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Live Reporting

Dickens Olewe

All times stated are UK

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  1. Zimbabwe relaxes lockdown restrictions

    Shingai Nyoka

    BBC News, Harare

    President Emmerson Mnangagwa

    Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa has relaxed lockdown restrictions in place since 5 January.

    He cited a decline in the number of cases, fatalities and hospitalisation.

    The curfew has been reduced and now runs from 22:00 to 05:00.

    Written permissions are no longer required for movement and intercity travel is now permitted.

    Businesses and markets can reopen, while schools and universities must prepare to reopen although no date was given.

    Funeral gatherings remain restricted to 30, while other gatherings including church meetings are limited to 50 people.

    Restaurants will be allowed to provide takeaways and deliveries but no sit-ins are permitted yet, while bars, night clubs and gyms remain closed.

    According to the latest figures from the health ministry, Zimbabwe recorded 31 new cases and no deaths on Sunday.

  2. Gunmen kill 15 in Nigeria's Sokoto state

    Ishaq Khalid

    BBC News, Abuja

    At least 15 people have been shot dead and dozens others wounded by gunmen in a village in the north-western Nigerian state of Sokoto.

    The gunmen opened fire on Monday morning when residents tried to stop them from leaving with a local businessman they had abducted.

    Residents told the BBC that the victims had been buried and those wounded were receiving treatment in a hospital.

    A police spokesperson in Sokoto state said that more security forces had been deployed to the area.

    North-western Nigeria is the worst-hit region as the country grapples with armed criminal gangs frequently carrying out kidnappings for ransom.

    A search is still under way for more than 300 schoolgirls abducted from a boarding school in neighbouring Zamfara state on Friday.

    The authorities say progress is being made in negotiating for their release.

  3. Fixers for foreign journalists detained in Tigray

    Desta Gebremedhin

    BBC Tigrinya

    Two local fixers working with foreign media organisations have been detained by the military in Ethiopia's Tigray region.

    Fitsum Berhane, who was working with the AFP news agency, was arrested by uniformed Ethiopian soldiers on Friday night at his home in the regional capital, Mekelle, according to his family and friends.

    Fitsum Berhane
    Image caption: Fitsum Berhane

    Alula Akalu, a fixer for the Financial Times, was arrested on Saturday at a restaurant in Mekelle by three uniformed soldiers and another person in plain clothes.

    Their families said the journalists were being held in a military camp and they were not allowed to speak to them.

    Alula Akalu
    Image caption: Alula Akalu

    Charges against the pair remain unclear. They are yet appear in court, their friends told the BBC.

    Another local journalist, Tamirat Yemane, was also detained by the military on Saturday for unknown reasons.

    The arrests came a day after an official of Ethiopia's ruling party warned that the government "will take measures against those misleading international media".

    After months-long blockade of international media access to the region, the Ethiopian government last week allowed foreign journalists to report from Tigray.

    The FT said in a statement that it was working to secure the journalists release.

    “We are taking all possible steps to ensure the release of translators Alula Akalu and Fitsum Berhane, who were arrested while working for the FT and AFP respectively on a government-authorised press trip in Mekelle, Ethiopia."

    "Our concerns have been raised with the relevant authorities as we work to understand the reasons for the arrests," the statement said.

  4. Zimbabwe VP resigns amid 'voice cloning' sex scandal

    Kembo Mohadi

    Zimbabwe's second Vice-President Kembo Mohadi has resigned a week after he denied accusations of sexual impropriety.

    Mr Mohadi, 71, repeated his defence that he was the victim of hacking and "voice cloning" after an online newspaper published lurid phone call recordings with several women allegedly including a subordinate.

    "I'm a victim of information distortion, voice cloning and sponsored spooking and political sabotage," Mr Mohadi said in a letter shared by the information ministry.

    View more on twitter

    "I have been going through a soul searching pilgrimage and realized that I need the space to deal with my problems outside the governance chair," the letter said.

    He added that his resignation was not an act of "cowardice" but was to show respect to the office of the president and to ensure that it was "not compromised or caricatured by actions that are linked to my challenges as an individual".

  5. South Sudan gets tough on face masks

    Nichola Mandil


    A lab technician adjusts his protective mask as he tests samples for Covid-19

    The authorities in South Sudan's capital, Juba, have introduced a new measure dubbed "go back home" as a way of enforcing mask-wearing.

