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Live Reporting

By Natasha Booty and Dickens Olewe

All times stated are UK

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  1. Scroll down for Thursday's stories

    We’ll be back tomorrow

    That's all from BBC Africa Live today. 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:

    Quote Message: A patient person is one who can cook a stone and drink its juice." from A Hausa proverb sent by Salisu Sulaiman in Kano, Nigeria
    A Hausa proverb sent by Salisu Sulaiman in Kano, Nigeria

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

    And we leave you with this picture of Cameroonian blogger Lee Litumbe sunning herself by the sea in Mozambique:

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  2. Video shows Mugabe sons' bling lifestyle

    Video footage has emerged apparently showing one of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's sons pouring champagne on his fancy-looking watch.

    The recording shows Chatunga Mugabe partying with his brothers in a nightclub.

    President Mugabe's children reportedly live lavish lifestyles and receive generous allowances, South African news site eNCA says.

    The short clip was shared on Twitter by Zimbabwean journalist Peter Ndoro:

    View more on twitter
  3. Mauritanian blogger escapes death penalty

    A candid photo of Cheikh Ould Mohamed Ould Mkheitir
    Image caption: Amnesty International called Cheikh Ould Mohamed Ould Mkheitir a 'prisoner of conscience'

    An appeals court in Mauritania has reduced a death sentence given to a blogger to a two-year jail term.

    Cheikh Ould Mohamed Ould Mkheitir was convicted of blasphemy in 2014.

    He will be released immediately as he has already been in jail for more than two years.

    The blogger's article was considered insulting to the Prophet Muhammad.

    He argued it was meant to criticise the use of religion to justify discrimination.

  4. Man arrested after 'bridegroom shot in genitals'

    A man is seen firing a handgun into the air
    Image caption: Celebratory gunfire - seen here in Iraq - is commonplace in the Middle East and other parts of the world

    An Egyptian bridegroom has been seriously injured after he was hit by shotgun pellets fired by a guest celebrating his wedding.

    The groom suffered serious injuries to his testicles, thigh and hand and is being treated in hospital.

    Osman al-Alsaied, 28, was enjoying his last night being single when the weapon was accidentally fired at him rather than into the air.

    Police say the gun was negligently fired by a 26-year-old man.

    They say he fled soon after the incident but was later arrested and is now being questioned.

    Weddings celebrations in Egypt
    Image caption: Weddings celebrations in Egypt can be lively

    Reports of the incident have provoked a strong reaction on social media, with many calling for the tradition of firing gunshots in public celebration to be banned.

    "If you did this while expressing your happiness, what would you have done if you were angry or upset?" one Twitter-user asked.

    There was a similar incident at a wedding in Egypt last month, Stepfeed reported.

    In this case the guest needed surgery and hospital treatment after a stray bullet hit his thigh.

    Read more: How dangerous is firing a gun into the air?

  5. Nine dead in Lake Tanganyika boat accident

    At least nine children have died after a canoe capsized in Lake Tanganyika in the southeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the AFP news agency reports.

    It says that the motorised vessel left the town of Kalemie and was heading for the port of Wimbi when the accident happened.

    Provincial official Joseph Lumona told AFP: "Of the 21 passengers aboard, nine were killed, all of them children."

    He added that another child was missing.

    Such accidents are frequent in DR Congo because of overcrowding, AFP reports.

    Lake Tanganyika is the longest freshwater lake in the world and is bounded by four countries - DR Congo, Burundi, Zambia and Tanzania.

    Map showing Lake Tanganyika
  6. Mauritius defends its offshore accounts

    Yasine Mohabuth

    Port Louis, Mauritius

    Pravind Jugnauth
    Image caption: Mauritian Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth says the country has not been blacklisted

    Amid the ongoing revelations in the "Paradise Papers" expose about Mauritius' role in tax avoidance, the country's officials have come out to defend the island nation.

    Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth said that those who are maligning the country have ulterior motives, adding "we are not on a blacklist".

    Financial Services Minister Sudhir Sesungkur said that the country has not been a tax haven with a financial centre for a quarter of a century.

    "We are in good standing with the norms and standards at the international level, especially the standards imposed by the OECD and the European Union," he said.

    Of the 13.4 million documents that were leaked, 500,000 come from the firm Appleby Mauritius, located in the capital Port Louis.

    They showed that prominent personalities, including African ministers and businessmen have had accounts there.

    Some 22,094 companies have active offshore accounts in Mauritius.

    Read more: Fishy smell about Namibian tax affairs and Angolan Tycoon made $41m from 'people's fund'

  7. Row over Nigeria's sacked teachers who failed exams

    The governor of Nigeria's Kaduna state has taken to Twitter to publicly shame primary school teachers who crashed and burned in competency tests designed to see if they are fit for the job:

    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter

    The row began last month, when it was announced that thousands of primary school teachers in Kaduna state would be sacked after failing to pass exams they set for their six-year-old pupils.

    State governor Nasir El-Rufai said 21,780 teachers, two-thirds of the total, had failed to score 75% or higher on assessments given to pupils. He said 25,000 new teachers would be recruited to replace them.

