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Summary

  1. The 74-year-old president can run in 2021
  2. Gambian soldiers' remains exhumed
  3. Nigeria's top judge is banned from public office
  4. Brothers of Sudan's ousted president arrested
  5. Fossils of giant mammal found in Kenya
  6. Boeing update software after Ethiopia crash
  7. Mo Salah makes the cover of Time

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

  1. Passport woes for Zimbabwe travellers

    Zimbabweans trying to get a passport or renew a passport are facing long delays that are hampering travel plans.

    The backlog is being blamed on a shortage of passport paper – previous shortages have been blamed on a lack of foreign currency needed by the authorities to import it.

    The BBC’s Shingai Nyoka in the capital, Harare, says one applicant told her that passports applied for in September are now being issued.

    An emergency passport – which can be issued for around $300 (£230) – is now only being granted with caveats.

    One person told the BBC they managed to get one in three days, but he had to provide a letter from his employer proving that the need to travel was indeed an “emergency”.

    The country adopted the US dollar in 2009 because of hyperinflation, but has suffered from hard currency shortages.

    The introduction several years ago of bond notes, a parallel currency only accepted in Zimbabwe, caused more inflation as it was officially pegged to the US dollar.

    Since February, these bond notes and any electronic funds have been re-branded RTGS dollars - allowed to float to try and temper a flourishing currency black market.

    But this does not yet seem to have resolved Zimbabwe’s economic woes.

    People in South Africa crossing over to the Zimbabwe border - 2018
    Image caption: Many people bring in goods to Zimbabwe from South Africa

    It is small-time cross-border traders who are being particularly affected by passport shortages, including Cecilia Majanyuke, who told Zimbabwe’s Daily News paper a few weeks ago that her clothing business was under threat.

    “The decision to stop issuing emergency passes or limiting them to a few emergencies is a deep cut to us,” she said.

    Killer Zivhu, the president of the Zimbabwe Cross Border Traders Association, is quoted as saying, “We are pleading with government to address the situation because these people are not demanding jobs… but are simply looking for documentation so that they [can] hustle and make a living.”

  2. Journalists protest outside Sudan's news agency

    People are sharing pictures on Twitter of journalists picketing outside the offices of Sudan's state news service, Suna.

    Channel 4 journalist Yousra Elbagir calls Suna a "key propaganda organ".

    She says that the journalists are demanding that they take over Suna.

    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
  3. Netflix commissions its first African animated series

    Netflix has commissioned its first African animated series from South Africa's Triggerfish Animation Studio, Hollywood publication Variety reports.

    Zambian writer Malenga Mulendema created the series after winning a Triggrfish competition to find talent from across the continent.

    The animation, Mama K's Team 4, revolves around four teenage girls who are recruited by a retired secret agent to save the world. The series is set in a futuristic African city modelled on the Zambian capital, Lusaka.

    "I want to illustrate that anyone from anywhere can be a superhero," Ms Mulendema told Variety explaining her reasons for creating a show with four African girls.

    The characters are designed by Cameroonian artist Malcolm Wopea.

    View more on instagram
  4. Rare blue diamond find unveiled in Botswana

    Botswana's state-owned Okavango Diamond Company has unveiled a rare gemstone find, AFP news agency reports.

    The 20.46 carat blue diamond is the largest one of its kind to be found in Botswana.

    The gemstone "sits in the very top bracket of all-time historical blue diamond finds", the company said in a statement quoted by AFP.

    The company has set up a website to herald the unveiling of the diamond.

    It has also produced an elaborate publicity video charting the three billion-year history of the blue diamond:

    View more on youtube

    Botswana is one of the world's largest exporters of diamonds.

    Read more on the diamond industry: Why have so many huge diamonds been found recently?

  5. Four health workers killed in Tripoli fighting - UN

    Burnt out car
    Image caption: Residents of Tripoli look at the damage from last night's rocket attack

    As we've been reporting a number of rockets struck the Libyan capital, Tripoli, overnight.

    This latest attack follows days of fighting between forces loyal to the military strongman, Khalifa Haftar, and militia groups aligned to the UN-backed government in Tripoli.

    On Tuesday, the World Health Organization said more than 170 people had been killed in the last 11 days. The organisation's head of mission there, Dr Jaffar Hussein, told the BBC the situation for civilians was "precarious":

    Quote Message: Last night there was an intense fighting and the sound of explosions were heard all over the night and that added obviously to the number of casualties.
    Quote Message: It's not that easy [for aid] because access is an issue, making sure that supplies get into the country and get across to the people who need it.
    Quote Message: And then the health workers - we have lost so far four health workers... and one doctor was injured, and we have lost eight ambulances."
  6. Bashir used to lock up opponents in Kobar

    Will Ross

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    Relatives of former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir's have told the BBC that he has been been moved to a prison in the capital Khartoum.

    Mr Bashir was picked up on Tuesday night and taken to Kobar prison.

