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  1. Kenyan fury after Westgate footage used in US TV thriller
  2. African migrants 'suffocate to death' in shipping containers
  3. Gunmen seize German archaeologists in Nigeria
  4. South Africa to penalise firms which employ illegal immigrants
  5. Cameroon 'forcibly repatriates' more than 500 Nigerians
  6. Fifa boss due to attend controversial Zimbabwe party
  7. Somali president appoints 'political novice' as PM
  8. Nigerian president on speakerphone amid health concerns
  9. Email stories and comments to - Thursday 23 February 2017

Live Reporting

By Hugo Williams and Farouk Chothia

All times stated are UK

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Scroll down for Thursday'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 today's proverb:

Good news made the hyena spend the night on a rubbish heap."

A Bemba proverb sent by Shebbina Chabala, Kitwe, Zambia

Click here to send us your African proverbs

We leave you with this photo of a spectacular townhouse in Algiers: 

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Pope Francis 'hopes to visit South Sudan' this year

Pope Francis gives a blessing to a young man in CAR
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Pope Francis visited conflict-hit CAR in 2015

Pope Francis is hoping to visit South Sudan in 2017, according to an official message from the country's bishops. 

A statement today from the bishops says:

With great joy, we wish to inform you that the Holy Father Pope Francis hopes to visit South Sudan later this year. The Holy Father is deeply concerned about the sufferings of the people of South Sudan.

You are already in his prayers, but his coming here would be a concrete symbol of his fatherly concern and his solidarity with your suffering.

The Vatican has not yet confirmed the plans. 

Yesterday, Pope Francis called for urgent aid for the people of South Sudan, after famine was declared in some parts of the country. 

He said it was vital now not just to make statements, but to contribute food aid and to allow it to reach suffering people.  

Teenagers among migrants who 'suffocated to death'

The bodies of 13 African migrants, including two teenagers, who died of suffocation in a shipping container bound for Europe have been found in Libya, aid officials have said, AFP news agency reports. 

The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC), citing the Libyan Red Crescent, said the migrants had been trapped for four days in the metal container. 

A total of 56 migrants had been rescued, and needed immediate medical attention, it added. 

See earlier post for more details

Tributes for Swahili poet

Tributes have poured in for the renowned Kenyan Swahili poet, Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed Nabhany, following his death at the age of 90 at his home in a village in Lamu county, the local Daily Nation newspaper reports .

He suffered a stroke and could "not walk or talk" during the past week, a relative was quoted as saying. 

Swahili author Prof Wallah Bin Wallah said Mr Nabhany’s death was a big blow:

When a tooth is pulled out there definitely will be a permanent gap and that’s what Nabhany’s death has done to us. He was a great player in the shaping of the Swahili language. We pray that the family has the strength to go through this."

Poet Muchai Bin Chui was quoted by the Daily Nation as saying:  

Prof Nabhany guided me all through my journey of Swahili writing and poetry. He is a great man and we will never forget his contributions in the growth of Swahili, not only in Kenya but [also in] East Africa."

A leading Kenyan television station has tweeted his photo:

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Nigeria manhunt for abductors of Germans

Special forces and surveillance helicopters have been deployed to search for the gunmen who kidnapped two German archaeologists in northern Nigeria yesterday, Nigerian police have said.

The gunmen killed two locals, and abducted the Germans who were working at an excavation site into ancient Nok culture in Kaduna state, police added in a statement. 

The archaeologists had two police officers assigned to them, but they went to the site without them, police said. 

The kidnapping took place off the main road linking Kaduna airport with the capital, Abuja, 220km (137 miles) away, AFP news agency reports.

It quoted an unnamed resident as saying:

The abductors came wielding guns and machetes and asked the two Germans to follow them into the bush."

US TV producers apologise over Westgate footage

The executive producers for Fox's US TV show 24: Legacy have apologised for using CCTV footage from the 2013 Westgate massacre in a plotline about a fictional terror attack in Egyp, AP news agency reports. 

Apologising for the scene in the latest episode of the spy thriller, which was widely condemned by Kenyans on social media, AP quotes producers Evan Katz and Manny Coto saying:

We regretfully included news footage of an attack in Nairobi. It will be removed from all future broadcasts and versions of the show.'

