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  1. Biafrans "plan Trump celebration rally" in Nigeria
  2. Internet blocked in Cameroon's English-speaking regions
  3. Nigerian funk pioneer William Onyeabor dies
  4. Senegalese troops at Gambian border "poised for action"
  5. Holidaymakers flown out of The Gambia
  6. Lightning 'kills mourners' in Zimbabwe
  7. Paramilitary forces "fire into the air" at Ivorian port
  8. Vigil for SA photographer kidnapped in Syria
  9. Deadly attack on Mali military base
  10. Gabon's Panthers defeat Burkina Faso's stallions at Afcon
  11. Egypt goalkeeper becomes oldest player at Africa Cup of Nations
  12. Nigeria urged to compensate camp bomb victims
  13. Ugandan soldier shot in al-Shabab video
  14. Email stories and comments to - Wednesday 18 January 2017

Live Reporting

By Dickens Olewe and Lucy Fleming

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Scroll down for Wednesday's stories

We'll be back tomorrow

That's all from the BBC Africa Live page today. Keep up-to-date with what's happening across the continent by listening to the Africa Today podcast or checking the BBC News website

A reminder of today's wise words:

What you do not know how to cook finishes the firewood."

An Acholi proverb sent by Maryano Otto in Kampala, Uganda

Click here to send your African proverbs.

And we leave you with this photo of a fresh dates seller at a street market in Mauritania's capital, Nouakchott. 

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Vigil for SA photographer kidnapped in Syria

Pumza Fihlani

BBC News, Johannesburg

Shiraaz Mohamed
From friends of Shiraaz Mohamed
Shiraaz Mohamed was seized a week ago

Friends and family of kidnapped South African photojournalist Shiraaz Mohamed are holding a vigil this evening in Johannesburg’s Lenasia township to pray for his safe return.

The freelance photographer was captured in north-western Syria, near the Turkish border, last week and there has been no word of his whereabouts.

“We are paralysed with worry and concern for Shiraaz,” his ex-wife Shirley Brijlal is quoted by South Africa's Mail and Guardian newspaper as saying.

Mr Mohamed was in Syria with aid organisation Gift of the Givers, which has arranged similar trips in the past.

Armed men took Mr Mohamed after stopping their convoy near the Al Hilal hospital.

In an email to fellow journalist and friend Dudu Mathebula a few days ago he wrote that he hoped to be back home in a few days:

“This is a personal project for me and I have plans to travel to Jordan, Morocco and Greece over the next eight months. I feel that it is the least that I can do for the Syrians.”

Ms Mathebula told the BBC that Shiraaz wanted to “tell the story of the Syrians”  and was keen to document the life there amid the conflict.

These are some of the photographs he took while there:

Photo a child in a makeshift house in Syria
Shiraaz Mohamed
Child looking through a window of a makeshift house in Syria
Shiraaz Mohamed

Afcon: Gabon hit back to deny Burkina Faso

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It's all over at stadium in Libreville where hosts Gabon have drawn their second match Burkina Faso. 

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored his second goal of the Africa Cup of Nations to earn hosts Gabon a point from their match with Burkina Faso.

The Borussia Dortmund star scored an 38th-minute penalty to secure his side's second 1-1 draw in Group A.

Burkina Faso had taken the lead when Prejuce Nakoulma latched on to a long ball and held off two players to score.

Herve Koffi tipped Denis Bouanga's drive onto the bar early on and denied him again with his legs on 81 minutes.

Those saves made up for the Burkina Faso goalkeeper's error when he brought down Aubameyang for the penalty.

 Read full story

'My family has no internet in Cameroon's Boya city'

One of our Africa Live readers in Cameroon's largest city of Douala has got in touch with us to confirm reports of an internet blockade in the North-West and South-West regions of the country.  

It is not only Bamenda, Boya too - the two capitals of the Anglophones."

Takunaw Tambi says that in the city of Douala, where he is, his data connection "is even better than ever" but his friends and family in Buea "are cut off completely".

Five African players to watch

It is day five of the African cup of Nations underway in the West African nation of Gabon. 

