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Summary

  1. Kenyan army kills '57 al-Shabab militants' in Somalia
  2. Ethiopia 'thwarts Grand Renaissance Dam attack'
  3. Eritrea rejects Ethiopian attack claim as 'preposterous'
  4. Section of roof collapses at busy Johannesburg hospital, trapping workers
  5. South African army takes over search for boy lost in mineshaft
  6. Nigerian health officials confirm Lassa fever case in Borno state
  7. Zimbabwe high court outlaws corporal punishment
  8. Mugabe in Singapore for medical checks as Zimbabwe nurses strike
  9. Two Kenyan teachers kidnapped from Dadaab refugee camp
  10. Elephants sleep for only two hours a night, scientists say
  11. Email stories and comments to africalive@bbc.co.uk - Thursday 2 March 2017

Live Reporting

By Hugo Williams

All times stated are UK

Get involved

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 wise words:

What the heart desires is medicine to it."

A Swahili proverb sent by Khalfan Bini Ahmed from Lamu, Kenya

Click here to send your African proverbs .  

And we leave you with this picture of a fisherwoman arranging a net after returning to port in Sidi Bou Said, near Tunis. 


          Chrifa Nimri, 69, a fisherwoman, arranges a net after returning to port in Sidi Bou Said, in Tunis
Reuters

UN report on civilian killings 'fake news' - DR Congo

BBC Afrique

Protesters in Kinshasa
BBC
Protesters have called for President Kabila to stand down

The Democratic Republic of Congo government has reacted to a UN report accusing security forces of deliberately killing demonstrators.

The government said it rejected the report, describing the allegations as fake news intended to harm the Congolese authorities. 

The UN report, released on Tuesday, said at least 40 civilians had died in December's demonstrations against President Joseph Kabila in the capital, Kinshasa.

The report alleged that some of the protesters were beaten to death by Congolese soldiers and police. 

Information Minister Lambert Mende said the thrust of the report was an attempt to discredit the country's judicial, political and security institutions rather than to bring justice to the victims. 

The country has faced a crisis since Mr Kabila failed to step down in December, when his mandate expired.  

Mubarak acquitted over 2011 protester deaths

Mubarak on a stretcher being taken from hospital to court
Reuters
Mr Mubarak was taken to court on a stretcher

Egypt's top appeals court has acquitted former President Hosni Mubarak of conspiring in the killing of hundreds of protesters during the 2011 uprising.

Mr Mubarak was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted in 2012, but the case was retried twice.

Thursday's Court of Cassation ruling is final, which could mean the ailing 88 year old is freed from detention.

He has been confined to a military hospital despite having completed a three-year sentence for embezzlement.

Read more here.

Belgian footballer signs for DR Congo club

Anthony Vanden Borre with TP Mazembe shirt
AFP

Scores of African footballers play professionally in Europe but how many Europeans play professionally in Africa? 

BBC Africa's sport correspondent draws our attention to a rare instance of a European international making the move to Africa. 

View more on twitter

Donkeys carry camel away from Somali drought

Aid worker Mukhtar Mohamed has tweeted these photos showing the effects of drought in Somalia. 

Two of the images show donkeys carrying a severely weakened camel away from a drought-stricken area.

View more on twitter

Gambia's Adama Barrow in Senegal on first foreign trip

Gambian leader Adama Barrow has retweeted a photo of himself with Senegalese President Macky Sall, as he embarks on his first official trip since assuming office last month. 

Senegal, which borders The Gambia on three sides, was a big supporter of Mr Barrow, hosting his swearing-in ceremony in Dakar when long-time Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh was still refusing to give up power. 

Mr Barrow and Mr Sall are due to hold a news conference at the presidential palace in Dakar later.

View more on twitter

Adama Barrow: From estate agent to Gambian president

Kenyan forces 'kill 57 al-Shabab militants' in Somalia

View more on twitter

The Kenyan army says its forces killed 57 al-Shabab Islamist militants in a battle in southern Somalia on Wednesday.

Kenyan troops under the African Union command (Amisom) used artillery and helicopter gunships against the Islamists near Afmadow, a town about 100 km (60 miles) inland from the port of Kismayo, a military statement said. 

Al-Shabab has denied any of its fighters were killed as part of the offensive.

