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Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

  1. 'Icon of Egyptian revolution' released from jail

    BBC Monitoring

    The world through its media

    Prominent Egyptian activist Alaa Abdel Fattah has been released from prison after serving a five-year sentence for protesting against military trials for civilians in 2013.

    Mr Abdel Fattah’s sister, Mona Seif, tweeted about his release early on 29 March and later shared a picture of him at home.

    View more on twitter

    Mr Abdel Fattah will continue to be on probation for five more years as part of his sentence.

    Various opposition figures and social media users celebrated his release, which was reported in both pro-government and independent media outlets, as well as in the pan-Arab and international media.

    A number of people, including bestselling author Alaa al-Aswany, criticised Mr Abdel Fattah’s sentencing for five years for protesting peacefully.

    Mr Abdel Fattah was a leading secular figure in the 2011 revolt that toppled Hosni Mubarak, who had ruled Egypt for almost 30 years.

    The blogger and software engineer was once described by authorities as "the icon of the revolution".

    He campaigned against military trials for civilians during the 17 months that generals held power after Mr Mubarak.

  2. Zuma's son fails in bid to throw out court case

    Duduzane Zuma
    Image caption: Duduzane Zuma is known for his flamboyant lifestyle

    A court in South Africa has rejected an application by ex-President Jacob Zuma's son to throw out a culpable homicide, or manslaughter, case against him.

    Duduzane Zuma's lawyers argued that the evidence against him was poor, but the magistrate ruled that case should proceed as he had a case to answer.

    Duduzane Zuma has been charged with culpable homicide after his Porsche crashed into a minibus taxi in 2014 on a major highway in South Africa's economic heartland of Gauteng, killing a passenger - Zimbabwean national Phumzile Dube.

    He has pleaded not guilty. He has also denied a charge of negligent driving.

  3. Driver carrying bricks in health vehicle to get half pay

    In Uganda, a driver who used a vehicle reserved for health teams to transport bricks has been suspended from his job for unlawfully using a government vehicle.

    Goddy Otto, will receive half of his basic salary and has been banned from travelling abroad during his suspension, state-linked newspaper New Vision reports.

    The deputy speaker in parliament said he had confirmed that the incident happened on 21 March.

    Photos of the vehicle loaded with bricks were shared by a concerned individual and sparked uproar on Twitter:

    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter

    A journalist tweeted that the driver had written an apology:

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    Some poked fun at the driver:

    View more on twitter

    An official in the health ministry commended the person who shared the photo.

    Correction: This entry has been amended to reflect that the vehicle is not an ambulance, but rather used to ferry health workers and equipment, the district chairperson has told the BBC.

  4. Was Kenyatta-Museveni train ride a ploy to get more money?

    Uhuru is trending on Twitter in Kenya as some people ask whether President Uhuru Kenyatta taking his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni on a train ride was a stunt to get more money from China.

    The two leaders on Thursday travelled some 480km (298 miles) on the Chinese-funded Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) from Kenya's port city of Mombasa to the capital, Nairobi.

    They said they want to construct a railway line from western Kenya to Uganda's capital, Kampala.

    Kenya has also offered landlocked Uganda land to build a dry port in Naivasha town, about 75km (47 miles) from the capital, Nairobi,

    A tweeter said Kenya appeared to have persuaded Uganda to back the railway project:

    View more on twitter

    Other tweeters think Kenyans were duped into the SGR deal with Uganda and that there's more than meets the eye:

    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
  5. Trump administration gives Liberian migrants reprieve

    The US government has extended by 12 months the temporary leave to remain of thousands of Liberians who were facing deportation by Sunday.

    Most of them fled Liberia's two civil wars between 1989 and 2003 and were allowed to live in the US under a scheme called Deferred Enforced Departure.

    The Trump administration has extended the scheme, following pressure from lawmakers, human rights activists and civil rights lawyers.

