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Summary

  1. Malawi's president set up the inquiry into attacks on people with albinism
  2. Crowds gather in protests against Algerian president
  3. A hundred arrests ahead of Nigeria's governor elections
  4. Leaked video shows Sudan security forces taunting civilians
  5. Naked women dragged through Liberian streets
  6. Ethiopia protesters angered by 'encroachment of Addis Ababa'

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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  1. Scroll down for Thursday's stories

    We'll be back on Friday

    BBC Africa Live

    Lucy Fleming

    That's all from BBC Africa Live for now. 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 our wise words of the day:

    Quote Message: The water insect that dances on the surface has its drummers on the riverbed." from A Yoruba proverb sent by Taiwo Adetiloye in Newfoundland, Canada.
    A Yoruba proverb sent by Taiwo Adetiloye in Newfoundland, Canada.

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

    And we leave you with this image from Instagram photographer Edward Echwalu of people having their portraits taken on the shores of Lake Victoria in Uganda's capital, Kampala:

    View more on instagram
  2. SA leader jealous of Trevor Noah's applause

    South African comedian Trevor Noah has made an appearance in South Africa’s parliament.

    Cheers broke out when President Cyril Ramaphosa, who was in the house to answer questions from MPs, introduced the Daily Show host as his special guest.

    "Trevor, I never get this type of applause so I am jealous," the president said.

    According to South Africa’s Eyewitness News, Noah yelled from the public gallery: "Whose fault is that?"

    The president told MPs Noah had recently set up a foundation that would focus on education.

    Mr Ramaphosa tweeted videos of his chats with the comedian before and after the parliamentary session:

    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
  3. Sudan protesters released as women march

    Will Ross

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    A court in Sudan has overturned prison sentences handed down last week to eight protesters and has ordered their release.

    The eight demonstrators had been given jail terms of up to five years by new emergency courts set up in an effort to end protests calling for President Omar al-Bashir to step down.

    An emergency appeals court cancelled the jail terms and ordered them to pay fines.

    Meanwhile dozens of women have been arrested while demonstrating on the streets of Khartoum.

    Some tweeted before the march, which was organised in support of women on the eve of International Women's Day:

    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter

    Hundreds of people have been detained since the protests began last December.

  4. South Sudan summoned over businessman's arrest

    Will Ross

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    Amnesty International has welcomed a decision by the East African Court of Justice to summon the South Sudanese authorities to explain why the businessman Kerbino Agok Wol has not been presented in a court since his arrest in April last year.

    The Pan African Lawyers Union went to the regional court, based in the Tanzanian city of Arusha, to protest against Mr Kerbino's ill treatment.

    He ran a security company in the capital, Juba, and although he hasn't been charged he has been accused of being linked to rebels.

    The court has summoned South Sudan's advocate general to appear later this month to also explain why Mr Kerbino's assets were frozen, his bank accounts closed and why he has had no access to family, doctors or lawyers.

  5. Kenyans bemused by hairy lion statues

    Peter Mwai

    BBC Africa, Nairobi

    Kenyans have taken to Twitter to express their bemusement over two lion statues installed by the Nairobi City county administration.

    The lion statues, described by some as being hollow, appear to have manes made from hair-like material.

    The statues are part of a scheme to beautify the capital and have been installed outside the county government headquarters and at the University Way Roundabout in the city centre.

    But they have failed to impress the locals.

    Many directed their criticism at Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko - one tweeter asking if the lion had a weave:

    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter

    Some, however, saw the funny side, posting amusing memes of "lion-gate":

    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
  6. Gabon's sick president 'has no body double'

    Gabon's President Ali Bongo does not have a body double, the AFP has quoted his spokesman as saying.

    There have been rumours that a lookalike has been standing in for the 60-year-old leader, who is convalescing in Morocco after reportedly suffering from a stroke while on a trip to Saudi Arabia in October.

    Ike Ngouoni told a news conference that there was no need to be concerned about Mr Bongo's health, AFP reports.

    Quote Message: There's no body double The president is indeed there [in Morocco]. He's the one on the job."

    Mr Bongo has returned to Gabon only twice for short trips since falling ill. One visit was after an attempted coup in January.

    This is a photo released by the presidency of his last visit home in February:

    Gabon's President Ali Bongo pictured meeting officials in late February
    Image caption: President Bongo met officials in Libreville in February
  7. Apartheid-era hitman granted parole in SA

    An apartheid-era hitman in South Africa is to be freed on parole in April after serving more than 20 years of his sentence, local media reports.