The militants are locked in a propaganda war against Kenya, alongside the fierce fighting which happens on the ground. 

In January 2016, the militant group attacked a Kenyan army base in Somalia and said it had killed more than 100 soldiers.

The Kenyan government, which denied the figures, was heavily criticised for never saying how many of its soldiers died in the attack.

You can read the full statement below: 

Statement from Kenya defence ministry
Kenya Defence Ministry

Read more: What happened when al-Shabab attacked a Kenyan base in Somalia?

Senegalese footballer Souare on the road to recovery

Senegal and Crystal Palace footballer Pape Souare has posted a short video of himself running on a treadmill, six months after he was badly injured in a car crash outside London. 

In December, Souare had said he did not know if he would fully recover after breaking his thigh bone and jaw in the accident.

Here's what he told the BBC then .

View more on twitter

Alarm about Jo'burg hospital 'raised in 2012 report'

Some South Africans have been drawing attention to this story , published on Westside Eldos last November, which said a 2012 report had warned of structural defects at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital.

The report said staff had been concerned about the condition of the building for some time.

Grab from Westside Eldos website showing November story
Westside Eldos

Patients not seriously hurt in SA hospital roof collapse

A hospital official has told reporters that all five patients who were affected by the roof collapse suffered only minor, soft tissue injuries and none required operations.

It is believed that there may be between five and seven workers still trapped by the debris at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital in Johannesburg.

Here's another view of the scene.

View more on twitter

Jo'burg hospital roof collapsed 'during sealing work'

More on the roof collapse at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital in Johannesburg: Gauteng Emergency Medical Service head Arnold Malotana has said sealing work was being carried out on the roof when it collapsed.

"They were doing it in phases, so they’ll seal one area and move rubble in one area," he said. "It is estimated that at the time of the collapse there were about 10/12 people working in the area. 

"So far about four people have already been taken to casualty with minor injuries," he said.

'Patients trapped' in SA hospital roof collapse

View more on twitter

A section of roof caved in earlier at a Johannesburg hospital, trapping several patients under the rubble, South African media has reported. 

Charlotte Maxeke is one of the province’s busiest public hospitals seeing hundreds of patients every day. 

No injuries have been confirmed at this stage but paramedics are on standby while workers secure the site and dig through the debris. 

A spokesperson for the emergency services told News24 that six people had been stuck in the debris when they arrived on the scene. Some are believed to have since been removed.

View more on twitter

Race row activist Rachel Dolezal 'takes African name'


          Photo composite showing Rachel Dolezal as a teenager, with blonde hair and white skin alongside a photo of her with hair in an Afro style and a darker skin tone.
@KremTaylor
Rachel Dolezal says she identifies as black, despite both her parents being white

Rachel Dolezal, who made global headlines in 2015 after she was accused of lying about her race, has officially changed her name to  Nkechi Amare Diallo , according to the UK's Daily Mail newspaper, which says it has seen legal documents confirming the change. 

When her story first came to light, race rights activist Dolezal told US media that she has identified as black since childhood, though her parents insisted she was white. 

Her new names are taken from several different West African cultures.

Nkechi, according to our Igbo-speaking BBC reporter based in south-east Nigeria, means "gift from Almighty God" or "I accept whatever child God gives me". 

It's the abbreviated feminine form of the compound name nkechinyere (nke-chi-nyere).

Another colleague, whose last name is Diallo, doesn't know if the name has a specific meaning, but says it's one of the most popular names among people from the Fulani ethnic group.

Rachel Dolezal looks back on her life since the media storm over her racial identity.

Malaria drug 'also protects against sexually transmitted infections'

View more on twitter

A drug given to pregnant women in 35 countries worldwide to protect against malaria has been shown also to safeguard against common sexually transmitted infections (STIs), according to new research. 

The findings mean that one drug may offer protection simultaneously for two areas that pose major health risks to mothers and their babies. 

As well as protecting mothers against malaria, the sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) was also shown to safeguard against the consequences of gonorrhoea, chlamydia, trichomoniasis, and bacterial vaginosis, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine said. 

There are 880,000 stillbirths and 1.2 million newborn deaths each year in sub-Saharan Africa, many of which are linked to maternal infection.

The authors hope that preventative treatment for pregnant mothers in malaria-hit regions will be scaled up as a result of the findings. 

