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Summary

  1. Mugabe 'forgot' he fired Mnangagwa
  2. Investigation ordered after rape claims in Kenyan hospital
  3. Children 'freed' from al-Shabab school
  4. Nigeria's failed primary teachers can reapply for jobs
  5. Ugandan leader talks up death penalty
  6. Rehabilited Boko Haram fighters 'to rejoin society'
  7. Gambians reflect on Adama Barrow's first year
  8. Former Ivory Coast minister jailed
  9. Nigerian head teacher suspended over corporal punishment

Live Reporting

By Natasha Booty and Dickens Olewe

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Scroll down for Friday's stories

We'll be back next week

That's all from BBC Africa Live this week. Keep up-to-date with what's happening across the continent by listening to the Africa Today podcast or check the BBC News website.

A reminder of today's wise words:

It's the stick within your reach - regardless of its size - that could kill a snake."

A Samia proverb sent by Dan Ogalo in Kampala, Uganda

Click here and scroll to the bottom to send us your African proverbs.

And we leave you with this picture of two girls playing football on a beach in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu. It is one of our best photos from this week.

Somali girls playing football
AFP

Somalis take up Barbar challenge

A new song by Canada-based Somali artist Oomaar has taken the internet by storm.

Unlike most Somali songs, which are traditionally poetic, Barbar is a humour-filled fusion of other genres and calls on people to dance.

Part of the lyrics that have found particular appeal narrate how the protagonist is struck with a love bug which seizes him with uncontrollable fever until it knocks him down.

People have now started the Barbar challenge which involves acting out the lyrics and ends with them throwing themselves on the floor.

The artist is however advising his enthusiastic fans to ensure that they are somewhere safe when dancing along so that they don't hurt themselves.

Here's one of the popular videos:

View more on facebook

The US embassy in Djibouti has also been joining in:

View more on facebook

Kenyan bank confirms theft by fraudsters

The National Bank of Kenya has confirmed that hackers stole 29 million shillings ($282,000; £203,000) in an attack on Wednesday.

In its statement shared on Twitter, the bank assured its customers that their accounts were not affected by the theft.

View more on twitter

Surviving cancer with no radiotherapy

Patience Atuhaire

BBC Africa, Kampala

Monica Kyotazala lays on a bed
BBC
Monica Kyotazala's long wait for treatment is finally over

Uganda hit the headlines in 2016 when its only radiotherapy machine broke, leaving thousands of cancer patients without the treatment they urgently needed.

The official launch of the new machine today is potentially life-saving, even if it remains the only one for a country of more than 40 million people.

Monica Kyotazala has lived with a life-threatening disease for 12 years.

In 2006, she was diagnosed with cervical cancer, and her body shows the physical ravages of the condition.

Painfully thin and with a faltering voice, she explains how she went without adequate medical treatment for close to two years, after Uganda's only radiotherapy machine broke down.

After the machine failed, doctors prescribed two doses of chemotherapy for Ms Kyotazala.

"I didn't have the money," she says, beginning to cry. "I spent a month without getting the treatment. My children were trying to raise the money. So I survived on just morphine, for the pain. I had to go back home and wait."

For Ms Kyotazala, and patients like her, the wait is finally over.

Read the full piece here

Tanzania halts ship registration after illegal cargo

Tulanana Bohela

BBC Africa, Dar es Salaam

Tanzania's President John Magufuli has placed a stop on all registration of new ships "until further notice", following the recent seizure of two vessels flying the country's flag which were carrying illegal cargo.

Drugs and explosives were found on the ships which were intercepted at the end of last year and early this year, in the Dominican Republic and Greece respectively.

The Tanzanian government has since revoked both two ships' licences.

In a statement today (below in Kiswahili), Tanzania's State House confirmed it would "conduct an investigation into the ships which have been captured, which now number five, and all 470 that have been registered and are flying the Tanzanian flag.

It adds: "We cannot let the name of country be dragged through the mud by people serving their own interests."

A copy of the statement
.

