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  1. Uganda confirms armyworm outbreak in 20 districts
  2. Tanzania's president warns media to "be careful" in their coverage
  3. Uganda confirms outbreak of crop-eating pest
  4. Egypt's ex-President Mubarak 'allowed to go free'
  5. Gambia pledges truth and reconciliation commission
  6. DR Congo's Katanga to compensate his victims
  7. Tanzania to investigate incident when gun was pointed at sacked minister
  8. Email stories and comments to - Friday 24 March 2017

Live Reporting

By Hugo Williams and Damian Zane

All times stated are UK

Get involved

  1. Scroll down for Friday'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:

    Quote Message: Mere strength does not denote chieftainship, otherwise the hornbill would be king of the birds." from Sent by Julian Dzikunu, Accra, Ghana
    Sent by Julian Dzikunu, Accra, Ghana

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

    And we leave you with this image from our selection of top shots from the week in Africa.

    It shows a contestants performing during the annual Ingoma traditional Zulu dance competition in Durban, South Africa.  

    Dancer raising her leg above her head
  2. Russian involvement in Libya 'undeniable' - US

    View more on twitter

    The head of US military operations in Africa, asked about the presence of the Russian military in Libya, has said that there are "Russian troops in the area", Reuters news agency reports. 

    It follows reports , denied by Russia, that it had deployed special forces to a military base in Egypt near to the border with Libya.

    Gen Thomas Waldhauser said that the link between Russia and Libyan military strongman Khalifa Haftar, who opposes the country's UN-backed government, was "undeniable".

    Gen Haftar is allied to a rival administration based in the eastern city of Tobruk, which rejects the authority of the government in the capital Tripoli.

    Libya remains regionally split with two centres of power that politically oppose each other, and a myriad of rival armed groups that the country's two governments cannot control.

    Extremist groups, including so-called Islamic State (IS), gained a foothold in Libya after Nato-backed forces ousted veteran leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.   

    He also briefed the media on US operations against Islamist militant group al-Shabab in Somalia:

    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
  3. Ivory Coast beat Russia away

    Ivory Coast have beaten Russia 2-0 away in a friendly match.

    Jonathan Kodjia scored a cracking first goal for the Elephants in the 30th minute and Wilfried Zaha doubled the lead in the 70th minute.

    Wilfried Zaha (right)
    Image caption: Wilfried Zaha scored with a shot from inside the penalty box into the top left hand corner of the goal
  4. Benin debates one-year presidential term

    Leone Ouedraogo

    BBC Africa

    Benin's National Assembly has been debating changes to the constitution including limiting the president to just one six-year term.

    Currently the president can serve two five-year terms.

    But the proposal is facing controversy. 

    An opposition movement organised a sit-in in front of the parliament saying that the people should have had a chance to debate the changes first.

    In Benin, any constitutional amendment can be approved either by referendum or by a four-fifths majority vote in parliament.

    Patrice Talon
    Image caption: President Patrice Talon said he would try to change the constitution during his election campaign last year
  5. Ivory Coast double lead against Russia

    Ivory Coast's Wilfred Zaha has scored his team's second goal to go 2-0 up in an away friendly match against Russia.

    ESPN reports that it was a "left footed shot from the centre of the box to the top left corner".

    There are now 14 minutes until the end of the match.

  6. Fundraising for Africa: Time to end the stereotypes

    Black British MP David Lammy has written a stinging critique of Red Nose Day - the biennial British fundraising event where a lot of the money goes to charities in Africa.

    To help raise funds, British celebrities are filmed on the continent visiting orphanages and clinics and imploring people to donate to help the people they meet. The films are broadcast on the BBC during a fundraising evening.

    Writing in the Guardian , Mr Lammy says he is worried about what impression this makes:

    Quote Message: Comic Relief has tattooed images of poverty in the African continent to the point where few of us can escape the guilt of not donating. The result: a tidal wave of donations, but little to challenge the... interpretation of an Africa 'where nothing ever grows'."

    When the MP asked his son, who is mixed race, why he thought people should donate to Red Nose Day, he said:

    Quote Message: But we have to help the poor people in Africa, daddy."

    In response he wants a less patronising approach:

    Quote Message: We must have voices debating debt and dictatorship, trade agreements and climate change, education and entrepreneurship – not just appeals for people to phone in and pledge a few pounds."

    Musician Ed Sheeran is one of the celebrities who recently travelled to the continent.

    He went to Liberia and visited a school in Monrovia where he met some children who had been abandoned.

    Ed Sheeran in Liberia

    You can read more about what Ed Sheeran saw here.

  7. Uganda to host biggest ever global sports event

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    The World Cross-Country championships are taking place in the Ugandan capital Kampala on Sunday, the biggest global sports event the country has ever hosted.