Gabon and Burkina Faso are still 1-1 in the second round of group matches. 

The tournament in packed with star-studded players, some of them plying their trade in top football leagues around the world.

There are others who have emerging talent and others who have become almost synonymous with the continental tournament. 

Here's our pick of the players to watch: 

Afcon 2017: Five players to watch

Why Biafrans 'support Donald Trump'

Donald Trump
Getty Images
Donald Trump will take the oath of office on Friday

A secessionist group in Nigeria, which supports US President-elect Donald Trump, has said it will hold a rally on Friday to mark his inauguration, the AFP news agency reports.

The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), which wants the independence of Biafra in the eastern region of Nigeria, said in a statement that it was inviting people to a pro-Trump rally in the southern oil hub of Port Harcourt. 

The group says it welcomes "civil and pragmatic democracy anywhere we find it". 

The Biafra region unsuccessfully fought for independence in a brutal three-year civil war that ended in 1970.

IPOB has renamed its push for secession "Biafrexit", after the UK's Brexit vote to leave the European Union, AFP reports.

Prince Emmanuel Kanu, the brother of IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu, who has been held by the Nigerian government since October 2015 on treason charges, said Mr Trump had won their favour as he "supports the right to self-determination". 

Separatist sentiments have grown in the months since Mr Kanu's arrest and sparked clashes with security forces that have since been condemned by human rights groups, the report says.

Read more: Should calls for Biafra worry Nigerians? 

Senegal asks UN back 'to back military action in Gambia'

Senegal has presented a draft resolution to the UN Security Council that would authorise the regional bloc Ecowas to take "all necessary measures" to ensure a transfer of power in The Gambia, according to the text seen by the AFP news agency.

Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh, who has been in power for 22 years, has snubbed Ecowas' efforts at mediation - and wants the results from the 1 December election annulled.

His term in office is due to end at midnight tonight, but on Tuesday parliament granted him another 90-days in office and criticised foreign interference in The Gambia's internal affairs.

Meanwhile, the Reuters news agency is reporting, quoting a senior military official, that Senegalese forces are in the border with The Gambia and are poised to enter if no political resolution is reached by midnight.

Nigeria warship 'to be used for evacuation'

A special assistant to Nigeria's president on foreign has tweeted that the Nigerian ship that is heading to The Gambia is on standby in case there is a need to evacuate Nigerian nationals:

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Nigerian leader Muhammadu Buhari has been leading mediation efforts urging Gambian President Yahya Jammeh to stand down. The winner of December's elections, Adama Barrow, was due to be sworn in tomorrow.

BBC Africa security correspondent Tomi Oladipo says contrary to Ms Dabiri's tweets that that the ship heading to the Gambia is not a warship, the NNS Unity is is warship - even if it is deployed in a different capacity.

Military sources have told our reporter that Nigeria has more ships on standby.

Mugabe death prophecy pastor - 'still not charged'

Patrick Mugadza, right, arriving at court in Harare, Zimbabwe
Patrick Mugadza, right, was escorted into court by detectives

A Zimbabwean activist pastor, who appeared in court earlier today (see previous entry), was not formally charged over his prophecy that 92-year-old President Robert Mugabe would die on 17 October this year, the Reuters news agency reports.

Patrick Mugadza will return to court on Thursday when prosecutors are likely to make their case.

He was arrested earlier this week at the magistrate's court in Harare where he was appearing on separate charges of wearing the national flag.

This was made an offence last year, after another preacher, Evan Mawarire, launched a campaign urging Zimbabweans to reclaim their flag.

He also faces another charge of being a public nuisance after holding a one-man anti-government protest last year, Reuters reports.

Zimbabwean police often arrest political activists for insulting or undermining Mr Mugabe's office, but most of the cases have been dismissed by the courts, the agency says.

How will Africa remember Obama?

One of US President Barack Obama's most notable projects in Africa was the launch of  the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) which boasts of a network of 250,000 people on the continent. 