Senegal to prosecute Casamance killings suspects

Senegal's map
BBC

Sixteen people are to be prosecuted in connection with the massacre of 14 young men in Senegal's troubled region of Casamance, news agency AFP reports quoting a source.

The suspects are facing murder charges over the attacks which reportedly took place on 6 January.

They are also facing charges for associating with a criminal group and for the possession of weapons.

The victims' friends and relatives said they were looking for firewood when they were attacked.

Media reports however say the group was potentially involved in the illegal logging trade in a region with plentiful rosewood and teak, both highly prized in China.

Casamance has seen a long-running conflict between the government and the MFDC rebel group, which wants independence.

The Senegalese military had said the attack may be connected to the recent release from custody of two MFDC members.

Once home to a thriving tourist industry, Casamance is separated from the Senegalese capital, Dakar, by The Gambia.

It is home to numerous ethnic groups, including many Christians, while northern areas are dominated by three, largely Muslim communities.

Violence has largely waned since a 2014 ceasefire agreed between the government and rebels.

Read: Senegal country profile

Nigeria's failed primary teachers can reapply for jobs

BBC World Service

More than 20,000 primary school teachers in Nigeria's Kaduna state, who failed the exams they set for their pupils, could be allowed to keep their jobs.

The authorities in Kaduna state had said they would be sacked and replacements recruited, prompting teachers to go on strike earlier this month.

But union leaders have told the BBC they've now called off their action after the state governor said the teachers who didn't pass the competency test would be allowed to apply for the posts.

View more on twitter

Children 'freed' from al-Shabab school

Al Shabab
AFP
Rights body HRW says that the Islamist militants are recruiting children

Authorities in Somalia say they have freed 32 children from a school run by Islamist militant group al-Shabab, news agency Reuters reports.

Information Minister Abdirahman Omar Osman said that the children are safe and are being looked after by the government.

He added:

It showed how desperate the terrorists are, as they are losing the war and people are rejecting terror."

Al-Shabab spokesman, Abdiasis Abu Musab, confirmed the raid in the country's Middle Shabelle region but added adding that four children and a teacher were killed in the operation.

He added that the government troops had "kidnapped" the rest of the pupils, Reuters reports. The government has however denied the claims.

The campaign group Human rights Watch said in a recent report that the militants were recruiting children as young as eight years old.

Read: Who are Somalia's al-Shabab?

Kenyan hospital denies mothers' rape claims

The hospital at the centre of rape claims made against staff by new mothers has issued a statement calling the allegations "damning and untrue".

Kenyatta National Hospital's CEO Lily Koros dismissed the personal accounts of alleged assault which women have shared on social media, saying that no formal reports were made and adding that the site has 24-hour CCTV and round-the-clock security.

A scan of the press statement from Kenyatta National Hospital CEO Lily Koros
.

Earlier, Kenya's health ministry announced it would be investigating the claims made.

Zambia's traders protest at anti-cholera measures

Following Zambia's cholera outbreak in September last year, the government has moved to clear street markets in a bid to curb the spread of the disease.

But many street traders say their livelihoods have been affected and have been protesting at the authorities' actions:

Watch more from Africa Business Report.

Rehabilited Boko Haram fighters 'to rejoin society'

Ishaq Khalid

BBC Africa, Abuja

The Nigerian military says 95 former Boko Haram fighters are to be re-integrated into society following a 16-week de-radicalisation programme. They are the first set of confirmed former fighters to complete the programme. The men are among more than 254 former Boko Haram militants admitted to a specialist centre in the north-eastern State of Gombe under the Operation Safe Corridor programme.

Surrendered and repentant Boko Haram fighters undergo de-radicalisation, rehabilitation and re-integration at the government-funded facility.

The next step for former fighters, who also receive vocational training in things like farming and soap-making, is to being handed over to their state governments before being reunited with their families.

Apart from the ex-combatants being de-radicalised, the Nigerian military says so for it has also facilitated the rehabilitation of 750 suspects including men women and children who have been cleared of links to the militant group.

It says some United Nations agencies were part of the programme.