    Ferdinand Barnard was jailed for life in June 1998 for the murder of two anti-apartheid activists, including Wits University academic David Webster in 1989.

    Read more in the link shared on Twitter by our reporter in Johannesburg:

    View more on twitter
  8. Tanzania judge frees opposition leaders

    Peter Mwai

    BBC Africa

    Esther Matiko (L) and Freeman Mbowe (R) in court, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
    Image caption: Esther Matiko (L) and Freeman Mbowe (R) have spent more than three months in jail

    Tanzania's High Court has released on bail two senior opposition politicians who were charged last year with sedition, incitement to violence and holding an illegal rally.

    Freeman Mbowe, the chairperson of the main opposition party Chadema, and Esther Matiko, the women's wing treasurer, had been in custody since November when their bail was cancelled for failing to show up for two hearings.

    They had been arrested earlier in the year in connection with a protest march in which a student was killed by a stray bullet fired by the police.

    Mr Mbowe defended himself, saying he had missed both hearings as he had been ill. Ms Matiko said she had missed one because she was on an official mission to Burundi.

    The judge, Sam Rumanyika, ruled that their rights had been violated and ordered their immediate release.

    Opposition politicians and rights groups have been calling for their release, saying they were "political prisoners".

    President John Magufuli has been criticised for limiting political freedoms since coming to power in 2015, and has banned political rallies.

  9. Seychelles bids farewell to ex-President René

    Yasine Mohabuth

    BBC Afrique

    The state funeral for France-Albert René in the Seychelles

    The state funeral of France-Albert René, the former president of the Seychelles, has taken place in Mahé, the largest island of the archipelago - and flags on public buildings are flying at half-mast.

    Mr René, who led the Indian Ocean nation for 27 years until 2004, died at the age of 83 last month.

    Approximately 500 invited guests paid their respects to the former president at State House in the capital, Victoria as his body lay in state.

    The ceremony included a 21-gun salute with full military honours.

    His funeral cortege then travelled through the capital to a stadium where members of the public could pay their respects.

    People at the state funeral for France-Albert René in the Seychelles

    All along the way, women dressed in red - the colours of the People's Party - spontaneously broke into song as the procession passed by in a solemn tribute to the former head of state.

    This was followed by an inter-faith service at the stadium, followed by a burial service at the Mont Fleuri Cemetery, where he was buried next to his mother's grave.

  10. Algeria protests: President warns against chaos

    BBC Monitoring

    The world through its media

    Algeria’s president has warned that protests against his rule could be infiltrated by domestic or foreign groups and lead to sedition and chaos.

    Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s decision to seek a fifth term in power in coming elections has prompted a wave of demonstrations across the country in recent weeks.

    So far, they've been largely peaceful.

    The 82-year-old leader is currently in hospital in Switzerland, and his warning of the risk of chaos was conveyed in a letter released by the official APS news agency.

    Quote Message: “We noted a few days ago, that a number of our fellow citizens across the various regions of the country came out to express their opinions peacefully. We congratulate them on their maturity, including that of the young people taking part, and on the fact that the pluralistic democracy for which we fought so much has become a palpable reality.”
    Quote Message: “However, we must call for vigilance and wisdom against a possible infiltration of this peaceful expression [of opinion] by whichever insidious party – domestic or foreign – which could, may God protect us, spark sedition and chaos, along with all the consequences this could bring." from Abdelaziz Bouteflika
    Abdelaziz Bouteflika

    Later in the letter the president says that it is essential to “preserve stability, so as to dedicate ourselves, both the people and those in power, to the achievement of construction and development, and to see through more success and progress”.

    A lawyer holds up a banner near riot police during a protest against President Abdelaziz Bouteflika - 7 March 2019
    Image caption: Lawyers have been on the streets protesting on Thursday

    See earlier post: Lawyers demand Bouteflika steps down

  11. Kenyan anger over 'stairway to heaven'

    Peter Mwai

    BBC Africa, Nairobi

    A group of street artists has been using the walls and stairs of the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, as their canvass - but one of the works has resurrected a debate about homosexuality in the East African nation.

    It can be found on some stairs, leading to a footbridge near the University of Nairobi, which have been painted in the colours of the rainbow:

    View more on instagram

    Naitiemu Nyanjom, one of the artists involved, described it as a “stairway to heaven”.

    But some have accused the artists of secretly promoting homosexuality by painting an LGBT rainbow flag.

    Homosexual acts are illegal in Kenya, punishable by 14 years in jail.

    Kenya's High Court is due to rule in May on whether to decriminalise gay sex.

