Suspected Boko Haram fighters have killed dozens of people, including many children, in a massacre in the northeastern Nigeria village of Njaba, security sources and witnesses have said.
The Reuters news agency cited security forces as saying that that at least 45 people were killed by members of the armed group in Borno state, while the AFP news agency reported a higher toll of 68 people.
"I participated in the counting of dead bodies. Sixty-eight people were killed," witness Muminu Haruna told AFP after escaping the attack on Tuesday in the remote region.
Children were deliberately targeted for slaughter and most of Njaba was destroyed by fire, Haruna and three others said.
Njaba is close to the town of Damboa and about 100km south of the state capital Maiduguri.
Liberia has released its last Ebola patient and begun its countdown to being declared Ebola free.
"I am one of the happiest human beings today on earth because it was not easy going through this situation and coming out alive," 58-year old English teacher Beatrice Yardolo told the AP news agency after her release.
She kept thanking God and the health workers at the Chinese-run Ebola treatment centre in the Paynesville district of Monrovia, where she was admitted to the on February 18.
Her release came as the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced that Liberia had gone a week without reporting any new cases of Ebola - for the first time since last May.
Liberia "reported no new confirmed cases" during the week to March 1, the UN health agency said in a report late on Wednesday.
Since the outbreak began in December 2013, 23,969 people in nine countries have been infected with the virus, and 9,807 of them have died, according to the latest figures.
Of those, 9,249 cases, including 4,117 deaths, were in Liberia, which six months ago was reporting more than 300 new cases each week.
At the height of the epidemic in a country whose health infrastructure had been ravaged by two back-to-back civil wars, overflowing health clinics had to turn away people, often to die on the streets.
But a huge national and international response helped stem the spread.
Of 45 samples tested nationwide last week, none were positive, WHO said, adding that it was first time there had been no new confirmed cases since May 26, 2014.
The outlook was less positive in Guinea and Sierra Leone, the other countries affected by the outbreak, which jointly reported 132 new confirmed cases last week.
The man who's set to be Lesotho's next prime minister is promising reform in his country.
Pakalitha Mosisili has created a coalition of seven parties to form the next government, after Saturday's general election failed to elect a single party.
Lesotho has been under pressure from SADC and other regional blocs to resolve their political crisis. It follows the breakdown of the coalition government led by incumbent Prime Minister Thomas Thabane last year. He escaped to South Africa after alleging the military had staged attempted coup in August.
Elections were brought forward two years under an agreement mediated by South Africa's Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Al Jazeera: This is a big coalition of seven parties. Do you think you'll be able to keep it together - because it's seven parties, and Lesotho has a history of failed coalitions.
Mosisili: It's a very broad-based coalition, and it will keep together. Because we owe it to our people to give them a stable government.
Al Jazeera: Will there be parliamentary reform under your leadership?
Mosisili: Yes indeed, we hope so. There will be parliamentary reform, and there will be constitutional reform for that matter.
Al Jazeera: And what about the rivalries between the security forces – the police and the army?
Mosisili: There will also be security sector reform. There will be a whole battery of reform that we need.
Al Jazeera: What message do you have to the Lesotho people?
Mosisili: That we thank them for expressing their will. The people are always right in democracy, even when they are wrong, they are always right.
Al Jazeera: Do you have a lot of pressure on you from SADC and other regional players to make sure you get this government right?
Mosisili: Firstly, I owe it to the people of Lesotho people to get it right. And I hope to count on the support of our SADC brothers and sisters to help us get there.
Al Jazeera: When will you be reconvening parliament?
Mosisili: This is something that is outside of my hands, but it all has to happen within 14 days by official release by a government gazette of the results.
It is a ritual we have been treated to by every administration since the Nyayo days. The government rolls out part of its stockpile of ivory and the president lights a bonfire for the cameras. The flames are meant to illuminate the state's commitment to the preservation of our wildlife, to ending the international trade in ivory and other wildlife products and to the fight against poaching.