    Since then, civil servants have protested against the sackings, with a union president saying yesterday that the competency tests teachers had to take to hold onto their jobs were "a smokescreen to just sack workers".

  8. War of words breaks out in Kenya

    David Wafula

    BBC Africa

    President of  Nigerian Scrabble Federation Suleiman Garuba Gura
    Image caption: Mr Gura says that adopting the game in schools is Nigeria's secret weapon

    A battle of word power is currently underway in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, which is hosting the World Scrabble Championship.

    The tournament has brought together 250 participants from more than 30 countries for one of the world's most popular board games.

    Nigerian Wellington Jighere is the defending world champion, following in the impressive footsteps of his countrymen who have dominated the sport for years.

    One participant, Ismail from Tanzania, told me that he enjoys the game because it is educative and helps him to increase his vocabulary.

    He says that Tanzania is lagging behind other competitors because, for a long time, schools taught exclusively in Swahili.

    The President of Nigeria's Scrabble Federation Suleiman, Garuba Gura, shared with me the country's secret sauce:

    Quote Message: We realised there was a problem with reading habits of our youth. So about ten years ago... we decided to go to our primary, secondary and tertiary institution to introduce the game of scrabble."

    The tournament comes to an end on Sunday when a new world champion will be crowned.

  9. UN releases 'war criminals' in Central African Republic

    The UN mission in the Central African Republic (CAR) released rebel fighters accused of shooting a UN peacekeeper, confidential documents seen by the BBC show.

    The two men were handed back to their commander in 2015 despite injuring the UN peacekeeper - a war crime under international law.

    Because the incident happened shortly before crucial elections, UN officials chose to "appease the electoral process" by "set[ing] the alleged war criminals free, handing them over", a UN report says.

    This revelation is the latest blow for a peacekeeping mission beset by problems.

    The incident itself took place in December 2015.

    Ruined buildings
    Image caption: Ongoing sectarian fighting in the Central African Republic has displaced more than a million people

    Read the full investigation on BBC News

  10. Eleven Tanzanian pupils still in hospital after grenade explosion

    Aboubakar Famau

    BBC Africa, Arusha

    Eleven pupils who survived yesterday's explosion in a primary school in Tanzania's north-west Kagera region are still in critical condition, doctors at the Rulenge hospital have told me.

    They say that patients might be transferred to other hospitals for further treatment, while another 33 are expected to be discharged at any time.

    The incident happened at a local school, with reports saying the pupils were playing with a grenade which exploded, killing six of them.

    The region is a transit point for weapons, mostly coming from neighbouring Burundi and it is suspected that the grenade was among abandoned weapons in the area.

    The victims are being treated at a local hospital
    Image caption: The victims are being treated at a local hospital

    Hospital officials said that the children had suffered multiple injuries.

    Some had lost their limbs while others had critical head injuries.

    A parent I spoke to told me that his child had partially lost sight in one eye.

    Local officials say they have been overwhelmed by the medical needs and have sought help from other parts of the country including Dar es Salaam.

  11. The most peculiar animals of South Africa

    Forget the big five - lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo and leopard.

    Travel writer Justin Fox has been trying to track down South Africa's most elusive mammals all his life, starting with the pangolin - which he finally saw after 25 years. He describes setting eyes on it for the first time:

    Quote Message: It was a passionate, romantic, idyllic moment to see this pre-historic, 40 million-year-old animal creeping towards me through in the desert."

    He's now written a book about his quest, called The Impossible Five:

    Video content

    Video caption: Travel writer Justin Fox tells Focus on Africa's Veronique Edwards about his lifelong quest

    More from Focus on Africa

  12. ICC to probe alleged crimes in Burundi

    The International Criminal Court at The Hague has authorised prosecutors to open a full investigation into alleged crimes against humanity in Burundi.

    Judges said there was a reasonable basis to investigate offences, including murder and torture, allegedly committed by government and government-linked groups.

    Burundi withdrew from the ICC last month, but the court says it can investigate alleged crimes committed at least up to that time.

    Rights groups say hundreds of people were killed in violence which erupted after Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to run for a third term in 2015.

    A bloodied man in a pit begs as he is surrounded by soldiers
    Image caption: President Nkunrunziza's third term bid led to violent clashes between pro- and anti-government groups

    Read our Burundi country profile

  13. South Africa curbs armyworm pest

    BBC World Service

    An armyworm burrows into maize
    Image caption: The armyworm burrows into cobs

    South Africa says it has managed to control an outbreak of the armyworm caterpillar, which devours crops down to the last leaf.

    Much of southern Africa has been invaded by the fall armyworm since January.

    Like locusts, they arrive in swarms.

    The creature destroys maize, sorghum, groundnuts and other staple crops.

    The fall armyworm, which is normally found in the Americas, is harder to detect and eradicate than its African counterpart.

    That's partly because they reproduce astonishingly fast, with females laying about 1,000 eggs in their 10-day lifespan.

    Countries with confirmed outbreaks can be hit by bans on imports of their agricultural products.

