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Live Reporting

Emmanuel Onyango, Basillioh Mutahi and Dickens Olewe

All times stated are UK

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  1. Senegal opposition leader in court over rape charges

    BBC World Service

    A demonstrator holds a Senegal national flag during a protest in Dakar last week
    Image caption: A demonstrator holds a Senegal national flag during a protest in Dakar last week

    Senegal's detained opposition leader, Ousmane Sonko, has appeared in court in the capital Dakar, on rape charges that his supporters say are politically motivated.

    Demonstrators scuffled with security forces at the courthouse as Mr Sonko - who was arrested on Wednesday for disturbing public order - was led into the building.

    Police have deployed armoured cars in the city in the wake of several days of clashes in which five people were killed.

    Mr Sonko is popular among young Senegalese, and an opposition collective known as the Movement for the Defence of Democracy has called for three days of mass protests.

    The UN, foreign embassies and Senegal's neighbours have appealed for all sides to show restraint, schools in the capital have been ordered to close for a week.

  2. Algeria's 'anti-terror law' criticised

    Ahmed Rouaba

    BBC News

    Algerians protesting

    A draft Algerian law that proposes stripping citizenship from people who "commit acts deemed to harm the state’s interests, the national unity or joins a terrorist organisation" has been widely criticised and ridiculed.

    The government has not said why the proposals, which if adopted would make some Algerians stateless, are necessary.

    President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has been facing mounting pressure from Algerians at home and abroad who are dissatisfied by his performance.

    Social media users have called the draft law an "attempt to silence" the diaspora calling for change and supporting the popular protests in the country.

    One user called Akram Belkaid tweeted: "Unable to control the diaspora as it used to in the 1970s, the Algerian government is planning to remove citizenship of those they consider as the enemy of the nation. Making things better by making them worse."

    Former cabinet minister Abdelaziz Rehabi described the draft law as "useless and a threat to the stability of the country".

    Read more:

  3. Tanzania 'investigating theft of Eucharist cup'

    A priest holds the ciborium as he prepares to take part in a service.
    Image caption: Police are still investigating how the cup disappeared from the church

    Suspected thieves in Tanzania stole silverware used to store sacramental bread (Eucharist) from a Catholic church, local newspaper Mwananchi reports.

    The theft of the cup known as ciborium, worth $2,150 (£1,553), happened last Sunday at Mkoka Catholic parish in the capital Dodoma.

    Police are still investigating how the cup disappeared from the church premises. Nothing else was stolen from the church.

    No person has been arrested so far, the paper reported, quoting the head of the security team in the region.

  4. At least 20 killed in Equatorial Guinea blasts

    BBC World Service

    People carry a body in a sheet following explosions at a military base in Bata, Equatorial Guinea March.
    Image caption: Hospitals have been overwhelmed by the number of patients admitted

    At least 20 people are now known to have been killed and more than 600 others injured in a series of explosions at a military camp in Equatorial Guinea on Sunday.

    President Teodoro Obiang Nguema has blamed the blasts in the city of Bata on stubble burning by farmers and negligence in the storage of explosives.

    The blasts flattened homes and tore the roofs off buildings. Debris was strewn across a wide area.

    The health ministry in the oil rich Central African country said hospitals had been overwhelmed. It urged people to donate blood and asked off duty doctors to help.

  5. Kenya Westgate attack hero 'backed for senate seat'

    Abdul Haji
    Image caption: Abdul Haji rescues a child during the Westgate mall attack in September 2013

    Businessman Abdul Haji, famous for combating militants who attacked the Westgate mall in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, in September 2013, has been endorsed to succeed his late father Yusuf Haji as Garissa senator, the Standard newspaper reports quoting a family statement.

    During the attack, Mr Haji went into the mall in search of his brother while armed only with a pistol that his father had taught him to hunt with as a child.

    Together with a small group of plain-clothes policemen, he helped rescue dozens of people from the mall.

    Abdul Haji

    His family has now fronted the second-born son to finish his father’s second-term in the Senate, the newspaper reports.

    Senator Haji died last month in Nairobi and a by-election is scheduled for May.

    Read more:

  6. What's stopping women leading Africa?

    Alan Kasujja

    BBC Africa Daily

    Anne Waiguru, a prominent Kenyan politician

    How do you get more women in charge so that one day they could be leading the continent?

    There are, of course, examples of women in charge and only recently we heard that Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, Nigeria’s former finance minister, had become head of the World Trade Organisation.

    Not only is she the first woman but she’s also the first African to get the job.

    You might say though she’s a rare example so, is it time for more affirmative action?

    Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was the first democratically elected President of Africa and led Liberia for 12 years.