Investors 'amassing shares' in SA central bank illegally

South Africa's central bank has said some of its private shareholders have been amassing shares in breach of legal ownership limits, endangering the regulator's independence, Reuters reports.

The bank said it would sell nearly 150,000 of its shares owned by people who have bought too many.

The ownership limits, set by the courts, are intended to prevent undue influence in the banking regulator.

South African Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago said the bank had identified certain people who had been amassing shares - a practice he said posed a danger to the bank's independence.

He did not name them.

"These shareholders who decided to buy shares as families and as associates, you could see that they were trying to exert undue influence, or influence disproportionate to the statutory limit," Reuters quoted Mr Kganyago as saying.

Read more via the link below.

View more on twitter

Malawi parliament staff 'trapped in lift' during blackout

A power blackout at Malawi's parliament building has left at least one person needing medical attention, after he got stuck in a lift, according to a tweet by the Malawi Nation newspaper:

View more on twitter

It says the power cut has led to the suspension of parliamentary business:

View more on twitter

Malawians experience power outages for an average of between six to 12 hours every day. 

The cuts have been heavily affecting small businesses, who have to rely on expensive generators.

Malawian woman sits on a bed in maternity unit
BBC
In rural areas of Malawi, women about to give birth often have to bring their own lighting with them, usually candles or torches

Read more: Can 'pay as you glow' solve Malawi's power crisis?

Lassa fever found in Nigeria's Borno state

Ambulance outside Nigerian hospital
AFP

Nigerian health officials have confirmed a case of Lassa fever in Borno state, in the north-east of the country.

The state Commissioner for Health, Dr Haruna Mshelia, told the BBC that a 32-year-old woman who lives in a village near the state capital, Maiduguri, had been diagnosed with the fever.

He said she became ill last week and was admitted to a government hospital in Maiduguri, where a sample of her blood was taken and sent to Lagos for testing. The sample came back positive, he said.

Lassa fever was first discovered in Lassa village in southern Borno in 1969. It is an acute and sometimes fatal disease, usually acquired from infected rats.

You can read more about Lassa fever on the World Health Organization website .

Jail terms could stop Ethiopia doping - Haile Gebrselassie

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Ethiopian long-distance-running legend Haile Gebrselassie believes doping could be stamped out in his country if an athlete who failed a test for meldonium was sent to prison, Reuters news agency reports. 

Ethiopia has dominated international distance running for many years along with neighbouring Kenya, but the country's credibility was questioned in 2016 when six athletes came under investigation for doping.  

Police are investigating marathon runner Girmay Birhanu for breaching an anti-doping law after he failed a test last year and he could face three years in prison, Gebrselassie, the Ethiopian Athletics Federation (EAF) president, told Reuters.

Gebrselassie, a double Olympic 10,000m champion who retired from running in 2015, was elected EAF president in November.  

South African army at Boksburg mine scene

More on our earlier entry about the search for a South African boy who fell into a disused mineshaft in Boksburg at the weekend. These images show South African armed forces personnel now at the scene.

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Kenyan teachers kidnapped in Dadaab

BBC World Service

Two Kenyan teachers have been kidnapped from the Dadaab refugee camp, near the Somali border. 

They were reportedly abducted by unidentified gunmen overnight and driven towards the border. 

Last month, the High Court in Nairobi blocked an attempt by the Kenyan government to close down Dadaab.

The court said the move was unconstitutional. 

The government has described the camp, which is the largest in the world, as a breeding ground for terrorists. 

It says attacks on its soil by the Somalia-based al-Shabab Islamist group have been planned in Dadaab.

Watch: My life in the world’s largest refugee camp

Zimbabwe court outlaws corporal punishment

Shingai Nyoka

BBC Africa, Harare

Classroom in Zimbabwe
AFP

The way Zimbabwean parents and teachers discipline their children could be set to change forever.

 A high court has outlawed corporal punishment both at school and in the home. 

The ruling follows an incident in which a teacher beat a first grade pupil for not having her homework signed. 

The girl's mother had sought a court ruling after saying she had discovered deep bruises on her daughter's body, following a beating. 

She said corporal punishment was both violent and inhumane. 

A high court judge agreed. 

Some parents are criticising the ruling while rights groups says it is long overdue.

The constitutional court will have to confirm the judgement. 

