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Summary

  1. Standard Bank denies re-opening Gupta accounts
  2. Missing British couple were targeted in South Africa
  3. US announces Africa famine fund
  4. Serena Williams touts Kenya as WTA venue
  5. Three killed in Libya clashes
  6. Liberia wants 6,000 Nigerian teachers
  7. Somaliland poet arrested for pro-unity message
  8. Rwanda's top preacher arrested
  9. 'Ethiopia to host US-Russia talks'
  10. Zimbabwe is latest country to ban South African meat
  11. Nigerians angered by Buhari's son 'welcome' signs

Live Reporting

By Dickens Olewe and Natasha Booty

All times stated are UK

  1. Scroll down for stories from Monday and Tuesday

    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 Tuesday's wise words:

    Quote Message: The child who is not embraced by the village will burn it down to feel its warmth." from Sent by Thomas Ayeni, from Calgary, Canada
    Sent by Thomas Ayeni, from Calgary, Canada

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

    And we leave you with this photo of a visitor to Egypt's ancient city of Luxor:

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  2. David Oyelowo on Hollywood's African heroes

    David Oyelowo attends the premiere of Disney and Marvel's 'Black Panther' at Dolby Theatre on January 29, 2018 in Hollywood.
    Image caption: David Oyelowo attends the Black Panther premiere in Hollywood

    Best known for his portrayal of US civil rights leader Martin Luther King in Selma, David Oyelowo is outspoken about the lack of Hollywood roles and stories reflecting black and African lives.

    The British-Nigerian actor says even his son was shocked when he saw him landing leading roles:

    Quote Message: My son actually asked me, ‘Are you going to be the main character’s friend?’ I went, ‘Wow. That’s the world Hollywood shows him.’ So I was very happy to tell him, ‘No. The other actor plays my friend. I’m the centre of the story.’ That felt powerful to me."

    Oyelowo says the recent popularity of Marvel superhero film Black Panther, which features an all-black cast, makes him "hopeful that these milestones we are still seeing now mean that our children will not think twice about a film like [that] - of African heroes, black protagonists".

    His latest Hollywood film, Gringo, sees him in the starring role as a Nigerian businessman called Harold Soyinka. Oyelowo says it is "radical in some ways, because I can’t think of a Nigerian character of that nature being front and centre in an action-comedy".

    His full interview with the BBC will air at 19:15 GMT - click here to listen.

  3. Sierra Leone prepares for tomorrow's general election

    Umaru Fofana

    BBC Africa, Freetown

    On the eve of presidential, legislative and municipal elections in Sierra Leone the country's electoral commission says all is set for tomorrow to deliver credible elections.

    Today is a cooling-off period with no campaigning allowed.

    Kono in the east, Port Loko in the north-west, Kenema in the east and the outskirts of the capital are potential flash points after the close of polls, observers have told me. But voting day is usually very peaceful.

    A crowd of people attending a campaign rally
    Image caption: Campaign rallies ended yesterday
  4. Missing British couple were 'targeted' in South Africa

    Rodney Saunders, 73, and his wife Rachel, 64

    A South African court has heard startling details about the kidnapping of a British couple in KwaZulu-Natal province by people suspected to have links with the Islamic State militant group.

    An affidavit signed by an investigative officer detailed that Rodney Saunders, 73, and his wife Rachel, 64, who have dual South African and British citizenship, were targeted after their kidnappers saw them as a "good hunt", TimesLive reports.

    Three suspects - Sayfydeen Aslam Del Vecchio‚ 38‚ Fatima Patel‚ 27 and 19-year-old Themba Xulu - have been accused of engineering the disappearance of the prominent couple, who were last seen three weeks ago.

    Court documents say that phone records show the suspects were in communication and targeted the couple as part of their plan to "put fear in to the heart of the kuffar [a derogatory term for non-believers]".

    Del Vecchio is accused of ordering the disappearance of the couple.

    “When the brothers in Kenya go out and do this work it is very important that the body of the victim is never found and that it remains a missing person case‚” the statement quotes him as saying.

    The couple's financial records also show that their accounts were used to buy drones‚ camping equipment and paintball guns from a store.

    The Saunders are horticulturalists who run a seed business in Cape Town.

