1. Over 30 women abducted by separatists in Cameroon

    Cameroonian soldiers take part in a counter-terrorism training session during the Flintlock 2023 military training
    Image caption: The Cameroonian army has reportedly deployed troops to free the women (file photo)

    Separatists in Cameroon’s restive north-western region have kidnapped over 30 women and injured an unspecified number of others, officials have said.

    The women were abducted in Big Babanki, a village near the border with Nigeria, for allegedly protesting against a curfew and taxes imposed on them by the separatists.

    “Around 30 women were kidnapped by separatists [on Saturday morning] - we have not found them yet,” an army colonel told the AFP news agency.

    Some local media report that the number of those missing was even higher - up to 50 women.

    Officials said some women were "severely tortured" by the heavily armed rebels, who frequently kidnap civilians, mostly for ransom.

    Separatist leader Capo Daniel told the Associated Press that the women were being punished for allowing themselves to be "manipulated" by Cameroon's government.

    The military says it has deployed troops to free the women.

    Cameroon has been plagued by fighting since English-speaking separatists launched a rebellion in 2017.

    The conflict has claimed more than 6,000 lives and forced more than a million people to flee their homes, according to the Crisis Group.

    Read more here:

  2. Gunmen kill journalist in troubled Cameroon region

    The Newsroom

    BBC World Service

    A journalist has been shot dead in the troubled north-west of Cameroon.

    It's the third killing of a journalist in the country this year.

    Reports say Anye Nde Nsoh was in a bar in Bamenda when unidentified gunmen opened fire.

    He worked for a weekly newspaper, the Advocate.

    Bamenda is one of the areas worst-affected by several years of conflict involving English-speaking secessionists.

    The other two Cameroonian journalists killed in recent months died in the capital, Yaoundé.

  3. Meet Cameroon's queen of confidence

    DJ Edu

    Presenter of This Is Africa on BBC World Service

    Blanche Bailly
    Image caption: Finding self-esteem has been a long journey for Blanche Bailly

    Blanche Bailly is also known as Queen Mimba - it comes from the title of her first hit Mimbayeur:

    Quote Message: A 'mimbayeur' is something like a proud person, 'mimba' is slang for proud, but for me when I say Queen Mimba it’s more like the queen of confidence."

    She may be one of Cameroon’s most successful female artists of the moment, with a strong-girl image and a much-admired curvy figure, but it has not always been like this. Blanche Bailly moved from Cameroon to France as a child and had a very tough time at school:

    Quote Message: I was facing racism and body challenges. I remember anorexia was at its peak, and I remember we could count the amount of black people in that school. I was the only girl with the biggest ass as long as I went to school.
    Quote Message: You know, like, you’re very young and you have this very grown physique - and you’re in the midst of people that probably do not understand the physique. So there was already some kind of body-shaming going on for me."

    Blanche Bailly also experienced what she calls language-shaming, people calling her a "villager" because she did not speak the right kind of French:

    Quote Message: I was a very shy person, I didn’t like myself, so it took me a lot of time to grow into my person before I started my career. So when I started my career I think I was ready mentally that I was going to be body-shamed or criticised for so many things, so it really didn’t bother me."

    Blanche Bailly moved from France to England, where she recorded her first two songs, but it was when she decided to relocate to Cameroon that things really took off.

    She reconnected with her culture and languages and began to write songs that really resonated with the public - like Ton Pied Mon Pied. It is about finding at last a lover who appreciates her not despite her flaws but because of them:

    Quote Message: It’s just a song to tell people that you don’t have to be perfect to find someone. Because nobody is perfect.
    Quote Message: If you don’t like something about yourself and you cannot change it, you have to accept it. Because the love you have for yourself is even going to motivate and inspire people to love you. How you cherish and carry yourself is the way people are going to receive you, and value you."

    You can hear Blanche Bailly on This is Africa this Saturday, on BBC World Service radio - available online - and partner stations across Africa.

  4. African leaders arrive in London for King's coronation

    President Emmerson Mnangagwa arriving in London
    Image caption: President Mnangagwa will be the first Zimbabwean leader to visit London in over two decades

    Several heads of African states, mostly from Commonwealth countries, have arrived in London for King Charles's coronation on Saturday.

