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Live Reporting

Farouk Chothia and Flora Drury

All times stated are UK

  1. Scroll down for this week's stories

    We'll be back on Monday

    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: The heaviest thing you can carry is a grudge." from A Lugbara proverb sent by Egabile Dragonson Achile in Arua, Uganda
    A Lugbara proverb sent by Egabile Dragonson Achile in Arua, Uganda

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

    And we leave you with this photo from our week in pictures - of an elephant upside down and suspended in the air in Kenya's Nyeri County:

  2. Mozambique rescues 17 children from 'prophet'

    Jose Tembe

    BBC Africa, Maputo

    A self-styled prophet has been arrested after 17 children were allegedly held captive in his home in Mozambique.

    Luis Gouveia Inroga said he had recruited the children, aged between nine and 16 years, in November so that they could learn the Bible.

    However, he also also encouraged them to disobey their parents and keep their distance from "worldly" things, including school and television, which he said were "satanic".

    Mr Inroga, who lives in the central city of Chimoio, told reporters he had received a divine calling requiring him to take people out of sin.

    A map of Mozambique

    The children then told reporters they were now prophets, having mastered the Bible and, when possessed by the spirit of God, able to speak in tongues.

    It has left parents tearing their hair out. One of the mothers, Flora Moreira, said her son has been in Mr Inroga’s “church” for two months, and now has become disobedient and insults her constantly.

    Mateus Mindu, spokesman for the local police station, said officers acted after receiving a denunciation about an unknown “pastor” who was recruiting children into his house.

    Mr Mindu said he was looking at a charge of "private imprisonment", but it was now in the hands of the public prosecutor.

  3. Salah: I dream of Liverpool title win

    Mohamed Salah
    Image caption: The Egyptian hopes he can Liverpool win its first trophy since 2012

    Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah says he dreams of winning the Premier League and wants to do "something special" in this season's Champions League.

    The Anfield club can go second in the league by beating West Ham on Saturday and lead Porto 5-0 after the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.

    Egypt international Salah has scored 22 goals in 26 league games since signing from Roma for £34m ($47m) last June.

    "I came to here to win titles," the 25-year-old told Football Focus.

    Read the full story here

  4. Somalia blast: 'There are bodies everywhere'

    View more on twitter

    Ambulances are carrying the bodies of the dead and injured to hospital following two blasts in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu.

    The director of Aamin Ambulance told local news site Goobjoog News he was unable to put an exact figure on casualites.

    However, he added: "We have carried injured and dead people to hospitals. There were bodies lying all over the scene."

    News agency Associated Press reported that at least three people were killed in the explosions while Somalia's Radio Risala quoted security sources as saying that two of the assailants were shot dead.

    The bombing comes months after two others killed hundreds in the city.

    It also follows a warning from the security minister over "a vehicle filled with explosives" on Thursday, which VOA journalist Harun Maruf tweeted out:

    View more on twitter
  5. 'Somali pirates' attack Singapore ship

    A Singapore-flagged chemical tanker has been attacked by suspected Somali pirates, the European Union's navy has said.

    The ship was en route from Sohar, Oman, to Cape Town, South Africa, when they were attacked 160 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia on Friday.

    The suspected pirates opened fire as they approached in two small boats, but were repelled by on-board security.

    After about 20 minutes, the attackers retreated.

  6. Buhari: Girls' reported abduction a 'national disaster'

    Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari walks after speaking at the opening of the Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government during the 30th annual African Union summit in Addis Ababa on January 28, 2018
    Image caption: The Nigerian leader says more troops are being sent to the region

    Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari says that the reported abduction of schoolgirls by militant Isalmist group Boko Haram is a "national disaster", and no effort will be spared to rescue them.

    In his first statement since the militants stormed the boarding school in north-eastern Yobe State on Monday, Mr Buhari said:

    Quote Message: The entire country stands as one with the girls’ families, the government and the people of Yobe State. This is a national disaster. We are sorry that this could have happened and share your pain."
    A view shows girls hostel at the school in Dapchi in the northeastern state of Yobe
    Image caption: It is unclear how many girls are missing from the boarding school

    Mr Buhari said he had instructed the security agencies to ensure that the girls are returned safely to their families, and the attackers arrested and made to face justice.