    During his 30-year rule, he sent many of his political opponents to Kobar.

    The conditions there are shockingly different from the splendour of the presidential residence where he had been under house arrest since Thursday.

    Many Sudanese people hope that their former president will be punished for the atrocities committed on his watch.

    The generals now running the country say Mr Bashir will not be transferred to the International Criminal Court but will be tried in Sudan. The ICC accuses him of committing war crimes in Darfur, which he denies.

    If protesters calling for a return to civilian rule see concrete evidence that he is in prison, they may feel at least partly reassured that the country can move on from its oppressive past.

    Crowds of protesters in Sudan
    Image caption: Protesters have demanded the establishment of a civilian-led transitional government
  7. Uganda 'wouldn't apologise for considering Bashir asylum'

    We've been reporting that Uganda would consider an asylum application from the former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

    Reuters now has a fresh quote from Henry Okello Oryem, Uganda's state minister for foreign affairs.

    "Uganda would not be apologetic at all for considering an application by Bashir," he said.

    The former president is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged crimes committed during the Darfur conflict.

    As a signatory to the Rome Statute, which established the ICC, Uganda would be under pressure to have him transferred to the court in The Hague.

  8. Bashir 'in solitary confinement'

    The Reuters news agency has some more details about Omar al-Bashir's reported imprisonment in Sudan's capital, Khartoum.

    It quotes a source at Kobar maximum security prison as saying that Sudan's former president is being held under tight security in solitary confinement.

    The ousted leader had been held under house arrest with a heavy guard since he was overthrown last week, Reuters quotes family sources as saying.

    Read more about Omar al-Bashir

    Omar al-Bashir
    Image caption: Omar al-Bashir took power in a 1989 coup and was toppled by the military last week
  9. BreakingSudan's ex-President Bashir 'transferred to jail'

    Omar al-Bashir, Sudan's ousted president, has been transferred to prison after being arrested on Tuesday night, a BBC reporter in Khartoum has been told after talking to family sources.

  10. Bashir could be 'in prison'

    The whereabouts of Sudan's ousted President Omar al-Bashir have been a mystery since he was ousted in a military coup last week.

    The leaders of the Transitional Military Council have said he was in custody but he has not been seen in public since he was overthrown.

    Channel 4 journalist Yousra Elbagir, who has been following the story of protests in Sudan very closely, has tweeted that eyewitnesses have seen the former president in a maximum security prison.

    Reuters news agency is quoting two family sources saying that he has been transferred to prison.

    Ms Elbagir says that the prison, Kober, is "where many dissidents were detained and executed by his regime".

    View more on twitter

    A CNN journalist is also reporting the story:

    View more on twitter
  11. Ivory Coast destroys 18,000 tonnes of dangerous rice

    Valerie Bony

    Ivory Coast, BBC Afrique

    Rice being poured into a lorry

    Officials in Ivory Coast are destroying 18,000 tonnes of rice that has been declared unfit for human consumption.

    The shipment of rice, from Myanmar (also known as Burma), had been refused entry at several West African ports in recent weeks, including Lome, Conakry and Accra.

    The goods were finally unloaded in Abidjan and then tests were done, which showed there was a problem with the rice.

    It is now being taken to a landfill site.

    Rice being poured into a landfill
    Rice in the landfill
  12. 'We need to push together to move towards peace'

    Before last week's ousting of Sudan's former President Omar al-Bashir some soldiers had come out to support the protesters.

    Demonstrations, which began in December, reached a crescendo over a week ago when thousands began a sit-in outside the military headquarters in the capital, Khartoum.

    A group of top generals then overthrew Mr Bashir.

    The protesters are demanding that the military hands over to a civilian-led transitional administration.

    The BBC's Newsday programme spoke to one of the soldiers who had backed the protests:

    Video content

    Video caption: A Sudanese soldier tells us the situation in his country is critical
  13. Italy warns of growing 'terrorist' risk from Libya

    BBC World Service

    This grab obtained from a video published on the Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar's self-proclaimed Libyan National Army War Information Division's Facebook page on April 16, 2019, shows fighters riding atop an armoured vehicle waving gestures and chanting slogans while driving reportedly in a southern suburb of the capital Tripoli
    Image caption: Libya has been hit by instability since Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown and killed in 2011

    Italy's right-wing interior minister has warned that escalating violence in Libya has increased the risk of "terrorists" making their way to Italian ports on migrant boats.

    Matteo Salvini said that, following the Libyan renegade general Khalifa Haftar's assault on the capital, Tripoli, Italian ports would remain closed.

    Overnight, two people were reported killed in Libya after a number of rockets struck Tripoli.

    See earlier post for more details

  14. Sudan's junta holds talks with AU chief

    Sudanese demonstrators gather during a rally outside the army complex in the capital Khartoum on April 16, 2019
    Image caption: Protests have continued in Sudan to demand a transfer of power to a civilian administration

    A Sudanese military delegation has held its first meeting with the African Union (AU) at its headquarters in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

    Tuesday's talks with AU commission chief Moussa Faki Mahamat came after the pan-African body's peace and security council gave the junta a 15-day deadline to hand power to a civilian-led administration or face expulsion.