    Among those already in the UK include Rwanda's Paul Kagame, King Mswati III of Eswatini, Lazarus Chakwera of Malawi, Hakainde Hichilema of Zambia, and Liberia's George Weah among others.

    President Emmerson Mnangagwa will be the first Zimbabwean leader to visit London in more than two decades after the UK imposed sanctions on the southern African country.

    Mr Mnangagwa said he was "excited" to receive an invite to attend the royal event. Some British parliamentarians, however, condemned his invitation citing alleged human rights violations in his country.

    It is not yet clear if Kenyan President William Ruto will attend the event, after he last week complained about the mistreatment of African leaders during foreign trips.

    He was referring to an incident where African presidents were put in a bus to attend Queen Elizabeth's funeral ceremony in the UK.

    From French-speaking countries, Niger President Mohamed Bazoum will be attending the royal event while Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara will be represented by his deputy Tiémoko Meyliet Koné.

    Cameroon’s Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute will represent President Paul Biya at the event. The country is a former colony of both the UK and France.

    King Mswati III of Eswatini
    Image caption: King Mswati III of Eswatini is Africa's last absolute monarch
  5. Eid celebrations: Henna, selfies and sunglasses

    Calls to Eid prayer from mosques in Sudan's capital, Khartoum, were competing with gunfire this morning.

    But Muslims in other countries on the continent have made it to the prayers, many dressed up to mark the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan - like these children in Kara Isheri in south-west Nigeria:

    Children arrive for an Eid al-fitr prayers at Kara Isheri, Ogun State in south-west Nigeria - 21 April 2023

    In Ilorin, in western Nigeria, horsemen prepared to parade in the Durbar festival as part of the Eid al-Fitr celebrations:

    Horsemen are seen before a parade during the Durbar Festival in Ilorin on April 21, 2023

    Balloons are on sale for the holiday in Nigeria's capital, Abuja:

    An Eid balloon seller in Abuja, Nigeria - 21 April 2023

    They can also be seen at this mosque in Tunisia's capital, where people take selfies after the prayers:

    People take photos after performing the Eid al-Fitr prayer during the first day of the Eid al-Fitr holiday at Saheb Ettabaa Mosque in Tunis, Tunisia on April 21, 2023

    A beautiful array of tailored colours are on display for street prayers in Cameroon’s capital, Yaoundé:

    Muslims gather for Eid prayers on a street Cameroon’s capital, Yaoundé - 21 April 2023

    Smartly dressed Muslims with their prayer mats arrive at a stadium in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, to perform the prayer:

    Ethiopian Muslims arrive Addis Ababa Stadium to perform prayer of Eid al-Fitr that marks end of the fasting month of Ramadan, Ethiopia - 21 April 2023

    In Mozambique, a country trying to recover from a jihadist insurgency in the north, President Filipe Nyusi was in central port city of Quelimane to greet Muslims celebrating Eid - and to praise the fraternal values cultivated by Ramadan:

    President Filipe Nyusi greeting Muslims in Quelimane, Mozambique - 21 April 2023

    And a woman at a prayer ground in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, shows off her decorated hands - specially hennaed for the Muslim festival:

    A woman displays her henna decoration before attending Eid al-Fitr prayers, marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, at the Masjid Salaam grounds in Nairobi, Kenya - 21 April 2023
  6. Libianca - the 22-year-old Cameroonian who won over America

    DJ Edu

    Presenter of This Is Africa on BBC World Service

    Libianca poses for a portrait.

    Libianca has an astonishing voice, warm, melodious and versatile – Rolling Stone magazine called her "the afro-soul siren who can do everything".

    At 21, she wowed the judges on The Voice talent show in the US, and it was a shock to many, as well as to Libianca herself, that she did not win:

    Quote Message: I’m a very competitive person. I don’t like to lose. So, when I got eliminated I was like: 'I was doing so good on this show and I didn’t win? Are you serious! Something’s wrong!' I didn’t see what purpose The Voice was serving at the time. But God knew because fast-forward a year later - I’m able to perform in any setting that I am put in because of that experience."

    Not winning did Libianca’s career no harm at all. A year later she released her smash hit People which she tells me changed her life overnight:

    Quote Message: I wake up in the morning and things have just flipped over, what’s going on? But with time I understood it’s the lyrics that speak more than anything. If I was talking about anything that a bunch of songs already talk about, it probably would have done good, but not as good as what it’s doing now."