Ethiopia dam attack accusations 'preposterous' - Eritrea

Workmen on site at the grand renaissance dam project
AFP
The Grand Renaissance Dam is a highly controversial project

Eritrea has rejected reports that it was behind a foiled plot to attack Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam project (see earlier post ), Bloomberg news reports

The Ethiopian government has said it killed 13 members of a rebel group sponsored by Eritrea who were planning to attack the vast infrastructure project.

"This whole accusation is preposterous and peddled for some sinister reason," Eritrean Information Minister Yemane Gebremeskel said in a message sent via Twitter, Bloomberg reports.

The minister added that he had never heard of the rebel group accused of planning the attack.

The site of the multi-billion dollar dam is located in the Benishangul region, a vast, arid land on the border with Sudan, some 900km north-west of the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa,  

Eritrea gained independence from Ethiopia 25 years ago, and the two countries fought a border war between 1998-2000, in which about 80,000 people are believed to have died.

Mugabe in Singapore for medical checks

Robert Mugabe
AFP

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has travelled to Singapore for medical checks, days after celebrating his 93rd birthday.   

The president has become increasingly frail, and now struggles to walk during public appearances. His spokesman said the check-up was routine and Mr Mugabe was expected to be back in Harare "early next week".

It comes a day after state-employed nurses in Zimbabwe began an indefinite strike over wages.

Their main demand is that the government pay out 2016 bonuses.

Last week, army doctors were brought in to manage a potential health crisis as a result of an ongoing doctors’ strike.

Zimbabwe’s medical professionals are some of the worst paid in the region and their salaries are often paid late.

See Wednesday's story on the strike here .

Ethiopia 'thwarts attack on Grand Renaissance Dam'


          A photo taken on March 31, 2015 shows the Grand Renaissance Dam under construction near the Sudanese-Ethiopia border.
AFP
Once completed, the site will be Africa's largest hydropower dam

Ethiopia says it has thwarted a planned attack by an Eritrean-backed group on its vast Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam project. 

Security forces killed 13 and captured seven of the alleged attackers, who were from an Eritrean rebel group, government-affiliated website Fana Broadcasting Corporation reports .

The rebel group, from the Benishangul Gumuz ethnic minority, operates close to the border with Sudan in the western Benishangul Gumuz Regional State, where the dam is under construction, Fana adds. 

The vast project is about 50% complete and has been a source of regional tension. 

Egypt has long suspected it will reduce its share of the Nile water.

Ethiopia and neighboring Eritrea have a long history of border disputes. 

Read more: Will Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam dry the Nile in Egypt?

SA army to search mineshaft for lost boy

The South African army has been called in to help search for a five-year-old boy, Richard Thole, who fell into a disused mineshaft outside Johannesburg at the weekend. 

Sources say that low oxygen levels, acidic water and the depth of the shaft mean there is now thought to be little hope of bringing out the child alive. 

Illegal miners known as zama-zamas have also offered their help as they know the shafts in the area.

Residents staged protests on Monday and Tuesday, demanding to be relocated to safer areas. They say the ground is unstable and liable to subsidence because of previous mine working.  

Elephants 'sleep for only two hours a night'

Elephants in Botswana
Getty Images

Wild African elephants sleep for the shortest time of any mammal, according to a study.

Scientists tracked two elephants in Botswana to find out more about the animals' natural sleep patterns.

Elephants in zoos sleep for four to six hours a day, but in their natural surroundings the elephants rested for only two hours, mainly at night.

The elephants, both matriarchs of the herd, sometimes stayed awake for several days.

During this time, they travelled long distances, perhaps to escape lions or poachers.

They only went into rapid eye movement (REM, or dreaming sleep, as it is known in humans) every three or four days, when they slept lying down rather than on their feet.

Prof Paul Manger of the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, said this makes elephant sleep unique.

"Elephants are the shortest sleeping mammal - that seems to be related to their large body size," he told BBC News.

"It seems like elephants only dream every three to four days. Given the well-known memory of the elephant this calls into question theories associating REM sleep with memory consolidation."

Read the full story here.

Wise words

Today's African proverb:

What the heart desires is medicine to it."

A Swahili proverb sent by Khalfan Bini Ahmed from Lamu, Kenya
Heart candle
Getty Images

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.