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Summary

  1. Police arrest two of five suspected of killing 11-year old albino
  2. Zimbabweans 'pay to see president'
  3. Kenyan police manhunt for robber 'disguised as a nun'
  4. Mass strike in Benin against 'anti-strike' law
  5. Mauritius and Reunion brace for Tropical Cyclone
  6. Lord Hain accuses law firm of helping SA corruption
  7. Two doctors and a nurse die of Lassa fever
  8. Nigerian authorities release 244 Boko Haram members

Live Reporting

By Natasha Booty and Clare Spencer

All times stated are UK

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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:

As we admire your climbing skill, your hunchback is also discussed."

A Bassare proverb sent by Ninkabs Enock in Kpandai, Ghana

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

And we leave you with this picture from a Sudanese market:

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'Day zero' drought warning in Cape Town

A picture taken on May 10, 2017 shows a boat lying on the sand at the Theewaterskloof Dam, which has less than 20% of it's water capacity, near Villiersdorp, about 108 km from Cape Town. This dam is the main water source for the city of Cape Town, and there is only 10% of it's usual capacity left for human consumption, at the last 10% is not useable, due to the silt content.
AFP
This dam 67 miles (108km) outside of Cape Town is the city's main water source (pictured in May 2017)

Cape Town's mayor has warned residents they face losing piped water to their homes as the city endures its worst drought in a century, AFP news agency reports.

Mayor Patricia de Lille says 21 April is the "day zero" by which point people's taps will run dry unless rainfall increases or water consumption is reduced.

"Cape Town's average daily collective consumption is still too high," she said today.

Strict waste controls have been introduced there including "splash bans" at public pools, and AFP reports that homeowners who go above the 87-litre daily limit are "hauled before the courts" and face heavy fines.

A list naming and shaming Cape Town's "worst water offenders" has also been published, the news agency reports.

The usage restrictions haven't come soon enough for some. Officials have been accused of ignoring warning experts in the years before the drought.

Only clinic in a village set alight in attack

Ishaq Khalid

BBC Africa, Abuja

Suspected members of Nigerian militant group Boko Haram have attacked a village near the border with Cameroon killing at least three people and burning many buildings, including the only clinic in the village.

The gunmen stormed the village overnight.

Emergency officials and residents say dozens of people are still missing after the attack, in Pallam village, Adamawa state.

It is not clear whether they were abducted or ran into the bush for safety.

The attackers also looted food items and burnt down at least 16 shops.

The attack comes as the Nigerian authorities released 244 Boko Haram members who they say have been de-radicalised.

Nigerian Soldier
Getty Images
The army often say they have flushed out Boko Haram and attacks like these are isolated

Half of people in CAR 'need humanitarian aid'

BBC World Service

The International Committee of the Red Cross has issued a warning about the living conditions of people displaced by violence in the Central African Republic.

The organisation says the situation in the country is rapidly deteriorating, with half of the population in need of humanitarian aid and one in five forced to flee their homes.

Many of the displaced have no access to food, shelter or sanitation.

Attacks on humanitarian workers in the Central African Republic have greatly affected the delivery of essential services.

Last year 13 Red Cross workers were killed in the line of duty.

IDP camp in Bangui
AFP
Even the land right by the airport has been used as a camp for displaced people

Liberia's president rejects 'illegal' party expulsion

Jonathan Paye-Layleh

BBC Africa, Monrovia

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf standing at lecturn as she delivers a speech
Getty Images
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has been president since 2006

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has rejected as “illegal” her expulsion from the outgoing governing Unity Party.

Her spokesman says she will return to the party and seek redress after the swearing-in of her successor, former footballer George Weah, which is scheduled for 22 January.

The executive committee of Unity Party voted unanimously on Saturday to expel the 79-year-old former leader.

They accused her of violating clauses of the party constitution by encouraging people to vote against her former vice-president, Joseph Boakai.

Her detractors accuse her of throwing her weight behind the Mr Weah during election campaigns, a claim the president has repeatedly denied.

George Weah and President Johnson Sirleaf were seen on camera on a road close to the home of the vice-president, just days before the election in December.

The image was shared extensively on social media before the president clarified that Mr Weah had not been officially invited to the occasion.

Preparations are underway in the capital for Mr Weah's swearing-in.

The 51-year-old former AC-Milan footballer takes over a country whose economy is faced with stiff challenges due, in part, to the fall in the global prices of export commodities such as rubber and iron ore.