    One person tweeted: “You start accepting the gay-pride colours you start accepting 'queer' people. It's a mental conditioning gay people want, anti-gay people hate but the rest of us are just saying keep it private and out of our public spaces."

    Another said on Twitter that it was wrong to go ahead with the project in a public space without consultation: "We're either a country of rules or we're not. These rules exist for a particular reason.”

    But others people on social media have been questioning how a bit of colour can be taken out of context.

    One tweeted, "Just a little colour is added to brighten Nairobi and all of a sudden your little homophobic egos can't stand it.....I am tired.”

    The paintings are organised by Switch-a-Roo, a cultural exchange programme between French and Kenyan artists.

    It aims to take art closer to the people and create a sense of ownership in communities through painting. The artists have also produced works in Nairobi's poor neighbourhoods of Kibera and Mathare.

  12. Nigerian girl aims to be boxing champion

    A seven-year-old Nigerian girl has revealed she is determined to become a world-boxing champion.

    Sekinat Quadri's father encouraged her to pursue her dream of fighting in the ring after her mother said boxing was only for for me.

    In this BBC Africa One Minute story, Sekinat said she has been inspired by boxing stars like Muhammad Ali and Claressa Shields. She also added she wants to encourage girls like her to embrace the sport.

    Video content

    Video caption: Nigerian seven-year-old on boxing world champion dreams

    Video journalists: Damilola Oduolowu and Ahmed Ambali, BBC News Yoruba

  13. Ethiopians protest over new apartments

    Elias Hordofa

    BBC Afaan Oromoo

    Thousands of Ethiopians have taken to the streets in a protest over land rights in the Oromia region, which completely surrounds the capital, Addis Ababa.

    Land protesters in Oromia, Ethiopia

    The protesters are angered by what they see as the expansion of the city on to their land - a dispute fuelled by the fact that is no clear boundary between Addis Ababa and Oromia.

    The demonstrations, which happened simultaneously in more than 10 towns in Oromia, took place a day after thousands of heavily subsidised new apartments were handed over to their owners.

    The 51,000 flats were built by the Addis Ababa administration on land from which farmers were evicted several years ago.

    The farmers, who were among those protesting, say they were paid very little compensation and are now struggling to make a living.

    Land protesters in Oromia, Ethiopia

    The apartments, which cost about 700,00 birr ($25,000; £19,000) for a one-bedroom flat, are part of the latest scheme to house Addis Ababa’s ever-expanding population.

    Twenty per cent of the flats are reserved for public servants.

    Ethnic Oromos, who make up around a third of Ethiopia’s population, have long complained that they have been excluded from the country's political process and economic development.

    One protester in the city of Shashemene told the BBC, "Our land is our bone."

    A “masterplan” to radically expand the boundaries of Addis Ababa into the Oromia region was dropped in 2015 after sparking demonstrations that grew into countrywide anti-government protests.

    These are the first major protests on the issue since reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, himself an ethnic Oromo, came to power nearly a year ago.

    Watch: Farmers forced off land for housing

    Last April the BBC spoke to some of those who were being displaced by housing projects around the capital:

    Video content

    Video caption: Ethiopia's farmers forced off land for housing
  14. Morocco beheadings: Charges over sharing footage

    BBC World Service

    Maren Ueland and  Louisa Vesterager Jespersen
    Image caption: Maren Ueland (L) and Louisa Vesterager Jespersen were found dead in a popular tourist area

    Police in Denmark have opened investigations into 14 social media users who shared footage of Islamist militants beheading two Scandinavian tourists in Morocco last December.

    In a statement the police said two of them were accused of explicitly approving of a terrorist act, while the other 12 could face up to three years in prison for spreading the video.

    Several people have been charged in Morocco in connection with the murders of the two women in their twenties, who were hiking in the Atlas mountains.

    Maren Ueland, 28, and Louisa Vesterager Jespersen, 24, had arrived on a month-long holiday in Morocco on 9 December and had travelled to the foothills of Mount Toubkal, North Africa's highest peak, 10km (six miles) from Imlil.

    Their bodies were found in their tent.

  15. Lawyers demand Algeria's president steps down

    BBC World Service

    Hundreds of lawyers have marched in protest in the streets of the Algerian capital, Algiers, demanding that President Abdelaziz Bouteflika step down after 20 years in power.

    Lawyers protesting

    The demonstrators chanted that the people wanted to overthrow the regime.

    Mr Bouteflika's decision to put himself forward for a fifth term in office has led to a series of protests across the country in recent weeks.

    The demonstrations are posing a major challenge to the president and his inner circle.

    The national association of lawyers has called for the postponement of the coming elections, and the setting up of a transitional government.

