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Summary

  1. Rwandan preacher says 'nothing good' in women
  2. Nigerian airline blames passenger after door falls off
  3. Ethiopia pardons jailed blogger
  4. US says time for 'diplomatic niceties' over in South Sudan
  5. Commonwealth welcomes back The Gambia
  6. Cheers and hugs for exiled Kenyan lawyer in Canada
  7. UN in $1bn appeal for northern Nigeria

Live Reporting

By Flora Drury and Farouk Chothia

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:

The falling of a yellow leaf is a warning to a green one."

A Dinka proverb sent by John Maguang Garang in South Sudan

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

And we leave you with this from Ethiopia's capital:

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Nigeria author in running for literary award

Ayobami Adebayo
KC Ogundele
The Lagos-born author studied at the University of East Anglia in England

Nigerian author Ayobami Adebayo's debut novel Stay with Me has been long-listed for a British literary award, the Wellcome Book Prize.

Adebayo, 30, is the only African on the long-list of 12 for the £30,000 ($42,000) award.

The New York Times described Stay with Me as a "stunning debut novel", while its publishers say it is "the heart-breaking tale of what wanting a child can do to a person, a marriage and a family; a powerful and vivid story of what it means to love not wisely but too well".

South African-born billionaire buys LA Times

Drivers wait in their vehicles at a traffic light in front of the Los Angeles Times office building in Los Angeles, California on February 7, 2018,
AFP

A billionaire born to Chinese immigrant parents in South Africa has bought one of America's most famous newspapers.

Patrick Soon-Shiong revealed he was inspired to purchase the Los Angeles Times by his childhood in Port Elizabeth under the country's apartheid regime.

According to the LA Times, he explained the purchase in a note to staff.

Ultimately, this decision is deeply personal for me. As someone who grew up in apartheid South Africa, I understand the role that journalism needs to play in a free society."

Dr Soon-Shiong, who studied medicine at Witwatersrand University before becoming the first Chinese student to be admitted to Johannesburg's General Hospital, reportedly paid $500m (£357m) for the newspaper.

The physician, who emigrated to Canada in the 1970s before heading to the US, promised staff to "ensure that you have the tools and resources to produce the high-quality journalism that our readers need and rely upon".

'Axe men' terrorise Mozambican city

Jose Tembe

BBC Africa, Maputo

A man holds his machete as young people, who created a self-defence committee for their district Benz-vi, met before leaving for a patrol in their district, on March 12, 2014 in Bangui.
AFP
The gangs are armed with weapons like machetes (stock image)

Gangs known as "axe men" have been marauding through a Mozambican city armed with machetes, pickaxes, knives and spears know as assegai.

Police say the gangs of 12 to 15 men break into homes in Niassa province's capital Lichinga late at night.

They then hold the occupants hostage, assaulting and robbing their victims - taking everything from TVs to the food in their cupboards.

But police spokesman Alves Mate was keen to point out three gangs had already been "neutralised".

He added:

This is a phenomenon, which has already been identified. I can assure everyone that the police is already working on the ground. The police operation is yielding positive results."

After 10 days of television silence...

Sammy Maina

BBC Monitoring

... Kenya's Citizen TV is finally back on air!

View more on twitter

Citizen TV, along with its Kikuyu-language sister station Inooro TV, remained shut after two other stations - KTN News TV and NTV - resumed broadcasting on pay TV platforms three days ago.

The government shut down all four private TV stations on 30 January after they failed to abide by a state-imposed ban against broadcasting the "inauguration" of opposition leader Raila Odinga as the "people's president".

BBC Monitoring can confirm that all four TV stations are now available on free-to-air platforms.

Leicester boss: Mahez needs to get his head right

Stanley Kwenda

BBC Africa

Mahrez
PA
Mahrez joined Leicester in 2014

Leicester City manager Claude Puel says he hopes that the "magnificent" Algerian winger Riyad Mahez "gets his head right" and returns to his squad.

Mahrez, 26, has not been turning up for work since his proposed move to Manchester City collapsed last week.

Speaking at his weekly press conference, Puel would not say whether the club is in contact with the player or if any mediation process is under way to resolve differences.

He added:

I hope Riyad can get his head right and come back with us. For him the best way is to come back to enjoy his football. Riyad is a magnificent player.

He loves football and his relationship with his teammates. I think he needs to come back to play, to touch the ball. It's important."

Read the full BBC Sport here

Kenya is not a nation state - ruling party official

Raphael Tuju: Kenya is not a nation state

Raphael Tuju is the secretary general of Kenya’s governing Jubilee Party.