Since the Boko Haram insurgency began in 2009, thousands of people have been killed and millions displaced in Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon.

Fishermen's app cuts middlemen

Across Africa, thousands of fishermen head out to sea every day to earn a living.

As their catches normally get to market via intermediaries, the fishermen themselves get very little money.

But a new app could change this.

The BBC's Jason Boswell reports from Lamberts Bay, on South Africa's west coast.

Nigerian head teacher suspended over corporal punishment

A school principal in Nigeria's north-central state of Nasarawa has been suspended after a video of him caning students was shared on social media.

The state's Commissioner of Education, Tijjani Ahmed, said that the head teacher and some of his colleagues had been suspended for one month and that an investigation had been launched, Punch news site reports.

In the video, the teacher is seen caning several students with hard strokes.

View more on twitter

Mr Ahmed said that corporal punishment is banned in the state, adding that teachers caught punishing pupils physically would be disciplined.

He said that "minor punishment" should be used to discipline students.

Ghana warns British Airways over bed bugs

A British Airways airplane is seen as it flies in to land at London City Airport in London on October 27, 2017.
AFP

Ghana's Aviation Minister Cecelia Dapaah has warned British Airways (BA) it could face sanctions, after reports of bed bugs on some of the airline's flights into the country.

A British newspaper reported this week that a BA flight to Accra was grounded at London's Heathrow Airport for four hours, after the insects were found crawling on the seats.

British Airways, which has a monopoly on direct flights between the UK and Ghana, has issued a statement saying such incidents were extremely rare, and a specialist team had taken immediate steps to resolve the issue.

It told the BBC that Ghana remained an important destination for the company.

Bed bugs crawl around in a container on display during the 2nd National Bed Bug Summit in Washington, DC, February 2, 2011.
AFP
Bed bugs are small blood-sucking insects that live in cracks and crevices in and around beds

Who is Liberia's President-elect George Weah?

Ex-footballer George Weah has been elected to the highest office in Liberia. His official swearing-in is due to take place on Monday.

Known as "King George" to his supporters, how did he go from footballing glory to president?

Video producer: Elaine Okyere

Who is Liberia's new president George Weah?

Nigeria sues UK bank over corrupt oil deal

Stephanie Hegarty

BBC Africa, Lagos

JP Morgan's offices
BBC

The Nigerian government has filed a lawsuit against investment bank JP Morgan in the UK for more than $875m (£630m), for what it says was negligence in the handling of funds during an oil deal in 2011.

The same deal is the subject of a case being heard in Italy in which executives from oil companies Shell and ENI have been charged with corruption.

It was a $1.3bn deal, a bounty that could have covered Nigeria’s entire health budget.

But at least $800m of that money went missing. And now the Nigerian government - under a different president - wants it back.

The claim was filed quietly in a British court in November.

In it, Nigeria says that JP Morgan was "grossly negligent" and didn’t follow due diligence when it transferred money to a company called Malabu, which was controlled by convicted money launderer Dan Etete.

It says that JP Morgan should have known or suspected that the money would be misappropriated.

But JP Morgan says the accusations are “unsubstantiated and without merit”.

Executives from the oil companies, ENI and Shell are facing charges of corruption over this oil deal, in an Italian court.

Both ENI and Shell have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

Ethiopian Orthodox Christians mark Timkat

Annual Timkat celebrations are under way in Ethiopia - the festival is an Orthodox Christian celebration of Epiphany.

Our colleague Kalkidan Yibeltal sent these photos from the city of Gondar in the country's north:

Timkat festival - a woman stands alone, looking at the camera
Kalkidan Yibeltal/BBC
Timkat festival - two men stand together in the crowd, one holds  a candle
Kalkidan Yibeltal/BBC
Timkat festival - worshippers assemble next to a church
Kalkidan Yibeltal/BBC
Timkat festival - a young girl looks at the camera
Kalkidan Yibeltal/BBC
Timkat festival - a young boy smiles
Kalkidan Yibeltal/BBC
Timkat festival - a wide shot showing the many worshippers in attendance
Kalkidan Yibeltal/BBC

Investigation ordered after rape claims in Kenyan hospital

Kenya's Health Minister Cleopa Mailu has ordered an investigation into shocking claims that new mothers at the country's main referral hospital in the capital Nairobi have been sexually assaulted, local media report.

