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Ras Lanuf is one of four key oil terminals in the 'oil crescent'
Ras Lanuf is one of four key oil terminals in the 'oil crescent'

Libyan factions battle for key oil ports

Rival armed factions are fighting for control over crucial oil terminals in the east of Libya.

The forces of military strongman Khalifa Haftar, who have controlled the "oil crescent" since September, lost ground, their spokesman says.

He said they had carried out air strikes against a faction known as the Benghazi Defence Brigade (BDB), after it launched an attack on Friday.

The US military intends to expand its involvement in the fight against Somalia's armed groups [FIle: Farah Abdi Warsameh/AP]
The US military intends to expand its involvement in the fight against Somalia's armed groups [FIle: Farah Abdi Warsameh/AP]

US military sets sights on al-Shabab in Somalia

With frequent suicide bombings and assaults on Somalia's hotels and military targets, the armed group al-Shabab continues to threaten stability in the war-ravaged country.

The emergence of fighters pledging allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group can only make things worse.

The coastguard rescued 115 people, but 25 others are still missing [Hani Amara/Reuters]The coastguard rescued 115 people, but 25 others are still missing [Hani Amara/Reuters]
The coastguard rescued 115 people, but 25 others are still missing [Hani Amara/Reuters]The coastguard rescued 115 people, but 25 others are still missing [Hani Amara/Reuters]

Dozens of people feared dead in shipwreck off Libya

Up to 25 people attempting to cross the Mediterranean are feared dead following a search operation off the coast of Libya that ended with the rescue of 115 others, according to local authorities.

Libya's coastguard said the victims' rubber boat sank around 3am (05:00 GMT) on Friday, some five kilometres off Tajoura, just east of the Libyan capital of Tripoli, because it was overloaded and taking on water.

There are worries that the drought is exacerbating the country's ongoing humanitarian crisis
There are worries that the drought is exacerbating the country's ongoing humanitarian crisis

Somalia declares 'national disaster' over drought

Somalia's new leader has declared a national disaster for a prolonged drought that has forced about half of the country's population to seek urgent food assistance and sparked fears of a potential famine.

Guinea students shot dead during protest

At least five people were killed in Guinea when security forces cracked down on students who were demonstrating for an end to teachers’ strikes that have kept them out of class, BBC Afrique reports.

Migrants were attacked by a mob
Migrants were attacked by a mob

Foreign-owned shops attacked in South Africa

More than 30 foreign-owned shops were looted last night in two neighbourhoods in South Africa's capital, Pretoria, a police spokesman was quoted by the local Times Live news site as saying.

The Muna camp in Maiduguri was reportedly the attack's target [Afolabi Sotunde/Reuters]
The Muna camp in Maiduguri was reportedly the attack's target [Afolabi Sotunde/Reuters]

Suicide bombers die in failed attack in Nigeria

As many as seven suicide bombers, six of them women, have blown themselves up while trying to attack the northeast Nigerian city of Maiduguri, according to emergency services officials.

Initial reports from Maiduguri had suggested a number of people were killed in the blasts near the Muna camp for displaced people shortly before 11:30pm (22:30 GMT) on Thursday.

But Mohammed Kanar, from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), said on Friday there were no civilian or military casualties, as the would-be bombers arrived after the 10pm (21:00 GMT) curfew.

"People were indoors. There was no one on the streets," Kanar, who is NEMA's northeast coordinator, told AFP news agency.

"None of the six female bombers succeeded in their attacks. They ended up being killed in the explosions."

A man who dropped them off in his car then tried to ram a military checkpoint was also unsuccessful.

"He died in the process," said Kanar, referring to t

Grace is seen as a possible successor to her ailing husband [Aaron Ufumeli/EPA]
Grace is seen as a possible successor to her ailing husband [Aaron Ufumeli/EPA]

Mugabe, 92, says Zimbabweans see no replacement for him

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has said his ruling ZANU-PF party and the people of Zimbabwe see no viable successor to him for next year's general elections.

In August 2016, Sierra Leone's pharmaceutical regulators declared tramadol abuse a public health emergency [Cooper Inveen/Al Jazeera]
In August 2016, Sierra Leone's pharmaceutical regulators declared tramadol abuse a public health emergency [Cooper Inveen/Al Jazeera]

Opioids: Sierra Leone's newest public health emergency

The dark street corner would have been silent if not for the grumble of a motorbike. It was nearing midnight, but for Ibrahim Sesay - a 27-year-old motorbike taxi driver in Freetown - the evening had just begun. He pulled four small pills from his breast pocket, gulped them down without water and set off into the night.

Nigeria's president 'will be home in days'

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari is not ill and will be back in Abuja in a matter of days, his media adviser has told the BBC’s Newsday programme.

Femi Adesina said the president was on holiday in the UK and having what he called routine medical tests.

File: Militants before the federal govt amnesty programme
File: Militants before the federal govt amnesty programme

Pirates in Nigeria abduct Russians, Ukrainian

Pirates have abducted seven Russian sailors and one Ukrainian in the territorial waters of Nigeria, the Russian embassy has said. Russian Embassy in Nigeria reported on Wednesday that, “the BBC Caribbean ship came under a pirate attack in the territorial waters of Nigeria.”

President Robert Mugabe
President Robert Mugabe

Zimbabwe: 'Unfit to rule' case against Mugabe dismissed

Zimbabwe's Constitutional Court has rejected a case filed by an activist that challenged President Robert Mugabe's ability rule saying proper court procedures weren't followed.

More than 4,500 refugees died attempting to cross the Mediterranean last year [File: Reuters]
More than 4,500 refugees died attempting to cross the Mediterranean last year [File: Reuters]

Libya halts hundreds of Europe-bound refugees

Hundreds of refugees and migrants attempting to reach Europe have been intercepted in recent days by Libyan authorities, according to a coastguard spokesman.

President Adama Barrow issued the directive within a week of arriving home to take power
President Adama Barrow issued the directive within a week of arriving home to take power

Gambia's President Barrow scraps Jammeh's four-day week

The Gambia's new president has scrapped the four-day week introduced by his predecessor Yahya Jammeh.

In a statement Adama Barrow said that public sector employees would now have to work a half-day on Fridays too.

Evan Mawarire
Evan Mawarire

Zimbabwe pastor arrested on return from US

A Zimbabwean pastor, accused last year of trying to overthrow President Robert Mugabe's government after calling for protests, has been arrested on his arrival  from the United States, his lawyer has said.

Evan Mawarire was previously arrested and charged last July, but was freed by a magistrate's court which said police had not followed procedure.

AU leaders
AU leaders

African Union backs mass withdrawal from ICC

The African Union (AU) has called for the mass withdrawal of member states from the International Criminal Court (ICC).

However, the resolution is non-binding, with Nigeria and Senegal opposing a withdrawal.

Nigerian man with 86 wives dies aged 93

A former Muslim preacher in Nigeria who had at least 86 wives has died aged 93.

Mohammed Bello Abubakar, known as Baba Masaba, died at his home in central Niger state on Saturday after an undisclosed illness.

Barrow is The Gambia's first new president after 22 years [Thierry Gouegnon/Reuters]
Barrow is The Gambia's first new president after 22 years [Thierry Gouegnon/Reuters]

Barrow removes 'Islamic' from Gambia's official name

Adama Barrow, The Gambia's new president, has vowed to reform the country's notorious intelligence agency and promised to ensure media freedom in the country.

Speaking at his first news conference since returning to take office on Thursday, Barrow announced plans to rename the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), a dreaded secret police accused by rights groups of forced disappearances and torture under the control of former leader Yahya Jammeh.

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