As opposition leader Raila Odinga declares himself the "people’s president", Mr Tuju has warned that Kenya risks splitting along ethnic and tribal lines.

You can see the Hardtalk interview in full on Thursday 8 February 2018 on BBC World News and the BBC News Channel and after on BBC iPlayer (UK only).

Mozambique deports Ethiopians

Jose Tembe

BBC Africa, Maputo

A rooftop view shows the skyline of Mozambic capital Maputo on January 8, 2007
AFP
Mozambique is one of the poorest countries in Africa

Mozambique has deported more than 50 Ethiopians who had entered the country illegally, in some cases after a six-week journey, officials say.

All of them were detained in December - 40 were found in the bush in the central district of Gorongosa, and the others were arrested in other parts of the country.

They had made the long overland journey from Ethiopia, via Kenya and Tanzania, saying there in search of jobs and better living conditions.

Some of the Ethiopians said they had been travelling for six weeks. One, Simion Sidebo, said he had paid more than $3,000 (£2,100) to transporters.

Mozambican National Immigration Services spokeswoman Cira Fernandes said the Ethiopians had no passports or other documents.

Repatriations were costly: last year, the government spent more than $200,000 repatriating nearly 4,000 undocumented migrants, she said.

However, the UN's International Organization for Migration (IOM) agreed to carry the cost of deporting the latest batch, she said.

They flew back to Ethiopia from the capital, Maputo, and the IOM will help them "start up small-scale businesses to avoid becoming illegal immigrants again", Ms Fernandes said.

Ghana president renews vow to fight crime

Thomas Naadi

BBC Africa, Accra

Ghana's President Nana Akufo-Addo
BBC
Ghana's President Nana Akufo-Addo promised to tackle unemployment

Ghana's President Nana Akufo-Addo has renewed his commitment to fight crime as he promised to revamp the police force during his state of the nation address.

Mr Akufo-Addo said an initial $180m (£128m) would be used to purchase modern equipment to help the police fight crime.

This, the president said, will help improve security in the country.

Fears over the number of armed robberies, killings of security personnel and violence carried out by nomadic herdsman have meant tackling crime is a top priority.

Mr Akufo-Addo noted efforts are being made to find a regional solution to the violent activities of nomadic herdsmen.

The address also touched on unemployment, promising 100,000 young people would be provided with jobs this year.

He had further good news for the economy, noting enough measures have been put in place to free the country from dependence on foreign aid.

What's more, the World Bank is predicting Ghana's economy would grow at a rate of 8.3% - the fastest anywhere across the globe - this year.

But the improvement in the economy is yet to have a real impact on the lives of Ghanaians.

President Akufo-Addo didn’t address the recent fuel price hikes which resulted in a protest march on Wednesday.

'It was terrible': Passenger tells of nightmare Nigeria flight

A picture of the inside of the aircraft posted on Twitter by Dapo Sanwo.
Twitter/@DapoSanwo
Passengers say the door was rattling during the flight from Lagos to Abuja

A passenger has spoken out after Nigeria's Dana Air has blamed one of its customers for making an aircraft door fall off shortly after landing.

The flight from Lagos to Abuja made the headlines after the emergency exit door came away as it was taxiing on the runway.

The airline has vociferously denied there was any mechanical fault, but one person who was on yesterday's flight has disputed this.

Dapo Sanwo, from Lagos, told the BBC:

The flight was noisy with vibrations from the floor panel. I noticed the emergency door latch was loose and dangling.

When we landed and the plane was taxiing back to the park point, we heard a poof-like explosion, followed by a surge of breeze and noise. It was terrible.

The cabin crew tried to say a passenger pulled the hatch which everyone denied. They also tried to get us to stop taking videos or pictures."

Read the full story here.

Anger after Rwanda preacher says women 'source of evil'

A Rwandan woman walks along with her baby on her back
AFP
Rights groups are horrified after a preacher said there was nothing good about women

A Rwandan preacher could be hauled before the country's media regulator after calling women the source of all evil in a radio sermon.

Seventh Day Adventist preacher Nicolas Niyibikora told listeners "women are out of God's favour" during the broadcast on Amazing Grace radio in January, warning "there is nothing good you can find in women".

"If you've read the Bible, who brought the sin into the world?" he asked listeners, adding: "It was not a man."

Somewhat unsurprisingly, the sermon has angered rights groups, with Pro-Femme Twese Hamwe holding a press conference warning such words “can bring hatred and conflicts among Rwandans if nothing is urgently done about it”, according to Rwanda's New Times.

