The Africa Report: 27 February

EWN's Africa Correspondent Jean-Jacques Cornish reports on the day's top African news.

Nigerian government forces killed at least 56 Islamist Boko Haram fighters in a combined air and ground offensive in the northeast last year.

Nigeria hosts French President

Francois Hollande is the only Western head of state due to attend celebrations to mark the centenary of Nigeria's unification and will also take part in a summit on security, peace and development during his two-day visit. France has been asked to extend the country's security role in Africa after launching military operations in Central African Republic and Mali.

The issue was placed in sharp focus on Tuesday, when 43 students sleeping at a government boarding school in north-eastern Nigeria were burned, shot or hacked to death in an attack thought to have been the work of militants from the Boko Haram group operating in the area.

Nigerian officials believe Boko Haram benefits from the porous nature of the country's borders with Cameroon, Chad and Niger, which means militants can easily move out of reach of security forces. They would like France to help and encourage its former colonies to do more to seal their frontiers.

Egyptian court sentences death for 26 people

An Egyptian court has sentenced 26 people to death for plotting attacks on ships passing through the Suez Canal.

Reports on Wednesday say the defendants, all but one of whom were tried in absentia, were responsible for forming a cell to attack the vital water corridor. The Cairo criminal court referred the verdict to a mufti, an Islamic leader, who has to validate the sentence, and has set 19 March as a final verdict.

Ugandan police halt mini-skirt march

Ugandan police prevented women from demonstrating in the capital Kampala on Wednesday to protest against a law banning the wearing of miniskirts.

During the protest, women dressed in shorts and mini-skirts, held banners with various slogans including "my body my business" and "thou shalt not touch my miniskirt".

Speaking about the new anti-pornography legislation, which was approved in Parliament on Tuesday, Ugandan Ethics and Integrity Minister Simon Lokodo said that women who wore "anything above the knee" must be arrested.

(Edited By: Babalwa Nyembezi)