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Summary

  1. South African train chief sacked over 350% pay rise
  2. Celebrated Liberian Ebola fighter dies in childbirth
  3. No winner for $5m African leadership prize
  4. Gambia removes age limit for presidents and vice-presidents
  5. Kenya deploys 2,500 officers over cattle-rustler violence
  6. Moroccans 'request return of Jurassic reptile'
  7. Nigeria's economy shrinks by 1.5%
  8. South Africa 'may drop 2022 Commonwealth Games'
  9. Tunisia Sousse attack police were 'shambolic'
  10. Libya exposed as child migrant abuse hub
  11. Rescuers search for SA toddler trapped in mineshaft
  12. Somalia's drought declared a national disaster
  13. Algerian colonel sentenced to death
  14. Jihadists attack Burkina Faso police posts
  15. Mauritania debates 'adding blood symbol' to flag
  16. Trevor Noah buys '$10m New York penthouse'
  17. Email stories and comments to africalive@bbc.co.uk - Tuesday 28 February 2017

Live Reporting

By Hugo Williams and Lucy Fleming

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Scroll down for Tuesday's stories

We'll be back tomorrow

That's all from the  BBC Africa Live  page 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 our proverb of the day:

All fingers face in one direction; the thumb alone begs to differ."

Sent by Fagbemijo Amosun Fakayode in Ibadan, Nigeria

Click here to send us your African proverbs.

And we leave you with this photo of women at a food stall in Burkina Faso's capital, Ouagadougou, as the city hosts the prestigious Fespaco African film festival:


          Women sell food during the Panafrican Film and Television Festival
AFP

Ebola fighter, Time person of the year, dies in childbirth

Jonathan Paye-Layleh

BBC Africa, Monrovia

The Liberian government has confirmed the death in childbirth of a nursing assistant who was among those named Person of the Year by Time magazine in 2014 for helping to fight the Ebola outbreak.

Salome Karwah died two weeks ago, but news of her death has just become public knowledge, according to Tolbert Nyenswah, the man who headed Liberia’s Ebola fight and who now heads the country’s newly established National Public Health Institute. 

Ms Karwah contracted Ebola but recovered, making her immune to the illness. She went on to become a nurse and treat others suffering from Ebola. 

This is the link to Time's original article - Ms Karwah is pictured top left:

View more on twitter

More than 4,000 died in Liberia during the West Africa Ebola outbreak from 2014-2015. 

People became infected with the virus from direct contact with someone with Ebola through broken skin, or the mouth and nose, with the blood, vomit, faeces or bodily fluids. 

Mr Nyenswah said that earlier this month Ms Karwah underwent a C-section at a hospital close to the Ebola centre where she was admitted two years ago:

Normally if a Caesarean section is conducted, the person is supposed to stay in the hospital for seven days and monitored to see whether there are complications.

But to my understanding, that protocol was breached; she spent less than that in the hospital and was discharged and when she was facing complications her husband took her back to the hospital for further care.

This was an unfortunate situation with this person who had survived Ebola to have died from childbirth in a major hospital."

Mr Nyenswah said the authorities were investigating reports that healthcare workers refused to treat her for fear that she may still have been able to pass on Ebola. 

“The investigation is not concluded, so I wouldn’t want to jump the boat,” he said.

The biggest problem facing Ebola survivors remains stigmatisation. 

Ms Karwah leaves behind four children, including her newborn. 

'Give us back our Jurassic reptile' - Morocco tells France

Plesiosaur skeleton
Binocheet Giquello courtesy of Druout auctions
The Jurassic skeleton is expected to be sold for almost $500,000

Geologists in Morocco have denounced the planned auction of a 66-million-year-old skeleton of a marine reptile in Paris and demanded that the remains be repatriated, AFP news agency reports.

The nearly nine-metre-long (30ft) plesiosaur, a marine reptile with a long neck and turtle-like flippers, was discovered near the Moroccan city of Khouribga.

The skeleton is set for auction on 7 March at the Drouot auction house in Paris. 

