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  1. Foreign-owned shops looted in South Africa
  2. Mugabe wants black people to become 'masters of our economy'
  3. EU renews sanctions on world's oldest leader
  4. Bodies of 74 migrants washed ashore in Libya
  5. Famine 'could hit Nigeria and Somalia'
  6. Burkinabe architect to design top London attraction
  7. Email stories and comments to - Tuesday 21 February 2017

Live Reporting

By Hugo Williams and Farouk Chothia

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Scroll down for Tuesday's stories

We'll be back tomorrow

That's all from us today.   

Keep up-to-date with what's happening across the continent by listening to the Africa Today podcast or checking the BBC News website.   

A reminder of today's wise words:

A cockerel will still crow even if you hide him in a basket."

A Swahili proverb sent by Bonface Witaba, Kakamega, Kenya

Click here to send us your African proverbs.  

And we leave you with this photo of a stylish dressed pedestrian in Nairobi's Kibera slum (photo credit: Bryan Jaybee). 

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From socks to rings - Gifts for SA MPs

South Africa's main opposition party Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane (C) reacts after leaving following the South African president speech for the 2017's State Of the Nation Address (SONA) at the Parliament in Cape Town on February 9, 2017.
Mr Maimane is the first black leader of the opposition Democratic Alliance

South Africa's main opposition leader Mmusi Maimane received a gift of socks from a company, parliament's register of interest shows. 

A journalist with City Press newspaper has been looking at which gifts MPs declared to ensure they were not caught up in conflicts of interest:

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R691 is about $50 (£40). 

The Tourism Minister got perfume:

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There were diamonds for the State Security Minister:

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And MPs have also been provided with a steady supply of whisky, the journalist adds:

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Death toll in migrant boat disaster rises

Rescue workers put bodies in bags on the beach
Body bags line the shore off the coast of Libya

The bodies of 87 African migrants have washed ashore in the Libyan city of Zawiya, according to The Libyan Red Crescent.

It says that there are still more bodies in the water, victims of the latest drowning tragedy to hit the region.

Migrant deaths have risen to record levels along this  route in recent months.  

 A spokesman for the Red Cross and Red Crescent societies in the region, Steven Ryan, has been telling the BBC why people choose to make the crossing to Europe from Libya, despite the huge risks involved:

"It's one of the few opportunities people still have to be able to try and reach mainland Europe. Previously this time last year we were still seeing large numbers of people that were travelling from Turkey into Greece and onwards into the rest of Europe...

But that door is now closed. So that's forcing people that have no other options but to take the risk of travelling through Libya which is a risk in and of itself.

After often crossing the Sahara Desert, in which many people also lose their lives, and then they find the final challenge and that's crossing the Mediterranean."

Read more: The untold story of Europe's drowned migrants

New Burkina Faso cabinet to fight jihadists

A security officer guards the facade of damaged hotel in the wake of an attack in 2016
Since the attacks of January 2016 in Ouagadougou, security has become a major issue in Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso's President Rock Marc Christian Kabore has reshuffled his cabinet in a move that gives more prominence to security as the West African's state is threatened by militant Islamists.

He has created a national security ministry, splitting it from home affairs.

It will be occupied by Simon Compaore, ex-mayor of the capital Ouagadougou and a top official in the governing party, the People's Movement for Progress.

Armed men stormed two hotels, a cafe and bar in the capital, Ouagadougou, in January 2016, killing 30 people. The attack was later claimed by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

Military checkpoints in the north of Burkina Faso have repeatedly been targeted by gunmen, killing soldiers.

These attacks turned security into a major issue for Mr Kabore's government. 

Mugabe cuts birthday cake

Staff at Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's office threw a party for him as he celebrated his 93rd birthday today. 

One of the cakes is on display during a suprise birthday party held on the occasion of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe"s 93rd birthday at his Munhumutapa offices in Harare, Zimbabwe, 21 February 2017.