The BBC's Nancy Kacungira spoke with beneficiaries of the programme in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, to assess Mr Obama's legacy as he prepares to step down after eight years in office: 

Portrait of Obama
Obamamania swept across Africa when the "son of the soil" became US president

You can read more from Nancy in her piece: Barack Obama: How will Africa remember him?

AU boss expresses 'concern' for Cameroon situation

Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma
Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma offered the AU's help to quell the tensions in Cameroon

The African Union Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma has said she is concerned about the situation in the North-West and South-West regions of Cameroon.

Two leaders from English-speaking regions were arrested yesterday and are still being held in custody. Internet services in the regions are also severely curtailed (see earlier posts).

Ms Dlamini Zuma said in a statement she regretted the “loss of lives and destruction of property” and was concerned about the "closing of schools, arbitrary arrests and detention of individual participating in demonstrations".

The Anglophone regions have been pushing back against perceived government plans to introduce the use of French in schools and courts. 

A stay-away protest was under way when the regional leaders were arrested. 

Ms Dlamini Zuma also asked the government to continue with a dialogue initiative "in order to find a solution for the social, political and economic issues motivating the protests":

AU supports respect for the rule of law and the right for peaceful demonstration."

She also offered the organisation's assistance to help quell the tension.

Aubameyang scores an equaliser for Gabon

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Getty Images
Gabonese forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored to the delight of the home crowd

Things are heating up at the stadium in Libreville where hosts Gabon are taking on Burkina Faso. 

The Panthers have just scored to equalise:

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Ugandan soldier shot in al-Shabab video

An al-Shabab militant in somalia
The militant group has made repeated calls for foreign troops to leave Somalia

The Islamist militant group al-Shabab has released a video showing a Ugandan soldier who served in the African Union force (Amisom) in Somalia being shot dead.

The soldier, who has appeared in previous propaganda videos, was captured when the militants overran an Amisom military outpost in Janale, southern Somalia, in September 2015, the AFP news agency reports.

The nine-minute video, published last night, shows the bearded soldier warning his comrades against deploying to Somalia.   

He also asks Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta not to forget Kenyan nationals captured by the militants.

The clip ends with the soldier being shot in the head from behind by an unidentified militant.

There is no indication of when the video was filmed.

The 22,000-strong  Amisom force, with troops from Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, Djibouti and Ethiopia, has been fighting al-Shabab and helping the UN-backed government in Mogadishu.   

The militant group has made repeated calls for foreign troops to leave Somalia.  

Amisom's mandate expires at the end of May but it is likely to be renewed - though Burundi and Uganda have said they want to end their deployments in Somalia this year over funding issues.

Poor crowd to cheer on Gabon's Panthers

Gabon's Panthers are taking on Burkina Faso's Stallions at the Africa Cup of Nations in Libreville.

But the BBC’s Farayi Mungazi says the big talking point is the paltry crowd inside the stadium in the Gabonese capital – see a photo tweeted by a Nigerian sports journalist at the match:

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Farayi says he can't remember ever seeing such poor home support:

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Arrests ahead of internet shutdown in Cameroon

Protesters in Bamenda
People in Bamenda feel they are being marginsalised

Two leaders from Cameroon's English-speaking regions were arrested yesterday evening in south-west city of Boya ahead of an internet shutdown (see earlier post). 

Nkongho Felix Agbor Balla, the leader of the lawyers' union, and Fontem Neba, from the teachers' trade union, are still in police custody. 

The government also banned a group the two had formed called the Consortium, saying it was illegal.

It has been fighting against attempts to impose exclusive use of French language in courts and schools in the country's two English-speaking regions. The other eight semi-autonomous administrative regions are Francophone.    

The BBC's Frederic Takang in Bamenda, one of the main cities in the English-speaking parts of Cameroon, says the internet shutdown follows a two-day stayaway by trade unions and riots.  

Akamai, the US-based internet content delivery company, says there was a noted disruption of internet traffic in Cameroon at 20:45 GMT last night. 

The authorities have not commented on the internet being blocked, but have repeatedly warned that they will prosecute "those who use social media who circulate inaccurate information and hate messages".

The Consortium wants the government to call a referendum to introduce a federal system in the country which would allow more autonomy for Anglophone regions.