    He added:

    Quote Message: Our government is sending more troops and surveillance aircraft to keep an eye on all movements in the entire territory on a 24-hour basis, in the hope that all the missing girls will be found.”
  7. Somalia blast 'felt in another district'

    The blast which has rocked the Somali capital Mogadishu was so large it was felt in other parts of the city, news outlet Radio Dalsan reported.

    It is thought at least one of the explosions happened near to the presidential palace, Villa Somalia.

    "The impact of the huge bombing could be felt as far as Abdiasis district, north Mogadishu," it added.

    Another social media user suggested the force of the blast had damaged houses in the area.

    Ambulances are at the scene but it is not clear how many people were caught up in the blast.

    The militant Islamist group, al-Shabab has been behind previous bombings in the capital.

  8. Somalia blast 'caused by suicide bomber'

    A suicide bomber is suspected to have blown up a car near the presidential palace in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, police officer Major Mohamed Ahmed has told Reuters news agency.

    "Then another blast followed, with gunfire. It is too early to know details and target," he added.

    A big plume of smoke could be seen in the sky, a witness told Reuters.

  9. BreakingExplosions and shooting in Somalia

    There are reports of two explosions and gunfire in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.

    VOA journalist Harun Maruf shared this picture on social media:

    View more on twitter

    One of the blasts is understood to have happened near the Turkish Red Crescent's offices.

    Their director tweeted this picture, saying he hoped there was no loss of life:

    View more on twitter

    This is a breaking story. We will keep the page updated as we learn more.

  10. A mother's plea: 'I would rather my daughter was dead than captive'

    Sandals are strewn in the yard of the Government Girls Science and Technical College staff quarters in Dapchi, Nigeria, on February 22, 2018
    Image caption: Abandoned shoes outside the school in Dapchi

    Harira Malam Halilu has not stopped crying since her daughter disappeared on Monday night, during militant Islamist group Boko Haram's raid on a boarding school in north-eastern Nigeria.

    Her daughter, Sahura Jibrin Mohammed, was studying sciences at the school in Dapchi town when the militants appeared.

    The 17-year-old, along with dozens of others, has not been seen since.

    For Ms Halilu, the wait for news is unbearable. She fears for her daughter, who dreamed of becoming a nurse, with the memories of the abduction of 276 girls from Chibok town almost four years ago playing on her mind:

    Quote Message: If I remember how we see the images of previously abducted Chibok girls, I keep on crying; my tears continue flowing ceaselessly.
    Quote Message: I would rather see her dead body brought to me so that we give her a befitting burial, than for her to be under the captivity of Boko Haram members."

    It is more than just the fear of a mass abduction which has parents debating whether or not Nigeria is seeing history repeat itself.

    The authorities have insisted in previous statements the girls are simply hiding in the bush after fleeing the attack in Dapchi.

    Ms Halilu does not believe this version of events. However, she is not ready to give up hope just yet.

    Quote Message: It will not be surprising to if she returns as with Allah all things are possible. But from experience, if such things happen it goes like a play. Because as of now, authorities have not admitted that they have been abducted."

    Read Africa Live's earlier story on the abduction here.

  11. Deadly unrest hits Zimbabwe's capital

    Shingai Nyoka

    BBC Africa, Harare

    Two people are confirmed dead and seven others injured following overnight clashes in Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, between police and members of the public.

    While clashes between police, illegal vendors and transport operators are common in the city, this is the deadliest so far.

    A crowd gathers around a burnt out shell of a car torched outside Harare Central Police Station on February 23, 2018, in Harare
    Image caption: A car was torched outside Harare Central Police Station

    Authorities say an angry crowd threw stones at police as they tried to clear the streets of private commuter buses.

    Police fired warning shots and then directly at the crowd, killing two.

    Three police officers were also seriously wounded as crowds stoned a nearby police station, setting fire to several vehicles.

    The economic crisis in Zimbabwe, including high unemployment, has led to many people setting up stalls illegally in Harare, and it has also led to the growth of private transport operators.

    Justice Chiutsi points to a wound on his neck and another on his forehead outside Harare Central Police Station on February 23, 2018, in Harare. Chiutsi, a cellphone vendor was shot by a policeman during clashes between commuters and police blocking commuter buses from enter ng the central business district of Harare.
    Image caption: Mobile phone vendor Justice Chiutsi was wounded during the clashes

    Police and the city council have struggled to reduce congestion and restore order in the city, amid strong public resistance.