Uhuru Kenyatta got in on the act on Tuesday when he lit up 15 tonnes of ivory tusks in the Nairobi National Park. It is the largest haul to receive the presidential baptism of fire. By comparison, Daniel arap Moi torched 12 tonnes in 1989, while Mwai Kibaki only managed a relatively measly five tonnes. Further, "to underline Kenya's determination to eradicate poaching", according to the president's website, "the government will burn the rest of its contraband ivory stockpile within the year".
Last year, African elephant populations passed what was described as a crucial "tipping point". Essentially, more jumbos are being killed than are born. As reported in the Los Angeles Times, according to one study, the continent lost about a fifth of its elephant population - an estimated 100,000 elephants - between 2010 and 2012. And the share of elephant deaths attributed to poaching has shot up from 25 percent a decade ago to 65 percent today.
Elephants in crisis
The Kenya Wildlife Service claims the country has lost 466 elephants in the last two years. But in an opinion piece for the Guardian last year, conservationist Dr Paula Kahumbu said nobody in Kenya believed the KWS numbers. Her own estimate of the number killed in just the first month of last year was 10 times the official figure. A 2014 census of elephants and other large mammals in the Tsavo-Mkomazi ecosystem, which straddles the Kenya-Tanzania border, showed that the population had declined by 12.5 percent or over 1,500 animals.
Any way you cut it, our elephants (and rhinos) are in crisis. And it is true that this is largely driven by Far-Eastern, especially Chinese, demand for wildlife products - a fact any conservationist or Kenyan government lackey will gladly point out. However, they are less candid when it comes to the liability of the Kenyan state itself.
In March 2014, an investigation by KTN reporter, Dennis Onsarigo, revealed that President Uhuru Kenyatta's administration was not only aware of the identities of the top 11 poaching kingpins, but was actively protecting them.
A year later, this fact appears to have only succeeded in eliciting a stunning silence from the media and the normally vocal conservation community. There have been neither public demands for the allegations to be further investigated nor for action to be taken against either these specific individuals or their protectors.
It mirrors the silence that greeted revelations in late 2013 that "decorative" pieces of ivory were stolen from the offices of the president and first lady in State House, Mombasa. According to one report, these included pieces that weighed up to 100kg. And all this during a period when Margaret Kenyatta was busy launching the "Hands Off Our Elephants" campaign.
Few since have sought to know what ivory was doing in the Kenyattas' official residence and offices. Few appear keen to point out the hypocrisy of the president's office being decorated with ivory at the same time we are shaming others for doing the same. Is it still there? If so, will it be part of the "contraband" the president has promised to destroy. Predictably, the government has not seen fit to volunteer this information.
Since the Kenyatta administration took office, there has been a marked reluctance to challenge the conduct of the government and its officials in executing their duty to protect our natural heritage.
Apart from a brief bust-up when the administration refused to declare poaching a national disaster, conservationists and the media have largely pursued a strategy of non-confrontation. But this is appearing more and more to be a losing one. It is all fine to rant and rave against the (mostly illegal) international ivory trade. However, ignoring the government's alleged role in the slaughter at home undermines any international effort to stamp out the trade.
In fact, the silence only allows the state to present a false face to the world and to hide its mischief behind a pile of smoking tusks. The administration can always rely on dramatic pictures of burning ivory to obscure any critical interrogation of its record. It is a good and dependable public relations ploy. Unfortunately for our elephants, it is no substitute for effective policy and action to protect them.
Patrick Gathara is a strategic communications consultant, writer, and award-winning political cartoonist based in Nairobi.
The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.
The Niger Delta is where almost all of Nigeria's oil comes from, but the region remains one of the poorest in the country.
President Goodluck Jonathan hails from the region, and when he was elected, many people hoped their lives would improve. However, little has changed.
Al Jazeera's Haru Mutasa went back to a village she visited in 2007, to see if anything has changed.