    The latest development in the story of People is that it’s been jumped on by none other than Ayra Starr and Omah Leh, two of the best voices in Afrobeats.

    The lyrics of the song were inspired by Libianca’s personal experience with depression. She hasn’t had it easy. She’s been diagnosed with cyclothymia, a mood disorder, and wrote People when she was not coping well. It’s a cry for help that has clearly resonated with many people.

    Libianca also told me about having to be uprooted from the US aged four because her mother was being threatened with deportation, then settling in Bamenda, Cameroon until her teens. The family then moved back to Minnesota, and the young Libianca had to adjust again:

    Quote Message: It was a culture shock. Not everybody looked like me. I think when you move away you get to appreciate where you come from because everyone communicates just the way you do so it’s easy to be heard and understood right away."

    But Libianca got stuck in, with music as her constant companion:

    Quote Message: I always had a piano in my room, then I started playing guitar in middle school, music was what kept me going, like, everything can change but music was always the constant in my life."

    Libianca’s combination of feisty self-belief and honesty about her vulnerability seems to be a winning one when it comes to making it in the music industry. She’s now been signed to 5K Records, a subsidiary of Sony, and is living her best life:

    Quote Message: You see this wig I have on right now? I didn’t spend a dime. It’s 40inch! I didn’t spend a dime! I like when they spoil me every now and then."

    You can hear the full conversation between Libianca and DJ Edu on This is Africa this Saturday, on BBC World Service radio and partner stations across Africa, as well as online here:

  7. Sahara dust storm threatens half of Cameroon

    Guy Bandolo

    BBC News, Yaoundé

    This is a sandstorm in the city of Erfoud, Morocco.
    Image caption: Cameroon has warned that the dust storm could cause road accidents

    An enormous plume of dust from the Sahara desert threatens to sweep through half of Cameroon, the transport minister said on Wednesday.

    If the forecast wind conditions are maintained the dust could cause road accidents due to reduced visibility, Ernest Ngalle Bibehe warned in a press statement.

    The dust could also cause respiratory diseases, Mr Bibehe added.

    The plume of dust is currently crossing Cameroon's Far North region and could reach four other regions in the coming days.

    The minister has urged people to drive carefully and protect their eyes and noses appropriately.

    Each year Cameroon experiences dust storms from the Sahara that cross the country from north to south.

    A map of Cameroon
  8. Marburg virus not spread to Cameroon - minister

    Cameroon's Minister of Public Health has said that no-one has been infected with the Marbug virus in the country.

    Manaouda Malachie confirmed earler reports that there had been two suspected cases in the Olamze area in the south, but added that they both tested negative.

    "It was two cases of malaria," he said.

    Neighbouring Equatorial Guinea has reported its first-ever outbreak of the virus. It has reported nine deaths and 16 suspected cases.

  9. Cameroon finds suspected Marburg cases near E Guinea

    BBC World Service

    Colorized transmission electron micrograph of Marburg virus particles (blue) harvested from infected VERO E6 cell supernatant
    Image caption: A Marburg virus outbreak has already been confirmed in Equatorial Guinea

    Health officials in Cameroon say they have detected two suspected cases of the Marburg virus close to the border with Equatorial Guinea, where there is an outbreak of the deadly haemorrhagic fever.

    Neither of the pair had travelled across the frontier.

    Officials are now trying to track down everyone they have been in contact with.

    The World Health Organization has sent more contact tracing teams to eastern Equatorial Guinea to try to contain the spread of the virus.

    Nine people are thought to have died from the disease in Equatorial Guinea where there are a further 16 suspected cases.

    Restrictions on movements had already been in force in Cameroon's southern border area.

    Read more:

  10. Switzerland urges dialogue in Cameroon after killings

    BBC Monitoring

    The world through its media

    Switzerland has called for dialogue between the Cameroonian government and separatist groups after armed men killed five aid workers.

    Armed men on last week attacked a Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC) facility in the restive South-West region, killing five workers and injuring 40 others.

    "The Swiss embassy ... extends its sincere condolences to the family of the CDC workers killed on Friday 10 February 2023 in Tiko. We call on all parties to embrace dialogue and refrain from violence. We urge the authorities to hold the perpetrators accountable," the Swiss embassy in Cameroon tweeted.