    She set up the Amujae initiative last year to help mentor women into positions of public leadership in Africa.

    One year on Alan Kasujja has been speaking to two women who help inspire others. They spoke of how they had to overcome many obstacles on the path to their careers.

    Anne Waiguru, a prominent Kenyan politician, said the insults women face are personal and focus on you as a woman; the way you dress, and your body size and that "they also draw in your family".

    Telia Urey, a successful Liberian entrepreneur, said she had faced some of the worst attacks during her short political career, when she ran in a by-election in 2019.

    It's an election which she describes as being marked "as one of the most violent campaigns in recent Liberian history" where she suffered both physically and verbally.

    Telia said with her achievements however, she wants to be an example to all "the daughters of Africa".

    You can hear their story on today's episode of the Africa Daily podcast.

    Subscribe to the show on BBC Sounds or wherever you get your podcasts.

  7. Niger's Issoufou wins African leadership prize

    President Mahamadou Issoufou

    Niger's President Mahamadou Issoufou has been announced the 2020 winner of the $5m (£3.6m) Ibrahim prize for African leadership.

    Mr Issoufou has served two five-year terms as president from 2011 to 2020. He is set to be succeeded by former interior minister, Mohamed Bazoum, who won the presidential election last month.

    The prize committee praised the Nigerien president's leadership after inheriting one of the world’s poorest economies.

    It said he "fostered economic growth, shown unwavering commitment to regional stability and to the constitution, and championed African democracy."

    Mr Issoufou is the sixth recipient of the Ibrahim Prize.

    He has tweeted that the prize honours all Nigerien people.

    "I consider this award an encouragement to continue to think and act in such a way that promotes democratic values and good governance, not only in Niger, but in Africa and around the world," he added.

    View more on twitter

    Previous winners of the prize include Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia (2017), President Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia (2014), President Pedro Pires of Cabo Verde (2011), President Festus Mogae of Botswana (2008) and President Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique (2007).

  8. Senegal braces for more mass protests

    Opposition supporters of leader Ousmane Sonko clash with security forces during a protest in Dakar, Senegal, 05 March 2021
    Image caption: Ousmane Sonko's detention last week sparked days of unrest

    A new round of protests has been planned in Senegal from Monday as opposition leader, Ousmane Sonko, is expected to make a court appearance in the capital, Dakar, following his arrest last week.

    Mr Sonko is set to face questions about a rape charge, which he says is politically motivated.

    The arrest of the opposition leader sparked days of unrest. Five people, including a schoolboy, died during the demonstrations.

    It's the worst violence for years in Senegal, a stable country in a volatile region.

    Opposition supporters set fire to cars, looted shops and hurled stones at police during the anti-government protests, which have also highlighted grievances over falling living standards during the pandemic.

    Schools have been ordered shut for a week.

    More on this topic:

  9. Ghanaians fault power firm over nationwide outage

    Ghana was hit by a nationwide power outage on Sunday in "a total system shutdown", the country's electricity provider Gridco said.

    The Ghana Grid Company Limited (GRIDCo) said that at "approximately 2.10pm, a challenge in the power system led to a total system shutdown. This led to an interruption in power supply to all parts of the country," the company said in a statement.

    It added: "GRIDCo is also working to ascertain the reasons behind the total system shutdown."

    The power outage drew criticism from Ghanaians online.

    Gary Al-Smith said on Twitter: "Basically, they don't know why the lights are off and working to solve it."

    View more on twitter

    Johnnie Hughes also tweeted his criticism. "Yes, we are Ghanaians. Special people by all means. In the past, when the lights went off, we blamed the President of the day. This time we know better... all eyes on GRIDCO and ECG, because the President of the day doesn't operate lights."

    View more on twitter
  10. Six killed in Burkina Faso attack by militants

    A soldier from the French Army monitors a rural area during the Bourgou IV operation in northern Burkina Faso
    Image caption: Volunteers have been helping the army fight militants in the northern region

    Six people including civilians were killed when security forces in northern Burkina Faso were ambushed by militants.

    A soldier and five civilians from the Volunteers for the Defence of the Fatherland (VDP) were killed in the attack.

    "The Kourao VDP were patrolling the area and were targeted by armed individuals. A unit went to their aid and came under heavy fire," the AFP news agency quoted a security source as saying on Sunday.

    The civilian volunteers are part of a network that helps the army in fighting militant groups operating in Burkina Faso.

    The VDP was formed more than a year ago to bolster efforts by vigilante groups operating in the volatile northern and eastern regions.