The women's rights group made a complaint to the regulatory body Rwanda Media Commission (RMC), which is set to meet to discuss the issue next week

Executive secretary Emmanuel Mugisha told the New Times it was likely the radio station will have to explain itself.

The Seventh Day Adventists in Rwanda have made efforts to distance themselves from Mr Niyibikora, who they say was expelled five years ago.

Sudan in military deal with Russia

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir says Russia has agreed to help the country strengthen its military capabilities, the official SUNA news agency reported.

Addressing army officers and soldiers in the Red Sea town of Port Sudan, Mr Bashir said: "Sudan has a programme with Russia to develop the Sudanese armed forces in a way that will deter anybody who intends to harm the country."

President Omar al-Bashir addresses the nation during the 62nd Anniversary Independence Day at the Palace in Khartoum, Sudan December 31, 2017
Reuters
President Bashir visited Russia in November

Al-Shabab 'training village elders to fight'

Abdi Dahir

BBC Monitoring, Nairobi

- A file photo taken on February 17, 2011 shows Islamist fighters loyal to Somalias Al-Qaida inspired al-Shebab group performing military drills at a village in Lower Shabelle regioe
afp
The al-Qaeda linked group has killed thousands of people

Al-Shabab militants have been training clan elders in southern Somalia on how to use guns to shoot accurately, in the latest attempt by the jihadists to win the hearts of residents, media outlets affiliated by the group have reported.

A radio station and a website operated by the al-Qaeda-affiliated militants have broadcast and published pictures of elderly men holding guns in what appears to be a shooting range, as a huge crowd looks on.

Radio Andalus said about 40 elders from different clans took part in the shooting competition which involved men between the ages of 60 and 80 in Jilib, Middle Jubba Region, southern Somalia.

“Each elder was given three bullets to fire to a target placed 60 steps away,” a reporter with Radio Andalus said.

"Every elder was carrying an AK47 rifle… the elders had practised shooting before the contest."

Somali Memo website posted photos showing several elders holding rifles with masked men – supposedly al-Shabab fighters - coaching them on how to shoot. In one of the photographs, three men are seen lying on the ground aiming at targets, while some, standing, appear to be coaching.

“I want to be in the frontline for the mujahidin,” a man told Radio Andalus.

"It is the responsibility of each and every individual to defend their country from the invading foreign troops," another said.

The Islamic militant group often holds events to seek the support of the residents in the areas that the militants control.

In the past, they have organised various sports activities, including arrow shooting, tug of war and breaking of mud pots.

In other parts of the country, however, they have been behind a campaign of terror which has left thousands dead.

Read: Who are al-Shabab?

Journalist among Ethiopians pardoned

Ethiopia's government has pardoned 746 prisoners, including renowned journalist and blogger Eskinder Nega, the state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate (FBC) has reported in its news site.

He was sentenced to 18 years in jail in 2012 after being convicted of having links with a US-based opposition group, which Ethiopia considers a terrorist organisation.

Opposition politician Andualem Arage, who was sentenced alongside Eskinder, has also been pardoned, FBC reports.

While in detention, Eskinder was awarded the prestigious Pen America's "Freedom to Write" prize for publishing articles critical of Ethiopia's human rights record.

Pen America hailed Eskinder as a leading advocate of press freedom and said he had been jailed for "violating anti-terrorism laws after he criticized the government for arresting journalists and anti-government activists.prison".

Anti-government protester in Ethiopia
AFP
Ethiopia has been hit by anti-government protests in recent years

The 746 are among the latest batch of prisoners to be pardoned since the government promised to free inmates in an attempt to promote reconciliation in a country hit by unrest since 2015.

Last month opposition heavyweight Merera Gudina was released from prison.

However, anti-government protests have continued in northern Ethiopia.

Protesters feel reforms do not go far enough in address decades-long complaints of economic and political marginalisation.

AU dismisses China bugging claims

BBC World Service

The chairman of the African Union (AU) commission has dismissed as lies allegations, published in the French press, that China spied on the organisation and bugged its headquarters in Addis Ababa.

Speaking on a visit to Beijing, Moussa Faki Mahamat said it was not in China's interest to spy on the AU as it did not deal with secrets or defence matters.

A statue of Kwame Nkrumah, who was the first president of independent Ghana and a founding member of the Organizaiton of African Unity, the predecessor of the African Union, stands outside the headquarters complex of the African Union (AU), which was a gift by the government of China and completed in 2012, on March 18, 2013 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
AFP
China built the AU headquarters

Le Monde reported last month that technicians at the AU had discovered computers in the Chinese-built offices regularly sent information to servers in Shanghai.