    Dr Richard Laku, the country's Covid-19 incident manager, said that officials from Juba City Council or any security agent will have the power to order people not wearing masks to return home.

    He said he was concerned about the increase in coronavirus cases among health workers. At least 47 have contracted the virus since last week.

    "If our health workers are getting infected in big numbers, this tells us that, actually our facilities in general are not doing well in terms of infection prevention-control, and I think it is a concern that needs to be addressed," Dr Laku said.

    The majority of the cases are in the capital, Juba, which has recorded the most infections in the country.

  6. Kenya museums appeals for historical artefacts

    Fossils of different species displayed at the paleontology department of the Nairobi National Museum
    Image caption: Fossils of different species displayed at the paleontology department of the Nairobi National Museum

    The National Museums of Kenya (NMK) is asking Kenyans to donate cultural artefacts and other items, as it seeks to build a museum on the country's early history.

    "NMK is desirous of acquiring relevant objects or memorabilia by way of donation, long-term loan or any other suitable arrangement", NMK says in a public appeal.

    The proposed museum dubbed a 'Museum of Heroism', will include key aspects such as "the early history and peoples of Kenya, colonisation, independence [and] military history.."

    "Such materials may include but not limited to photographs, films, unique literature and writings, newspaper cuttings, maps, info graphics, traditional weaponry, instruments of power, traditional musical instruments and trade merchandise" the museums body says.

    The museums body is also looking for traditional farm tools and equipment, body adornments, furniture, crafts, traditional attire, court artefacts, pass books and religious artefacts.

  7. Ghana's experts assures public of vaccine safety

    Thomas Naadi

    BBC News, Accra

    Nana Akufo-Addo

    The arrival of hundreds of 600,000 doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines in Ghana has been widely welcomed, but the authorities here say they have to continue to counter false information about the pandemic and vaccines.

    On Sunday President Nana Akufo-Addo countered some of the common false statements and conspiracies about the safety and efficacy of the approved jabs.

    The vaccine, Mr Addo said, does not change your DNA, it's not part of a global cabal plan to "wipe out Africans," and will not cause infertility.

    The president also said experts from Ghana's Food and Drugs Authority had declared the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines safe.

    The country's scientists have also approved Russia's Sputnik V vaccine and were also involved in research to develop other jabs.

    To rollout the vaccination, the National Vaccine Deployment Plan has segmented the population into four groups in order of priority:

    Frontline health workers, people with underlying health conditions, and people aged 60 and above will be among the first to be vaccinated.

    Key workers in the executive, legislature judiciary, and security services including some journalists will also get the opportunity to receive the jabs.

    But pregnant women and children below 18 years old are not part of the vaccination campaign.

    The authorities have said they don’t have enough data on the possible side effects of the vaccines on such groups.

  8. US warship arrives in Sudan after Russian one

    Mary Harper

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    US sailors look on as they stand aboard the US Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81), part of Destroyer Squadron 2, while it anchors in Port Sudan
    Image caption: The USS Winston S Churchill docked in Port Sudan on Monday

    An American warship has docked in Port Sudan the day after a Russian frigate arrived at the same Red Sea port.

    US diplomats said the second visit in a week by the US navy ship highlighted a willingness to strengthen the renewed partnership between the two countries.

    The US delisted Khartoum as a state sponsor of terrorism following the overthrow in 2019 of former President Omar al-Bashir.

    Russia is building a naval base near Port Sudan, big enough for four warships and 300 personnel.

  9. Love Island South Africa 'so white'

    View more on twitter

    The much anticipated reveal of the contestants in South Africa's debut edition of popular reality TV show Love Island has been criticised for not representing the country's diversity, IOL news site reports.

    Of the 10 initial cast members two are coloured (the South African term for people of mixed-race heritage) and two are black. White contestants are predominant, reports say.

    According to a 2011 census at least 76% of the South African population is black, 9% is white, 9.1% is coloured and 8.9% is Indian.

    Contestants in the UK spin-off reality show will take part in dates, tasks and challenges to avoid being kicked out of the villa where they all live.

    They will be competing for 1 million rand ($66,200; £47,500).

    One tweeter commented sarcastically: "Wow so much diversity. This is a true representation of what I thought SA looks like."