The world's oldest ruler was helped to cut the cake by his son in-law Simba Chikore:

One of the presents given to Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe during a suprise birthday party held on the occasion of his 93rd birthday at his Munhumutapa offices in Harare, Zimbabwe, 21 February 2017

Mr Mugabe was also given presents to celebrate hitting 93: 

Mugabe chair

He thanked God for his long life:

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe speaks during a suprise birthday party held on the occasion of his 93rd birthday at his Munhumutapa offices in Harare, Zimbabwe, 21 February 2017

And seemed to enjoy eating the cake:

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe eats a cake during a suprise birthday party held on the occasion of his 93rd birthday at his Munhumutapa offices in Harare, Zimbabwe, 21 February 2017

While on Twitter, some people were in a mocking mood, joking about food guests will be enjoying at the party. The simple dish of maize meal and greens (as below), would be something eaten by regular Zimbabweans, cooking on a budget.  

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Burkinabe architect to design top London attraction

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A star architect from Burkina Faso will become the first African to design the prestigious Serpentine Pavillion in London's Hyde Park this year. 

Diwbedo Francis Kere's pavillion design (rendered in tweets, above and below) envisaged a "bold, innovative structure that brings his characteristic sense of light and life to the lawns of Kensington Gardens", the Serpentine Galleries said, announcing the commission. 

A quarter of a million people visited last year's pavillion, designed by Denmark's Bjarke Ingels Group. 

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In his statement for the gallery, Kere explains what lies behind his architectural philosophy:

My experience of growing up in a remote desert village has instilled a strong awareness of the social, sustainable and cultural implications of design. I believe that architecture has the power to surprise, unite, and inspire all while mediating important aspects such as community, ecology and economy."

Architect Francis Kere speaks to the BBC about his work

Machel's abuser convicted in Mozambique

Milton Nkosi

BBC Africa, Johannesburg

A businessman in Mozambique has been convicted for assaulting his partner Josina Machel, a daughter of the country's first President Samora Machel and Graca Machel. 

Rofino Licuco left Ms Machel blinded in the right eye after he assaulted her on her mother's 70th birthday on 17 October 2015. 

A court in the capital, Maputo, sentenced Licuco to three years in jail but suspended the sentence for five years. 

He denied the charge, saying Ms Machel "tripped and fell".

His lawyer said he would appeal against the ruling.

Following the attack, Ms Machel established the Kuhluka (or rebirth) Movement to tackle domestic abuse.

Ms Machel was also Nelson Mandela's step-daughter through his later marriage to Graca Machel.

She spoke to the BBC about the attack: 

Josina Machel:'I was blinded by my abuser'

SA 'Archbishop' convicted for albino woman's murder

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South Africa's Times Live newspaper has a horrific story about the conviction of a traditional healer for murdering an albino woman.

Bhekukufa Gumede promised to pay three men to kill 20-year-old Thandazile Mpunzi in August 2015, witnesses told the court, the newspaper reports. 

The traditional healer wanted the body parts to make traditional medicine, it adds.

The court heard how Gumede instructed the three men to “put a silver coin into her mouth” and say some words which would make the victim powerless.  

Gumede, 67, goes under the title of Archbishop as a leader of the New Star Church in Zion, which has 15 branches across the country. 

The murder of albino people in some parts of Africa has been driven by the belief - advanced by some witchdoctors - that the body parts have properties that confer wealth and good luck.  

Read more: The albino who confronted a witchdoctor

An Instagram favourite: The Emir of Kano's wardrobe

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For those of you who enjoy the distinctive headgear (see above) worn by the influential Nigerian Muslim leader, Emir of Kano Lamido Sanusi, you may enjoy this photo of him in another striking outfit, complete with ceremonial sword, which he has shared on his Instagram channel today: 

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Reporting from famine-hit South Sudan

The BBC's Alastair Leithead has been reporting from South Sudan, as famine is declared in parts of the country. Watch his video report here:

Ravaged by war, now famine hits South Sudan

'Flawed security plan' caused Angolan football stampede

Poor security measures and crowd control led to a stampede in which at least 17 fans died and 58 were injured at a football match in Angola earlier this month, AFP news agency said an official investigation had found. 