    The delegation, led by Lt-Gen Jalal al-Sheikh al-Tayeb, gave Mr Mahamat a written message from military ruler Lt-Gen Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman Burhan, the AU said in a statement, without divulging its content.

    The AU is currently chaired by Egypt's President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, who also took power in a coup in 2014.

  15. UK singer Sam Smith 'abruptly' ends Cape Town show

    Thousands of South African fans of British singer Sam Smith were left disappointed on Tuesday night after he was forced to stop his performance in Cape Town because of a "strain to his voice", the organisers have said.

    He abruptly left the stage about 45 minutes into his performance while singing Baby You Drive Me Crazy, South Africa's IOL news site reports.

    The singer announced his arrival in Cape Town earlier on Tuesday with a tweet, showing an apple in his mouth:

    View more on twitter

    Big Concerts said it would contact ticket-holders following the show's cancellation:

    View more on twitter
  16. Kenyans on Twitter oppose new housing fund levy

    The hashtag #ResistHousingFundLevy is trending in Kenya, following moves by the government to get all workers to contribute 1.5% of their salaries to fund President Uhuru Kenyatta's housing project. .

    Employers are also required to give an amount matching worker deductions to the housing fund.

    Mr Kenyatta hopes to provide 500,000 affordable houses for Kenyan families under his Big Four Agenda.

    Some Kenyans on Twitter have expressed their frustration over the government directive:

    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
  17. Congo boat disaster: '150 missing'

    Lake Kivu
    Image caption: Many people travel by boat on Lake Kivu

    About 150 people are missing after the boat they were travelling in sank in Lake Kivu in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo on Monday, President Felix Tshisekedi has said.

    A total of three bodies had been recovered, 33 passengers had been rescued and the "provisional toll is 150 people missing", his office quoted him as saying in a tweet in French on Tuesday night.

    The president was "very saddened" by the disaster, and was "following the situation closely in order to identify and sanction those responsible”," the tweet added.

  18. Uganda 'would consider giving Bashir asylum'

    Sudanese military personnel take measures during a demonstration demanding a civilian transition government, in front of military headquarters in Khartoum, Sudan on April 16, 2019.
    Image caption: Pro-democracy activists in Sudan are pushing the military to hand power to civilians

    Uganda would consider granting asylum to Sudan's ousted President Omar al-Bashir because of the major role he played in efforts to achieve peace in neighbouring South Sudan, Uganda's state minister for foreign affairs Henry Okello Oryem has told AFP news agency.

    "If Uganda is approached to grant asylum to Bashir it is an issue that can be considered at the highest level of our leadership," he is quoted as saying.

    The minister also urged Sudan's new military rulers "to respect the aspirations of the Sudanese people, among them [the] peaceful transfer of power to civilian rule", AFP reports.

    And here is a cartoon, published in a leading Kenyan newspaper, about the military's seizure of power in Sudan:

    View more on twitter

    Read: Why Bashir was overthrown

  19. How Facebook is being used to kill 'gangsters'

    Dickens Olewe

    BBC News

    Mwani Sparta, a known gangster in Kenya, who it is suspected was targeted in an extrajudicial killing

    A suspected death squad operating inside Kenya's police force is using Facebook to target and kill young men they believe to be gang members, residents of a poor and overcrowded area of the capital have told a public meeting.

    "I have lost two husbands in one year," a tearful young woman, balancing a toddler on her side, told the crowded town hall meeting in Nairobi's Kayole residential estate last month.

    Others came forward to the microphone to tell similar stories about losing young relatives aged between 15 and 24.

    The state prosecutor, top police officers and human rights activists, who were also at the rare gathering, listened as community leaders explain how these youngsters, suspected to be criminals, were profiled within various Facebook groups by "gangster hunters".

    Read the full story here

  20. Rockets hit Libya's capital

    This grab obtained from a video published on the Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar's self-proclaimed Libyan National Army War Information Division"s Facebook page on April 16, 2019, shows a fighter running while firing a machine gun reportedly in a southern suburb of the capital Tripoli
    Image caption: Forces loyal to renegade general Khalifa Haftar have vowed to capture Tripoli

    A number of rockets have struck the Libyan capital, Tripoli, overnight. Powerful explosions rocked the city centre and witnesses said they saw columns of smoke rising above southern districts.

    Reports say two people were killed and eight wounded.

    This latest attack follows days of fighting between forces loyal to renegade general Khalifa Haftar and militia groups aligned to the UN-backed government in Tripoli.

    On Tuesday, the World Health Organisation said more than 170 people, including at least 14 civilians, had been killed since General Haftar's assault on Tripoli began 11 days ago.

    Read: Why is Libya so lawless?