    BBC Newsday's James Copnall speaks to Yatta Kiazolu, a young woman of Liberian origin who's campaigning for the right to stay in the US permanently:

    Video content

    Video caption: 4000 Liberians in the US could see their legal status revoked next year
  6. Caesarean sections 'kill 300,000 annually'

    Richard Galpin

    BBC World Affairs reporter

    Doctors give emergency treatment to a new born baby whose mother undergoes Caesarean section after she is hospitalised with an infection in Gondama Referral Centre on March 9, 2014 in Bo District, Sierra Leone
    Image caption: The procedure is frequently used to save the lives of mothers and their babies

    A major new study has found that 300,000 women around the world - almost all of them in developing countries - are dying every year as a result of having caesarean sections.

    The research, led by Queen Mary University in London, is believed to be the most comprehensive into the issue ever carried out.

    The researchers analysed data from 12 million pregnancies. And they found that the risk of death from caesarean sections in developing countries was far higher than they'd expected.

    The common procedure is frequently used to save the lives of mothers and their babies.

    But in many areas, particularly sub-Saharan Africa, it's turning out to be fatal.

    The number of women dying in this region is 100 times higher than in wealthy countries like the UK.

    And 10% of all babies die during or shortly after caesarean sections.

    The authors of the study - published in the British magazine, The Lancet - are calling for women in the affected countries to have better access to surgery carried out by skilled medical staff to ensure the operations are safe.

  7. Malta arrests five after 'migrants hijack ship'

    James Reynolds

    BBC News

    The tanker, Elhiblu 1
    Image caption: The tanker was taking migrants to Libya when it was hijacked

    The authorities in Malta have arrested five people as part of their investigation into the hijacking by migrants of a ship which rescued them in the Mediterranean.

    In the early hours of Thursday, Malta's security forces carried out an operation at sea to take control of the ship, which has now been brought into the Maltese capital, Valletta.

    The migrant journey across the Mediterranean is already one of the most dangerous in the world.

    Now it's just got more complicated - for both the migrants and their rescuers.

    On Wednesday, off the coast of Libya, the Elhiblu1 merchant ship picked up more than 100 unarmed migrants - and began to take them back to the North African country.

    A number of the migrants then took over the boat and set sail instead for Malta - the nearest European port.

    Maltese special forces boarded the boat before it could reach the island.

    They docked in the capital Valletta and arrested a small number of those on board.

    The rest - including women and children - were taken to reception centres.

    Advocates for the rescued migrants will insist that they be allowed to stay in Europe.

    But anti-migration campaigners will warn that this may only encourage further hijackings in the future.

  8. Boeing sued over Ethiopian Airlines crash

    BBC World Service

    Mourners of victims of the crashed accident of Ethiopian Airlines react beside a coffin during the mass funeral at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on March 17, 2019
    Image caption: Families have not yet received the remains of the dead

    A lawsuit against the airplane maker Boeing has been filed in a United States federal court by the family of a man who died in the Ethiopian Airlines crash earlier this month.

    All 157 crew and passengers were killed in the accident.

    The relatives of Jackson Musoni, a Rwandan citizen, allege that Boeing's 737 Max airliner had a design defect in its automated flight control system.

    The entire 737 Max fleet was grounded following the crash, the second involving the 737 Max in five months.

    Boeing has yet to respond to the action.

    On Wednesday Boeing announced "fixes" to the control system linked to the two crashes.

    Investigators are yet to determine the cause of the accidents.

    Read: Six charts on what we know about the crash

  9. Friday's wise words

    Our African proverb of the day:

    Quote Message: Out of the same womb come both a killer and a healer." from A Kikuyu proverb sent by Jacob Dior Macueng, Rumbek, South Sudan.
    A Kikuyu proverb sent by Jacob Dior Macueng, Rumbek, South Sudan.

    Click here to send us your African proverbs.

  10. Good morning

    Welcome back to BBC Africa Live where we will bring you the latest news and trends from around Africa.