    Police say they are still investigating the violence, and described it as regrettable.

  12. SA Hawks: Gupta arrests 'just phase one' of wider investigation

    South Africa's elite police squad say the high profile arrests carried out earlier this month - including of people linked to the wealthy Gupta family - are just "phase one" of an investigation into how allegedly corrupt individuals tried to control the state.

    Lieutenant General Yolisa Matakata confirmed an arrest warrant for Ajay Gupta - one of three brothers who allegedly used their friendship with former President Jacob Zuma to wield huge political power - has been issued.

    However, it was not related to the alleged siphoning of government money allocated to helping emerging black dairy farmers, as the police minister had suggested, but on other matters of corruption, she said.

    View more on twitter

    Her words are likely to have cheered many South Africans who are hoping for a wide-ranging investigation into so-called state capture - the process by which the wealthy Indian-born Gupta family are alleged to have gained influence.

    According to South Africa's TimesLive, she said the arrest of eight suspects earlier this month "was phase one of our broader state of capture investigations".

    She said she could not give further details, as it could compromise investigations.

    Both the Gupta family and Mr Zuma have repeatedly denied corruption allegations.

    Read more about the Gupta family by clicking here.

  13. How to move a six-tonne elephant

    Officials in Kenya's Lamuria region have begun transporting up to 30 elephants to another part of the country by truck, in an operation costing $6m (£4.3m).

    Farmers in the region have complained that the elephants destroy crops as they migrate between wildlife parks.

    Video content

    Video caption: Kenya elephants: Operation to move big beasts begins
  14. Nigeria state: Put your child in school, or risk jail

    Karina Igonikon

    BBC Pidgin, Lagos

    Learners from the Bethel Nursery and Primary school leave with books they are borrowing from the in the I-Read mobile library on January 30, 2018.

    Nigeria’s oil-rich Bayelsa state is threatening parents who do not make sure their children go to school with jail terms.

    The state signed the new law into the books amid concerns children were not attending class despite the fact that it spent 70bn naira ($200m; £140m) on new school buildings and equipment.

    "We feel it is important to have this law to protect that investment," state Commissioner of Education Jonathan Obuebite told reporters. "Clearly, the law is to demonstrate our commitment to education in the state.”

    Both primary and secondary school education is free.

    However, many parents appear to be nonchalant about sending their children to learn.

    The state's Union of Teachers say it is a good move, but each case needs to be considered individually.

    “Before you arrest a parent, you have to find out what the problem is," union Kalama John Tonipre told the BBC.

    "if it is done in a legal and proper manner, it is okay. If it is not just a mere political statement and it is done with good intentions, it is good."

    Otonye Fatayi, who lives in Yenagoa, says the law is good - but said people needed to be given time to get used to it.

  15. Can Liberia's celebrity president beat unemployment?

    Video content

    Video caption: George Weah has said the economy is his top priority

    Liberia's new President George Weah said earlier this week he had inherited a broken economy.

    The country's financial problems should come as no surprise: he ran on a pledge to confront the issue head on.

    But is the former footballer able to make a difference? The BBC's Tamasin Ford considers the issue in the video above.

  16. Equatorial Guinea's opposition a 'paramilitary group'

    People take part in the last day of official campaigning for incumbent President and Presidential candidate Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo ahead of the first round of presidential elections in the capital Malabo on April 22, 2016
    Image caption: President Teodoro Obiang Nguema is widely regarded as an authoritarian ruler

    Equatorial Guinea's main opposition party "must be dissolved" because it resembles a "paramilitary group", the attorney general has said, AFP news agency reports.

    David Nguema Obiang was speaking during the trial of 147 opposition activists charged with "rebellion".

    "The Citizens for Innovation (CI) party should be dissolved, there is violence wherever it holds meetings.

    "It doesn't even resemble a political party... It's like a paramilitary group," he was quoted as saying.

    The trial is linked to scuffles which broke out after police attempted to stop an opposition rally ahead of elections in November, AFP reports.

    The ruling Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea won 99 parliamentary seats and the CI one.

    The CI denounced the poll as fraudulent.

    President Teodoro Obiang Nguema has ruled Equatorial Guinea, a former Spanish colony, with an iron-grip since 1979.