    The tourism ministry has been promoting the event (see above), as Uganda becomes only the fourth African country to host the prestigious long-distance championships.

    Kenya and Ethiopia have dominated the World Cross-Country Championships since 1981 and all eyes will be on the two East African rivals when the 2017 edition takes place in Kampala on Sunday morning.

    Kampala also marks the first time that senior women will race the distance of 10km (6 miles). 

    Defending champion Agnes Jebet Tirop, from Kenya, is one of 117 athletes from 34 countries competing.

    View more on twitter
  8. 'No arrests' in South Africa taxi rape gang case

    Earlier we reported that South African police had made four arrests in connection with several rape cases where the perpetrators were acting as minibus taxi drivers.

    We were quoting a provincial police minister, but now the police have denied the reports, the BBC's Milton Nkosi says.

    A police spokesperson told him that the suspects are still at large.

  9. Rights abusers urged to come forward for Gambia truth commission

    The aim of Gambia's truth and reconciliation commission will be to "foster social cohesion", Gambia's Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou told the BBC's Focus on Africa radio programme.

    The plan to set one up to look into alleged abuses during the Yahya Jammeh years was announced earlier today and it is hoped that it will be up and running within a year.

    Mr Tambadou said it was important that people felt able to come forward without fear of being prosecuted:

    Quote Message: If we want to encourage an open discussion about the past years in the country we need to make sure that those who are willing to share their experiences and their involvement in some of these unfortunate incidents come out with full and frank disclosure."

    The justice minister said that he was studying truth commissions from across the continent - including South Africa, Sierra Leone and Tunisia - to see what lessons can be learnt.

    Video content

    Video caption: In January, President Adama Barrow said he planned to set up a truth commission
  10. Comoros make positive start towards Afcon 2019 campaign

          Comoros team poses for a photo before the game against Mauritius
    Image caption: The Comoros team is drawn from a population of just 750,000 people

    Comoros have taken a big step towards playing in the group stages of 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying by beating Mauritius 2-0 on Friday.

    The island nation will defend their advantage in the second leg in Mauritius on Tuesday, with the aggregate winner progressing to play in Group B for a place at the Cameroon finals.

    Mauritius were dealt an early blow in Friday's first-leg match when Emmanuel Vincent was sent off after only 12 minutes for elbowing Comoros' Ben El Fardou.

    Morocco, Malawi and reigning champions Cameroon will also play in Group B but the Indomitable Lions' matches will not count towards the final table as they qualify automatically as hosts.

    Only the pool winners earn a place at the tournament.

    Read the full BBC Sport story 

  11. Analysis: Mubarak release 'end to Arab Spring dreams'

    Alan Johnston

    BBC Middle East analyst

    The release of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will be bitter news for those who found the courage to rise up against him on the streets of Cairo six years ago.

    While thousands of their fellow political activists languish in jail under Egypt's current, authoritarian government, the old autocrat has been allowed to go free. 

    He is now settling into the comfort of his home in an up-market suburb of the capital. 

    For the revolutionaries of the Arab Spring, all this may mark a kind of formal end to their dreams of a better Egypt. 

    There are however some of their fellow citizens who regard Mubarak's rule with a degree of nostalgia. 

    For all its stagnation, corruption and abuses, it was a time of calm before the upheavals of the revolution and its aftermath. 

    But it's probably fair to say that most Egyptians have simply consigned Mubarak to the past. 

    For them he's yesterday's man, a figure with no relevance to the present, and their daily struggle to cope with increasingly dire economic problems.

    Activists in Tahrir Square
    Image caption: Mubarak was overthrown following pro-democracy protests in Tahrir Square
  12. All eyes on Tanzania's new information minister

    Many people in Tanzania are waiting to see how the country's new Information Minister Harrison Mwakyembe (pictured in the blue suit) will deal with the media, the BBC's Sammy Awami reports from Dar es Salaam.

    Man shaking hands with officials

    His appointment comes following the sacking of his predecessor after he ordered an investigation into why a government official stormed a popular radio station last week ( see earlier story ).

    President John Magufuli asked the new minister to "do what his predecessors failed to do". 

    Mr Mwakyembe is a lawyer by profession and has headed the international law department at the University of Dar es Salaam.

  13. Trump to 'have his first meeting with an African leader next month'

    President Donald Trump is set to meet Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Washington next month, the AP news agency is reporting.

    The meeting has not yet been officially confirmed and AP is quoting an anonymous official.

    The Egyptian president would become the first African leader to meet Mr Trump.

    Mr Sisi was one of the first heads of state to congratulate the US president after his election.

    Egypt is seen as a close ally of the US and is a major recipient of US aid and military support.

    Donald Trump
  14. Sixty years of broadcasting in Hausa

    The BBC Hausa service is marking 60 years of broadcasting. 