It quoted the Angola Football Federation (FAF) as saying: 

The FAF concludes that flaws in the security plan outside the stadium of Uige caused the incident.

Hundreds of fans were reported to have turned up without tickets at the stadium in the northern town of Uige for the clash between Santa Rita de Cassia and Recreativo de Libolo in Angola's domestic league.

Several witnesses accused the police of provoking panic with their attempts to disperse crowds outside the ground.

Recreativo de Libolo described the deaths as "a tragedy without precedent in the history of Angolan football".   


UN criticises Saif Gaddafi's trial

Imogen Foulkes

BBC News, Geneva

Saif al-Islam Kadhafi, son of Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi, appears in front of supporters and journalists at his father's residential complex in the Libyan capital Tripoli in the early hours of August 23, 2011
Saif Gaddafi was seen as a potential successor to his father

A United Nations report suggests the trial of Saif Gaddafi, the son of Libya's former leader Muammar Gaddafi, failed to meet international standards. 

The report, released today by the UN human rights office and the UN support mission in Libya, acknowledges the attempt made by the Libyan authorities to hold people accountable for human rights violations, but said the conduct of the trial raised serious concerns. 

Saif Gaddafi, together with 36 other members of the ousted government, were charged with major human rights violations, and tried by a court in the capital, Tripoli. 

The UN says it has many concerns. There were allegations of torture, and each defendant was only allowed to bring two witnesses to support their case. 

Saif Gaddafi gave evidence via video from western Libya, where he was being held by a militia group.

He was later sentenced to death in absentia, but the sentence was never carried out and he was apparently released last year.

He remains wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the UN report calls on Libya to surrender him.

Read: Why is Libya so lawless?

EU aid for famine-hit South Sudan

BBC World Service

The European Commission has announced an emergency aid package of about $85m (£68m) for South Sudan, after famine was declared in one area. 

The UN says 100,000 people are facing starvation in parts of Unity State in the north of the country. The food shortage is a result of three years of civil war. 

Kiir addresses nation after famine declared

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South Sudan's President Salva Kiir has promised his government will do more to combat the famine affecting parts of Unity State. 

His State of the Nation address comes the day after the UN officially declared a famine in some parts of the country, the first to be announced in any part of the world in six years.

In a televised address Mr Kiir said food supplies to the affected areas would be stepped up:

The government is aware of the failure of crops last year in the region and so steps are being taken to mitigate the potential famine in that area. Towards this end, the government will increase the supply of basic food commodities in the area with the provision for subsidised prices."

He said that the government would ensure unimpeded access for relief agencies operating in South Sudan, following multiple allegations that aid workers were being blocked from entering rebel-held areas. 

The president also said he was looking forward to improved relations with the US under Donald Trump's new administration, which he was confident would "take a different direction on South Sudan". 

Other announcements included a plan, to reopen oil fields in northern Unity State, a reiteration of his commitment to a peace plan and an appeal to international partners to resume development projects, many of which have been suspended due to insecurity. 

South Sudan has been brought to its knees by more than three years of cconflict, which broke out over bitter rivalry between the president and his former deputy Riek Machar. 

Both sides in the conflict have been accused of ethnic cleansing and using rape as a weapon of war. 

The president ended his speech on a note of optimism, though his prediction for the year ahead does not seem to reflect the catastrophic reality described by humanitarian agencies on the ground:

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Ghana's leader: 'I will not allow economy to collapse'

President Nana Akufo-Addo waves at the crowd during his inauguration as president at the Independence Square in Accra, Ghana January 7, 2017.
The president has promised that women will benefit from affirmative action

Ghana's President Nana Akufo-Addo has painted a bleak picture of the economy in his first State of the Nation address since he won elections in December. 