    Southern Africa has also been affected by serious drought.

  14. Putting forgotten villages on the map

    Disaster-prone areas are often missing from maps, making it hard to get help to people in emergencies.

    The Missing Maps project helps by plotting roads, buildings and evacuation points on Open Street Map.

    Here's how a flood-hit village in southern Malawi hit has been put on the map by a team of volunteers in London and on the ground:

    Video content

    Video caption: Volunteer map-makers are putting poor communities on the map

    More from BBC World Hacks

  15. BreakingICC gets green light to investigate Burundi

    International Criminal Court (ICC) judges have approved a full probe into alleged crimes against humanity in Burundi.

  16. Nigeria government urged to free Shia Muslim leader

    Sheikh Zakzaky
    Image caption: Sheikh Zakzaky, leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, is inspired by Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini

    A lawyer for the detained Nigerian Shia Muslim leader, Ibrahim Zakzaky, has urged authorities to set him free due to his deteriorating health, the AFP news agency reports.

    Mr Zakzaky was arrested nearly two years ago after clashes with government soldiers.

    His lawyer, Femi Falana, said in a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari that the sect leader should be released on "health grounds".

    He said that the cleric, who lost his sight on one eye during his arrest, was now at risk of losing the sight in his right eye "sequel to the brutal treatment meted out to him by the armed soldiers", Mr Falana wrote.

    He said that Mr Zakzaky's wife, Zainab, was in a "far worse" state when he visited them at a secret police detention in the capital, Abuja.

    "For reasons best known to the State Security Service, some of the bullets lodged in her body during the brutal attack of December 14, 2015 have not been extracted," he wrote.

    He added that her life was in danger if she did not get urgent medical care.

    Nigeria's government has previously ignored a court order to release the couple, AFP reports.

    Mr Zakzaky has got into trouble with authorities for calling for an Iranian-style Islamic revolution in Nigeria.

    In 2015, members of the sect clashed with police amid allegations that he had attempted to assassinate Nigeria's army chief. At least 20 members were killed.

    Most of Nigeria's Muslims are Sunnis, and there are underlying tensions between them and Shia Muslims.

  17. The last rhino of its kind

    A tweet about a northern white male rhino, named Sudan, highlighting that it is the last of its kind has been retweeted at least 40,000 times since it was shared by a biologist on Monday.

    View more on twitter

    Sudan is being cared for at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in central Kenya.

    The conservancy is also running a Reddit page to highlight the specie's dire predicament.

    They say attempts to get the rhino to breed have proved unsuccessful.

    They even tried to woo would-be partners for the rhino, who was born in 1973, through dating website Tinder.

    Sudan and the two female rhinos - Fatu and Najin - are the last three northern white rhinos left in the world, CNN reported in March.

  18. Egyptian groom 'shot in genitals by accident'

    BBC World Service

    An Egyptian bridegroom has suffered an unfortunate accident the day before he was due to get married.

    At a party held on the eve of his wedding, gunshots fired to celebrate the event hit him in his leg, hand and genitals.

    Police told journalists that the injured bridegroom was taken to hospital, while an investigation was launched.

    A man identified as having fired the shots is reported to have fled, but was later caught and arrested by the police.

    The incident has spurred online criticism of the tradition of firing guns in celebration, with some calling for it to be stopped.

    Wedding celebrants in Egypt shown dancing with one firing a shot from a handgun
    Image caption: A similar incident in 2014, pictured, saw Egyptian wedding celebrants injured by gunfire
  19. Fifa insists Isha Johansen is still Sierra Leone FA president

    BBC Sport

    Isha Johansen
    Image caption: Isha Johansen has denied being involved in any wrongdoing

    Fifa has overturned a decision by Sierra Leone's Football Association (SLFA) to remove Isha Johansen from her role as president, ruling it "invalid".

    Last month, the SLFA Executive Committee ruled that both Johansen and her general secretary should be dismissed during a trial brought by the country's Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).

    "We deem that the dismissals are invalid and the SLFA President and General Secretary remain in their function," stated Fifa Secretary General Fatma Samoura.

    The ACC may take issue with the decision since its rules state that public officials indicted on corruption charges must be suspended until their case reaches a conclusion.

    Ms Johansen and Mr Kamara made their first appearance in a Freetown High Court on 30 October, when both denied any wrongdoing.

    The ACC charges relate to alleged misappropriation of donor and public funds, conspiracy to commit corruption offences and abuse of office.

    Read the full story on BBC Sport

  20. Kenyan police killed '70 not 300 cows'

    Who killed the cows? How many - and why? These are the puzzling questions the Kenyan government has been grappling with to explain the reported deaths of hundreds of cows in the central Laikipia region.

    Local media reported over the weekend that police had shot dead 300 cows in the region, where they have been carrying a security operation against armed herders who have invaded private farms.

    Police said in a statement that the deaths were a result of clashes with armed herders who were using the animals as shields.

    One of the papers is now reporting that the government spokesman is disputing the number of animals killed, saying that the deaths are in the dozens not hundreds.

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