Security experts also discovered hidden microphones in sensitive areas of the building.

China's foreign minister Wang Yi said the building was a symbol of Chinese-African co-operation.

US: Time for diplomatic niceties over in S Sudan

Newly arrived refugees from South Sudan wait for food rations at the Kakuma refugee complex
afp
Almost two million people have been displaced by the war, including these refugees in Kenya

A US arms embargo on South Sudan is a warning to President Salva Kiir following five years of civil war: make peace, or face the consequences.

Michael Morrow, the US charge d'affaires in Juba, said it was time for the South Sudanese government to take the lead in the peace process.

His comments follow a statement from the American ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, that Mr Kiir was an unfit partner in the pursuit of peace.

Mr Morrow told the BBC:

The arms embargo announcement is politically powerful because of the signal it sends to the government of South Sudan. Basically, it sends a signal that we are challenging this government to lead the way forward, lead this country to peace.

The conflict has entered its fifth year now, the time for diplomatic niceties is over, this is an expression of the seriousness with which we see this opportunity to go forward for peace."

Commonwealth welcomes back The Gambia

The Commonwealth has welcomed The Gambia back as a member, following the democratic election of former estate agent Adama Barrow as president.

A flag-raising ceremony is being held at the Commonwealth headquarters in central London to mark the occasion, as this tweet shows:

View more on twitter

The Gambia quit the Commonwealth under authoritarian ruler Yahya Jammeh, who dismissed it as an "extension of colonialism".

Its application for readmission was backed by all 52 member states, who "welcome back their brothers and sisters to again play their full part in the Commonwealth family", the body's secretary-general, Patricia Scotland, said.

The Gambia's ambassador in London, Francis Blain, said the the West African state looked forward to contributing and benefiting from the "collective wisdom" of the nations which make up the body, AFP news agency reports.

Zimbabwe is also considering reapplying for membership of the Commonwealth, after President Emmerson Mnangagwa took office late last year.

It left the Commonwealth in 2003, after then-ruler Robert Mugabe accused the body of being hijacked by the UK and plotting against his government.

The Commonwealth had earlier suspended Zimbabwe's membership, following presidential elections marred by violence and allegations of rigging.

See earlier post for more details.

UN in $1bn appeal for northern Nigeria

Ishaq Khalid

BBC Africa, Abuja

Aisha Umaru Gaye holds up a pumpkin at the Bakasi IDP camp, Maiduguri, Nigeria, November 22, 2017
Reuters
Aisha Umaru Gaye is one of thousands of people living in refugee camps after fleeing her home

The United Nations (UN) has launched a $1bn (£720m) appeal to help north-eastern Nigeria - the region devastated by Boko Haram's insurgency for almost a decade.

The UN office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs says the money will provide life-saving emergency assistance to the most vulnerable.

Nearly eight million people are in need of some form of humanitarian assistance this year alone.

The food and nutrition crisis is also massive, according to the UN agency.

The UN humanitarian agency, which launched the appeal at an event in the Nigerian capital Abuja, says the strategy will be implemented in conjunction with the Nigerian government and other international partners.

The Boko Haram conflict has caused widespread displacement, destruction of infrastructure and collapse of basic services.

Read: Chronicling a Boko Haram kidnapping

How Zuma refused to resign - at first

This file photo taken on December 16, 2017 shows South Africa"s president Jacob Zuma speaking during the 54th ANC (African National Congress) national conference in Johannesburg.
AFP
President Jacob Zuma has been dogged by corruption allegations

A top official of South Africa's governing African National Congress (ANC) has given dramatic details of how President Jacob Zuma stubbornly refused to agree to resign at a meeting on Sunday.

The scandal-hit Mr Zuma was urged by the party's top six officials to step down in favour of new ANC leader Cyril Ramaphosa, but he refused, ANC treasurer-general Paul Mashatile said in a leaked audio published by the Times Live news site.

"We were saying to President Zuma on Sunday that we don't want two centres of power; we want President Ramaphosa to take control not only of the ANC‚ but [also] the affairs of the state. And we were very clear about it," Mr Mashatile said.

He quoted Mr Zuma as replying: 'What do you guys mean by transition?' He said this is a strange word that you guys have just coined. What is this thing you are talking about called transition?...I'm not going anywhere‚ I'm not convinced by you guys so I'm not going to resign."

Afterwards, the officials - including Mr Ramaphosa - agreed to call a meeting of the party's top leadership body, the National Executive Committee (NEC), to decide Mr Zuma's fate.