"The plesiosaurs were among the most emblematic 'giant primitive beasts' which have intrigued scientists and amateurs for centuries," Drouot said in its auction catalogue, adding that the creatures had probably inspired the legend of the Loch Ness monster in Scotland. 

But the Association for the Protection of the Geological Heritage of Morocco (APPGM) has described the skeleton as a "unique patrimonial treasure". 

Alexandre Giquello, auctioneer and president of Drouot, rejected criticism of the sale and said that the creature was "reconstituted in Europe from four fossils legally bought at the Frankfurt Trade Fair" by Italian collectors, AFP adds.

The skeleton is expected to reach almost $500,000 (£400,000) at auction. 

Moroccan authorities are yet to make an official comment.

Millions face benefit cut-off in South Africa

Milton Nkosi

BBC Africa, Johannesburg

A elderly woman in South Africa
AFP
Pensioners over 75 get $130 (£100) a month; the foster-care payment is $70 and child support, paid to unemployed women with children, is $30

Millions of South Africa's most vulnerable citizens may miss their social security payments next month.

The government’s contract with Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) comes to an end on 31 March. 

The long-standing contract with the private company has not been renewed because a court ruled four years ago that the original tender process was unlawful.

The benefit payments mainly go to pensioners and the disabled. About 1.6 million of 17 million recipients use commercial bank accounts but the vast majority rely on CPS to receive the payments.

People queue at CPS points countrywide to receive their benefits in cash. 

The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) says it has yet to organise another service to distribute the grants from 1 April. 

Not long after Sassa’s Zodwa Mvulane had informed a parliamentary committee on public accounts about this, it was announced that the agency was applying to the Constitutional Court for permission to renew the contract for a further year. 

The chairman of the public accounts committee expressed his extreme unhappiness at the handling of the matter. 

He also criticised Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini for failing to turn up to the hearing. 

Box office horror success for British-Ugandan star

Daniel Kaluuya
Universal Pictures via AP
Daniel Kaluuya plays Chris Washington, a man who visits his white girlfriend’s family for the first time, with horrifying results

The horror film Get Out, which stars British-Ugandan actor Daniel Kaluuya, has topped the US box office in its opening weekend, making more than $33m (£26.5m).

In an article today the UK Guardian says the film “ dares to reveal the horror of liberal racism ” in the US.

Lanre Bakare writes that the film, by US comedian Jordan Peele, “has dealt with race in America in a refreshing, funny and unflinching manner.

“The number of things Peele manages to reference is stunning: The taboo of mixed relationships, eugenics, the slave trade, black men dying first in horror films, suburban racism, police brutality.”

Quartz news website describes it as a “horror film about a young black man who falls victim to his girlfriend’s white suburban family”.

Mother of SA boy missing in mineshaft: 'He is all alone in there'

View more on twitter

Hopes are fading for a five-year-old South African boy who fell down a mineshaft outside Johannesburg on Saturday (see earlier post). 

Rescue teams have called off their search for Richard Thole until tomorrow, though they will continue working with diggers to widen the shaft overnight, local media report. 

The boy's mother, Nombeko Thole, has been speaking to local media about her ordeal and how she first discovered what had happened to her son:

View more on youtube

In a separate interview, the TimesLive website quotes her as saying:

I can't sleep at night just thinking about where my child is now. He is all alone in there.

When his friend came to tell us we saw the shock on his face. His eyes were wide open and red.

I can't cope because it's hurting to think my child is dead. I just want his body so that we can bury him."

BBC correspondent Nomsa Maseko has sent photos from the scene, where crowds of locals have been gathering to follow the rescue operation:  

Groups of locals crowd around the open mineshaft.
BBC
Open mineshaft visible with a crane next to it
BBC

Uganda government raises alarm on food insecurity

Catherine Byaruhanga

BBC Africa, Kampala


          A woman separates ground nuts from their shell by pouring them out of a bucket
AFP
Drought and crop disease have resulted in poor harvests in Uganda

The Ugandan government says more than 30% of its population is facing a situation of acute food insecurity. 

It comes after a long period of drought in many parts of the country, and in several neighbouring states. 