  11. Scroll down for Thursday's stories

    We'll be back on Friday

    BBC Africa Live

    Ashley Lime and Natasha Booty

    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 Thursday's wise words:

    Quote Message: One who cuts throats is scared to lie down." from An Akan proverb sent by Edmund Ofei in Cape Coast, Ghana
    An Akan proverb sent by Edmund Ofei in Cape Coast, Ghana

    Click here to send us your African proverbs.

    And we leave you with these photos posted to Instagram by Congolese photographer Robert Nzaou:

    View more on instagram
  12. Chad rejects bid to restore social media

    Mary Harper

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    The silhouettes of two people using smartphones are seen in front of the WhatsApp logo.
    Image caption: WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites have been banned for the past year

    An appeal court in Chad has dismissed a case brought by lawyers to have access to social media sites restored.

    The sites were blocked exactly a year ago following a national conference which recommended changes to the constitution to allow President Idriss Déby to remain in power until 2033.

    Critics had used social media to organise anti-government protests.

    The sites that have been blocked include Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp.

    The government says the ban has been imposed for security reasons.

    Read more about the ban here.

  13. Cyclone Idai: 'People still foot-deep in water'

    The image displays a quote from David Beasley, Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme, which reads: "In the US, people are talking about Trump. In the UK, all you hear is Brexit. In Mozambique, people need help - now."

    Cyclone Idai's heavy winds and rains have killed at least 750 people in Mozambique and neighboring Malawi and Zimbabwe.

    Entire villages have been swept away, hundreds of thousands of people are homeless, and survivors are wading through water or stranded in trees.

    An estimated 2.5 million people are now in need of humanitarian assistance, the Disasters Emergency Committee says.

    David Beasley, the World Food Programme's executive director, says the level of devastation is "atrocious" and tells the BBC's Newsday programme how his organisation is scaling up its efforts:

    Video content

    Video caption: Villages have been swept away and survivors are wading in water or taking refuge in trees
  14. One million Ethiopians 'returned home'

    Kalkidan Yibeltal

    BBC Amharic Service, Addis Ababa

    The Ethiopian government has managed to return more than a million displaced people to their places of origin in the past year, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said in a rare press conference on Thursday.

    "When I came to the office there were 1.1 million displaced people. After I came, an additional 1.5 million people were displaced. It is shameful that this happened in a time of change," Mr Abiy told journalists in Addis Ababa.

    Violent inter-ethnic conflicts have caused many Ethiopians to flee their homes.

    Mr Abiy acknowledged the importance of ensuring security to address the displacement problem, adding "we are taking strong legal measures to ensure the rule of law is respected".

    He also defended his decision to open up the political space since coming to power last year.

    Asked about frictions within the governing Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) that he leads, Mr Abiy said: "EPRDF always has a habit of debating ideas. The problem was it didn't project this habit outside of itself."

  15. 'Disabled rape victim' spared flogging

    Wahiba Ahmed

    BBC Africa

    An anonymous photo of a woman wearing a hijab

    Both the victim and perpetrator of an alleged rape in the self-declared republic of Somaliland have had their sentences overturned by the Court of Appeal.

    The alleged victim, who is disabled, had been sentenced to 100 lashes by a district judge last week and her alleged attacker had been sentenced to death by stoning.

    But those decisions were reversed on Thursday by Judge Ali Suudi Diriye, who ordered the prosecutor’s office to investigate the initial allegations of rape and how such a verdict had been reached against the alleged victim. Her lawyer said:

    Quote Message: This isn’t the final step. We want the prosecution to investigate the rape case and act accordingly. She came for justice and she is still fighting for it." from Guleid Ahmed Jama Human rights lawyer
    Guleid Ahmed JamaHuman rights lawyer

    The alleged victim first reported the incident to local police in February 2018.

    She said she had been raped by a taxi driver in September 2017 but did not report the incident immediately because she feared being stigmatised. She said she later went to the authorities after discovering that she was pregnant.