Talks on the subject broke down last week. 

The chairperson of the African Union Commission has tweeted that she's concerned about the situation: 

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Senegal 'sends troops to Gambian border'

Senegalese troops during a training exercise 2016
The regional block Ecowas has always said it would only deploy troops as a last resort

Senegalese are on their way the border with The Gambia, the Reuters news agency is quoting humanitarian sources as saying.

This comes as President Yahya Jammeh’s mandate is due to expire at midnight after he lost elections in December.

But the long-time ruler has disputed the results and wants them annulled. Yesterday parliament extended his term in office by 90 days.

Regional leaders, under the auspices of the regional bloc Ecowas, have been urging Mr Jammeh to stand down – and have threatened military action as a last resort.

How many phones does a true Nigerian own?

Stephanie Hegarty

BBC Africa, Lagos

Three mobile phones

Unless a recent victim of crime you should expect every Nigerian to carry at least two phones, three is fairly normal.

If you meet a Nigerian with only one phone beware, you are dealing with an imposter.

The bigger the man (or woman) the more phones he will have. 

Expect a chief to juggle at least four. Senior officials? Plenty.

But it’s not just ego, in fact not at all.

Nigerian mobile networks are unreliable so a backup is almost essential. Even more so given that you can’t rely on electricity to charge your phone overnight.

As someone who struggles to keep track of my belongings I’ve been soldiering on for the past year with a single phone.

But lately I've been tested to the limit. After a week of trying to fit everything I needed to say into the 10 seconds before the call inevitably drops, I caved.

Now, as the proud owner of two phones and even more sim cards I only wonder, what took me so long?

Analysis: Is military action in The Gambia likely?

Tomi Oladipo

BBC Monitoring's Africa security correspondent

Nigerian peacekeepers in Liberia in 2003
Ecowas' last military mission was in Liberia in 2003

Pressure is mounting on The Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh to step down as West African nations prepare a military intervention in case the situation worsens.

Nigeria’s navy spokesman told the Associated Press that his country was contributing 200 troops to the Ecowas force (see earlier post), and said air force pilots and crew were on standby for a possible operation.

This comes a day after a warship sailed from Lagos. Ghana and Senegal will also contribute troops to the regional force.

The regional block Ecowas has always maintained that it would only deploy troops as a last resort. 

The trigger would be the use of overt violence by Gambian security forces against civilians. 

A military operation by West African forces would first have to be vetted by the UN Security Council.

Ecowas is trying to show that it can maintain political order among its member nations as it has done in the past in Guinea-Bissau, Liberia and Sierra Leone. 

The last mission of the kind was to end Liberia’s civil war in 2003.

Military action in The Gambia could result in damage to local infrastructure and to The Gambia’s tourism industry. 

Thousands of holidaymakers are already on their way out to avoid getting caught up in the unrest.

Gambia crisis: '26,000 flee into Senegal'

Cars line up at the border post check point in Seleki, Senegal, at the border with Gambia January 17, 2017
Border posts between The Gambia and Senegal are busy

At least 26,000 people have fled The Gambia into Senegal fearing President Yahya Jammeh's decision to stay in power will spark unrest in the tiny West African country, the Reuters news agency reports.

Today is meant to be Mr Jammeh’s last day in office, but parliament has extended his term by three months as he challenges the 1 December poll – he wants the results annulled.

Helene Caux, regional information officer for the UN refugee agency, said 80% of those who had crossed into Senegal were women and children.

Up until the night of the 16th [Monday] there were 26,000 people... The flow has increased sharply since then."

Reuters says she was citing Senegalese figures. 

Airport queues as UK tourists flee The Gambia

The risk of unrest in The Gambia has forced thousands of tourists, mainly from the UK and Holland, to leave today.

Watch the BBC's Umaru Fofana report from the airport where many holidaymakers were happy to be escaping despite the long queues:

Airport queues as UK tourists flee The Gambia

Britain's ambassador to The Gambia, Colin Crorkin, told the BBC that efforts were being made to help the tourists.