    They had been travelling in a remote region of KwaZulu-Natal.

  5. US announces famine fund

    BBC World Service

    The US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has announced $533m (£383m) of new funding to fight famine in Somalia, South Sudan, Ethiopia and the Lake Chad basin in the Sahel region of Africa.

    Speaking ahead of a visit to six African countries he called on other countries to make contributions.

    Mr Tillerson praised the US's trade programmes with Africa which he said had helped boost non-oil trade.

    He also criticised China's engagement with the continent saying it had led to African countries going into deeper debt, had created few jobs and was endangering the continent's natural resources.

    Mr Tillerson said the US would continue to help fight corruption and promote transparent institutions across the continent.

    It is one of the Trump administration's first major policy announcements regarding African nations.

    Under President Donald Trump, the US has been criticised for withdrawing funding from international groups which perform or provide information on abortions, many of which are on the African continent.

    Last year, President Trump promised to scale back American support for UN peacekeeping. In recent months he criticised what he sees as a disproportionate contribution by the US - which funds 22% of the UN's regular budget and 28% of UN peacekeeping - and said the UN had a problem of bureaucracy and mismanagement.

  6. Three killed in Libya clashes

    Rana Jawad

    BBC North Africa correspondent

    A map of Libya showing the location of the city of Sabha

    Tension remains high in Libya's south-eastern city of Sabha after renewed clashes this morning killed three people and injured at least a dozen, according to a senior medical worker who spoke to the BBC.

    Sporadic deadly clashes between rival armed groups with tribal links first erupted last month.

    Residents of Sabha say the latest clashes erupted before dawn.

    Ahmed Bouagilah, the deputy head of Sabha’s medical centre, told the BBC that the three bodies that his hospital received included a 13-year-old girl.

    The injured also included three children.

    Indiscriminate shelling in recent weeks has not only killed at least nine civilians in recent weeks, but also destroyed homes and displaced dozens of families.

    People there are often caught between the local territorial struggle between rival Arab and ethnic Tebu groups.

    A general view of Lake Gaberoun, a salty water oasis in the Wadi al-Hayaa and Sabha district, in southern Libya.
    Image caption: The area also has a reputation as a migrant smuggling route

    However the southern region is also part of the wider conflict between the country’s other warring parties who are trying to extend their influence.

    Libya's internationally recognised prime minister has ordered the establishment of a force to restore security in the country’s south, but it is not clear if his government has any allies there.

    One of the warring parties in Sabha is nominally allied to Libya’s self-styled army based in the East of the country, which is known as the LNA.

    On the weekend the commander of the LNA, Khalifa Hefter, reportedly announced the start of ‘Operation Law Enforcement’ in the south, and on Monday the Army’s Facebook page also announced that a truce was brokered between Sabha’s armed groups.

    The fighting today suggests this agreement fell apart.

    There are growing fears that Libya’s south is becoming the latest battleground for influence between the country’s regionally divided political and military actors.

    The country is largely lawless, but especially so in the south, which is a regional hub for migrant trafficking.

    Read: Why is Libya so lawless?

  7. Archbishop of Canterbury calls for action in DR Congo

    BBC Parliament

    Archbishop of Canterbury

    The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has called on the British government to respond to escalating violence and the suppression of peaceful protests across the Democratic Republic of Congo.

    The leader of the Anglican community talked of "prevailing anarchy" and "immeasurable suffering" in the country, and urged the government to help strengthen the United Nations Mission for the Stabilisation of the Democratic Republic of Congo (Monusco) in order to "find ways of serving the poorest and most desperate".

    Religious authorities in DR Congo have been a voice of opposition to President Kabila.

    The country's powerful Catholic Church has organised a number of protests in recent months, the latest of which saw security forces use tear gas and live bullets against demonstrators, killing at least two people.

    Speaking to the UK's House of Lords, Archbishop Welby asked what would be done to ensure the commitment to ensuring elections is honoured.

    President Joseph Kabila remains in power despite the fact his second mandate ran out more than a year ago, and plans for elections have repeatedly been delayed prompting widespread anger and protests.

    Government spokesman, the Earl of Courtown, told Archbishop Welby that the UK is working with the UN to "ensure protection of civilians is a priority and to make Monusco a more effective force".