A pro-democracy group has tweeted the main points of his speech:   

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Football returns to Nigerian city after Boko Haram

Nigeria's north-eastern city of Maiduguri has been at the epicentre of the Boko Haram insurgency since 2009. 

But recent military advances mean life is now returning to normal - to the extent that the city's football team can once more play matches there, as the BBC's Chris Ewokor reports.  

Nigeria's Boko Haram crisis: Football returns to Maiduguri

'No cause for worry' over Buhari health - Nigerian presidency

Muhammadu Buhari
Mr Buhari has now been in London for more than a month

The presidency in Nigeria has made a further effort to reassure the Nigerian people about President Muhammadu Buhari's health, a month after he went to Britain on medical leave. He had originally planned to stay for around two weeks.

The Nigerian presidency said there was no cause to worry, adding that tests during a routine annual checkup revealed that Mr Buhari needed a longer period of rest. 

The authorities have refused to give much detail about Mr Buhari's health, and there has been intense speculation in the Nigerian press and on social media. 

Mr Buhari's spokesman Garba Shehu has shared the full statement on his Facebook page:

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Foreign-owned shops attacked in South Africa

A demonstrator holds a banner through in Johannesburg on April 23, 2015 during a march gathering several thousands of people to protest against the recent wave of xenophobic attacks in South Africa. President Jacob Zuma pledged to tackle xenophobia in South Africa as troops were sent in to support police in a crackdown against attacks on immigrants that have left at least seven people dead
African and Asian immigrants bear the brunt of anti-foreigner violence in South Africa

More than 30 foreign-owned shops were looted last night in two neighbourhoods in South Africa's capital, Pretoria, a police spokesman was quoted by the local TimesLive news site as saying

Bongi Msimango said: 

The looting started in Atteridgeville and spread to the neighbouring Lotus Gardens. Police managed to control the situation and there were no further reports later in the evening.

Some of the owners were in the shops but none were injured. We don't know at this stage why this erupted."

Police did not give the nationalities of those targeted. 

The looting comes ahead of a march planned for Friday by the little-known Mamelodi Concerned Residents group against undocumented immigrants in South Africa.

In a flyer, it said:

"Companies only employ Zimbabweans and other foreign nationals. Where must South Africans work?

The Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference said it had "serious concerns" about the march, and it called on people to show restraint. 

One of its senior clerics, Bishop Abel Gabuza, added: 

We reiterate our call to the government to strengthen border controls. We also call on the intelligence community to devise more effective ways to detect and counter xenophobic violence before it flares up."

Yesterday, Nigeria urged South Africa's government to take decisive action over attacks on its nationals after they were targeted in Pretoria on Saturday.     

A vigilante mob attacks a Nigerian migrant outside a church in Pretoria, South Africa February 18, 2017.
Nigerian migrants were attacked by a mob

South Africa has an unemployment rate of about 25%, which is seen as one of the main reasons for the rise in xenophobia since apartheid ended in 1994.   

Scores of bodies wash up on Libyan coast

BBC World Service

Body bags line the shore in Libya,
Body bags line the shore where the victims washed up

The Libyan Red Crescent says it has recovered the bodies of 74 migrants that washed ashore near the western city of Zawiya.

The International Organisation for Migration said they had been on a boat that left Libya on Saturday with 110 people on board. 

The bodies will be buried in Tripoli in a cemetery for unidentified people. 

The European Union recently agreed a €200m ($215m, £171m) support package with the country's UN-backed governemnt to reduce the flow of migrants. 

Medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres criticised the deal, saying it made "a mockery of the EU's so-called fundamental values of human dignity and rule of law."

Last year at least 5,000 migrants drowned trying to reach Europe across the Mediterranean.

Read: The untold story of drowned migrants 

Did Mugabe fumble in interview?

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South Africa's privately owned News24 site has given this account of President Robert Mugabe's interview with state-owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation to mark his 93rd birthday today.  

"Eyes closed, frequently fumbling for the right word: this was President Robert Mugabe finally showing his 93 years.