There's a lot of people at the airport, we're working closely with Thomas Cook, the main carrier, and Gambia Experience. There's six flights that'll be coming in empty today to take out people for whom they have a responsibility.

I understand that Thomas Cook are sending in a customer service team on one of the flights that's just landed, so that will give them additional staff at the airport to help process the people that have come.

It seems that people have come to the airport rather more and rather sooner than I think Thomas Cook were perhaps anticipating, but I'm hopeful that when this team clears customs they will be able to start processing them and letting people know when they're likely to be able to leave."

Headlines from outside Africa

BBC World Service

  • Special forces in Iraq say they have recaptured all the neighbourhoods they were ordered to seize from so-called Islamic State in the eastern half of Mosul.
  • The boss of Samsung, South Korea's biggest business, is in detention while a judge decides whether he will be arrested on bribery charges.
  • A series of earthquakes has struck central Italy in areas still recovering from a devastating tremor in August.

Gambian embassy in Senegal quiet amid inauguration rumours

Efrem Gebreab

BBC News, Dakar

I’m just back from the Gambian embassy here in Senegal's capital, Dakar, which looks very quiet.

There is speculation that The Gambia's President-elect Adama Barrow, who is currently in Senegal, might take his oath of office at the embassy tomorrow.   

But I couldn’t see any preparations going on for a possible inauguration - should that be the plan. 

A member of staff at the embassy told me he could not comment on such rumours but said I was welcome to come back again tomorrow to "wait and see". 

Gambia embassy in Senegal
Things are quiet at The Gambia's embassy in neighbouring Senegal

Jammeh's plane on the runway

A picture of a plane said to belong to The Gambia's beleagured President Yayha Jammeh is being shared on social media with some people saying it has been "readied", "fueled" and "pilot alerted" about a potential take off. 

A journalist with the UK's Guardian newspaper in The Gambia says the plane has been parked there for a week:     

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Mr Jammeh has refused to step down after losing the 1 December election to opposition candidate Adama Barrow, who is in neighbouring Senegal, and has vowed to be sworn in tomorrow. 

The West African regional body Ecowas has threatened to use force to remove Mr Jammeh if he does not leave office.

'Tension' in Ethiopia over religious festival

BBC Monitoring

News from around the globe

Pilgrims marching
Timket celebrates the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River

Tensions are high in Ethiopia's north-western cities of Gondar and Bahir Dar ahead of the Ethiopian Orthodox church Epiphany (Timket) celebrations that begin this evening and end tomorrow evening, the Amsterdam-based opposition Ethiopian Satellite TV has reported.

It added that residents in the two cities, both tourist attractions and places of historical interest, were refusing to join in the celebrations, saying they were still mourning the killing of some 400 people by government forces during protests that rocked the two cities and other parties of Ethiopia in the past year.

The government blamed the violence on "terrorists" trying to destabilise Ethiopia.

Timket celebrates the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River and its best known for its ritual reenactment of baptism.   

Gondar and Bahir Dar residents have resolved to celebrate the festival indoors fearing a repeat of the deadly violence during Irecha, an Oromo cultural festival, in Bishoftu on 2 October 2016. 

Following this incident, the government has deployed a large number of soldiers in the area.

Local and international bodies have also noted the tension in Gondar and Bahir Dar cities ahead of tomorrow's Ethiopian Orthodox Epiphany celebrations.

The Command Post, formed by the government after it declared a state of emergency, in a statement warned residents ofGondar that some "destructive forces" might launch an attack during the celebration.

On 17 January the British Foreign Commonwealth Office issued a travel advisory on its Twitter account:

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Rare interview with Nigeria's funk pioneer

Nigerian musician William Onyeabor, who has died aged 70 (see earlier entry), was notorious for turning down interviews during his career.

After releasing albums in the 1970s and early 1980s he gave up music completely and became a successful industrialist.

According to the record label Luaka Bop, he was simply referred to as “the chief” in his hometown of Enugu as he was known for having created many opportunities for the people in his community. 

And it was Luaka Bop who managed to track him down again a few years ago as the New York record company wanted to issue a collection of his works.