    The UK will "support its work in restoring stability", he added.

    Read more: DR Congo country profile

  8. 'Billion-dollar drought fund needed' for Somalia

    BBC World Service

    There have been warnings of a deepening crisis in Somalia caused by a prolonged drought which has left more than five million people reliant on humanitarian assistance.

    At a just concluded donor conference held in London, there were appeals for $1.5bn (£1bn) to fund this year's aid work in Somalia.

    The Norwegian Refugee Council stressed the importance of acting now in order to avert another famine which it said would be far more costly.

    Ongoing conflict in Somalia has undermined efforts to develop the country.

    Its internationally backed government does not control the whole country - parts of which are controlled by Islamist militant group al-Shabab - making aid access extremely complicated.

    A carcass of a dead cow laying on the ground
    Image caption: Animal carcasses - like this cow - are a common sight because of scarce water supplies
  9. Calls to release Nigerian journalist

    Chris Ewokor

    BBC Africa, Abuja

    Pressure is mounting on Nigeria's secret police to release a journalist who has been held in custody for a week.

    Tony Ezimakor, the Abuja bureau chief for The Independent newspaper, had been invited to meet intelligence security officials last Wednesday and has not been seen since.

    His arrest is being linked to an article he wrote titled, Chibok Girls: How Swiss-mediated deal revived Boko Haram.

    View more on twitter

    A coalition of civil society groups say they will continue to put pressure on the government because they fear it could gag the press.

    They have threatened to march to intelligence agency offices if they fail to release Mr Ezimakor.

    His detention has triggered fear among journalists in Nigeria who are increasingly being threatened for doing their jobs.

    Some 20 journalists have been arrested in Nigeria since 2015 when the current government came to power.

    The independent watchdog Freedom House said in its report last year that media freedom in Nigeria has dropped from "free to partly free".

    Journalists face attacks while carrying out their work, sometimes by security officials.

    Attacks against journalists often go unprosecuted, and analysts suggest that an environment of impunity, combined with the threat of legal prosecution and harassment, encourages self-censorship.

  10. Serena wants top tennis tournament in Africa

    Serena Williams
    Image caption: Ms Williams took a break six months ago to have a baby

    Tennis star Serena Williams has spoken about plans to set up a WTA Tour event in Africa, in what is believed would be a first for the continent.

    She told BBC Sport that it is something that that she has "thought about":

    Quote Message: It is something I have thought about and I would like to keep thinking about it. I’m glad you brought it up because I think it would be amazing. It would be so fun - the help that we could do, and the awareness and the athletes and the amazing players that would come out of Africa would just be unbelievable.”

    The WTA Tour is an elite professional tennis circuit organised by the Women's Tennis Association (WTA).

    She said Kenya is where she would want the event to take place, adding "it’s one of my favourite places to go, so why not?”

    Ms Williams said she is preparing to return to the WTA Tour six months after giving birth.

    She is a 23-time Grand Slam singles champion.

    Watch the full interview here:

    Video content

    Video caption: I'm back and ready - Serena Williams
  11. Isabel dos Santos defends herself on Instagram

    BBC Monitoring

    The world through its media

    The daughter of Angola’s former president, Isabel dos Santos, has taken to Instagram to defend herself against allegations of improper payments made after she was removed as the head of state oil firm Sonangol.

    In two videos posted on a personal Instagram account with her name, Ms dos Santos dismissed the statements as “false” and defends any transfers as having been done in a manner that was “transparent, auditable and incompatible with a desire to hide”.

    The video is in Portuguese.

    View more on instagram

    “The payments are totally legitimate, for invoices given, relative to the work effectively realised and provided,” insisted Ms dos Santos, who claimed that an amount of $38m (£27m) in question was made to consultants as payment for services already offered and which the state oil firm owed.

    “There were no instructions for payment or others with a date after 15 November 2017,” she said.

    The former head of Sonangol was fired from the position in November last year after the new President Joao Lourenco came into power.

    She has been defending herself against allegations made in the wake of an investigation opened by the public prosecutor’s office last week.

  12. SA's Standard Bank denies re-opening Gupta accounts

    Matthew Davies

    Editor, BBC Africa Business Report, Johannesburg

    A bank in South Africa has denied re-opening the accounts of companies belonging to the controversial Gupta brothers.

