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Live Reporting

By Emmanuel Onyango, Clare Spencer and Evelyne Musambi

All times stated are UK

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  1. 'Four cheetah cubs smuggled out of Ethiopia every month'

    Desta Gebremedhin

    BBC News Tigrinya

    A cheetah
    Image caption: Illegal trade is a threat to cheetahs

    At least four cheetah cubs are smuggled out of Ethiopia every month, according to Ethiopia's Wildlife Conservation Authority (WCA).

    WCA director Daniel Pawlos said locals were financially lured into capturing the cubs.

    They are paid 10,000 to 15,000 Ethiopian birr ($310 to $466; £230 to £355) for each cub.

    The cubs are first smuggled to Hargeisa, the capital of the self-declared republic of Somaliland, and then trafficked to Saudi Arabia and the UAE through Yemen, according to Mr Pawlos.

    He said that the cubs were sold on the black market for more than $10,000 (£7,600) to rich people who want to keep them as exotic pets and as a status symbol.

    Mr Pawlos added that cubs are also being smuggled and illegally traded.

    "Last August, an Ethiopian man was arrested in Somaliland for trafficking a lion cub. We managed to get back the cub to Ethiopia and placed it in our rescue centre," said Mr Pawlos.

    Last week, security forces in Saudi Arabia arrested a number of people accused of trying to smuggle cheetahs into the country.

    Conservationists say many of the animals die en-route, and warn that the illegal trade is threatening to wipe out the cheetah populations in countries like Somalia and Ethiopia.

  2. Nile mega dam to be filled 'within seven years'

    Ethiopian ministers have said the country will fill up the Grand Renaissance Dam over a period of "between four to seven years" despite Egypt's push for a longer span, the state-linked Fana Broadcasting Corporate (FBC) reports.

    Foreign Minister Gedu Andargachew and Water Minister Seleshi Bekele also told journalists at the Ethiopian embassy in Washington that the initial deal announced on Wednesday "will not restrict its [Ethiopia's] rights to build other dams in the country".

    The preliminary agreement, brokered by US treasury secretary and the World Bank president, indicated that Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan had agreed the mega dam on the River Nile should be filled in stages during the rainy season.

    No time period was specified in the agreement.

    Ethiopia had wanted the dam to be filled within six years but Egypt has maintained that a longer period - of between 10 and 21 years - would be better so that the water flow is not drastically reduced.

    The Ethiopian ministers are quoted by FBC as saying that the filling process will start by the end of this year.

    View more on twitter
  3. Jailed Ugandan academic Stella Nyanzi wins PEN prize

    Stella Nyanzi
    Image caption: Stella Nyanzi is serving an 18-month prison sentence

    Ugandan academic, writer and feminist activist Stella Nyanzi has won the Oxfam Novib/PEN International Award for Freedom of Expression 2020.

    Ms Nyanzi is a controversial academic, who campaigns on a variety of issues, from sanitary pads for schoolgirls to gay rights.

    In a conservative society, where homosexual acts are outlawed, Ms Nyanzi is a divisive figure.

    She was sentenced to 18 years in prison in August last year for "cyber harassment" after she published a poem on Facebook criticising President Yoweri Museveni.

    She said she wished Mr Museveni, 74, had been burned up by the "acidic pus" in his late mother's birth canal.

    "Stella Nyanzi has been deemed a criminal by the Ugandan authorities because she has criticised those at the highest echelons of power; though her words might be colourful and shocking to some", Jennifer Clement, PEN International president said in a statement released on Friday.

    "At PEN we believe unshakeably in the need for writers to be able to criticise, parody, and mock at the highest levels. This award recognises the work she has done for women, civil society, and in the defense of free expression."

  4. Imam who married a man charged

    A Ugandan Imam who married man dressed as a woman has been arrested and charged.

    Sheikh Mohammed Mutumba was charged with having carnal knowledge with a person against the order of nature, according to Daily Monitor newspaper.

    His charge was read out at a magistrate court in Kayunga district in central Uganda.

    The Imam was charged alongside his bride Richard Tumushabe, also known as Swabullah Nabukeera, according to the newspaper

    Sheikh Mutumba has been remanded at Ntenjeru prison.

    Sheikh Mutumba had earlier on confided in a colleague after his wedding that his new wife had refused to have sex claiming to be menstruating.

    He had been reported to have been devastated and gone missing after it was discovered that his newly wed was a man.

    The discovery was made during a body search after Tumushabe was accused by their neighbours of stealing:

    View more on twitter
  5. Health leaders to meet over fake drugs crisis

    Health leaders from seven African countries are meeting on Friday in Togo's capital Lomé to sign an agreement criminalising trafficking in fake drugs.