People are finding it harder to access food because of poor harvests, crop disease and higher food prices. 

The government has promised to help people in need, but some have accused it of being slow to act. 

The Karamoja region in the far north-east of Uganda is the worst affected, with parts of the east and south-west afflicted too.  

Last week, the UN declared famine in some areas of neighbouring South Sudan, the first time it had done so anywhere in the world in six years.

Does Gambia age limit removal for president hint at future plans?

James Copnall

Africa editor, BBC World Service


          Ousainou Darboe (R) pictured with hand raised wearing yellow UDP baseball cap
AFP
Ousainou Darboe (R) was thrown in jail under exiled former leader Yahya Jammeh

The removal of the age limit will allow Adama Barrow’s choice for vice president, Fatoumata Tambajang, to be sworn in.

She is believed to be older than the previous age limit of 65.

Removing the age limit could have broader implications too.

Former President Yahya Jammeh used it to block the elder statesmen of the opposition, Oussainou Darboe, from running against him.

In fact, one of the reasons Mr Barrow became the consensus opposition candidate is because the veteran opposition leader was too old to run. 

Now the change in the law opens up the possibility of Mr Darboe – named foreign minister in Mr Barrow’s government – running for president in future elections.

Why Moroccan King cancelled Mali visit

Lamine Konkobo

BBC Africa

King Mohamed VI of Morocco
AFP
King Mohamed VI is said to be disappointed of Mali

King Mohamed VI of Morocco, who was due in Mali for an official visit last week, cancelled his trip at the last minute because of a diplomatic rift between the two countries, Jeune Afrique magazine reports

Mohamed VI is said to be unhappy about the role Malian officials have allowed Algeria to play in the pursuit of a solution to the fight against rival armed factions in northern Mali.

Morocco has heavily invested in Mali in recent years, funding economic projects and health infrastructure as well as providing training for Malian imams in a move to stem Islamic fundamentalism in the country. 

Morocco had therefore hoped the government of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita would put an end to Algeria's role as a mediator and invite it to take over. 

But Mali did not only remain close to Algeria, which is Morocco's main rival in North Africa in its bid for more influence across the continent; it also maintained its recognition of Western Sahara, the disputed former Spanish colony Morocco says is part of its territory. 

According to Jeune Afrique, Mohamed VI cancelled the visit out of frustration with the Malian leader for not repaying his generosity. 

Gambia removes age limit for president and vice-president

Umaru Fofana

BBC Africa

Fatoumata Tambajang
AFP
Many believe the rule change is being made to allow Fatoumata Tambajang to become VP

Parliament in The Gambia has removed the age limit for the president and vice-president.

It was previously 65. 

Supporters say it is a way of righting a wrong that was put in place by the former President Yahyah Jammeh.

Critics say it is tailored to suit the convenience of Fatoumata Tambajang who was named vice-president despite documents showing that she was born in 1949, making her ineligible.

Read more:  Adama Barrow - From estate agent to Gambian president

Radical preacher behind Burkina Faso attacks

The Islamist militant group Ansarul Islam has said it was behind the attacks on two police stations in northern Burkina Faso on Monday night.

The group has been active in the north for several months and was responsible for an attack in December that killed at least 12 soldiers near the Malian border.

A senior official, Mohamed Dah, told the AFP news agency that a female police officer was injured in the raids.

He said the assailants travelled by motorbike to attack the police posts in two villages.

Ansarul Islam is headed by Burkinabe Muslim preacher Malam Dicko.

Burkina Faso is currently hosting Africa's biggest film festival Fespaco, in the capital, Ouagadougou, amid tight security:


          Burkinabe policemen check festival goers prior to a Fespaco screening
af
Burkinabe policemen check festival goers prior to a Fespaco screening

Mauritania debates 'adding blood symbol' to flag

BBC World Service


          Mauritania flag with yellow half-crescent moon and a star sitting on top
BBC
This is what the current official Mauritania flag looks like

The Mauritanian parliament is discussing constitutional reforms, including changing the national flag, which is currently a gold crescent moon and a gold star on a green background. 