  11. Mozambique set to begin mass Covid vaccination drive

    Jose Tembe

    BBC News, Maputo

    Mozambique will on Monday begin a countrywide vaccination campaign against Covid-19.

    Health workers will be the first to be vaccinated because of their “high exposure to infection” during work.

    The Ministry of Health says it has distributed 121,530 vaccine doses to the provinces, out of the 200,000 doses that the country received from China last month.

    Mozambique has so far confirmed 62,520 coronavirus cases, with 693 deaths and 46,421 recoveries.

    The country expects to receive an additional 484,000 vaccine doses on Monday. These include 384,000 from the Covax initiative and 100,000 of the Covishield vaccine donated by India.

  12. Equatorial Guinea appeals for help after huge blasts

    Will Ross

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    People search through rubble following explosions at a military base in Bata, Equatorial Guinea
    Image caption: People looking for survivors in the rubble and lifting up debris from buildings

    Officials in Equatorial Guinea have appealed for international help following a series of explosions that left at least 15 people dead and 500 injured.

    The cause of the blasts has been put down to an accident at a military base.

    In a statement read out on national television, President Teodoro Obiang Nguema said the explosions had been caused by the negligence of the team in charge of storing dynamite inside the military base.

    That put an end to the hours of speculation over what exactly had happened.

    It’s not surprising that the health services were quickly overwhelmed – these were extremely powerful explosions that flattened homes and tore the roofs off buildings.

    Videos from the scene showed injured people staggering through clouds of smoke to reach safety.

    What’s not clear is how many people were trapped under the rubble.

  13. Boat with tonnes of oil runs aground in Mauritius

    Yasine Mohabuth

    Port Louis, Mauritius

    The LURONGYUANYU 588
    Image caption: The crew of the vessel has been rescued

    A Chinese-flagged fishing boat ran aground on a coral reef in Mauritius, about 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) from the capital, Port Louis.

    The vessel, LURONGYUANYU 588, got stuck in Pointe aux Sables a few nautical miles from a public beach.

    It has 130 tonnes of diesel and five tonnes of dressing oil on board but no fish, according to the Fisheries Minister Sudheer Maudhoo.

    The boat was meant to be bunkering (the process of transferring fuel to and from a ship) and taking provisions in Port Louis.

    “The boat is not taking on water and there is no oil leak at the moment,” the minister said.

    “A contingency plan in case of an oil spill in the port of Port Louis has been deployed."

    The boat's 16 crew members were rescued on Sunday evening. They included 14 Chinese nationals, one Indonesian sailor and one Filipino.

    The Mauritius National Coast Guard said there was a distress call from the fishing boat. The stormy sea made the rescue operation difficult and a police helicopter was called for backup.

    The rescued sailors have been transferred to the police headquarters and will be placed under quarantine in adherence to Covid-19 health measures.

    The incident comes eight months after Japanese bulk carrier, MV Wakashio, leaked hundreds of tonnes of fuel oil off the Mauritius coast, after it also ran aground a coral reef.

    Mauritius is home to world-renowned coral reefs, and popular with tourists.

  14. Yemen fire kills dozens in African migrant centre

    Paul Adams

    BBC diplomatic correspondent

    A fire at a overcrowded migrant detention centre in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, that houses migrants mostly from Ethiopia, may have killed as many as 30 people and injured 170 others, officials with the UN Migration Agency (IOM) say.

    The fire came as renewed Saudi airstrikes hit the city and the Houthis mounted a missile and drone attack on oil installations in Saudi Arabia.

    Conditions at the detention facility were said to be squalid even before this devastating fire.

    Migrants and guards are reported to be among the dead.

    IOM's Carmela Godeu said in tweet that her staff were offering emergency care to more than 170 injured people, of whom at least 90 were in serious condition.

    View more on twitter

    It’s not known what caused the fire, but a Saudi airstrike is known to have damaged buildings nearby.

    In a statement, the Houthi authorities said they held the IOM and the UN fully responsible, for failing to house migrants and not helping to deport them. Neither function is part of the organisation’s mandate.

    Despite Yemen’s endless war, tens of thousands of migrants – mostly from the Horn of Africa – try and pass through the country every year, hoping to find work in neighbouring Saudi Arabia.

    But the war has closed the borders and the migrants are stuck in a country torn apart by conflict, hunger and disease.

  15. Monday's wise words

    Our African proverb of the day:

    Quote Message: If a blind man says: “I will stone you”, take care - he has stepped on a stone. from An Nsenga proverb sent by Lewis Mumba in Petauke, Zambia.
    An Nsenga proverb sent by Lewis Mumba in Petauke, Zambia.
    A drawing of a hand holding a stone

    Click here to send us your African proverbs.