Mr Weah has vowed to build upon “the institutional gains” of the Sirleaf government.

Children 'half buried alive for stealing corn'

Prime Ndikumagenge

BBC Africa, Bujumbura

Corn
SPL
The children were reportedly stealing corn from the man's field

A man is on the run in Burundi after allegedly burying children up to their chests when he reportedly caught them stealing corn cobs from his field.

After the children aged 10 and eight years old were buried in the ground they were severely beaten.

They were rescued by a neighbour and the man ran away.

This incident happened in the village of Bubanza, a province north-west of the capital Bujumbura on Sunday evening.

The police say they are still looking for the man to bring him to justice.

This is not the first time Burundian children have been punished for stealing maize. Two boys recently had their left hands cut off by teenagers after they were caught taking corn.

'Upbeat' Ethiopian opposition leader awaits release

Emmanuel Igunza

BBC Africa, Nairobi

Merera Gudina
Amnesty International
Merera Gudina's family says he is in "good spirits" now that charges against him have been dropped

Prominent Ethiopian opposition leader Merera Gudina is "upbeat" and "in good health" a day after the federal high court in Addis Ababa dropped charges against him.

That’s according to a close family member who has spoken to the BBC and says they are all eagerly waiting to welcome him back home after his detention.

"I saw him earlier today and he was in good spirits. He’s happy but at the moment he hasn’t been told when he will be released," he said

Yesterday, the court announced it had dropped charges against Mr Merera just hours after the government said it would be dropping charges against more than 500 suspects - many of whom were arrested during anti-government protests that have raged on in the country since 2015.

Ethiopia’s top prosecutor said the first group to be pardoned will be released tomorrow, but he did not reveal any names.

Mr Merera was arrested in December 2016 and faced multiple charges in court including violating the terms of a state of emergency imposed last year.

He was arrested on his return from a three-week tour of Europe where he had met EU parliamentarians.

Critics have however called for caution over the government’s announcement of pardons. They insist that the identity of those due to be released will be a true test of the government's resolve to open dialogue with the opposition.

The US embassy has meanwhile welcomed the announcement of the release of prisoners, saying it showed the government’s “tangible step toward its stated goal of widening political space for all Ethiopians” .

Mauritius and Reunion brace for Tropical Cyclone

Significant impacts from Tropical Cyclone Berguitta are expected as the storm tracks toward Mauritius and Reunion.

Our colleague Tomasz Schafernaker from the BBC Weather Centre has the latest details about the cyclone:

Tropical Cyclone Berguitta is on track to hit the islands of Mauritius and Reunion

Two doctors and a nurse die of Lassa fever

Chris Ewokor

BBC Africa, Abuja

At least three medical staff have died of Lassa fever in south-east Nigeria.

They were working at the Federal Teaching Hospital in Abakaliki, Ebonyi state.

Heath authorities there say two of the dead patients were medical doctors while the third person was a nurse.

Authorities in Ebonyi state said the deceased were suspected to have contracted the disease while treating a patient with Lassa fever last week.

The patient however survived and was discharged.

Nigeria Centre for Disease Control said the fresh outbreak of the disease was reported on Sunday.

The centre said there is no vaccine currently available for Lassa fever but that it has started to monitor anyone who has come into contact with the dead to prevent further deaths.

Mastomys rat
SPL
Lassa virus is carried by the Mastomys rat

Symptoms of Lassa fever can include fever, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, headaches, abdominal pains, sore throat and facial swelling.

The virus is passed to people who eat infected rats, or if food is contaminated by rat droppings or urine. It can also be transmitted through contact with body fluids of an infected person.

H&M boy had to move house

The mother of a young black boy modelling a green hoodie with "coolest monkey in the jungle" written on it, has told BBC that their family has had to move house.

Terry Mango did not go into detail, when speaking to BBC Outside Source, but did say that her family was scared after an H&M store in South Africa was attacked.

She also said she didn't think it was racist:

I know racism exists, but does the shirt to me speak racism? No it doesn't."

The H&M clothing brand apologised after outrage spread on social media earlier this month.

"We're deeply sorry that the picture was taken, and we also regret the actual print," it said in a statement.

She said that she has experienced racism herself after this incident:

I've been called the n-word by the same people who are trying to teach me about racism.

I was a sell-out to them, I was an embarrassment to the African-American people, I sold my son for money."