  10. Ghana leader becomes first Covax vaccine recipient

    BBC World Service

    President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, receives coronavirus vaccine

    The President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo has become the world's first recipient of the coronavirus vaccine from Covax, a scheme to procure and distribute inoculations for poorer countries.

    A wider Covax programme will begin in Ghana on Tuesday but health workers in Ivory Coast are being vaccinated on Monday.

    Mr Akufo-Addo has urged people to get inoculated and not to believe conspiracy theories casting doubt on the programme.

    Nigeria is due to take delivery of nearly four million doses of vaccine later this week.

  11. Museveni 'supporters better off without Facebook'

    Yoweri Museveni celebrate his win in the presidential election on
    Image caption: A statement from Mr Museveni's media team referred to supporters whose accounts were suspended as "victims of Facebook"

    President Yoweri Museveni has once again accused tech giant Facebook of being biased against Uganda's ruling party and its supporters.

    The social media platform suspended several accounts linked to the National Resistance Movement (NRM) party days to the January election, accusing them of being involved in Coordinated Inauthentic Behaviour (CIB) in an attempt to influence public debate ahead of the poll.

    At the time Mr Museveni accused Facebook of "arrogance" and announced a ban on the platform. The social media platform remains inaccessible unless using a Virtual Private Network (VPN).

    In a Sunday meeting with "victims of Facebook" - NRM members whose accounts were suspended - the president told them they were better off without the platform.

    "Ever since Facebook went, have you heard of any shortage of sugar in town? Do you not have clothes? Facebook will talk but we shall move, they are not God," Mr Museveni said.

    He added:

    Quote Message: This is the reason why in some countries they are not allowed, do they operate in China? Anyway, what I heard is that God is omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient. I never heard that Facebook fits in same category."

    Read more: Uganda social media ban raises questions over regulation in Africa

  12. Zambian court cancels state takeover of power lines

    Kennedy Gondwe

    BBC News, Lusaka

    The High Court in Zambia has quashed a decision by the government to declare a private company’s electricity transmission lines as a common carrier.

    Energy Minister Matthew Nkhuwa last year declared infrastructure owned by the Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC), Zambia’s leading supplier of electricity to the mines, as “common carrier”.

    It meant the company was under obligation to provide its facilities to any entity that wished to use the transmission lines - provided they agreed the terms and conditions with CEC.

    But CEC sued the government, arguing Mr Nkhuwa’s decision amounted to “expropriation” of its infrastructure.

    “The respondent's decisions were illegal and tainted with procedural impropriety,” Lusaka High Court Judge Elita Phiri-Mwikisa ruled.

    “All in all, I find that the applicant has succeeded on all grounds...I accordingly quash the decision of the minister of 29 May 2020, to declare the applicant’s transmission and distribution lines as a common carrier.”

    Analysts had argued that the move was meant to aid Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), the local unit of Indian mining giant Vedanta, which has been under control government control since May 2019.

  13. More African nations set to receive Covax vaccines

    Workers load a shipment of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine in Abidjan
    Image caption: Ivory Coast will on Monday start mass inoculation using the AstraZeneca Oxford vaccine

    Twenty-four African countries will soon receive Covid-19 vaccines from the UN-backed Covax programme.

    They include Kenya and Nigeria that will receive the vaccines on Tuesday.

    Kenya will get 1.25 million doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine and vaccinations are expected to start immediately, according to Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe.

    Priority will be given to frontline health workers and the elderly.

    Nigeria will receive 3.92m vaccine doses, becoming the third West-African country to benefit from the facility.

    The country expects to receive a total of 16m doses from Covax in the next few months.

    Ivory Coast on Monday became the first country to rollout vaccines offered by the programme.

  14. Migrants rescued off Libya's coast

    Almost 100 migrants have been rescued off the coast of Libya, with 15 dying at sea.

    Most of those rescued on Sunday are African migrants from Cameroon, Sudan and Mali, the AFP news agency reports.

    Many of the survivors suffered from burns and hypothermia, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM):

    View more on twitter

    On Friday, IOM Libya said more than 150 migrants had been intercepted and returned to the country by its coast guard.

    It noted that at least 3,700 men, women, and children have been returned to Libya this year - whose conditions have continued to worsen after being detained.