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Live Reporting

By Emmanuel Onyango, Evelyne Musambi and Natasha Booty

All times stated are UK

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  1. South Africa to repatriate citizens from virus epicentre

    Nomsa Maseko

    BBC News, Johannesburg

    South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa
    Image caption: President Ramaphosa's order follows requests from families

    South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa has ordered the repatriation of some 132 South Africans living in China's Wuhan city, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak

    The decision was announced on Thursday following a cabinet meeting and after requests from families of South Africans living in the city, the president's office said.

    No timeframe for the repatriation was given but the government said the 132 citizens - out of a total of 199 South Africans living there - have put in requests to be returned home.

    None of them has been diagnosed with the virus or exhibited any symptom of the disease, but they will be quarantined for 21 days upon arrival in South Africa as a "precautionary measure", the president's office announced in a statement.

    "Government has been in constant communication with the families of all affected individuals and relevant departments have made the necessary arrangements to receive them," it added.

    Health and military personnel will be deployed to provide assistance during the repatriation and quarantine processes.

    The country's national carrier, South African Airlines, had already cancelled direct flights to China.

    Nigeria on Thursday became the first sub-Saharan country to report a confirmed case of coronavirus. The patient is an Italian citizen who works in Nigeria and flew into the commercial capital Lagos from Milan on 25 February.

  2. Kenya expands coronavirus guidance amid backlash

    Rhoda Odhiambo

    BBC Health, Nairobi

    The Kenyan government has said it will monitor passengers who arrive from China after it was criticised for asking them to self-isolate for 14 days.

    A health ministry spokesman Rashid Aman said self-isolation was one of the recommendations by the World Health Organization, but added that health workers will keep a close eye on recent arrivals through regular phone calls and visits.

    Criticism has increased after the Kenyan government allowed the first direct flight from China in two weeks.

    The 239 passengers who landed on that China Southern Airlines flight at Nairobi's main airport on Wednesday have been asked to self-isolate for 14 days.

    Ethiopian and China Southern Airlines are the only carriers operating flights between Kenya and China.

    Kenyan newspaper headlines expressed outrage at the ministers for security, foreign affairs, transport and health for, they say, risking the lives of millions of Kenyans:

    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
  3. Nigeria confirms first case of coronavirus

    Mayeni Jones

    BBC News, Lagos

    Screening at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos
    Image caption: Travellers are screened on arrival as a precaution

    The first case of the coronavirus in sub-Saharan Africa has been reported in Nigeria.

    The patient is an Italian citizen who works in Nigeria and flew into the commercial capital Lagos from Milan on 25 February.

    Authorities say he is stable with no serious symptoms and is being treated at a hospital in Lagos.

    The Nigerian government said it had prepared for this eventuality and had activated its national emergency operations centre to implement control measures.

    The authorities have started identifying all those who may have come into contact with the patient since his return to Nigeria.

    More than 80,000 people are now known to be infected in 40 countries. More than 60 people are known to have died outside China, where the outbreak began. However, the number of infections reported within mainland China continues to fall.

    Elsewhere on the African continent, Algeria and Egypt have also confirmed cases of the disease.

    Read more:

  4. Friday's wise words

    Our proverb of the day:

    Quote Message: Poverty does not have roots." from A Kikuyu proverb sent by Moses Maina in Kenya, and Rose Maina in the US.
    A Kikuyu proverb sent by Moses Maina in Kenya, and Rose Maina in the US.
    A drawing of hands holding a bowl

    Click here and scroll to the bottom to send in your African proverbs.

  5. Scroll down for Thursday's stories

    We'll be back on Friday

    That's all from the BBC Africa Live team for now. There will be an automated feed until Friday morning.

    You can also keep up-to-date with what's happening across the continent by listening to the Africa Today podcast or visiting the BBC News website.

    A reminder of our wise words of the day:

    Quote Message: The cry of the dove is a speech that only the discerning can understand." from A Hausa proverb sent by Shamsuddeen Saminu and Auwalu Musa Solo, both from Kano, Nigeria
    A Hausa proverb sent by Shamsuddeen Saminu and Auwalu Musa Solo, both from Kano, Nigeria

    Click here to send in your African proverbs.

    And we leave you with this photo by Stephen Tayo posted on Instagram by the art fair Art X Lagos showing female sapeurs, who are known for dressing like dandies, in Congo-Brazzaville:

    View more on instagram
  6. Malawi legalises growing of cannabis

    Mary Harper

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    Cannabis being grown in Lesotho
    Image caption: Other southern African countries have relaxed rules on growing the drug

    Malawi has become the latest southern African country to legalise the growing, selling and exporting of cannabis.

    Recreational smokers consider, "Malawi Gold", as they call it, to be one of the finest forms of the drug.

    But the authorities have stopped short of legalising it for personal use.

    It will be used to make medicines and hemp fibres, which are used to make clothes, biofuel, paper and other products.

    Cannabis sales could supplement the tobacco trade, upon which Malawi is highly dependent.

    Other southern African countries, including Zambia, Lesotho and Zimbabwe, have relaxed rules on growing the plant.