"In a sunlit room at State House in Harare, Mugabe has given his usual long interview to mark his birthday - but the longtime leader's masterful speaking style was mostly absent...

"For the first 15 minutes Mugabe spoke extremely quietly - perhaps not in a mutter, but certainly in a very tired voice. As the interview wore on, there were moments where he spoke more strongly. But there were long pauses as his voice fizzled out."  

Zambia’s first female fighter pilot on love of acrobatics

Thokozile Muwamba, a 24-year-old second lieutenant, has become Zambia's first female fighter pilot.

She tells the BBC about her love of aerobatics and why your gender does not matter in an aeroplane.  

Zambia’s first female fighter pilot: An aircraft knows no sex

Zuma pays tribute to black South Africans drowned in WWI

President Jacob Zuma has paid tribute to more than 600 mainly black South Africans who died in the sinking of the SS Mendi exactly 100 years ago. 

Mr Zuma laid a wreath at a ceremony in Durban, in commemoration of the maritime disaster, which happened off the coast of southern England during World War One. 

The troopship was carrying men from the South African Native Labour Corps to France to help with the war effort. 

They were miners, foresters, hospital orderlies and builders. 

Black South Africans were not allowed to fight at that time.

Graham Scott is a marine archaeologist and co-author of a book on the tragedy: 'We Die Like Brothers: The Sinking of the SS Mendi'. 

He's been telling Newsday's Karnie Sharp why the story is so little known - even among many South Africans like herself: 

Hundreds of black South African recruits died in the sinking of the SS Mendi 100 years ago

Nigeria federation backs 'defining moment for African football'

Ahmad Ahmad of Madagascar
Getty Images
Could Madagascar's Ahmad Ahmad herald a new era in African football?

Nigeria's Football Federation is backing a challenge to the long-serving President of the Confederation of African Football, Issa Hayatou.

Mr Hayatou is standing for an 8th successive term of office, but faces opposition from Ahmad Ahmad, the head of Madagascar's FA.

Amaju Pinnick, president of the NFF, told the BBC the election will be "a defining moment for African football".

He said Ahmad was "courageous" in coming forward to challenge Mr Hayatou.

Read the full BBC Sport story

Guinea students 'shot dead' during protest

Students in Guinea burn tires during a protest in Conakry the capital
The demonstration was calling for the resumption of classes

At least five people were killed in Guinea when security forces cracked down on students who were demonstrating for an end to teacher strikes that have kept them out of class, BBC Afrique reports.

Students came out in numbers and vented their anger by throwing stones and sticks at riot police. 

Officials confirmed the casualties and blamed the events on the organisers of the protest, for staging what they called an illegal demonstration. 

A hospital worker told the AFP news agencies the dead were shot at close range by riot police and gendarmerie. 

At least 30 people were injured, including members of the security forces. Twelve protesters have been arrested. 

Teacher unions in Guinea have been on strike for several weeks over poor pay. 

Read more about Guinea

Mugabe: 'Stop working for white people'

Zimbabwean opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters shout political slogans and hold placards during a protest against the Zimbabwean government on May 28, 2016 in Bulawayo.
The oposition say Mr Mugbabe's policies have caused poverty

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has called on black people to stop thinking of working for European investors and to focus on becoming  "masters of our own economy". 

In an interview with state media to mark his 93rd birthday, Mr Mugabe said his government had achieved its objective to increase land ownership among black people following independence in 1980.

"I would say we have continued to give land to the people and most of the land which used to be in the hands of the settlers is now in the hands of our people," Mr Mugabe said.

"I think we have done that well," he added.

But, on the business front, his concern was that Zimbabweans did not want to form companies and preferred to work for "Europeans as directors, managers [and] chief executives". 

"We would want to see our people turned into entrepreneurs. Have we really  become producers of our own goods? Have we become masters of our own economy or are we still thinking of whites as the best entrepreneurs and Africans as the labourers for these entrepreneurs?" Mr Mugabe said. 

Mr Mugabe's critics say his policies have ruined the economy, and that a corrupt ruling elite has benefited the most from his land reform programme. 