This search for the reclusive funk pioneer became the subject of documentary film Fantastic Man released in 2014.

In a Facebook post today LuakaBop said Onyeabor “would never speak about himself and for a long time refused many of the interview requests that came his way. Having become born again in the latter part of life, he only wanted to speak about God”.

But BBC Six Music did managed to chat with him about two years ago, when he revealed that he’d never played his music live, didn’t drink alcohol and admired the baritone voice of Jim Reeves.

You can hear the whole interview here:

Elusive musician talks to Lauren Laverne about his past, his return, & playing live

Nigerian banks 'banned from using Bitcoin'

BBC Monitoring

News from around the globe

Nigeria's central bank has banned financial institutions from using Bitcoin and other virtual currencies, saying they could be used in money-laundering and terrorism, the Premium Times newspaper reports.   

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There are hundreds of digital currencies but Bitcoin is the most widely known and used digital currency. It is currently trading at one bitcoin for $900 (£730).

A statement from the banking sector regulator advised banks to ensure that they "do not use, hold, and transact in virtual currencies (VC)", the Premium Times reports. 

It said the move was meant to protect the integrity of Nigeria's financial systems and to protect people:

“VCs are traded in exchange platforms that are unregulated, all over the world. Consumers may, therefore, lose their money without any legal redress in the event these exchanges collapse or close business."

Nigeria's move is not dissimilar to other countries that view digital currencies with suspicion.

Gambia's president-elect still confident

Despite the state of emergency in The Gambia, and parliament extending President Yahya Jammeh's rule for another three months, President-elect Adama Barrow seems pretty confident in this tweet that his inauguration will go ahead tomorrow:

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At the moment he's in Senegal, after leaving the country over the weekend to meet African leaders who support him in his bid to assume office after winning elections last month.

But it is not clear how Mr Barrow's will take place given Mr Jammeh's position (see earlier posts).

Read more: Adama Barrow - from estate agent to president

Nigeria sending '200 troops for Gambia force'

Soldiers in The Gambia
The Gambia is estimated to have about 900 troops

Nigeria has confirmed that a warship is heading towards The Gambia as a "training" exercise as regional countries prepared for a possible military intervention, the Associated Press new agency reports.

President-elect Adama Barrow, currently in Senegal, is due to be sworn in tomorrow, but President Yahya Jammeh wants the results of last month’s election annulled and is refusing to go (see earlier reports).

Yesterday Reuters reported that West African countries were preparing a joint force to intervene militarily if Mr Jammeh does not go – quoting Nigerian military sources.

Now AP is quoting Nigerian navy spokesman Capt Dahun Jahun as saying that his country's air force was contributing 200 supporting troops for the standby force for The Gambia.

He said 11 pilots, 11 crew members and 80 “supporting troops”' had already been deployed. 

Read more: Gambia political crisis: What happens next?

Nigerian funk pioneer William Onyeabor dies

William Onyeabor
William Onyeabor/Facebook

Nigerian funk and synth pioneer William Onyeabor has died at the age of 70, a post on his Facebook page says.

He died after a brief illness in his home in the south-eastern city of Enugu.

The post, written by the Luaka Bop music label, goes on this describe his amazing career:

An extraordinary artist, businessman and visionary, Mr Onyeabor composed and self-released nine brilliant albums of groundbreaking electronic-funk from 1977-1985, which he recorded, pressed and printed at Wilfilms Limited - his personal pressing plant in south-east Nigeria.

With the release of 'Who is William Onyeabor?' in 2013, his music and story took the world by storm. The release was featured in major newspapers, radio and television stations all around the world. Time Magazine listed him as number 4 on a shortlist of that year’s best albums.

In 2014, the film documentary 'Fantastic Man' followed, as well as the 'Atomic Bomb! Who is William Onyeabor?' live shows, which travelled to the most regarded festivals and music venues worldwide-starring over 50 special guests from many diverse generations, genres and backgrounds.

The BBC's Tomi Oladipo remembers one of William Onyeabor's best-known tracks when he was growing up:

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Tourists crowd Gambia's airport

It’s very busy at the international airport in The Gambia as European countries issue travel warnings following President Yahya Jammeh’s refusal to step down.