View more on twitter

Mr Mailu tweeted that he was aware of "the alleged rape of mothers on their way to and from the newborn unit" as had been made on social media posts.

One Facebook user had posted on a page called Buyers Beware that new mothers who had undergone Caesarean sections were especially vulnerable.

The user said that new mothers were being targeted while on their way to breastfeed their newborn babies who are kept in a different floor:

Security is a big issue especially for mothers whose [babies] are in the nursery. The nurseries are on the ground floor and the mothers on the third floor. Today [I] met a lady who was nearly raped.

The lady had gone to breastfeed her baby at about 3am. Only thing that saved her the rape ordeal was her voice.

This is someone who had her twins via Caesarean and has barely healed. Such vulnerable mothers need protection."

The post has attracted comments from people who say they have been victims or know somebody who has been attacked.

The health minister ordered the hospital's management to beef up security at the facility and submit a report to him by Monday.

Tanzania revokes registration of two ships

Aboubakar Famau

BBC Africa, Arusha

Tanzania has revoked the registration of two Tanzanian-flagged ships that were seized last week by the Greek authorities while heading to Libya.

The ships were reported to be fully loaded with materials used to make explosives.

Tanzania's Vice-President Samia Suluhu told reporters that the government had authorised both the American and Greece coastguards to seize and inspect the vessels which she says were carrying illegal materials.

Ms Suluhu added that the government was shocked by the news considering the country has been steadfast in its effort to combat drugs and illegal arms.

The two vessels were registered in Tanzania through the Zanzibar Maritime Authority which also has the mandate to register foreign ships.

She said that the government would form joint committee with officials from the Zanzibar island to review previous contracts of all Tanzanian flagged vessels.

The committee's findings will then advise the government.

The European Union and UN-imposed arms embargoes have prohibited the sale, supply or transfer of arms to Libya since 2011.

Sudan arrests journalists

Security authorities in Sudan have arrested journalists covering opposition organised demonstrations against the rising food prices, news agency AFP reports.

The price of bread and other food items have soared in recent weeks after a shortage of wheat supplies led to the cost of flour going up.

Journalists working for news agencies AFP and Reuters were among three reporters being held by Sudanese authorities the two agencies have confirmed.

Abdelmoneim Abu Idris Ali, a 51-year-old reporter who has worked for AFP in Khartoum for nearly a decade, was arrested while covering the protests on Wednesday in the Sudanese capital's twin city of Omdurman.

AFP says that they have not been able to reach the reporter and that he was being detained by Sudan's intelligence and Security Service (NISS) along three other journalists.

It adds that authorities said the three journalists "are being investigated" but provided no further details. "

A Reuters spokesperson says that they are actively trying to get additional information about the arrests.

Similar protests were held in late 2016 after the government cut fuel subsidies.

The authorities cracked down on those protests to prevent a repeat of deadly unrest that followed an earlier round of subsidy cuts in 2013.

A pile of baguettes in a bakery
AFP
The price of bread has doubled in Sudan since the government scrapped flour subsidies

Ex-PM returns to Guinea-Bissau five years after coup

The ousted former prime minister of Guinea Bissau, Carlos Gomes Junior, has returned to the country amid a political crisis, AFP reports.

The news agency reports that Mr Gomes, who has lived in Portugal since being ousted in a 2012 coup, was met at the airport this morning by singing crowds - some held placards which read "the son of the country is back".

View more on twitter

"Today, I have returned to embrace my brothers, my friends, to encourage them to find a way out of this crisis through dialogue," he reportedly told supporters of the governing African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC).

"I believe that reconciliation is possible," he reportedly added, telling reporters he had no intention of returning to politics.

Mr Gomes and his PAIGC government were overthrown in a coup in 2012 led by the army chief. At the time, Mr Gomes was running in the presidential election and was expected to win.