[We] apologize for any pain caused to the victims and their families and are deeply sorry.''

Some of those on Twitter who had led the complaints against the US TV network, appeared to accept the apology: 

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While some have been explaining the offence caused by imagining an equivalent gaffe for an American audience: 

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Nigerian food writer on 'soups, sex and Nigerian taste buds'

"Afang Soup and Hairy legs", "Fish soup and love potions" and "Eating Dog" are some of the imaginatively titled essays in Yemisi Aribisala's new collection.

Nigerian food writer Yemisi Aribisala's new book is called Longthroat Memoirs: Soups, Sex and Nigerian Taste Buds. 

She is the first African to win an international food writing prize known as the John Avery Award.

She's been speaking to the BBC's Kim Chakanetsa, starting first by reading an extract from her book: 

Yemisi Aribisala's book is a collection of essays discussing the Nigerian palate

Migrants 'suffocate in shipping container'

BBC World Service

Thirteen African migrants have suffocated inside a shipping container while being transported between two towns in Libya. 

Officials from the local Red Crescent aid organisation say nearly 70 people were crammed in together during a four-day journey. 

Many of the survivors emerged from the ordeal with broken limbs or other injuries. 

The migrants were being moved to the coastal town of Khoms, where they hoped to take a boat to Europe. 

Human traffickers have thrived in the chaos that has engulfed Libya since it descended into civil war.    

Kiir in Ethiopia amid famine at home

Emmanuel Igunza

BBC Africa, Addis Ababa

Salva Kiir
President Salva Kiir

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir has arrived in Ethiopia on a three-day state visit. 

On Friday he is expected to hold talks with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and President Mulatu Teshome. 

Ethiopia has played a key role in hosting peace talks following the eruption of a bloody civil war in December 2013. 

It now hosts nearly 300,000 refugees who have fled the conflict. 

President Kiir’s visit comes at a difficult time when famine has been declared in parts of the country, with nearly half of South Sudan’s population said to be facing life-threatening hunger this year. 

The US has led the international community in calling the famine man-made, accusing South Sudan’s leaders of prolonging the political crisis in the country by failing to honour a peace deal signed in Addis Ababa in August 2015.

That fragile peace deal is yet again expected to feature highly in talks between President Kiir and the Ethiopian prime minister.

Read more: Famine declared in South Sudan

Is this really the worst city in Africa?

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A survey of 100 African cities has revealed the best and worst places to live on the continent. 

Four Moroccan cities, topped by Marrakesh (pictured above) made it into the top 10, based on criteria including social and living conditions, infrastructure, governance and environment. 

The South African cities of Cape Town and Johannesburg were also named among the best African cities in the study by the Swiss research institute, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne. 

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Bottom of the pile was the Zimbabwean city of Bulawayo. 

But Valentine Tusai, an entrepreneur from the city, is not happy with the assessment. He's been telling the BBC why: 

A Swiss survey bases its claim on criteria including social and living conditions.

South Africa's 'immigration crisis'

Pumza Fihlani

BBC News, Johannesburg

South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba has been talking tough, saying inspections will be carried out at workplaces to see whether companies are employing illegal immigrants. 

But the sense in some circles is that there will be little action simply because there are not enough people to carry out inspections. South Africa, the minister said in parliament, has 700 inspectors compared with 3,000 in London alone. 

South Africa is amongst the top 10 picks in the world for migrants looking for safety or a fresh start, according to the office of President Jacob Zuma. 

In the spirit of “ubuntu” (a Zulu word for humanity), millions of migrants have settled in the country since apartheid ended in 1994. 

Businesses have been accused of taking advantage of the situation by hiring illegal immigrants as cheap labour, rather than adhering to immigration and labour laws.

          Nigerian migrants take cover during an attack by an angry mob outside a church in Pretoria, South Africa February 18, 2017. REUTERS
Nigerian migrants were attacked by an angry crowd in Pretoria on 18 February

This is one of the main reasons why the “foreigners are taking our jobs" sentiment has emerged. 

And with the economy struggling and the unemployment rate standing at around 35%, the government is under pressure to act. 