    Read more:

  16. Twitter love for girl who wants to be president

    A letter addressed to President Cyril Ramaphosa from a little girl called Daisy, has won over social media users in South Africa.

    In her letter, posted online by Mr Ramaphosa to his 448,000 Twitter followers, she wrote: "I want to be president just like you."

    She then asked the South Africa leader a series of question, including, "Can girls be presidents?"

    Mr Ramaphosa wrote back, saying it had been an honour to receive her letter and complimented her drawings.

    He answered her questions, including one about whether he had met Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first democratically elected president.

    "Yes he was a friend, a father and a teacher to many other people people," he wrote, adding that Mr Mandela would have advised her that "girls can be anything they want to be in the world today".

    "They can be teachers, or scientists, or astronauts - and to answer your question, yes, they can be presidents too."

    See both letters here:

    View more on twitter

    One Twitter user commented, "Thank you Daisy and thank you, Mr President. You both just made my day so beautiful, warm and fuzzy."

    Another person said, "That is the sweetest age appropriate motivating response ever."

  17. Ebola response 'failing in DR Congo'

    Imogen Foulkes

    BBC News, Geneva

    A Congolese health worker administers Ebola vaccine to a woman who had contact with an Ebola sufferer in the village of Mangina in North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo, 18 August 2018
    Image caption: People with Ebola are not coming forward because of a lack of trust

    The response to the Ebola outbreak in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo is failing to bring the epidemic under control, medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has said.

    Despite new vaccines and treatments, people with Ebola have been dying in their communities because they do not trust the health response enough to come forward, MSF President Joanne Liu said at a press conference in Geneva.

    MSF recently suspended its operations in the epicentre of the outbreak - in Katwa and Butembo in North Kivu province - following violent attacks on Ebola treatment centres.

    Tackling Ebola in DR Congo was always going to be a huge challenge - decades of conflict mean health services are weak or non-existent, different communities fear one another, and they fear the security services.

    Attempts by the authorities in DR Congo to force people to comply with Ebola control measures have proved counterproductive.

    There have been dozens of attacks on health workers - meanwhile Ebola victims stay in hiding, no-one knows where they are or who they have been in contact with.

    MSF estimates that in the last three weeks, 43% of new cases in the epicentre of the outbreak had no known links to other cases - that means Ebola is not being successfully tracked, and if it is not tracked, it cannot be controlled.

    The charity says the Ebola response must change - no more coercion to track and treat patients, and more choice for families on how to manage the disease.

    According to the WHO, 569 people have died since the outbreak began seven months ago.

  18. Seven Islamist militants killed in Cairo

    BBC World Service

    Egypt's security forces say they have killed seven Islamist militants in a suburb of the capital, Cairo.

    According to the police, those targeted had been hiding out in an apartment in the Giza area, and had been planning a terror attack there.

    An Interior Ministry statement said the militants were members of the Hazm movement, which the authorities say is linked to the banned Muslim Brotherhood organisation.

  19. Guinea arrest over marriage to 11-year-old girl

    Alhassan Sillah

    BBC Africa, Conakry

    A girl in West Africa
    Image caption: Campaigners say many girls are being forced into marriages in Guinea's highlands

    A 23-year-old man who married an 11-year-old girl has been detained in the town of Mali Yemberin, in Guinea's Fouta Djallon region.

    The wedding took place earlier this week, but after social media outrage at the union, the man returned the girl to her parents.

    The groom's parents, the girl's parents and the imam who officiated the marriage are also being questioned by the police in the highland region of the mainly Muslim West African nation.

    "We have many little girls that are being forced into marriages especially in the region of Labe in Fouta," said Hadja Idrissa Bah, chairwoman of Young Leaders Club - an organisation fighting against forced marriage, marital rape and genital mutilation.

    "In fact the younger sister of the man who has been arrested and who is only 14 years old is also being prepared by her parents to get married," she added.

    Child marriage is a growing phenomenon in the country.

  20. Wheelchair ride hitcher stuns SA drivers

    A video of a man in a wheelchair hitching a ride by holding on to the back of a lorry has gone viral in South Africa.

    The unidentified man is seen calmly hanging on to the fast-moving vehicle on a highway in the capital, Pretoria.

    When he's reached his destination, he looks out for other cars, lets go and expertly changes lanes.

    Watch him in action:

    View more on twitter

    In response to this tweet, someone posted another clip of the daredevil taking a similar ride:

    View more on twitter

    Those filming in the car are heard saying: "Wow, that is so dangerous though. Wow, this guy is a legend."

    It is not clear how the wheelchair user manages to grab on to the lorries.