    Switzerland's call for dialogue comes after the Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister, Melanie Joly, on 20 January announced that the Cameroonian government had agreed to hold talks with separatist groups.

    The government, however, denied that it had agreed to Canada's facilitation of talks.

  11. Unknown illness kills 20 in Equatorial Guinea

    Guy Bandolo

    BBC News

    A map of Equatorial Guinea showing the capital, Malabo, and Kié-Ntem on the mainland.

    A two-day curfew has been called in a northern province of Equatorial Guinea, called Kié-Ntem, after 20 people died of an as-yet unidentified illness.

    The deaths were confirmed by the head of Olamze District Hospital, which is a short distance across the border in Cameroon.

    According to the Cameroonian health authorities, the victims contracted some form of haemorrhagic fever because their symptoms included nosebleeds, weakness, vomiting blood, fever and diarrhoea.

    The cases of contagion and deaths are from three localities in northern Equatorial Guinea. Four of the victims came from the same family.

    Contamination occurs through direct contact with the infected person, according to the Cameroonian health authorities. They're telling Cameroonians to stay vigilant.

    The Equatoguinean authorities say Kié-Ntem will star under quarantine until the nature of the illness and the source of the outbreak are confirmed.

  12. Yango taxi-hailing app suspended in Cameroon

    Guy Bandolo

    BBC News, Yaoundé

    A person holding a phone showing the Yango app
    Image caption: Yango has thousands of daily users in Cameroon

    Cameroon has suspended the taxi-hailing app Yango until further notice.

    The transport ministry said it had failed to obtain a licence and criticised it for using private vehicles for the transport of the public and commercial goods.

    The decision comes in the wake of numerous complaints from transport unions angered that Yango drivers do not pay tax.

    But users of the app are unhappy about the suspension as an increase in fuel prices has led to hikes in the cost of public transport.

    One consumer union said the app offered affordable prices and guaranteed user safety.

    Yango is the only ride-hailing app used in Cameroon - and has been available in the capital, Yaoundé, and the city of Douala since November 2021. It has thousands of daily users.

  13. Media tycoon arrested over Cameroon journalist's death

    Colleagues light candles in Martinez Zogo's memory.
    Image caption: The killing sparked international outrage

    A media tycoon in Cameroon has been arrested in connection with the killing of the prominent radio journalist, Martinez Zogo.

    The businessman Jean-Pierre Amougou Belinga, the owner of L'Anecdote media group, was arrested just before dawn.

    Zogo was abducted three weeks ago outside a police station in Yaoundé. His body was found heavily mutilated five days later.

    The authorities announced last week that they had made several arrests in connection with the killing.

    Three years ago another Cameroonian journalist, Samuel Wazizi, disappeared then died in state detention and an investigation into his death was not made public.

    Cameroon ranks 118th out of 180 countries on the Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders.

    "Although Cameroon has one of the richest media landscapes in Africa, it is one of the continent’s most dangerous countries for journalists, who operate in a hostile and precarious environment," says the watchdog.

    More from Cameroon:

  14. Video content

    Video caption: Cameroon: Medical graduates looking for alternative employment

    An increasing number of medical graduates are finding alternative ways to make a living.

  15. Cameroon arrests suspects over journalist's death

    Guy Bandolo

    BBC News, Yaoundé

    Mourners gather in the courtyard of Radio Amplitude FM, during a tribute ceremony for journalist Martinez Zogo, in the Elig Essono district of Yaounde on January 23, 2023.
    Image caption: Radio host Martinez Zogo was found dead on 22 January

    Several people have been arrested in Cameroon over the murder of a prominent journalist Martinez Zogo, the presidency said on Thursday.

    It did not reveal the identities of the suspected people or their number.

    A statement said the suspects were being interrogated to determine the level of their alleged involvement and the identities of all the people connected to the murder that happened two weeks ago.

    For the first time since Mr Zogo's body was found, President Paul Biya paid a "special tribute” to him and expressed his “heartfelt condolences” to his family.

    The radio host was found dead on 22 January after going missing for five days. His decomposing naked body was found near the capital, Yaoundé, after his alleged abduction by unknown men on 17 January.

    He was the director of the privately owned Amplitude FM and hosted a popular radio show called "Embouteillage" or Traffic Jam.

    He had recently talked on air about an alleged embezzlement case involving a wealthy businessman and top officials.