Mr Gigaba has warned that companies which employ undocumented foreigners will be penalised, but many people feel that border controls have to be tightened, with a distinction made between genuine asylum seekers and economic migrants.

MTN offices in Abuja shut

Naziru Mikailu

BBC Abuja editor

Security at MTN offices in Nigeria

Mobile phone giant MTN's head office in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, has been sealed off after protesters against xenophobic attacks in South Africa tried to storm it. 

Police are now guarding the building of the South African-owned firm and all staff have been evacuated.

MTN offices in Nigeria

No-one is being allowed to enter the building.

From outside, I could not see any damage to it.

Earlier, a crowd had protested at the building against attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.

See earlier post for more details

Artist 'addicted to creative process'

Nigerian-British artist Adeniyi Olagunju, who takes everyday objects and reshapes them in surprising ways, says he's "addicted to the creative process".

Olagunju, who has a show on in London at the moment, spoke to the BBC's Focus on Africa programme about his art.

Nigeria-UK artist Adeniyi Olagunju on his work

MTN offices in Nigeria 'vandalised'

Motorists drive past a MTN billboard across Lagos-Ibadan expressway on November 15, 2015.
Getty Images
Nigeria is MTN's biggest market

Reuters news agency is quoting an MTN spokesman as saying that its offices in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, have been attacked and vandalised in apparent retaliation for anti-Nigerian violence in South Africa. 

The unnamed spokesman for the South African-owned company told the agency: 

They vandalised equipment, stole customer phones and I-Pads. Some customers too were attacked."

See earlier post for more details

Kenyan fury after Westgate footage used in US TV thriller

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The makers of one of the biggest TV shows in the US, 24:Legacy, have been condemned by Kenyans for using CCTV footage of the Westgate mall attack as part of a fictional storyline about a potential terror attack in Egypt. 

In the latest episode of the hit Fox show, real pictures from the attack are introduced by one of the main characters at a security briefing. 

"This is the footage from Al-Jegrad market in Alexandria Egypt three years ago. The attack was planned and executed by Bin Khalid and his men," the character says. 

At least 67 people were killed when al-Shabab militants attacked the popular Nairobi mall in Septmeber 2013. 

Kenyans on Twitter have lashed out at the producers, who have now issued an apology for using the footage and have said it will be removed from future broadcasts of the episode, Quartz website reports.

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SA-owned MTN targeted by Nigerian protesters

Naziru Mikailu

BBC Abuja editor

A protest against xenophobic attacks in South Africa has taken place at the offices of South African-owned mobile phone giant MTN in Nigeria's capital, Abuja. 

There are reports that some windows were broken and staff were evacuated through the back door. 

MTN head office in South Africa has issued a statement, saying it is concerned about violence which appears to be directed at foreigners in both South Africa and Nigeria. 

We'll bring you more details as they come in.

Why is Nigeria's president still in London?

Martin Patience

BBC News, Nigeria correspondent

Buhari (archive shot)
Getty Images
Rumours are rife about Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari's health - and grip on power

As Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari was beginning his latest visit to London more than a month ago, a new series of Big Brother Nigeria was getting under way.

A former military ruler known for his no-nonsense style would appear to have little in common with a reality TV show where contestants engage in attention-seeking behaviour.

But both subjects were soon generating headlines for the same reason - neither of them were in Nigeria.

It turned out that Big Brother was actually being filmed in South Africa - a decision that led Nigeria's information minister to launch an investigation.

While the howls of protests from outraged Big Brother fans soon died down, the clamour over Nigeria's leader's extended medical stay in London is not going away.

President Buhari's absence comes as Africa's most populous nation is gripped by its worst economic crisis in decades, and faces the threat of famine in north-east Nigeria, which has been devastated by the Boko Haram insurgency.

And unlike Big Brother, there are no constant updates...

Read my full story here 

The spelling stars of Ghana

Eugenia Tachie-Menson set up a charity in Ghana 10 years ago to help children improve their spelling and literacy.

Despite many challenges, the charity has helped thousands of children, with one child even reaching the finals of the Scripps Spelling Bee in Washington in the United States.

This is part of a regular series on African Women You Need to Know.