    Somaliland made international headlines last year when a law criminalising rape and sexual offences was approved.

    That was celebrated as a victory for women but the law remains under review and has yet to be implemented.

  16. George Weah aide makes Facebook gaffe

    Jonathan Paye-Layleh

    BBC Africa, Monrovia

    An aide to Liberia’s President George Weah has deleted and apologised for photos he shared on social media of a road that he falsely claimed was being built in the country.

    Government critics were quick to point out that the images were in fact taken in the Democtatic Republic of Congo and not Liberia’s Lofa County, as Sekou Kalasco Damaro had claimed.

    Before the error was called out and he was forced to apologise for "mistakenly" sharing it, Mr Kalasco's Facebook post was widely shared, and attracted praise for the scale of the supposed infrastructure project. He said he was "deeply sorry" for the mistake:

    Quote Message: I have corrected it, sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused you. Even renowned newspapers and tabloids sometimes mistakenly use the wrong images.
    Quote Message: President Weah remains committed in building roads to the remotest part of our Country. Again, I am deeply sorry for the wrong picture.
    Quote Message: We will provide the actual and verifiable pictorials of the ongoing road works in Lofa."
    View more on facebook

    Mr Kalasco told the BBC on Thursday that the photo had been sent to him by a trusted member of his Facebook team in Lofa County - the area in which his post has claimed the road was being constructed.

    The gaffe comes two months after presidential press secretary Isaac Solo Kegbeh published a list of projects he falsely claimed had been initiated by the current government, which were in fact started under former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

    Under enormous pressure, that post was also removed from Facebook.

  17. Gunfire heard after arrest of Comoros opposition leader

    There are reports of gunfire near the main military base in the Comoros Islands, following the arrest of an opposition leader who was defeated in Sunday's presidential election.

    Retired Colonel Soilihi Mohamed came fourth in the poll.

    But he and other opposition leaders have refused to accept the victory of President Azali Assoumani, saying the vote was rigged.

    A fact card showing the following information about Comoros: Population is 813,000; Area is 1,862 sq km (719 sq miles); Major languages are Arabic, French, Comoran; Life expectancy is 62 years for men and 65 years for women; Currency is Comoran franc.
  18. Death toll rises to 15 after Mogadishu blast

    Ambulance workers now say at least 15 have been killed by an explosion in a busy area of Somalia's capital city, Mogadishu, on Thursday. (See our earlier post.)

    View more on twitter

    "The car bomb struck a restaurant along the road," an eyewitness told AFP news agency. "This really was a disaster."

    It is not clear who carried out the bombing, but a significant increase in large-scale attacks in recent weeks has been blamed on the Islamist militant group al-Shabab.

  19. Cleaning up Nigeria's 'garden city'

    Nigerian environmentalist Wonne Afronolly is working hard to clean up her city, Port Harcourt.

    Researchers say that 10 rivers are responsible for depositing 90% of the plastic pollution that ends up in the sea.

    One of these is the River Niger, and Port Harcourt sits at its mouth.

    Ms Afronelly told BBC Minute that the mindset of the people is her major challenge.

    Video journalist: Dan Ikpoyi

    Video content

    Video caption: How to tackle pollution and waste in Port Harcourt
  20. Kenya 'offers Uganda land to build dry port'

    Kenya has offered landlocked Uganda land to build a dry port in Naivasha town, about 75km (47 miles) from the capital, Nairobi, Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni has said.

    Mr Museveni is currently in Kenya for talks with President Uhuru Kenyatta aimed at boosting ties between between the neighbouring states.

    The two leaders have visited the port in Mombasa, and travelling to Nairobi by train on the newly built Standard Gauge Rail (SGR) - the biggest infrastructure project in Kenya since independence.

    Mr Museveni has been tweeting about his talks with Mr Kenyatta:

    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter

    See earlier post