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Ofeibea Quist-Arcton

Cross-border counterterrorism investigations and crisis response are priorities for regional forces battling Boko Haram insurgents. The U.S. military and law enforcement are working with African allies to enhance technique, preparedness and collaboration.

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It's been more than a month since Nigeria's president, Muhammadu Buhari, traveled to London on what was billed as two weeks' vacation — with routine medical check-ups. He hasn't been back home since.

His government says the 74-year-old is in good health. But many Nigerians are not convinced and wonder whether their president is gravely ill — or worse.

Buhari's long absence comes amid Nigeria's worst economic crisis in years and other pressing national problems, including a famine in the northeast, the region badly hit by extremist Boko Haram violence.

President Robert Mugabe turns 93 on Tuesday, making him the oldest president in Africa — and the world. He's the only leader most Zimbabweans have ever known, spending nearly 37 years at the helm since independence from Britain and the end of white minority rule in Rhodesia in April 1980.

Southern Africa is facing an invasion by an army — but not the sort of force you can defeat with ammunition. This foreign invader is an agricultural pest that is threatening the breadbasket of the region.

Zambian farmer Daniel Banda noticed in late December that something was munching through his crop of corn, destroying the maize fields on his small farm just outside the capital, Lusaka. Voracious caterpillars, known as fall armyworms, had nestled in the cobs and chomped through the leaves.

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In South Africa, President Jacob Zuma is facing accusations of corruption. His hold on power is not in question, but his ability to address the nation is, like last night in Parliament. NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports.

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Some are calling it Nigeria's new "boy band." An "old boy band" would be more like it.

A new singing group that burst onto the Nigerian musical scene over the new year consists of senior citizens — a chorus of prominent past political and military leaders from Africa's most populous nation. And they're singing about peace, unity and goodwill in 2017.

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She was the only woman in a prison for men. She was locked up in solitary confinement.

And she began to sing. Comforting songs in the morning, revolutionary and motivational songs in the afternoon.

That's how democracy activist Linda Tsungirirai Masarira kept her spirits up during her 18 days in solitary at Chikurubi Maximum Prison in Zimbabwe's capital, Harare.

She had been hauled off to prison in July after participating in a nationwide strike and series of anti-Mugabe street protests.

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It's the land of pop-up protests.

Using hashtags and spur-of-the-moment public demonstrations, Zimbabweans are demanding reforms — and the departure of 92-year-old president Robert Mugabe, who has led the country since its independence from Britain in 1980.

Fortunate Nyakupinda has parked her hatchback by the side of the busy main road leading to the industrial area in Harare — where she sells used clothing for men from the trunk and the back seat.

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The last time Zimbabwe went into economic freefall, in 2009, inflation was a mind-boggling 200 million percent. Shoppers had to carry the colorful bank notes, in billion- and trillion-dollar denominations, in bags to pay for basics.

To address the crisis, President Robert Mugabe's government abandoned Zimbabwe's own currency and adopted the U.S. dollar as legal tender. That helped end hyperinflation and helped stabilize Zimbabwe's economy.

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She wants to take pictures of happiness.

That's one of the goals that Fati Abubakar set when she started her Instagram feed bitsofborno last year.

Borno is a state in the troubled northeast of Nigeria, where the extremist group Boko Haram began operating. The capital city, Maiduguri, birthplace of the insurgency, is where this 30-year-old nurse lives and works as a project manager for a malnutrition project as well as a documentary photographer.

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A holiday celebrating a dish beloved of many West Africans, World Jollof Day, was marked last week.

Jollof is a celebration dish. You eat it at parties, naming ceremonies, weddings, funerals — you name it, you will see the familiar and comforting pot of steaming jollof rice.

But jollof is also war – of the deliciously friendly variety.

Wide-eyed Sakina Muhammad, who's 2, sits on her mother, Habiba's lap, on a bed in the ICU. Sakina is stick thin, her body withered and emaciated.

But she's one of the lucky ones — a malnourished child who came to the health facility in time to be saved. Many starving children don't make it.

Malnutrition is at a catastrophic level in northeastern Nigeria, where Sakina lives, says Doctors Without Borders. According to the medical aid group, the number of malnourished people could be as high as half a million. Children are starving — and dying.

Nigeria is the English-speaking world's Scrabble superpower. Africa's most populous nation is home not only to the global Scrabble champion, but team Nigeria ranks as the world's top Scrabble playing nation — ahead of the U.S. in second place.

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