A state of emergency has been declared, and yesterday the parliament extended his term for three months - even though today should be his last day as president following elections last month which he lost (see earlier entry).

The BBC’s Umaru Fofana is at the airport and snapped some of the queues as Thomas Cook said it was evacuating about 1,000 tourists on package holidays.

Tourists at the airport in The Gambia
BBC Sport
Tourists at the airport in The Gambia
Aeroplane at the airport in The Gambia

About 1,600 Dutch citizens are also to be flown home from The Gambia today, reports the BBC’s Anna Holligan from The Hague.

The travel firms TUI and Corendon are sending a total of eight flights to collect them.

Lightning 'kills mourners' in Zimbabwe

A lightning strike in South Africa
Lightning usually strikes the tallest object

Lightning killed six people at a funeral in Zimbabwe as they sheltered under a tree to escape torrential rain, the country’s state-run Herald newspaperreports.

Heavy rains have hit the drought-ravaged country in recent days.

Police spokeswoman Charity Charamba is quoted as saying that the six men were killed on Sunday in Binga, in the north-west, and others were injured in the strike and taken to hospital.

She added:

"The victims were part of the gathering attending a funeral wake when heavy rains pounded the area. They sought shelter under a tree and were struck by a bolt of lightning, killing them instantly."

She urged people not to shelter under trees or walk on open ground during a thunder storm, as lightning usually strikes the tallest object, adding:

"Members of the public should also install lightning conductors at their homes so that lightning bolts are easily conducted to the ground."

Gendarmes 'fire into the air' at Ivorian port

Paramilitary police have left their base at the port in Abidjan, Ivory Coast's main city, and started firing in the air and ordering companies to close, a witness has told the Reuters news agency.

Someone has tweeted what appears to be some footage of the shooting from the port.

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The gendarmes then moved out of the port area and blocked a major road in the city's Treichville neighbourhood, halting traffic and sending residents fleeing, Reuters reports.

Yesterday paramilitary forces in several cities across the country shot in the air in what seemed to be a dispute over money.

It comes afterthe government began paying army soldiers who mutinied earlier this month a bonus of $20,000 (£16,000) each.

The gendarmes are believed to be demanding a similar payment.

The government agreed to pay off mutinous soldiers - for the most part former rebels who helped President Alassane Ouattara come to power in 2011, and were then integrated into the army.

This seems to have provoked jealousy among those who were not part of the deal agreed on Friday.

Nigeria urged to compensate camp bomb victims

Someone injured in bombing of camp in Rann, north-east Nigeria

Human Rights Watch in Nigeria says the government should compensate those at a camp for displaced people in the north-east that was mistakenly bombed by military jets on Tuesday.

At least 52 people have been killed and more than 200 injured.

The attack took place near the border with Cameroon, where the military is engaged in what it calls its final push against Boko Haram.

Mausi Segun, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch in Nigeria said, that “prompt, adequate and effective compensation” was needed:

“Even if there is no evidence of a willful attack on the camp, which would be a war crime, the camp was bombed indiscriminately, violating international humanitarian law.

"Victims should not be denied redress merely because the government decided the bombing was accidental."

Two men helping a child injured after a camp was bombed in Rann, north-eastern Nigeria
The MSF aid agency has appealed for help with medical evacuations.

Three days of mourning declared after Mali suicide attack

Mali's President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita has declared three days of national mourning in a tweet following a massive suicide car bomb explosion at a military base in Gao in the north:

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A Reuters reporter who arrived at the camp soon after the blast, which happened at around 09:00 local time, said he saw dozens of bodies lying on the ground alongside those who were injured.

Ambulances rushed to the scene as helicopters circled overhead, he said.

Some of fighters at the camp included members of armed groups that had signed Mali's 2015 peace agreement, the Associated Press news agency reports.

Car bomb used in Mali camp explosion

The attack on a military camp in Mali’s northern city of Gao was caused by a vehicle packed with explosives, Reuters is quoting the army as saying.