Guinea-Bissau has been gripped by a power struggle since August 2015, when President Jose Mario Vaz sacked the then prime minister Domingos Simoes Pereira.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Umaro Sissoco Embalo resigned his post, in a bid to end a two-year political crisis.

Last month, the West African regional group Ecowas urged Guinea-Bissau's leaders to resolve the crisis within two months or face sanctions.

President Vaz and former Prime Minister Pereira have accused each other of blocking the implementation of an accord reached in October 2016, AFP reports.

Read more: Guinea-Bissau country profile

Ugandan president reconsiders death penalty

Sammy Maina

BBC Monitoring

Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni says he is re-thinking his position on the death penalty because execution stays are making people think they can get away with murder.

"On the death penalty, I have not been assenting to hanging of convicts because of my Christian background but being lenient is causing people to think they can cause harm and get away with it. I will revise my position," President Museveni wrote on his official Twitter account.

View more on twitter

Uganda has 28 offences that attract the death penalty, the highest number in east Africa. Juveniles, pregnant women and the mentally ill are, however, exempt from the punishment.

The last execution in the country happened in 2005, according to privately owned Daily Monitor newspaper.

Ivory Coast former minister jailed

BBC World Service

A former defence minister in Ivory Coast has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for conspiring against the government.

Moise Lida Kouassi served under President Laurent Gbagbo, who was ousted from power in 2011 and is now in the custody of the International Criminal Court.

The Abidjan court ruled that six years ago, Mr Kouassi plotted with former army officers exiled in neighbouring Ghana to topple the government elected under President Alassane Ouattara.

The trial is the latest in a series involving former government ministers.

The Gambia marks one year under President Barrow

Gambians are marking President Adama Barrow's first year in office.

A year ago today, he was inaugurated following his shock election win against former President Yahya Jammeh, who after 22 years in office did not accept defeat until regional leaders intervened.

Speaking to BBC Newsday, Information Minister Demba Ali Jawo said Gambians have been "impatient" but says the government needs more than a year to fix the "broken economy":

Unemployment is a challenge, Gambian youths used to try to reach Europe and many died in the Sahara... some were being enslaved. I can assure you fewer people are leaving now than in the past."

He also hinted at the lack of respect for human rights and freedom of speech under the former president, which he says his government is working to change:

The reality is that there are a lot problems we've inherited. We're doing quite a lot in that regard. In the area of freedom for instance, people are so free to express themselves and they are not scared as they used to be in past."

Listen to the full interview here:

Minister says Gambians need to give President Adama Barrow more time

Mnagangwa: Mugabe forgot he fired me

Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said that his predecessor, Robert Mugabe, forgot he had fired him as his deputy as he tried to quell the crisis that eventually led to his being ousted as leader of the country.

Mr Mnangagwa made the comments on Thursday during a one-day visit to Mozambique, New Zimbabwe news site reports.

He said that he had a telephone conversation with the 93-year-old leader who asked him why he was out of the country.

He recounted the conversation while mimicking Mr Mugabe's voice:

Emmerson. Where are you? 'In South Africa'. What are you doing there? 'You fired me...you fired me last week."

A video of his remarks has been shared on YouTube:

View more on youtube

Mr Mnangagwa said that Mr Mugabe then urged him to return to Zimbabwe, but says he replied that "there are people who surround you want to eliminate me".

He said he feared for his life.

Behind the scenes, Mr Mnangagwa had been involved in an intense campaign against First Lady Grace Mugabe to succeed Mr Mugabe as president.

He was subsequently fired as deputy vice-president leading the military to launch a dramatic takeover which ended Mr Mugabe's 37-year rule.

Mr Mnangagwa returned to the country from South Africa and was sworn in as president on 24 November.

Read: Emmerson Mnangagwa: The 'crocodile' who snapped back

Today's wise words

Our African proverb of the day:

It's the stick within your reach - regardless of its size - that could kill a snake."

A Samia proverb sent by Dan Ogalo in Kampala, Uganda

Good morning

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