Helping Ghanaian children through a love of reading

South Africa to target 'illegal immigrants'

A man holds a placard as he and others attend a silent vigil against xenophobia, held at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg on April 21, 2015.
Many protests have been held in South Africa against xenophobia

South African officials will carry out inspections at workplaces to see whether firms are employing undocumented foreigners, Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba has said.

He added that more than 60 people employed by retail chain Spar "without documentation" had been arrested. 

Mr Gigaba warned that firms would be "penalised" if they breached the law, and said they should not fuel tensions by "playing locals against foreigners". 

He added that 33,339 people had been deported during the 2015-2016 financial year.  

Mr Gigaba's comments - to parliament  and the media - come amid growing concern that xenophobia is on the rise in South Africa. 

Nigeria's government has condemned attacks on its nationals in the capital, Pretoria, at the weekend and yesterday MPs called on the government to recall its ambassador from Pretoria. 

On Monday, 34 foreign-owned shops were looted in neighbourhoods in Pretoria, and a local group has planned a march for tomorrow to protest against immigrants allegedly taking their jobs.  

Mr Gigaba, whose comments have been published on the government's Twitter account, said South Africans should not be portrayed as "mere xenophobes":     

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Africa eyes 10 places at expanded World Cup

Nigeria in action at the 2014 World Cup
Getty Images
Nigeria (pictured) and Algeria were the best performing African sides at the 2014 World Cup, reaching the last 16

Africa will be looking to double the number of places it has at an expanded World Cup from 2026. 

The continent's football association presidents have told football's world governing body Fifa they want at least 10 spots in the 48-team World Cup.

"All associations back the idea to expand the World Cup and there is hope that Africa can have 10 places," said South African FA chief Danny Jordaan. 

That would be double the five places Africa has at the 2018 and 2022 events.

Read the full BBC Sport story

What did Buhari actually say in phone call?

Our BBC Hausa colleague Halima Umar has sent through a translation of the phone conversation between Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and the governor of Kano state, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje. 

It was the first time the president's voice has been heard in public since he left for the UK more than a month ago on extended medical leave (see earlier posts). 

Here's how their conversation, which was put on speakerphone and played live to the audience at a prayer meeting in the northern city of Kano, went:

Kano Governor: How is your health, sir?

Pres Buhari: Glory be to God, I am feeling better.

Crowd: God is great! (in a louder voice)

Kano Governor: Sir, they could hear you answering the question.

Pres Buhari: Convey my gratitude to them.

Kano Governor: On Friday all the mosques in Kano will pray for you again.

Pres Buhari: All Praises are due to God. May God accept it.

Crowd: God is great! (in a louder voice)

Somali president appoints 'political novice' as PM

A day after his inauguration, Somalia's President Mohamed Abdullahi "Farmajo" Mohamed has appointed a new prime minister, Hassan Ali Kheyre, a dual national of Norway and Somalia.He is a newcomer to Somali politics, and had previously served as head of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC). 

Up until his appointment, he was working as director of UK-based oil exploration firm Soma Oil and Gas. 

Mr Kheyre is a close associate of former President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and a member of the Hawiye clan, meaning his nomination maintains the traditional clan balance alongside Mr Mohamed who is a Darod, AFP news agency reports.

The appointment must now be approved by parliament. 

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Fifa boss to attend controversial party for Zimbabwe FA head

Matthew Kenyon

BB Africa Sport

New FIFA President Gianni Infantino thumbs up prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Swansea City and Norwich City at Liberty Stadium on March 5, 2016 in Swansea, Wales
Mr Infantino's visit has caused controversy

Fifa president Gianni Infantino arrives in Zimbabwe today, to attend a controversial gathering arranged by the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) president Phillip Chiyangwa. 

Mr Chiyanga insists it is a celebration to mark his 58th birthday as well as his ascendancy to the presidency of the regional confederation, Cosafa.

But the Confederation of Africa Football (Caf) took a different view, claiming the meeting might be an attempt to destabilise Caf by gathering a host of continental football figures, and Mr Infantino, outside the usual forums.

Cosafa and Mr Chiyanga have thrown their weight behind the challenger to long-serving Caf president Issa Hayatou.