A UN source told the AFP news agency that it was a suicide attack that killed 37 people. The army has put the number at 25.

Reuters says the camp housed government soldiers as well as former rebels and pro-government militias conducting joint patrols.

There have been a number of armed groups operating in Mali in recent years – both ethnic Tuareg separatists and jihadist militants

Some 15,000 UN peacekeepers are in the country following France’s intervention in 2013 to oust al-Qaeda-linked militants from the north of the country.

The militants, who had fallen out with Tuareg rebels, were routed from the main towns but still operate from hideouts in the vast desert region.

Islamist militants in Gao, Mali - archive shot
For much of 2012 Gao was occupied by Islamist militants

Deadly attack on Mali military base

At least 25 people have died in an attack on a military base in northern Mali, the Reuters news agency is reporting. 

A Malian journalist has tweeted that the attack took place in Gao and that the army says others have been injured:

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Tourists flown out of The Gambia

Beach in The Gambia
The Gambia's beaches are popular with holidaymakers

The Thomas Cook travel agency says there are five extra flights being sent to The Gambia to help bring British tourists back home.

Two UK-based flights have already left, and the other three flights will leave later this morning.

The decision to fly them back after the UK Foreign Office changed its travel advice, saying that based upon the risk of unrest all but essential travel to The Gambia should be avoided.

The travel firm plans to bring home 985 customers from package holidays over the next 48 hours.

Another 2,500 flight-only customers will be offered the "earliest available flight" from the West African country.

A BBC reporter in The Gambia says some people will get no holiday at all:

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Tourism had become The Gambia's fastest-growing sector of the economy, and it marketed to holidaymakers as "the smiling coast of West Africa".

'Internet blocked' in English-speaking Cameroon

Multiple reports say that there is an ongoing internet blockade in Cameroon and especially in the restive English-speaking region of Bamenda. 

Akamai, the US-based internet content delivery company, says there was a noted disruption of internet traffic at 20:45 GMT last night: 

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Another company that offers internet services and monitors its performance has also shared a graph showing a drop in internet connections in the country:

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Some people have been tweeting about the internet disruption: 

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There has been tension in the north-western Cameroon following a push by the people in the Anglophone region against plans to decree the use of French language in schools and courts. 

Reports say that local leaders were arrested before the disruption:  

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Afcon: Egypt plays 44-year-old goalkeeper


Legendary Egyptian goalkeeper El-Hadary made history after he came on from the bench for the game against Mali, which ended in in a goalless draw, to earn his 148th cap after first choice goalkeeper El-Shenawy's got injured.

He is widely regarded as one of Africa's best-ever goalkeepers, winning the domestic league title eight times, as well as the domestic cup and African Champions League on four occasions each.

Playing in his seventh tournament, having picked up a winners' medal in 2006, 2008 and 2010. 

El-Hadary was not fully tested, but was confidently off his line to punch the ball clear and showed good speed by sprinting out to thwart Mali forward Marega.

Afcon: Ghana wins with Ayew record breaker

Andrew Ayew
Ghana's Andre Ayew surpass his father's, Abedi Pele, record by scoring his eighth Nations Cup goal

Day four of the Africa Cup of Nations registered the third win of the tournament as Ghana beat Uganda by 1-0. 

Ghana's Andre Ayew slotted in a penalty on 32 minutes after captain Asamoah Gyan had been pulled back. 

Ayew's goal saw him surpass his father's, Abedi Pele, record by scoring his seventh goal in the continent's tournament. 

The Ugandan Cranes created few opportunities of note and struggled against the Black Stars, who were happy to defend their lead.

Mali supporters
Getty Images
Mali fans enjoyed the atmosphere in Port Gentil

In the second match of group D Egypt drew with Mali in a match that lacked the intensity of the earlier games played in the tournament. 

Arsenal's Mohamed Elneny wasted two first-half chances for Egypt, striking over and hitting an effort wide. 

Osmane Coulibaly headed over from close range for Mali late on.  

However, legendary Egyptian goalkeeper El-Hadary, grabbed all the headlines when he came on from the bench after first choice goalkeeper El-Shenawy's was injured.