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Live Reporting

By Dickens Olewe

All times stated are UK

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  1. Zambia's Kaunda calls for end to gas attacks

    Kennedy Gondwe

    BBC News, Lusaka

    Kenneth Kaunda
    Image caption: Mr Kaunda said the attacks were sullying Zambia's reputation as a peaceful country

    Zambia’s founding President Kenneth Kaunda has called for an end to the mysterious gas attacks on homes and public buildings in the southern African nation.

    At least 50 people suspected to be behind the attacks have been killed by mobs since the first case was reported in December.

    “I emphasize this point: the chemical attacks must be stopped. And the mob attacks on suspected members of the public must stop”, the 96-year-old Mr Kaunda told the state-owned news agency, the Zambia National Information Services.

    In one mob attack last week, a man joined a crowd that was beating up a suspect, not aware that it was his uncle. The suspect was killed by the mob.

    Mr Kaunda said the attacks on homes, schools, colleges and prisons was of grave concern because Zambia was always known as a peaceful country.

    “The chemical attacks and mob justice on fellow members of society disturb the efforts we have [made] towards a society of harmony and stability,” he added.

    Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu has offered a $17,000 (£13,000) reward for the arrest of people behind the attacks and has deployed the army to the most-affected areas to help reassure the public.

    More than 370 homes have been targeted in the last three weeks in the country’s Copperbelt province, affecting at least 1,000 people.

    A suspect interrogated on video by those who caught him said the attackers wanted to draw blood in syringes from those who had passed out.

    There has been speculation that the blood is being taken for use in rituals such as those that claim to bring good luck or wealth.

    It is unclear what gas is being used in the attacks, which have been taking place during the day and at night.

  2. What have tomatoes got to do with climate change?

    Tomato prices in Kenya have skyrocketed in recent weeks, with some parts of the country paying up to seven times more.

    The price rises follow months of heavy rains across East Africa. But could climate change be contributing to the problem?

    The BBC’s Mercy Juma reports from the farmlands in Kenya.

    Produced by Gladys Kigo, Video by Olivia Lace-Evans.

    Video content

    Video caption: Climate change: Why are tomato prices in Africa increasing?
  3. A lesbian Zimbabwean's struggle for asylum in the UK

    two women kissing
    Image caption: Angel fled Zimbabwe in 2015 and sought asylum in the UK

    More than 1,500 people claim asylum in the UK each year, claiming that they are persecuted for being gay.

    But it's not an easy thing to prove.

    Angel fled Zimbabwe in fear of her life after police found her in bed with another woman five years ago.

    It's taken most of the time since then for her to convince the UK authorities that she is gay and will be persecuted if she returns.

    In 2015, she was interviewed by an official whose job was to work out whether she was lying.

    For seven hours, the interviewer picked at the threads of her life story.

    She explained that she was still scared to open up to people and that she still carried the stigma of being a lesbian heavy in her heart.

    The interviewer didn't seem satisfied and tried again.

    Just a handful of encounters with women, no long-term relationships, no attempts at meeting women in the UK. Why then did Angel identify as a lesbian?

    She struggled to find the words. "It is because of the feelings that I feel," she said. "I have not been given a free platform to practise my sexuality."

  4. University apologises over student rape memo

    Ferdinand Omondi

    BBC News, Nairobi

    Kenya’s biggest university has issued an apology for a memo to students that blamed victims of sexual harassment and rape.

    The memo, signed by the University of Nairobi head of security, said that it was "recklessness" that led to the rape of three female students last year. It stated that "a clear case of recklessness on the part of female students could be drawn".

    It gave an example of a female student who was gang raped on her way back from partying on foot, describing her as drunk.

    The university's Vice-Chancellor Prof Stephen Kiama has apologised for the memo after it caused a huge outcry at the institution. He said it was insensitive and did not represent the values of the university.

    But critics online are wondering why nothing was mentioned about combating sexual assault or addressing insecurity.

    An online petition calling on the university to recast the memo into not blaming women for being raped has attracted hundreds of signatures within hours.

    Here is the memo as shared on Twitter:

    View more on twitter
  5. Imported Bugatti car wows Zambians

    Kennedy Gondwe

    BBC News, Lusaka

    Bugatti is the top trending topic on Twitter in Zambia with people talking and sharing pictures of the luxury car that was imported into the country on Monday.

    Reports say it is the first ever of its brand in the country.

    The owner of the rare Bugatti, a Veyron, is not known, although industry experts estimate that it costs between $2m-$3m (£1.5m-£2.3m).

    Soon after the car landed at Lusaka’s Kenneth Kaunda International Airport on Monday on a commercial plane, its pictures were shared on Twitter.

    View more on twitter

    Many took pictures and videos of the car as it was driven in the capital, Lusaka, on Tuesday:

    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter

    Tax authorities could not disclose the car owner to the BBC. They, however, did reveal the owner had paid all the taxes relating to its clearance but did not give further details when asked its value and total taxes.