    The companies could be liquidated if banking facilities cannot be found.

    Earlier today it had looked as if the South African banking giant, Standard Bank, was throwing the Gupta-owned companies a lifeline by offering to re-open their accounts - accounts that have been closed since June 2016.

    The firms in question have been in what's called "business rescue" since mid-February.

    Business rescue is usually entered into by financially distressed companies who are battling to pay their debts and face possible bankruptcy.

    The difference with the eight Gupta-owned firms, which include two mines, is that while they are not technically insolvent, they lack access to banking facilities, as over the past two years or so the major South African banks turned their backs on them amid allegations of corruption - allegations the Gupta brothers have always strenuously denied.

    In the last hours Standard Bank has denied re-opening the accounts, saying no such action was planned.

    The firms, along with another eleven linked to the Guptas, employ about 7,000 people.

    Without banking facilities, the business rescue practitioner has said that it'll be "the end of the road" for the companies.

  13. At least 21 migrants missing at sea

    A map showing the location of Sicily in relation to North African countries and Italy

    The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) says at least 21 people are missing, presumed drowned, after a boat sank off the coast of North Africa while heading to Italy at the weekend.

    It says 72 survivors were brought ashore on Sicily on Tuesday by a Cypriot merchant ship, but fears the number of dead could be higher.

    The IOM says migrant arrivals in Italy have gone down by two-thirds compared with last year, after the UN-backed government in Libya put pressure on people smugglers to stop boats leaving.

  14. 'Noisy' Rwanda preachers 'mastermind' state defiance

    Police in Rwanda have labelled six detained preachers as "masterminds" plotting to defy a government order on building and noise standards, news agency AFP reports.

    Popular preacher Bishop Innocent Rugagi is among those arrested.

    Police spokesman Theos Badege said the the Pentecostal church leaders "conducted illegal meetings with bad intentions aimed at calling for the directives to be defied".

    Authorities have already closed 700 churches and a mosque for being in breach of the standards.

    Most of the targeted churches are small with congregations in the hundreds.

    Pastor Eugene Nshyimiyabo stands near his made church 'The Holy City Church' made of iron sheets
    Image caption: Pastor Eugene Nshyimiyabo stands near his made church 'The Holy City Church' made of iron sheets
  15. South Sudan denies using oil cash to fund conflict

    A newly released child soldier looks through a rifle trigger guard during a release ceremony for child soldiers in Yambio, South Sudan, on February 7, 2018.

    South Sudan's government has rejected claims that the leadership has diverted millions of dollars from the national oil company to fund the ongoing civil conflict.

    "The report was intended to damage the image of the president and the government of South Sudan," Information Minister Michael Makuei told the BBC.

    “We all know that Global Witness is US-funded and America has taken an anti-government stance, and Global Witness is an anti-government organisation," he added.

    The report in question linked the state oil company Nile Petroleum, or Nilepet, directly to arms transfers and the financial benefit of President Kiir’s closest advisers.

    The company, it says, operates in secrecy, and the report details how this secrecy has been used to finance military operations, arms transfers to ethnic militias, and conceal the looting of millions of dollars meant to help imports of essential goods.

    South Sudan’s security forces have also been accused of atrocities in the country’s civil war, including ethnic cleansing and rape.

    Nilepet has denied the allegations, and suggested the evidence collected may have been forged.

  16. 'Crowds watch raid on Guptas' homes in India'

    Properties in India belonging to the controversial Gupta brothers have been raided.

    Journalist Neha Poonia, who has been reporting on the South African-based family’s movements in India for South African broadcaster SABC, says the search was by income tax officers:

    View more on twitter

    The raids are yet to be independently confirmed by authorities, reports South Africa's Times Live news site.

    But they has been widely reported in local media, with one news site saying [in Hindi] that "large crowds" watched the raid on a property belonging to Ajay Gupta early this morning.

    Ajay Gupta had been named as a "fugitive from justice" by South Africa's chief prosecutor.

    It is the latest in a series of developments after Mr Zuma resigned his post last month, since then police have raided the Gupta family home in Johannesburg and a Gupta nephew has appeared in court in connection with a dairy farm fraud case.