The proposed new design would add two red bands, to represent the blood Mauritanians have shed and are ready to shed to defend their country. 

Other possible modifications being discussed include closing the senate, and changing the national anthem. 

Several opposition politicians have criticised the proposed reforms. 

One Twitter user posted a mock-up of what the new flag might look like when the reforms were first suggested:

View more on twitter

Read more about Mauritania

Algerian colonel sentenced to death

Funeral of Ali Tounsi in February 2010
AFP
The funeral of Ali Tounsi was held in February 2010

A former police colonel in Algeria has been sentenced to death for the murder of the country's police chief, Ali Tounsi. 

Chouaib Oultache shot the commander dead in his office in during a meeting there seven years ago.

A court rejected Oultache's claim that there was a heated dispute and that he had to defend himself when the police chief threatened him with a letter-opener. 

According to the AFP news agency, Mr Tounsi was named police chief in 1994 when the bloodshed in Algeria between armed Islamist groups and security forces was at its peak.

During his time in office, he focused on boosting counter-terror operations.

Guinea sackings after deadly strike

Guinean President Alpha Conde
AFP
The sackings by President Alpha Conde (pictured) were announced on state TV

Guinean President Alpha Conde has sacked three ministers, including his education minister, following violent protests over a teachers' strike last week in which seven people were killed.

Schools were closed for three weeks as teachers, supported by their students, demanded better contracts for junior staff.

The protests turned violent when demonstrators clashed with the security forces in some suburbs of the capital, Conakry.

The government agreed to a deal to end the strike last week.

Trevor Noah buys '$10m New York penthouse'

Trevor Noah
AP
Trevor Noah began hosting the Daily Show in September 2015

Trevor Noah’s name is trending on Twitter in South Africa today after the Wall Street Journal reported that the South African comedian had bought a $10m (£8m) penthouse flat in New York.

The Daily Show host reportedly finished the deal on Monday for the three-bedroom apartment in Manhattan.

Some have been sharing pictures of the penthouse and using memes to congratulate the comedian:

View more on twitter
View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Others have been defending him from criticism that he should use his money to aid causes back home:

View more on twitter
View more on twitter
View more on twitter

South Africa 'may drop Commonwealth Games'

Man celebrates in South Africa
AFP
Durban won the bid to host the games in 2015

Durban may be unable to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games because of financial constraints, South Africa's sports minister has said.

"We gave it our best shot but we can't go beyond, if the country says we don't have this money, we can't," Reuters quoted Fikile Mbalula as saying.

He said a final decision would be made by the Commonwealth Games Federation.

Durban was awarded the games in 2015 after being the only city to make a confirmed bid.

In December, South African officials had said the country was "fully committed" to hosting the event.

Read the BBC New story for more .

Your comments: Who speaks best English in Africa?


          South Sudanese students sit at desks during an English lesson
AFP
Schoolchildren in South Sudan take down notes during an English lesson

Hundreds of you have been getting in touch on the BBC Africa Facebook page over a story we shared from Uganda's government-owned New Vision newspaper ( see previous entry ). 

It quoted research, which the BBC has not verified, endorsed or otherwise confirmed (some of you are angry we shared the story at all), which ranked African countries according to who spoke the best English. 

Uganda, perhaps suspiciously as some of you have pointed out given the source of the story, came top, with Nigeria failing to even make it into the top 9 countries listed. 

We asked you: Which country speaks the best English in Africa? And does it matter in any case? Here's a selection of some of the comments people have been posting:

Nuel Nsikan Akpan  in Calabar, Nigeria: "English is good but it ain't no ground to bury your mother tongue."

Mubita Likando Mundia, Nigeria :  "The reason we speak English it's the common businessman's language. The gains are a lot. I don't know how you will be able to explain nitrogen or an atom or electron beam in an African language... We shouldn't belittle our languages but rather embrace linguistic diversity." 

Sipho Skepu , South Africa: "We are so diverse in Africa we can hardly understand each other without using English. I'll speak my native Xhosa a little to see who will understand: '[We've blanked out the phrase Sipho used after a Xhosa-speaking colleague told us it was very rude]. Translate that fellow African!" 