    But South Africa is the only one to decriminalise it for personal use.

  7. Beetles line Sudan streets for German leader

    Mohanad Hashim

    BBC Focus on Africa

    Beetles of all colours have lined the streets of Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, to welcome Germany’s president to the country.

    Frank-Walter Steinmeier is the first high-level world leader to visit Sudan since long-time President Omar al-Bashir was ousted last year.

    The country’s Volkswagen Beetle Club organised the display in his honour - and the German president's name has been trending on social media.

    One person tweeted photos of the German-made vehicles:

    View more on twitter

    And you can watch him stopping his motorcade to take photos with VW Beetle fans:

    View more on twitter

    Popular singer Mohamad al-Amin has also re-released one of his songs in German to celebrate the visit.

    Many Sudanese hope investment from abroad will solve the country’s severe economic crisis after years of sanctions and international isolation.

  8. Somalis filmed 'saving whale shark'

    A Somali journalist working for China Global Television Network has tweeted a video of people in Garacad, north-eastern Somalia, trying to save a spotted whale shark.

    He quotes officials as saying it sustained injuries from foreign fishing trawlers operating illegally along the country’s coast:

    View more on twitter
  9. Liberian apology over failure to probe 'beating'

    Jonathan Paye-Layleh

    BBC News, Monrovia

    Zenu Miller
    Image caption: Zenu Miller was a popular radio talk show host

    Liberia’s information minister has apologised for the government’s failure to investigate the alleged beating of an investigative journalist that some suspect led to his death.

    Zenu Miller died 12 days ago - three weeks after he said he was assaulted by presidential security guards.

    The beating allegedly took place at a stadium where he had gone to do the commentary for a football match.

    The journalist hosted discussion shows on national issues under the rule of President George Weah, who was at the stadium to watch the game.

    Information Minister Eugene Nagbe made the apology at the headquarters of the local journalists’ association in the capital, Monrovia, when he went to sign the book of condolence in memory of the popular radio talk-show host.

    He did not say whether the government still intended to investigate the guards accused of taking part in the assault.

    Miller's family said a medical report attributed his death to high blood pressure.

  10. Brazilian jailed in Mozambique for drug trafficking

    Jose Tembe

    BBC News, Maputo

    A 24-year-old Brazilian woman has been sentenced to 17 years in prison in Mozambique for drug trafficking.

    Ariane Monteiro Aragão was detained on 26 June 2019 at Maputo International Airport in possession of 5.4kg (about 11lb) of cocaine. She had travelled from Brazil via Ethiopia.

    On the day of her detention, Aragão said she had come to Mozambique as a tourist and knew nothing about the drugs.

    But she admitted during her trial at a court in the capital, Maputo, that she was recruited in Brazil to carry the drugs to sell in Mozambique in exchange for about $2,500 (£1,940).

    During her confession she also said that she was a drug user and apologised.

    This did little to mitigate the length of her sentence.

    Judge Rui Dauane said:

    Quote Message: The accused is a person who did not make things difficult. During the trial, she admitted the facts.
    Quote Message: But she perfectly knew about the ills caused by drugs. Furthermore, she knew that carrying and possessing the drug was illicit.
    Quote Message: We regard the sentence of 17 years in prison as just."
    Quote Message: However, we urge that during the period of incarceration, she must keep away from this kind of substances.”

    Aragão is the second foreign citizen to be found guilty in Mozambique of trafficking cocaine this month.

    A 66-year-old US citizen was sentenced to 18 years last week.

    Last year, the UN office fighting drugs warned that Mozambique had become a corridor for high volumes of illicit substances.

  11. The Ethiopians returning home to start businesses

    An Ethiopia travel campaign poster at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport

    Need something to read on your commute home?

    Check out this piece about the hundreds of Ethiopians returning to the country, following reforms brought in by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

    Mr Abiy's reforms include changing the law to enable more Ethiopians living abroad to come back and help rebuild the economy.

    For years, Ethiopia's economy has been tightly controlled by the state and closed to many international investors.

    About two million Ethiopians live in the diaspora, the government estimates.

    Abiy Bister owns an Ethiopian restaurant in Washington DC. He hasn't seen his homeland in almost two decades, but he's now considering returning to Ethiopia to start a business there.

  12. Somali town ‘expels mating donkeys’

    Ibrahim Aydid

    BBC Monitoring

    A donkey in East Africa
    Image caption: Donkeys play an important part in Somali life

    Somali police are reportedly removing donkeys that roam free in the central town of Bur Salah because of their unsociable behaviour.

    In particular it is the sight of donkeys mating in public that has been upsetting citizens, a police official has told local media.

    He said there were about 300 of these donkeys in the town in Somalia's Mudug region. Donkeys that were owned by residents would not be expelled.

    “We can’t sleep at the night, people cannot enter the mosque, they defecate on the roads and in business places,” the official, thought to be the area police commissioner, complained in a video being shared by social media users.

    "They even mate in public," he said.

    Donkeys play a key part in the life of many Somalis - being used to fetch water, firewood and transport luggage.