Many people have shared images of her son's image, with a new logo on the jumper:

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Sow returns to Turkey in World Cup bid

Moussa Sow
Getty Images

Senegal's Moussa Sow has sealed a six-month loan move to Turkey's Bursaspor from United Arab Emirates' Shabab Al-Ahli as he eyes a World Cup place.

The striker, 31, previously played in Turkey for Fenerbahce, winning the 2014 title and two FA cups in two spells.

His return to Turkey is widely seen as a bid to boost his World Cup chances.

Read more on the BBC Sport website.

Migrant repatriations suspended from Libyan capital

Rana Jawad

BBC North Africa correspondent, Tunis

Voluntary repatriations of African migrants from the Libyan capital Tripoli will be put on hold, a spokeswoman from the International Organisation for Migration’s (IOM) Libya mission has told the BBC.

The capital’s only civilian airport, Maitiga, remained closed today following deadly clashes on Monday between armed groups there, which killed 20 people and damaged several aircrafts.

A chartered flight for migrants scheduled to leave tomorrow from Tripoli has been cancelled.

A spokeswoman from the IOM mission to Libya told me the flight was destined for Togo.

The IOM says it's exploring “alternative airports” to continue the repatriations.

Migrants waiting for repatriation in detention facilities in Tripoli will likely remain stuck there due to security and logistical obstacles in transferring them to other western cities.

On Monday 132 migrants from Nigeria were repatriated from the port city of Misrata.

Mozambique police search for albino boy's killers

Jose Tembe

BBC Africa, Maputo

Albino children
BBC
Albinos are targeted by people who believe their body parts have magical powers

The Mozambican police have arrested two people who they say are part of a group of five suspected criminals who killed an 11-year old albino boy at the weekend, near the border with Malawi.

The boy was abducted while his family were sleeping, the police say.

"The criminals took the boy to a deserted place, where they shaved his head and cut off his ears," the spokesperson of the Zambezia provincial police command, Miguel Caetano, said.

They later killed the child, he added.

Albinos in many parts of Mozambique, particularly in Milange district where this took place, have been the victims of murder and mutilation, because of superstitious beliefs that their body parts are imbued with magical powers.

The dismembered parts of albinos are used in rituals that are supposed to bring wealth and power.

But this is the first case of its kind in the area in six months.

Mr Caetano added that the police are on the ground to try and identify and arrest the remaining part of the gang of kidnappers.

'Robber dressed as nun' on the run in Kenya

Victor Kenani

BBC Africa, Nairobi

Police in Kenya have launched a manhunt for a woman disguised as a nun who robbed a money exchange office and escaped with $35,000 (£25,000).

The speed of the incident has baffled investigators.

The whole robbery took less than ten minutes and even guards manning the entrance did not realise it had happened.

nuns
Getty Images
The robber dressed as a nun

CCTV footage of the incident on Sunday in Nairobi's wealthy Karen suburb shows the suspect walking to the service counter after an entry search at the door.

She then speaks to the attendant before being allowed to go to a backroom through a secure steel door.

After a short conversation the attendant opens a safe, she then slumps into a chair before the woman empties the contents from the safe and calmly exits.

It follows another audacious robbery in November, when robbers in the nearby town of Thika dug a 30-metre tunnel underground to break into a bank safe and stole $500,000 dollars.

Mass strike in Benin against 'anti-strike' law

BBC Afrique

A three-day strike is under way in Benin by public sector employees who are angered by the introduction of a law which bans health and legal workers from industrial action.

The changes affect seven associations and unions in Benin.

Taking part in the strike are workers from a range of sectors, including health and education.

They join legal service workers who have been on strike since the start of the month, following the passing of the law in December.

Children sit outside the Childrens ward at the Raoul Follereau Foundation for leprosy screening in Pobe on January 12, 2017.
AFP
Health workers are among those on strike

Footballer Samatta voted most influential Tanzanian

Footballer Mbwana Samatta has been voted the most influential Tanzanian in a poll run by ratings agency Avance media.

The 25-year-old striker plays for Belgian side Genk and the Tanzania national football team.

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The Tanzanian captain won the Confederation of African Football's African Player of the Year (Based in Africa) award in 2016 thanks helping his team TP Mazambe win the African league.

BBC Swahili's news anchor Salim Kikeke came 7th in the poll, ahead of the Tanzanian superstar Diamond Platinumz.

The results for the poll in Ghana and Nigeria were released earlier this year.