Mohamed Ali,  Uganda: "It makes no sense. It is a colonial mentality. Japan, China, Germany, Israel etc are innovation leaders and they don't know good English, except a few."

Mainza Paddy : "Who cares about English? You came to colonise us and now you want to make English superior in our continent. In Zambia we have our languages; English is a foreign language."

Karabo Makwetla , South Africa: "I agree, but learning our African languages is equally as important. I understand English has become the global language of communication, which I think is not a problem. But learning our African languages rebuilds our African heritage, something we as Africans are intentionally and unintentionally brushing off."

Somalia's drought declared a national disaster


          Somali girls who fled the drought in southern Somalia stand in a queue to receive food handouts at a feeding center in a camp in Mogadishu, Somalia
AP
The president has asked those in the diaspora for help

Somalia’s new President Mohamed Abdullahi "Farmajo" Mohamed has declared the drought to be a national disaster and appealed for emergency aid to avoid a “humanitarian tragedy”. 

According to the UN, more than 6.2 million people - more than half of the country’s population – are in need of assistance.

It says some 363,000 acutely malnourished children are in need of critical nutrition support. 

President Mohamed also asked the local business community and those in the diaspora for assistance. 

Tunisia 'reached similar Sousse terror conclusions'

A source at Tunisia’s foreign ministry has told the BBC it respects the conclusions of a British inquest into the killing of British tourists at the beach resort in Sousse in June 2015. 

Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith said the Tunisian police’s response to the terror attack was "at best shambolic and at worst cowardly”. 

The ministry source said the coroner's comments were based on a Tunisian investigation by a local judge that reached similar conclusions.

A more comprehensive response by the institutions concerned would be issued once they had reviewed the full report, it said. 

Earlier, the Tunisian ambassador to the UK, Nabil Ammar, said his country had been unprepared for such an attack and it was unfair to blame police.

"How can you imagine that police deliberately wanted people to die?" he asked BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

Since the attack, he said security in the country and in hotels had improved, and Tunisia was now considered as safe a destination as London.

Tourists on the beach at Sousse, Tunisia
AFP
The coroner rejected a finding of neglect against the tour firms and the hotel

No winner for $5m ex-leader prize

Mo Ibrahim
AFP
Mo Ibrahim wants to encourage African leaders to leave office peacefully

No former African leader has claimed the $5m (£4m) Mo Ibrahim prize this year - the sixth time in 10 years that it has not been awarded.

The prize is supposed to be awarded each year to an elected leader who governed well, raised living standards and then left office.

It was launched by Sudan-born telecoms entrepreneur Mo Ibrahim in an attempt to encourage African leaders to leave power peacefully. 

He said:

“As I emphasise each year, a very high bar was deliberately set when the prize was launched in 2006.

We recognise and applaud the important contributions that many African leaders have made to change their countries for the better

But the prize is intended to highlight and celebrate truly exceptional leadership, which is uncommon by its very definition."

Though some have mocked the failure to award it yet again:

View more on twitter

The candidates the Mo Ibrahim Foundation considered for the 2016 prize were all former heads of state or who had left office between 2014-2016 “having been democratically elected and served their constitutionally mandated term”. 

During this time, Nigeria’s Goodluck Jonathan left office in May 2015 after losing elections, Tanzania’s Jakaya Kikwete handed over power in November 2015 after two terms in office and Malawi's Joyce Banda left office in May 2014 after defeat in elections.

The prize was last awarded for two years' ago:

  • Namibia’s Hifikepunye Pohamba – 2014
  • Cape Verde’s Pedro Pires – 2011
  • Botswana’s Festus Mogae – 2008
  • Mozambique’s Joaquim Chissano – 2007
  • South Africa’s Nelson Mandela, inaugural honorary laureate in 2007

Their $5m prize is spread over 10 years, with a further $200,000 a year for life.   

Mind the potholes! Advice for Zimbabwe drivers

The potholed roads in Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, are an increasing hazard for drivers. They are especially dangerous following heavy rains, as standing water hides some of the potholes.