  17. Parent of missing Nigerian schoolgirl 'in hiding'

    Stephanie Hegarty

    BBC Africa, Lagos

    Hassana Mohammed, 13, who scaled a fence to escape an alleged Boko Haram attack on her Government Girls Science and Technical College, stands outside her home in Dapchi, Nigeria, on February 22, 2018.
    Image caption: Hassana Mohammed, 13,scaled a fence to escape an alleged Boko Haram attack on her Government Girls Science and Technical College on Monday

    A parent of one of the girls missing since the attack and kidnap at a school in Yobe state has told the BBC that he is in hiding after police issued an order for his arrest.

    The order came after a convoy belonging to the state governor was pelted with stones after he told parents following the army had not found any of the missing girls - backtracking on earlier assurances.

    The man, who didn't want to be identified, said one parent has already been arrested. Police have yet to respond to requests for confirmation of the arrest order.

    The man told the BBC he had run from his home and was hiding in the bush after he heard of the arrest warrant against him.

    He fears it may actually be an attempt by the authorities to stop him talking to the media.

    His daughter has been missing since Monday, when Boko Haram stormed their town and reportedly abducted children from the girl’s secondary school.

    Authorities failed to acknowledge the kidnapping until Wednesday night, when they claimed some girls had been rescued.

    Addressing parents in Dapchi village on Thursday the governor retracted that claim. Angry parents then pelted his convoy with stones.

    This torrent of misinformation on the part of authorities mirrors the aftermath of the kidnapping of the Chibok girls in 2014, 100 of whom are still missing four years later.

  18. Nigeria to stick with core squad for World Cup

    Oluwashina Okeleji

    BBC Sport

    Gernot Rohr
    Image caption: Gernot Rohr's Nigeria will face Argentina, Croatia and Iceland in Group D at Russia 2018

    Nigeria's football coach Gernot Rohr has ruled out bringing in new players to bolster his squad for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

    The West Africans have been hit by a goalkeeping crisis. First choice Carl Ikeme was diagnosed with leukaemia, both Daniel Akpeyi and his replacement Ikechukwu Ezenwa have failed to impress, while Francis Uzoho is inexperienced.

    Rohr is not tempted to call up another goalkeeper, despite growing calls from a section of fans for him to recall the country's most capped player Vincent Enyeama from retirement.

    He told BBC Sport:

    Quote Message: We can't just keep bringing in player after player when you already have those who have proven that they can do the job."

    Read the full story here

  19. The shadow over Egypt: Looking for the disappeared


    Egypt will elect a president next month, with the incumbent, Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, set to win.

    And the authorities stand accused of arresting and torturing his opponents.

    What has happened to the disappeared?

    Click here to find out more

  20. Congolese refugees killed in Rwanda protests

    A refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo is seen with her children as they prepare a meal near the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) offices in Kiziba refugee camp in Karongi District, Rwanda February 21, 2018
    Image caption: A Congolese refugee stands outside the UN office with her children

    Five refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo have been killed during a protest over a cut in food rations in Rwanda.

    The deaths came after three days of a sit-in protests outside the United Nations' refugee offices in the capital Kigali.

    Thousands of people had walked almost 15km (10 miles) from the Kiziba refugee camps to the offices on Tuesday, angry at the cut in food aid.

    The World Food Programme (WFP) has been forced to cut the amount it gives refugees twice in the last six months.

    The first cut of 10% came in November, followed by 25% in January.

    Earlier this week, the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said it had been forced to make the hard decisions because "humanitarian operations in Rwanda remain severely underfunded".

    On Thursday afternoon, a smaller group "armed with stones, sticks and metal projectiles" allegedly assaulted officers brought in to intervene, Rwandan police said in a statement today.

    They said seven officers were injured.

    Police responded with tear gas, the statement added, and 20 refugees were hurt. Five have since died, the statement said. Another 15 were arrested.

    Cecile Pouilly, a UNHCR spokeswoman, said the organisation regretted its "continued appeals for maintaining calm and restraint were not considered".

    "This tragedy should have been avoided, and disproportionate use of force against desperate refugees is not acceptable," the UNHCR statement added.

    Most of the refugees have reportedly now returned to the camps, home to more than 17,000 people, most of whom are women and children.