He is the head of Madagascar's FA, Ahmad Ahmad - and he will be a guest in Harare this evening, along with 23 other football federation heads and Fifa secretary-general Fatma Samoura.

Mr Hayatou is not a guest - but the head of the organising committee for the festivities, Chamu Chiwanza, told reporters there was no reason to read anything into that:

When you do your birthday party, invitations are sent at your own discretion. We asked Dr Philip Chiyangwa to come up with a guest list of the people that he thinks he's close to. I'm not saying he's not close to the CAF president but maybe he spoke to him and he's busy this weekend - and there was no need for him to invite him and apparently the Fifa president happened to be free on that particular day.

There's nothing sinister as far as I'm concerned. It's a private function. You are allowed to omit some people you don't want to be celebrating with you. If you're not friends with them why would you just invite them because they have a position?"

German archaeologists 'abducted' in Nigeria

Martin Patience

BBC News, Nigeria correspondent

Nigerian police say gunmen have kidnapped two German archaeologists in the north of the country. A police spokesman said the pair were abducted from Kaduna state on Wednesday morning. 

The police say the two were part of an archaeological team excavating a site in the village of Jajela. 

Reports say they were from Goethe University in the German city of Frankfurt. Police say there have been no ransom demands or contact from the kidnappers. 

The German foreign ministry declined to comment on the incident. 

Kidnapping is on the rise in Nigeria as the country suffers its worst economic crisis in decades. 

The city of Lagos recently introduced the death penalty for those convicted of the crime. 

Nigerians 'excited and happy' at Buhari phone call

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari
There has been widespread concern for President Buhari's health

The reaction to Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari's phone call in Kano has been very positive, reports BBC Hausa's Yusuf Yakasai from the city. 

The conversation between the president and Kano State Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje was played on speakerphone and placed next to the mic at the prayer meeting, so the audience could hear. 

It was subsequently played out on local radio stations. 

For his worried supporters, it dispelled rumours over his possible death. 

Others had been saying that Mr Buhari, 74, was critically ill, or that he couldn't speak, but this phone call showed that he is alive and is resting, our reporter adds.

Reports in Nigerian media suggested that people at the prayer gathering burst into tears on hearing Mr Buhari's voice, but our correspondent says this was not the case, and that they were praising God loudly and praying for Mr Buhari.  

Nigerians hear Buhari's voice on the phone

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari, who's been out of the country for more than a month, has spoken via telephone to the governor of the northern state of Kano. 

It is the first time his voice has been heard in public since he left for the UK more than a month ago, extending his stay for medical reasons, without a clear return date.

The conversation was put on speakerphone, with the phone placed next to the mic to allow those at the prayer session to follow the call.

Nigeria's Punch newspaper reports that some of those present burst into tears as soon as they heard the president’s voice. 

However, there is no independent confirmation of the report.  

Sahara Reporters has posted a video of the moment the call came through:

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Why is Nigeria's President Buhari still in London?

Cameroon 'expels' Nigerians

Cameroon has expelled 517 Nigerians, including 313 asylum seekers, who fled the insurgency by militant Islamist group Boko Haram, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees has said, AFP news agency reports. 

UNHCR said it was "very concerned" about the expulsions and it urged Cameroon  to offer asylum and respect international conventions against the forced repatriation of asylum seekers, AFP adds.

The UN body said it planned to sign an agreement with Cameroon and Nigeria on 2 March for the voluntary return of 85,000 Nigerian refugees.

People collect water from a pump on November 13, 2014 in a UNHCR camp for Nigerian refugees in Minawao, in the extreme north-west of Cameroon
Most of the refugees are at the Minawao camp in north-eastern Cameroon

Correspondents say a similar crisis has developed in East Africa, where Kenya's government has been trying to close down the Dadaab refugee camp and forcibly repatriate Somalis who fled the insurgency by militant Islamist group al-Shabab. 

On 9 February, a Kenyan court blocked the plan to close the camp, saying it amounted to "group persecution".    

Good morning

Welcome to BBC Africa Live, where we will bring you the latest news from around the continent.

Our African proverb of the day:  

Good news made the hyena spend the night on a rubbish heap."

A Bemba proverb sent by Shebbina Chabala, Kitwe, Zambia

Click here to send us your African proverbs