    Gupta-linked companies have taken to court their bid to stop the bank they trade with - the Bank of Baroda - from closing its South African operations, as we reported last week.

    A judgement is expected in that case on 12 March, according to local media.

  17. Somaliland poet arrested

    Farah Lamane

    BBC Africa, Nairobi

    View more on twitter

    Authorities in the breakaway republic of Somaliland have formally charged a poet, Naema Qorane, with spreading unpatriotic propaganda.

    The poet has been outspoken in her calls for a united Somalia, something she champions in her performances and Facebook posts. If found guilty, Qorane could face up to eight years in prison.

    She was charged yesterday by Somaliland's Attorney General for “anti-national activity of a citizen and bringing the nation or state in contempt”.

    It followed her arrest on 27 January upon her return to her native Somaliland after visiting Mogadishu where she has performed at a TEDx event.

    Guled Ahmed Jama, who heads an independent human rights centre in Hargeisa, called Ms Qorane's arrest "oppressive":

    Quote Message: The main issue we are criticising the authorities for is the arrest of Naema for a rant she wrote on her Facebook - we believe that she has exercised her rights to express her opinion.
    Quote Message: We believe that this is not in line with local and international laws. We see the charges against Naema as oppressive measure against her rights to express her views."

    Somaliland authorities are sensitive about matters related to unification.

    The self-declared independent state was created in 1991.

  18. 'Millions in state oil money funding S Sudan civil war'

    Ferdinand Omondi

    BBC Africa, Nairobi

    A new investigation has revealed how South Sudan’s leadership is channelling millions of dollars to fund the ongoing four-year civil war.

    An investigation by Global Witness, an organisation that fights exploitation of natural resources, details how the country’s state-owned oil company has fallen under the direct control of President Salva Kiir.

    It linked the national oil company Nile Petroleum, or Nilepet, directly to arms transfers and the financial benefit of Mr Kiir’s closest advisers.

    The company, it says, operates in secrecy, and the report details how this secrecy has been used to finance military operations, arms transfers to ethnic militias, and conceal the looting of millions of dollars meant to help imports of essential goods.

    South Sudan’s security forces have also been accused of atrocities in the country’s civil war, including ethnic cleansing and rape.

    Nilepet has denied the allegations, and suggested the evidence collected may have been forged.

    South Sudan produces crude oil but lacks the capacity to refine the fuel. Nilepet depends on international refineries and fuel traders to raise its revenue.

    The investigation is now challenging these trading partners to hold the company accountable.

    Michael Gibb, the campaign leader of Global Witness, says indifference to the malpractice amounts to complicity in the face of clear evidence of Nilepet’s role in the war economy.

    A 2016 report, The Satellite Sentinel Project, detailed how South Sudan's elite are allegedly profiting from the war.

    Watch it here:

    Video content

    Video caption: South Sudan leaders 'profited during war'
  19. George Weah wants 6,000 Nigerian teachers

    Nigeria's media are reporting on Liberian President George Weah's request for thousands of Nigerian teachers to plug the country's deficit.

    "We are seeking 6,000-plus teachers to make up for the shortage of good teachers in our educational system,” President Weah told reporters after his meeting with Nigeria's President Buhari yesterday in Abuja.

    Liberia's new president has put education at the top of his agenda, saying previously his government will pay all university exam fees for every student, though it is unclear how he will fund the plan after describing the government as "broke".

    View more on twitter

    President Weah also used the meeting to appeal for Nigeria's help to "jump-start" the Liberian economy, calling for increased private investment in construction, housing, agricultural and power sectors.

    Mr Weah also urged the Nigerian banks which "dominate" Liberia's banking not to reduce their support or close operations because he was "optimistic that trade and commerce will increase in the near future".

  20. 'Ethiopia to host US-Russia talks'

    Lavrov (R) and Tillerson
    Image caption: Sergei Lavrov (R) and Rex Tillerson are both on a multi-country tour of the continent

    Ethiopia is set to host a high-level meeting between US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, news agency Reuters reports.

    The two men are planning to visit several African countries and will both be in Ethiopia this week.

    The meeting was proposed by Mr Lavrov, according to a Reuters report.