    “The only thing we can confirm is that taxes were paid. The other details we can't give out because we need to respect the tax payer's confidentiality as guided by the law and our values,” said Topsy Sikalinda, the Zambia Revenue Authority spokesperson.

    Zambia is the fifth hungriest country in the world, according to local think-tank the Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute.

  6. Push to pay South Africa's sterilised HIV patients

    Nomsa Maseko

    BBC News, Johannesburg

    South Africa’s Commission for Gender Equality has said it will seek compensation for HIV positive women who were sterilised without their consent or were pressured to agree.

    The commission on Tuesday released a report following an investigation into 15 state hospitals on forced or coerced sterilisation of 50 women.

    The report has been referred to the South African Nursing Council and the department of health.

    The health department has been told to report back to the commission in three months on steps it has taken to deal with the unethical practice.

    During investigations, which began in 2015, the commission found that the women were subjected to "cruel, torturous and inhumane treatment" by doctors.

    The survivors detailed horrific experiences of how forced sterilisation impacted their lives. Some said they lost their partners because they could no longer have more children.

  7. Military funeral to be held for Hosni Mubarak

    BBC World Service

    Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak
    Image caption: Nationwide protests forced former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak from power

    A military funeral will be held in Egypt's capital, Cairo, on Wednesday for the former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who died on Tuesday, aged 91.

    The ceremony, in the Tantawy mosque, will be followed by burial in the family grave at a cemetery in eastern Cairo.

    The authorities have declared three days of national mourning.

    Mr Mubarak was forced out of office in 2011 by mass protests, 30 years after becoming president following the assassination of Anwar el- Sadat.

    The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, praised Mr Mubarak's commitment to peace and security but international reaction to his death has been generally muted.

  8. Ethiopia to boycott talks on Nile dam row

    Ethiopia's Water Minister Seleshi Bekele has said the country will not participate in fresh talks on the future of a giant hydropower project on the Nile River, the BBC’s Kalikdan Yibeltal reports from Addis Ababa.

    The talks were to be hosted by the United States on Thursday and Friday in Washington.

    The Grand Renaissance Dam, which Ethiopia is building on the Blue Nile tributary, will be Africa's biggest hydroelectric power plant when completed.

    It has caused a row between Egypt and Ethiopia, with Sudan caught in between, which the US has been helping to mediate. The three countries reached an initial deal last month on the filling and operation of the dam.

    State-linked Fana television has tweeted about the new development:

    View more on twitter
  9. Cameroon to re-run vote in 11 Anglophone areas

    A voting booth in Cameroon.
    Image caption: It follows a legal challenge by political parties

    Voters in parts of Cameroon's restive English-speaking regions are to go to the polls for a second time, after the country's Constitutional Council ordered a re-run of the local and parliamentary elections in 11 constituencies.

    The date for this new vote has yet to be set.

    The ruling, announced on state broadcaster CRTV on Tuesday evening, follows complaints brought by numerous political parties about the conduct of the polls earlier this month.

    They cited various reasons, including the distance voters were expected to travel.

    "They took the polling centres far away from the people... How do you expect people to move 20km [12 miles]?" the opposition SDF's lawyer Valentine Njenje is quoted by journalist Mimi Mefo as saying.

    The vote was boycotted altogether by the MRC party, whose leader Maurice Kamto told the BBC the Anglophone crisis was "a major reason" for pulling out.

    An upsurge in violence has forced at least 8,000 Cameroonians into neighbouring Nigeria in the last few weeks alone, the UN said.

    Ahead of the vote on 9 February, Anglophone separatist fighters had warned people to stay away from the ballot box.

    On polling day, clashes were reported in the town of Muyuka and witnesses reportedly heard gunfire in the city of Buea and Kuma town.

    Speaking for the governning RDPC party on Tuesday, Grégoire Owana told state television the decision to re-run the vote was frustrating but that the party "abides by the decision".

  10. Machar 'feels like a prisoner' after deal, says wife

    Catherine Byaruhanga

    BBC News, Kampala

    South Sudanese President Salva Kiir (L) with First Vice President Riek Machar
    Image caption: President Salva Kiir (L) and his deputy Riek Machar have formed the unity government to end a long-running civil war

    The wife of South Sudan’s newly sworn-in Vice-President Riek Machar says her husband feels "he is a prisoner".

    Angelina Teny, who is herself a former government minister, told the BBC that restrictions put in place by the regional body, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad), on her husband’s travel within and outside South Sudan were still in place.

    The restrictions were intended to stop the fighting and get Mr Machar to negotiate a peace deal. They also restrained him from speaking to the public or media .

    Igad's Special Envoy for South Sudan Ismail Wais said the restrictions elapsed when Mr Machar took up his new role in the new unity government on Saturday.

    But Ms Teny said Mr Machar's group had not received official communication to that effect. She said they were concerned that he could not fulfill his duties.

    According to Ms Teny, her husband cannot freely travel around South Sudan and meet his supporters.