However, the meeting was called off after Mr Zuma and Mr Ramaphosa held direct talks, agreeing to resolve the leadership dispute in the coming days without "discord or division", according to a statement by Mr Ramaphosa.

Read: Six reasons Zuma is under pressure

Has Nigeria won the World Cup with its new kit?

There are just a few months to go until the best footballers from around the globe descend on Russia to fight it out in the 2018 World Cup.

And so - as always - teams have been unveiling their new kits for fans to admire (and purchase) ahead of the contest.

Yesterday, it was Nigeria's turn, with international and Arsenal player Alexander Iwobi chosen to show off the brightly-coloured, geometric design:

View more on twitter

The eye-catching look has won fans across the globe, with many joking Nigeria has won the contest with the kit.

However - as always on Twitter - opinion is divided:

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SA patients' families to get compensation

Milton Nkosi

BBC Africa, Johannesburg

Protesters outside the hearing in January
AFP
People protest after more than 140 people died in a "reckless" attempt to save money

Families of mentally ill patients who died after a "reckless" attempt by South Africa's government to save money will receive 200,000 rand ($16,500; £11,900) in compensation for emotional trauma and to help cover funeral costs.

More than 140 patients died between March and December 2016 after being transferred from the specialised Life Esidimeni centres to unlicensed, cheaper care homes.

The state has now reached a deal with Section27, an NGO representing many of the families at the tribunal hearings.

Last year, the health ombudsman Professor Malekgapuru Makgoba revealed they died of starvation, dehydration and diarrhoea.

He described the move was a "reckless" attempt by the government to save money.

The provincial health minister Qedani Mahlangu resigned from her job following the biggest health scandal to hit South Africa since the end of apartheid.

The settlement also said victims’ families will receive counselling.

Read: Why did my sister die in a care home?

Miguna Miguna arrives in Canada

Kenyan opposition figure Miguna Miguna was greeted with cheers and hugs after landing in exile in Canada.

The dual-national citizen was forced to leave the country of his birth just over a week after taking part in the unofficial inauguration of opposition leader Raila Odinga in the capital, Nairobi.

People have been sharing pictures of the lawyer, who had flown with Dutch airline KLM via Amsterdam, arriving to joyful scenes in Toronto:

View more on twitter

Questions have been raised over the legality of Mr Miguna's deportation.

A Kenyan judge had initially ordered he be released on bail on Friday, but he remained in custody until he was put on the plane on Tuesday night.

He had been facing a treason-related charge.

He spoke to BBC Focus on Africa yesterday:

View more on twitter

The Gambia rejoins Commonwealth

Laeila Adjovi

BBC Africa, Dakar

Gambian President Adama Barrow gestures as he leaves after his meeting with the French President at the Elysee Presidential Palace in Paris on March 15, 2017.
Getty Images
President Adama Barrow has improved relations with Western governments

The Gambia is rejoining the Commonwealth, almost five years after it withdrew under the rule of ousted President Yahya Jammeh who branded it a "neo-colonial institution".

The occasion will be marked at the Commonwealth's headquarters in London later today.

President Adama Barrow applied for The Gambia's readmission to the body soon after he took office last January.

Mr Jammeh fled into exile, ending 22 years of authoritarian rule in the small West African state - a popular tourist destination.

The Gambia will be the fourth country to return to the Commonwealth - after South Africa, Pakistan and Fiji.

Mr Jammeh clashed with the Commonwealth over his government's poor human rights record.

Mr Barrow has sought to improve The Gambia's relationship with Western governments, and to secure much-needed funding to tackle poverty and unemployment.

Nigeria airline blames passenger after door falls off

A Nigerian airline has blamed a passenger after one of its aircraft doors fell off on landing.

Dana Air says it is impossible for a door to fall off by itself "without a conscious effort by a passenger to open it”.

Reports of the apparent maintenance fail began to circulate yesterday after several social media users tweeted:

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View more on twitter

The flight had travelled from Lagos to Abuja when the door apparently came away.

But a Dana Air spokesman said there was no way it could have been shaken as, "when an aircraft is airborne, it is fully pressurized".

What's more, the airline went on to say it had been inspected by engineers alongside a Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority team and "no issue was reported".

The spokesman added: “The [return] flight was only delayed for eight minutes as we needed to demonstrate to the regulators that the safety and comfort of our guests is at the centre of our operations.”

Today's wise words

Our African proverb of the day:

The falling of a yellow leaf is a warning to a green one."

A Dinka proverb sent by John Maguang Garang in South Sudan

Click here to send us your African proverbs.

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