Some residents have taken advantage of the poor state of the roads to fix potholes themselves, stepping in where the state authorities are not acting and collecting money from grateful drivers.

Cars in Harare have to take great care due to the numerous potholes

Judge condemns 'cowardly' Tunisia police over beach attack


          Photo composite shows victims of the attack and a armoured security vehicle
EPA/AP/Reuters
In total 38 people were killed in the Sousse attack

The police response to a terror attack at a Tunisian resort in which 30 Britons were killed was at best "shambolic" and at worst "cowardly", a coroner has concluded.

In all, 38 people were killed when an Islamist gunman opened fire at a hotel in Sousse on 26 June 2015.

Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith has begun delivering his findings after an inquest heard that a police commander spent eight minutes briefing his men inside a police building while the gunman was on the rampage.

He said the gunman had been intent on killing as many tourists as he could.

The police response could and should have been effective, he said.

Read the full BBC news story

Hotel Imperial Marhaba
EPA
The Hotel Imperial Marhaba is popular with British tourists

South African official sacked over 350% pay rise

Andrew Harding

BBC News, Johannesburg

A wallet with South African rand
Thinkstock
Collins Letsoalo's annual salary after the rise was about $450,000

A South African government official who granted himself a 350% pay rise has been sacked.

Collins Letsoalo was supposed to be "Mr Fix-it" - brought in to clean up corruption and waste at South Africa’s troubled railways authority.

But soon after his arrival last year at the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa, Mr Letsoalo allegedly sought a pay rise of 350% - taking his annual salary to some $450,000 (£360,000).

When a newspaper published details of what it said was an unauthorised salary increase, Mr Letsoala insisted he had done nothing wrong.

But the rail agency board has now decided otherwise – and voted unanimously to remove him from the job.

To some, this is a scandal about the culture of entitlement and corruption pervading the upper levels of the South African state.

And a rare example of someone actually being found out, and punished.

But Mr Letsoalo is right to point out that executives running the country’s other struggling state-owned enterprises all earn similarly huge salaries.

With South Africa’s economy stalled, anger over inequality growing, and the government borrowing heavily to pay its army of civil servants – there may be other lessons to learn from Mr Letsoalo’s fall.

Nigeria's economy shrinks by 1.5%

Martin Patience

BBC News, Nigeria correspondent

An ATM machine in Nigeria
AFP
Nigeria is grappling with its worst economic crisis in a generation

Figures just out show Nigeria’s economy shrank by 1.5% in 2016.

Last spring Africa’s largest economy officially slid into recession for the first time in 25 years.  

These figures may be unwelcome but they are not unexpected. 

Nigeria is grappling with its worst economic crisis in a generation.

It has been largely caused by the slump in global oil prices, which has sucked all-important US dollars out of the economy.

It has meant that businesses have been unable to pay for imports leading to a sharp downturn.

Critics say government policies made a bad situation even worse.

The country’s leader has also been accused of being missing in action.

For more than a month now, President Muhammadu Buhari has been in London receiving medical treatment for an unspecified condition.

But relief may be at hand - global oil prices are rising again and that could end up pulling Nigeria out of recession.

Kenya deploys 2,500 officers to take on cattle rustlers

Ferdinand Omondi

BBC Africa, Nairobi

About 2,500 police and paramilitary police officers are being deployed to the western Kenyan region of Kerio Valley to hunt down those responsible for the deaths of 10 people, including two politicians, amid cattle-rustling violence.

Some 4,000 people have also been displaced in a region the authorities have declared to be “dangerous and disturbed”.

The region has always experienced low-level violence between the Pokot and Tugen ethnic groups over grazing for their cattle – and the latest clashes come amid a severe drought.

Analysts say elections due in August are also adding to the tension.

Deputy President William Ruto, who visited Kerio Valley on Monday, said $970,000 (£780,000) would be set aside to compensate those who had lost livestock in the region during the recent cattle-rustling incidents.