Fellow footballer Victor Moses was voted most influential Nigerianwwhile lawyer for the president of Ghana, Kow Essuman, was voted the most influential Ghanaian.

Freedom 'improved' in Uganda and Gambia

Freedom House, a Washington-based group which promotes democratic practices around the world, says freedom has improved in Uganda and The Gambia over the last year.

It said The Gambia’s status improved from "not free" to "partly free" as the newly elected president Adama Barrow came into office in January, then competitive legislative elections were held in April.

After former President Yahya Jammeh left the country exiled journalists and activists returned, political prisoners were released, ministers declared their assets to an ombudsman, and the press union began work on media sector reform.

Yahya Jammeh
Getty Images

The report also highlights improvements in Uganda "due to the resilience of the media sector and the willingness of journalists, bloggers, and citizens to voice their opinions, though the political environment remained tightly restricted".

But it says these are rare improvements as it says democracy is facing its most serious crisis in decades.

It said 2017 was the 12th consecutive year in which global freedom had declined, with Zimbabwe cited as one of the countries were democracy had been eroded.

Specifically, it viewed the way in which former Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe was "compelled to resign in November" as setting country's status as "not free".

Among the other African countries that Freedom House considers as "not free" are Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea and Eritrea.

Sudan police fire tear gas at protesters

BBC World Service

Police in the Sudanese capital Khartoum have fired tear gas at demonstrators protesting against the soaring cost of living.

Several people have been arrested and beaten with batons.

Earlier this month at least one person was killed during protests against the doubling of the price of bread.

The authorities have said they will use force to crush the protests.

The Sudanese economy has been struggling since the south seceded in 2011, taking it with it most of the oil output.

Map of Sudan
BBC

Zimbabwe 'to summon Mugabe over missing $15bn'

A picture taken on August 10, 2007 shows a man checking raw diamonds at a bank.
AFP
Zimbabwe was the world's eighth largest diamond exporter in 2014

Former president Robert Mugabe is to be summoned to Zimbabwe's parliament "to expand on allegations he made in 2016 that $15bn (£11bn) worth of diamond revenue went missing", the privately owned news site NewsDay reports.

At the time, Mr Mugabe blamed foreign companies for "swindling" and "smuggling" the commodity in an interview with state-run ZBC TV.

The new site reports that the government's mining and energy committee also plans to question Home Affairs Minister Obert Mpofu, a former mining minister, and his successor, Walter Chidakwa, over the disappearance of the diamond revenue during their time in office.

“There are no sacred cows," the MP in charge of the committee - Temba Mliswa - reportedly said, adding, "there is nothing that even stops us from calling Mugabe".

However he has not said when the ex-president would be summoned.

Nigeria 'releases 244 Boko Haram members'

Ishaq Khalid

BBC Africa, Abuja

The Nigerian authorities have released 244 Boko Haram members from detention.

The Nigerian army says the insurgents have been de-radicalised and prepared to reintergrate with society before being released.

The army commander in charge of fighting the militants in the north-east handed over the people he describes as repentant Boko Haram members to the governor of Borno - one of the states worst affected by Boko Haram’s eight-year deadly insurgency. They include men, women and children. Critics are sceptical about whether the militants have indeed repented.In October, Nigeria started mass trials and profiling of more than 6,000 Boko Haram suspects - many of them detained for years without charge.

It comes at the same time as Boko Haram released a video in which its leader, Abubakar Shekau, claims to show some of the Chibok girls still in captivity.

Abubakar Shekau
Reuters
In the video, a girl dressed in full niqab appeals to her parents to embrace Islam

Read more: Who are Nigeria's Boko Haram group?

Prosecutors 'poised to freeze assets linked to Guptas'

Andrew Harding

BBC News, Johannesburg

South African media are reporting that prosecutors are preparing to move against two companies linked to the controversial Gupta family and their business empire.

Reports suggest that the National Prosecuting Authority is poised to freeze tens of millions of pounds in assets.

This is in connection to an investigation into alleged corruption at South Africa’s state power company.

The precise details remain unclear.

But the broader implication is that the South African authorities may be starting to move against the Guptas - a powerful business family with close links to President Jacob Zuma.

Both the Guptas and Mr Zuma have denied repeated allegations of corruption.

But Mr Zuma’s authority is dwindling now that he’s no longer in charge of the governing ANC and could soon be replaced as president by Cyril Ramaphosa – a man who has promised to tackle high-level corruption.