    In that time it has grown from a service that translated material from the English-language newsroom to developing its own network of correspondents across West Africa and beyond. 

    It has pioneered using mobile phones for disseminating news and the radio service is one of the most listened to of the BBC World Service language outlets. 

    Hausa is spoken across northern Nigeria and Niger, and in several other countries in the region.  

    Watch more about the anniversary here:

    Video content

    Video caption: Sixty years of broadcasting in Hausa
  15. Five possible cases in Gambia that could be investigated

    We reported earlier that The Gambia is planning to set up a truth and reconciliation process to help deal with the alleged human rights abuses under the former leader Yahya Jammeh.

    People would be encouraged to confess to crimes and victims would be offered compensation, he said.

    The former regime was accused of widespread torture and enforced disappearances during its 22-year rule.

    Here are five cases that could be investigated:

    • Opposition member Solo Sandeng allegedly beaten to death in detention in April 2016
    • Journalist Alagie Abdoulie Ceesay allegedly forced to drink cooking oil and beaten unconsciousness in detention in July 2015
    • Ex-army chief of staff Ndure Cham allegedly ordered to dig his grave and shot dead in 2013 for plotting coup
    • Journalist Ebrima Manneh missing since he left his newsroom on 11 July 2006
    • Newspaper editor Deyda Hydara shot dead in his car in December 2004
    Yahya Jammeh
    Image caption: Yahya Jammeh first seized power in a coup in 1994

    Profile: Former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh - BBC News

  16. SA woman fulfils life wish to meet Jacob Zuma

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    South African media have been reporting on the meeting of President Jacob Zuma and a young South African woman who suffers from Progeria, a rare genetic disorder that causes premature ageing.

    Ontlametse Phalatse turns 18 this weekend, despite being told by doctors growing up that she would not live beyond the age of 14.

    One of her life wishes was to meet the president before she turned 18. 

    She fulfilled her ambition to meet the head of state on Wednesday in the capital, Pretoria, with two days to spare before her birthday. 

    Mr Zuma's office has been sharing photos of the pair's meeting:

    Jacob Zuma puts his arm around Ontlametse Phalatse

    Ms Phalatse cut her early birthday cake with the president...

    Jacob Zuma cuts a birthday cake with Ontlametse Phalatse

    ... who also presented her with a bouquet of flowers.

    Jacob Zuma gives flowers to Ontlametse Phalatse

    The president told Ms Phalatse that he would help her realise her next dream of her mother owning a home, with the help of his foundation.

  17. Uganda confirms outbreak of crop-eating pest

    Patience Atuhaire

    BBC Africa, Kampala

    fall armyworm
    Image caption: Fall armyworms can destroy entire fields

    Uganda has confirmed an outbreak of fall armyworm, a hungry pest that has been devastating crops across southern Africa. 

    Agriculture Minister Vincent Sempijja said the caterpillar had been confirmed in 20 districts across the country. 

    Up to 40% of maize crops have been destroyed in the areas where the fall armyworm has spread.

    In the first three areas armyworm spread to, more than 40% of maize crops have been destroyed, he added.

    He says about one billion Ugandan shillings ($300,000; £240,000) has been set aside for an emergency response to the outbreak.

    Woman tends to corn strung up to dry
    Image caption: South African maize farmers have also been hit by the fall armyworm

    What is the fall armyworm?

    The name is a bit misleading. It is not actually a worm, but a hungry caterpillar that eats crops before turning into a moth.

    It is a new pest, not to be confused with the similarly named "African armyworm", which has been present in the region for many years.

    Read more: Why are armyworms attacking Africa's crops?

  18. Zimbabwe's cash-strapped tobacco farms

    The start of the tobacco marketing and selling season has brought some much needed hard currency into the Zimbabwean economy. 

    The leaf is the country's second biggest export after gold and almost all of the annual crop goes to China, South Africa and Germany.

    But small-scale farmers are not achieving high enough prices for their crop and - like everyone else in Zimbabwe - continue to battle with the shortage of cash in the country.

    Watch the full report from the BBC's Shingai Nyoka in the capital Harare:

    Video content

    Video caption: Zimbabwe's cash-strapped tobacco farms
  19. Somali pirates 'seize mothership for use in future attacks'

    Somali pirates have seized a boat that they intend to use as a base for attacking larger ships, according to Somali police quoted by the Reuters news agency.

    It reports that the 10-man Yemeni crew were left on the shore after their vessel was taken

    This news comes just over a week after a ship carrying fuel was hijacked off the coast of Somalia, the first such hijacking in the region in five years.  

    European naval boats on the sea
    Image caption: The European Union Naval Force has been running operations off Somalia since 2008 to combat piracy