Today’s papers are going big on the government’s operation against the rustlers:

East African Standard spread on cattle rustling
BBC
The East African Standard looks at those displaced in the violence
People Daily front page
BBC
The People Daily leads on the deployment

Do Ugandans really speak the best English in Africa?

Uganda's government-owned New Vision newspaper has a story this morning which has got everyone talking.

It reports that Uganda has been named the best English-speaking country in Africa in a study conducted by World Linguistic Society. Here's how the rest of the list plays out. 

1. Uganda 2. Zambia 3. South Africa 4 . Kenya 5. Zimbabwe 6. Malawi 7. Ghana 8. Botswana 9. Sudan

View more on facebook

We should also mention that we haven't been able to verify the research in question, or even find an official website for the people behind the World Linguistic Society...

Still, it's a fun discussion so we're throwing it out there! 

Which country do you think speaks the best English in Africa? And does it matter in any case? 

Let us know your thoughts on the BBC Africa Facebook page or email africalive@bbc.co.uk. 

Libya child migrant abuse: 'They used to beat us every day'

Children at a detention centre in Libya
UNICEF/ROMENZI
Many migrant children are kept in detention centres in Libya

The UN has warned that large numbers of children are still risking their lives to make the dangerous journey from Libya to Italy.  

Girls such as nine-year-old Kamis, who set off with her mother from their home in Nigeria. 

After a desert crossing in which a man died, followed by a dramatic rescue at sea, they found themselves held at a detention centre in the Libyan town of Sabratha.

They used to beat us every day. There was no water there either. That place was very sad. There's nothing there."

Kamis

Unicef says almost 26,000 children - most of them unaccompanied - crossed the Mediterranean last year.

Many children suffer from violence and sexual abuse at the hands of smugglers and traffickers, it says.

But they rarely report their abuse, for fear of arrest and deportation.

The agency also says there is a lack of food, water and medical care in Libya's detention centres.

The plight of children, many of them unaccompanied by parents, has become a tragically familiar part of the wider story of mass migration over the past two years.

But while much has been said about the extreme dangers faced at sea, the privations experienced on land, especially in Libya, are less familiar.

Read the BBC News story for more

Islamist attack on Burkina Faso police

Two police posts in Burkina Faso were attacked by jihadists on Monday night, officials said, just months after 12 soldiers were killed by militants in a raid near the Mali border, AFP news agency reports. 

It was unclear whether there had been any casualties from the latest attack, which took place in Soum province in the country's north, security minister Simon Compaore told AFP.  

The incident comes as the capital, Ouagadougou, is on high security alert, as it hosts the 25th edition of  Fespaco , Africa's biggest film festival, which takes place every two years.


          Police officers check cars at the entrance to the Pan-African Film and Television Festival (Fespaco) in Ouagadougou on February 27, 201
AFP
There is tight security in Ouagadougou for Fespaco

SA mine search for trapped toddler


          Community members look on as a rescue worker is sent underground to save a five-year-old boy fell into a disused mine shaft in Boksburg. Picture: Pelane Phakgadi/EWN
Pelane Phakgadi/EWN
Large crowds have been watching the rescue efforts over the last few days

Rescue efforts are set to continue to find a five-year-old boy trapped for nearly three days in a disused mineshaft in the Boksburg, a small town on the outskirts of the South African city of Johannesburg.

The boy reportedly fell into the hole sometime between 12:00 and 13:00 local time on Saturday.

According to EyeWitness News , the search operation was called off on Monday night after rescue workers experienced difficulty breathing underground.

An emergency services spokesman told News24 on Monday that a drone was going to be used to fly over the area to assess the stability of the ground.

Some community members say that for years they have called on authorities to seal the hole, EyeWitness reports.

Residents are expected to gather in their hundreds again to watch the rescue mission.

Wise words

Today's African proverb:

All fingers face in one direction; the thumb alone begs to differ."

Sent by Fagbemijo Amosun Fakayode in Ibadan, Nigeria
A pair of hands
Thinkstock

Click here to send your African proverbs .

Good morning

Welcome to the BBC Africa Live page where we'll be keeping you up-to-date with news and trends from across the continent.