    Tens of thousands of people in Africa die each year because of fake and counterfeit medication.

    The representatives from Congo-Brazzaville, The Gambia, Ghana, Niger, Senegal, Togo and Uganda are hoping that laws specifically targeting fake medications will do the trick.

    Health activist Denis Bukenya from the Human Rights Research Documentation Centre in Uganda told BBC Newsday that existing laws could already be used to charge people importing fake drugs, but the penalties were too small to be a deterrent to criminals.

    Listen to his interview:

    Video content

    Video caption: Seven African countries are meeting to criminalise selling fake drugs

    And you can read more here:

    How bad is Africa’s counterfeit medicine problem?

  6. Are Uganda's poor roads really part of the country's 'tourism experience'?

    Video content

    Video caption: A Ugandan minister suggested potholes might attract visitors - do tour operators agree?

    Uganda's minister for foreign affairs has suggested that Uganda's poorest roads might be part of the "tourist experience".

    Henry Okello Oryem said that for people from affluent societies, pushing a car from a ditch might be a reason to visit the country.

    He has since clarified that his comments were light-hearted, but many people in Uganda were outraged on social media.

    Boniface Byamukama is a game driver who travels all over the country.

    "In the national parks the roads are not in good condition.. a distance of 100km (62 miles) you cover in three or four hours… it’s a process,” he told the BBC's Newsday and suggested some high-end tourists would be put off coming to Uganda because of the roads.

  7. Burundi journalist arrested after embezzlement story

    Samba Cyuzuzo

    BBC News Great Lakes

    A Burundian radio journalist, who reported on misuse of public funds in the country. has been arrested.

    Blaise Pascal Kararumiye was arrested on Thursday, his employer Radio Isanganiro told the BBC.

    The authorities have not disclosed the charges against the journalist and he was interrogated without a lawyer, station director Sylvere Ntakarutimana added.

    Radio is the main source of information for many Burundians. Most privately-owned stations were shut after a 2015 coup attempt and have stayed closed, says Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

    Some journalists have fled the country.

    In October 2019, four journalists of the privately-owned newspaper Iwacu were arrested while interviewing residents in the north-western Bubanza province following an attack by a rebel group. They remain in police custody.

  8. Lesotho Prime Minister Thabane 'to resign'

    Lesotho Prime Minister Thomas Thabane
    Image caption: Thomas Thabane won early elections in 2017 after Pakalitha Mosisili lost a vote of no-confidence.

    Lesotho Prime Minister Thomas Thabane's party has announced to his party that he will step down, the AFP news agency reports.

    A spokesperson for the ruling party All Basotho Convention (ABC) said Mr Thabane will officially announce his resignation to the cabinet on Tuesday.

    No reason has been given for Mr Thabane's decision, although the party had last week asked him to resign after court documents made him a person of interest in the 2017 murder of his estranged wife Lipolelo Thabane.

    The prime minister has not yet commented to the allegations.

    His current wife Maesaiah Thabane is wanted by police for questioning over the murder.

    An arrest warrant has been issued for the first lady but she has gone missing.

    The women were involved in a legal battle over who should be first lady. The courts ruled in favour of Lipolelo Thabane, who was gunned down two days to her husband's inauguration.

  9. Kenyan top athlete flees anti-doping testers

    Will Ross

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    Runners take part in a training session in Kapsabet
    Image caption: Around around 60 Kenyan athletes have been sanctioned for anti-doping violations over the last five years

    A top Kenyan athlete has run away from a training camp in order to evade anti-doping officials who had come to do a test.

    The case highlights the challenge the authorities face cleaning up the sport.

    The anti-doping team turned up unannounced at the training camp in Kapsabet in the west of Kenya.

    After realising who the visitors were, the athlete jumped through a window and vaulted over a fence - presumably faster than any officials could have managed if they'd tried.

    Barnaba Korir of Athletics Kenya confirmed the incident but did not give the runner's name.

    He or she is still likely to be punished.

    Over the last five years around 60 Kenyan athletes have been sanctioned for anti-doping violations.

    Mr Korir said athletes who know they are guilty feel they have no choice than fleeing from the testers.

    Over the last week two athletes including Alfred Kipketer - the world under-20, 800 metre champion - have been suspended for doping violations.

  10. Six countries condemn changing CFA franc's name to eco

    CFA Franc
    Image caption: The CFA franc is backed by France

    Five English-speaking West African countries and Guinea have criticised a move to change the name of the regional currency from CFA franc to the eco.