The giant global consultancy McKinsey has been drawn into the scandal at the state power company but denies any wrongdoing.

Jacob Zuma
Reuters
President Jacob Zuma's authority is dwindling

'I was always passionate about music'

Sheku Kanneh-Mason is a young cellist of Sierra Leonean and Caribbean descent who has embarked on a stellar career in Britain.

The musician is releasing his first album next week has told BBC Newsday's Nkem Ifejika that he's sparing no effort to make classical music more accessible in the UK.

Growing up I had all of my siblings [playing instruments] so that was normal for me. But I imagine many young black children wouldn't consider it, and that's something I want to change.

Classical music has this lack of diversity. If you're a young child it's very difficult to see yourself doing something where there aren't others who look like you."

Listen to the full interview below:

Zimbabweans 'pay to see president'

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa delivers a speech during a rally with Zimbabwean businessmen and foreign investors at the Zimbabwean embassy in Pretoria, South Africa, on December 21, 2017.
AFP

Zimbabweans in the Namibian capital Windhoek say they are "shocked" and "embarrassed" to have been charged by the "cash-strapped" embassy to see visiting President Emmerson Mnangagwa, reports Namibian news site The Villager.

The site goes on to say that locals and Zimbabwean citizens had to pay $16 (£9) for a seat at Windhoek's upmarket Safari hotel to attend his lecture yesterday.

The average salary is reportedly around $283 (£390) per month, a survey by the state-owned New Era newspaper suggests.

The news site says the Zimbabwean embassy provided 300 seats at the venue where Mr Mnangagwa was expected to address locals and Zimbabweans in the diaspora.

A number of disappointed people said they were turned away. One told The Villager:

We were made to pay but some of us have been barred. Others couldn’t come and we asked if we can get in on their behalf and they refused. When we are supposed to vote we do not pay, but for me to see my president I have to pay.”

Another Zimbabwean told the news site:

At the end of the day those who went to see the president are those who can afford. It exposes the embassy for being broke."

Lord Hain accuses law firm of helping SA corruption

Andrew Harding

BBC News, Johannesburg

Peter Hain
Getty Images
Lord Hain made the accusation in the UK's House of Lords

Another London-based company has been dragged into South Africa’s sprawling corruption scandal.

The international law firm Hogan Lovells has been accused of helping to hide state corruption.

Hogan Lovells was hired to investigate alleged corruption at South Africa’s tax collection agency.

This was after a senior employee there had been seen depositing large quantities of cash into an ATM.

It also followed claims that a controversial business family, the Guptas, were trying to gain influence over the highly respected tax agency. The Guptas deny any wrongdoing.

But Hogan Lovells' report was - according to Lord Peter Hain - a “fatally flawed whitewash” - which allowed “corrupt” officials to get away with “looting... and robbing taxpayers”.

Lord Peter Hain has asked British regulators to discipline the firm, which denies any wrongdoing.

The former anti-apartheid activist has made a point of singling out British and other companies accused of facilitating high-level corruption in South Africa.

Hogan Lovells said the accusations - made in the House of Lords - were unfounded, ill-informed, and disappointing.

Lord Hain has asked Britain’s Solicitors Regulation Authority to take disciplinary measures against the law firm.

At least twenty killed in Libya

At least twenty people have been killed in fighting between rival militias around the international airport in Libya's capital, Tripoli.

We reported yesterday that at least ten people had been killed in the fighting.

It now looks like it was double that number.

The BBC's Rana Jawad tweeted that Libya's press council released a statement with a reasoning behind the attack:

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The clashes, between rival armed groups, forced the suspension of flights at Maitiga airbase - Tripoli's only functioning international airport.

A reporter with the Reuters news agency said at least five aircraft had apparently suffered damage from gunfire.

Libya's Government of National Accord said the attack was an attempt by one armed faction to release their members being held by a rival group.

Tripoli has been riven by violence since the revolution in 2011.

Three soldiers killed in DR Congo rebel attack

BBC Monitoring

The world through its media

Three Congolese soldiers have been killed while repelling an attack in the eastern Beni region by Ugandan Islamist Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels, who are accused of killing 14 UN peacekeepers from Tanzania in December.

At the weekend, the DR Congo announced an offensive against the group which was created in the 1990s to oppose Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni's rule.

The Ugandan army has been conducting airstrikes and attacks against the group.

A map showing the location of Beni in eastern Democratic of Congo on the border with Uganda
BBC

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