Zimbabwe does not have its own currency, and introduced "bond notes" last year because of a shortage of US dollars, the main currency people used in the country. 

 Read: Zimbabweans spend nights outside banks

Mugabe newspaper bonanaza for 93rd birthday

Robert Mugabe turns 93 today – and Zimbabwe’s newspapers are all shouting their congratulations to the president, with two special pullout supplements in the state-run Herald: 

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Even private papers, known to voice opposition to the government, are running ads from companies eager to pass on their felicitations:

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And the Twitter account that reviews Zimbabwe's papers noticed that the president's own dairy business has placed an advert "honouring the icon of the nation".

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Ivory Coast trial for men accused of abduction and murder

Gen Brunot Dogbo Ble, Former head of the Republican Guard in Ivory Coast
Gen Bruno Dogbo Ble, Former head of the Republican Guard is among the defendants

A court in Ivory Coast is due to hear the cases of ten men charged with the abduction, torture and murder of four foreign nationals during the final days in office of Laurent Gbagbo, the former president. 

The missing four included a Malaysian, a Benin national and two Frenchmen. 

They disappeared from a hotel in Abidjan in 2011 when Ivory Coast was at war following the Mr Gbagbo's refusal to accept defeat in an election. 

Their bodies have never been found. The defendants include the commander of the country's republican guard and members of a pro-Gbagbo militia. 

The trial has twice been postponed because of the absence of some of the defendants.

Laurent Gbagbo is facing charges of crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court.

Gabon 'loses 80% of elephants in a decade'

BBC World Service

Elephant raises its trunk as baby elephants stands alongside
The African elephant population has been devastated by poaching

A new report says Gabon has lost 80% of its elephant population over the past decade. 

Researchers say many are being killed for their ivory by poachers who enter the country from neighbouring Cameroon.

Gabon is thought to hold the largest remaining population of forest elephants. 

But the researchers from Duke University in the US say about 25,000 of the animals have been slaughtered in Minkebe National Park, an area that had been considered a sanctuary. 

Read more: The war on elephants

EU's 93rd birthday present for Mugabe - fresh sanctions

Shingai Nyoka

BBC Africa, Harare

This file photo taken on December 17, 2016 shows Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe speaking at the party"s annual conference in Masvingo.
Mr Mugabe has been in power since independence in 1980

As the world's oldest ruler - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe - celebrates his 93rd birthday today, the European Union has voted to extend economic sanctions against him. 

The measures restrict travel, freeze assets and prohibit military trade between EU member states and President Mugabe, his wife Grace and the defence industry. 

However, the EU council voted yesterday to partially lift its arms embargo. It will now allow exports of explosives that are used in civilian mining and infrastructure development.  

The sanctions will be reviewed again next year. The EU first imposed sanctions on President Mugabe in 2002 following invasion of white-owned farms, alleged electoral fraud and violence against the main opposition party and human rights activists.  

President Mugabe says the sanctions have caused untold suffering in his country, and were part of a plan by the UK government to remove him from power.

Famine 'could spread to Nigeria and Somalia' - UN

BBC World Service

A mother holds her child in a hospital ward in the capital Juba, South Sudan, January 24, 2017.
Children face the biggest threat of hunger

The UN's children's agency has followed its declaration of a famine in South Sudan with a warning that similar food crises are affecting three other countries - Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen. 

Unicef says that almost 1.5 million children are at risk of starvation. Its deputy director, Justin Forsyth, told the BBC that political failure and conflict were to blame for the situation, which he said could be averted if aid agencies were given safe access to those in need.

Yemen is riven by civil war, while northern Nigeria and Somalia are grappling with Islamist insurgencies.

Watch: Living on grass and leaves

Today's wise words

Our African proverb of the day: 

A cockerel will still crow even if you hide him in a basket."

A Swahili proverb sent by Bonface Witaba, Kakamega, Kenya

Click here to send us your African proverbs

Good morning

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