    The West African Economic and Monetary Union, made up of eight former French colonies and former Portuguese colony Guinea Bissau, said in December that it was renaming the CFA franc.

    Nigeria, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Liberia and Gambia criticised the move at the end of the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) meeting on Thursday.

    They said they "noted with concern" the announcement on 21 December "to unilaterally rename" the CFA franc by 2020, reports AFP news agency.

    They asked for an extraordinary summit of leaders of Ecowas - the West African regional group made of 15 nations - to discuss the matter, reports Bloomberg news.

    The renaming of CFA franc is not "in line with the decisions of the authority of heads of state and government of Ecowas for the adoption of the 'eco' as the name of an independent single currency,” Bloomberg news quotes the group as saying.

    Last year Ecowas, which includes the huge economy of Nigeria, also set the goal of creating a single currency, and also aimed to call it the eco, reports AFP.

  11. Libya's Haftar in Greece ahead of ceasefire talks

    BBC World Service

    Greek Foreign Affairs Minister Nikos Dendias (L) in a meeting with  Khalifa Haftar (second right)
    Image caption: General Haftar has agreed to abide by a ceasefire with his opponents

    The Libyan military strongman, Khalifa Haftar, has met the Greek Foreign Minister, Nikos Dendias, in Athens on his way to a conference in Berlin this weekend aimed at ending the Libyan civil war.

    Reports from Greece say General Haftar is due to hold further talks including with the Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, on Friday - although the agenda has not been revealed.

    Greece has strongly opposed an agreement struck recently between Turkey and Libya's UN-backed government - General Haftar's rival.

    The agreement divides the Mediterranean Sea between the Libyan and Turkish coasts, and it has implications for regional oil exploration.

    Earlier, after meeting General Haftar in his stronghold, Benghazi, the German Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas, said the commander had agreed to abide by a ceasefire with his government opponents.

    He's also said he'll attend peace talks on Sunday in Berlin.

    Video content

    Video caption: What's behind the fight for Libya?
  12. 'I caught HIV on a one-night stand and now I want to warn you'

    Naomi Ireri
    Image caption: Naomi Ireri found out that she had been infected while pregnant with her first child

    A Kenyan woman who was infected with HIV is speaking out about the risks of getting infected after she became HIV-positive following a one-night stand.

    Naomi Ireri, 41, a campaigner who warns youths against rushing into sex, told BBC Swahili how she had only known the man for a week before they had sex.

    Then he stopped responding to her calls.

    She later met another man and it was while pregnant with his child that she found out about her infection.

    "When I went to do blood tests, the results took longer than I had been told and so I started questioning why my results were taking that long," she told the BBC.

    She was called by the medics and asked if she had ever been tested before and that was when they told her she had tested positive.

    Ms Ireri said she first thought about the father of her child and asked him to accompany her for another test. His results were negative.

    "I wondered how comes I was positive and he was negative and that was when I remembered there was a man I had a one-night stand with," she said.

    The father of Ms Ireri's child ended their relationship but vowed to take care of their child who was yet to be born at the time.

  13. At least 15 killed in Mali night attack

    BBC World Service

    A map of Mali showing the Mopti region

    There are reports from central Mali that at least 15 people have been killed in an overnight attack on a Fulani village.

    A security official told AFP news agency that some of the victims had their throats slit during the attack on Sinda village near the town of Douentza in the Mopti region of central Mali.

    A local official said Dozo traditional hunters carried out the killings.

    Ethnic violence in the area has grown worse following the proliferation of Islamist armed groups.

    Correspondents say some communities perceive the Fulani as being close to the jihadists as they recruit from their villages.

    More than 150 Fulani died in an attack last March which was blamed on a militia from the Dogon ethnic group.

  14. Friday's wise words

    Our proverb of the day:

    Quote Message: It is the tasty soup that draws the table closer." from An Ewe proverb sent by Afari Ishmael, Accra, Ghana
    An Ewe proverb sent by Afari Ishmael, Accra, Ghana
    An illustration of a bowl of soup

    Click here to send in your African proverbs.

  15. Video content

    Video caption: Libya conflict: why are many countries fighting over there?

    The oil-rich North African country has been beset by a civil war for nearly a decade, and there are so many countries involved.

  16. Video content

    Video caption: Zimbabwean swimmer breaking Kirsty Coventry's records

    Fifteen-year-old Donata Katai is breaking the age records of Africa's most decorated Olympian.

  17. Video content

    Video caption: People power helps Swansea charity worker win asylum fight

    Thousands signed a petition to stop charity worker Otis Bolamu being deported in December 2018.