is currently Africa's richest man.