  13. French anger over Mali's 'tattooed soldiers' slur

    BBC World Service

    A French soldier with tattooed arms in Bamako, Mali - 2013
    Image caption: French soldiers first deployed to Mali in 2013 to help fight jihadists

    France's defence minister has hit out at accusations of poor behaviour by some French troops stationed in Mali.

    Florence Parly said allegations made by Mali's ambassador in the French senate on Wednesday were false and unacceptable.

    Toumani Djime Diallo had complained about the behaviour of French Foreign Legion soldiers in the capital, Bamako.

    "At times you see them in the red-light districts of Bamako, their bodies completely covered in tattoos, behaving in a way that does not correspond to the [French] army we know," France's national broadcaster quoted him as saying.

    "It makes people afraid, it makes tongues wag."

    Ms Parly said such accusations were themselves indecent, when considered in the light of France's commitment to fight militant groups in the Sahel.

    France recently announced it was sending an extra 600 troops to the region.

    It will then have more than 5,000 soldiers across Mali and four other countries in the Sahel.

  14. Family exhumes man's body 'to pack in his cigarettes'

    A Kenyan family has exhumed the body of a relative to honour his wish to be buried with a pack of cigarettes and his favourite sweets, private television station NTV has reported.

    The family of Kenga Kalama, who died aged 63, also went against his wishes by burying him in a coffin.

    This caused his spirit to "complain of being unable to roam freely because of the coffin", according to a relative interviewed by NTV.

    So, two months after Kalama's burial, they have reburied him in accordance with his wishes.

    As his body was lowered into the ground, his eldest child held his ear and asked for forgiveness on behalf of the family - as NTV reports in this video:

    View more on youtube
  15. AU to deploy troops to fight Sahel militants

    Mary Harper

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    An AU soldier in Somalia - 2017
    Image caption: It is unclear which countries will provide troops or who will fund the operation

    The African Union (AU) says it plans to send 3,000 troops to the Sahel, where international and regional forces are struggling to contain Islamist militants.

    The head of the AU's Peace and Security Commission, Smail Chergui, told the AFP news agency that the deployment would last for six months.

    It is unclear which countries will provide troops or who will fund the operation.

    This move is a sign of desperation.

    Thousands of regional troops, French and US soldiers, and a UN intervention force have been unable to contain a myriad of Islamist groups striking terror across the Sahel.

    Their attacks are intensifying and their reach spreading, with previously peaceful Burkina Faso hit hard in recent months.

    France is now using armed drones against the militants and recently boosted its presence in the region to more than 5,000 troops.

    But the terrain is tough, with Islamist and other armed groups able to melt into the vast stretches of semi-desert that make up the Sahel.

  16. How to say the name of Tunisia's PM without blushing

    Elyes Fakhfakh
    Image caption: Elyes Fakhfakh managed to get his cabinet approved by MPs overnight

    The surname of Tunisia’s new Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh is causing some people to trip up when trying to pronounce it.

    Do not on any account say “fak-fak”, which sounds rude in some languages, like English.

    The BBC’s correspondent in Tunis, Rana Jawad, says the “kh” sound is quite guttural, which can also be difficult for some.

    She says the best bet is to say “FaH-faK”.

    This, she says, is the closest to the correct pronunciation, without insulting anyone.

    Mr Fakhfakh’s cabinet was endorsed by parliament overnight - he and his ministers now face the daunting task of reviving the North African nation’s economy.

  17. Video content

    Video caption: The catering business started by a Ghana returnee

    A boutique catering house in Ghana was started by Fred Apaloo on his return from abroad.

  18. Rwanda rules out foul play in gospel singer's death

    BBC Great Lakes

    Rwandan musician Kizito Mihigo pictured in 2014
    Image caption: Kizito died three days after he was arrested near the border with Burundi

    Rwanda's authorities have ruled out foul play in the death of gospel singer Kizito Mihigo, who died in police custody 10 days ago.

    The national prosecuting authority said a report by the Rwandan Investigation Bureau showed he had taken his own life by hanging himself with items in his cell.

    The police officers on duty that night said no commotion was heard.

    The singer, popularly known by his first name Kizito, died three days after he was arrested near the border with Burundi.

    He had been accused of attempting to flee the country and join rebel groups fighting against the Rwandan government.

    Activists in the diaspora said Kizito had no such intention and wanted to get to Belgium where he had lived before.

    He had been banned from leaving Rwanda because of a previous conviction.

    A number of human rights organisations and foreign-based Rwandan activists have cast doubt on the official version.

    Philippe Basabose, a spokesman for 36 genocide survivors living abroad, wrote an open letter to President Paul Kagame, calling for an independent investigation.

    He told the BBC that Kizito had shown no signs of planning to take his own life, and before his arrest had spoken about getting married and starting a family.

    Five years ago, the singer was sentenced to 10 years in prison after being found guilty of planning to kill President Kagame and inciting hatred against the government. He was pardoned in 2018.

    Government critics believe he was targeted because of his music.

    In one of his songs he had suggested that everyone killed during the 1994 genocide should be remembered, whether they were ethnic Hutus or Tutsis.

    The authorities saw this as openly challenging the official narrative that it was a genocide of the Tutsis.