    However, a spokesperson for President Salva Kiir denied the claim, adding that Mr Machar should hold the public meetings with the president as a show of unity.

  11. Embattled governor signs over Nairobi to Kenya's leader

    Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko and Devolution Minister Eugene Wamalwa sign the agreement

    Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta has taken over key functions of the Nairobi county government in what his office described as "a landmark agreement".

    The law allows for transfer of functions between the national government and county governments after an agreement.

    Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko on Tuesday handed over control of transport, health, public works and planning functions. He signed the agreement in the presence of President Kenyatta at State House.

    Governor Sonko is facing corruption charges and has been barred from accessing his office until his case is heard. He is accused of irregularly awarding tenders to his close aides, forging documents and misappropriating county funds. He denies any wrongdoing.

    Nairobi county lawmakers are also expected to debate a motion to impeach him, which was tabled in the local assembly last week.

    The agreement for the national government to take over the functions of the county government has attracted criticism, with some saying it is unconstitutional.

    A lawyer told Kenya's Star newspaper that the decision should have been made after consultations with the count assembly and city residents.

    Kipchumba Murkomen, the senate's majority leader, said the transfer of functions would be debated in the upper chamber of parliament on Wednesday because it was a "weighty matter that requires deep deflection".

  12. Bill Gates donates $10m to fight locusts in East Africa

    A swarm of locusts in Samburu, Kenya
    Image caption: The locusts are threatening livelihoods in East Africa

    The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has donated $10m (£7.7m) to help fight locusts in the East African region.

    The contribution will be given to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which appealed for funds to fight the locust invasion that is threatening food security.

    FAO Director-General QU Dongyu has thanked the foundation for its donation and urged other philanthropists to help protect the livelihoods of farmers in the affected region.

    The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the charity established by the founder of Microsoft.

    The UN has so far raised $33m, which includes the foundation's donation, but says $138m is needed in total to help fight the locusts.

    Desert locusts have invaded six countries in the East African region, devouring crops.

    The invasion is the worst in 70 years for Kenya and the worst in 25 years for Somalia and Ethiopia.

    The locusts are a huge threat to food security as a small swarm covering one sq km can eat the same amount of food in one day as 35,000 people, according to the FAO.

    The locusts reproduce rapidly under the right weather conditions and could multiply 500 times in the next six months.

  13. Ethiopian leader: China to help our students in Wuhan

    Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Chinese President Xi Jinping
    Image caption: The Ethiopian and Chinese leaders have a cordial relationship

    Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has sought the help of Chinese President Xi Jinping for students in the city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak.

    Mr Abiy said he was pleased that after a telephone call with Mr Xi it had been agreed that China would be "providing special care and support to Ethiopian students".

    The prime minister hailed China's efforts in containing the new coronavirus.

    Mr Xi was quoted by China's state-owned Xinhua news agency as saying that he appreciated the support African countries had given to China.

    He said Africa had "illustrated brotherly friendship" since the outbreak began in China at the end of last year.

    According to the latest figures published on Wednesday, 78,064 people have been infected since the outbreak began.

    Most of the cases remain in China,where the virus originated last year.

    According to the latest figures published on Wednesday, 78,064 people have been infected since the outbreak began.

  14. Algeria confirms first case of coronavirus

    The Algerian health minister has confirmed the country's first case of the coronavirus in an announcement on state-owned ENTV on Tuesday evening.

    The minister, Abdel Rahman Ben Bouzid, said the patient was an Italian man who had arrived in the country on 17 February, Reuters news agency reports.

    The patient has been placed in isolation.

    Algeria becomes the second African country with a confirmed case of coronavirus.

    Egypt was the first to report a confirmed case of the disease but later announced that the patient had been declared clear of the infection and was on the way to recovery.

    Here is a video of the announcement by the Algerian minister in Arabic:

    View more on youtube
  15. Wednesday's wise words

    Our proverb of the day:

    Quote Message: A prince is a slave when far from his kingdom." from A Shona proverb sent by Dowsen Sango in Harare, Zimbabwe and Karen in Cambridge, the UK
    A Shona proverb sent by Dowsen Sango in Harare, Zimbabwe and Karen in Cambridge, the UK

    Click here to send in your African proverbs.

  16. Scroll down for Tuesday's stories

    We'll be back on Wednesday

    That's all from the BBC Africa Live team for now. There will be an automated feed until Wednesday morning.

    You can also keep up-to-date with what's happening across the continent by listening to the Africa Today podcast or visiting the BBC News website.

    A reminder of our wise words of the day:

    Quote Message: A dog rejoices at the funeral of a cow." from Sent by Jimmy Dombo and Okumu Japhet, both from Uganda
    Sent by Jimmy Dombo and Okumu Japhet, both from Uganda

    And we leave you with a photo of a traditional Burkinabe wedding celebration in a village near Bobo Dioulasso, taken by Christophe Vaillant:

    View more on instagram