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Summary

  1. South Africa's monarchs get a pay rise
  2. Tunisia opposition plan more protests
  3. Massive power outage in Uganda and Kenya
  4. Snow blankets the Sahara
  5. Buhari orders police boss relocate to violence-hit state
  6. Corruption investigation opened into Grace Mugabe's degree
  7. Countdown to 'dry taps' in Cape Town
  8. Suspected Islamist militants arrested in Mozambique
  9. Injuries reported after South African train crash
  10. Sudan vows crackdown over bread protests

Live Reporting

By Dickens Olewe and Flora Drury

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Scroll down for Tuesday's stories

We'll be back tomorrow

That's all from BBC Africa Live 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:

Do not see a lion that has been rained on and think it is a cat."

A Swahili proverb from Kenya sent by Debi Ndindjock in Dallas, United States

Click here to send us your African proverbs.

And we leave you with this image taken in the Sahara desert, looking over a rather unusual scene:

man looks at at a snow-covered slope in the Sahara, Ain Sefra, Algeria, January 7, 2018 in this picture obtained from social media.
Reuters

Who switched the lights off?

Kenyans have taken to Twitter to speculate over what may have caused a massive power outage in parts of the country. Neighbouring Uganda has also experienced a blackout.

The last time a similar incident happened, the firm in charge of electricity distribution blamed a monkey which had fallen onto a transformer.

Kenyans are now wondering if the primate - which survived the 2016 shocking ordeal - or one of its relations could be behind the current outage:

View more on twitter
View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Migrants expelled from Israel head for Europe - UN

A migrant baby is carried as other migrants in a dingy are rescued by Libyan coast guards off the coast of Garabulli, east of Tripoli, Libya, January 8, 2018
Reuters
The UN refugee agency says some migrants are using the payments from Israel to head north across African and the Mediterranean

Migrants expelled from Israel are risking their lives to reach Europe, the United Nation's refugee agency has warned.

The UNHCR revealed "most" of the 80 Eritrean migrants it spoke to in Rome had accepted money from Israel to leave the Middle Eastern country, then undertook the dangerous journey through North Africa to Europe.

The migrants were offered the money - totalling $3,500 (£2,500) - to voluntarily settle back at home, or in an agreed third country.

But instead many have headed north, following the well-trodden route to Libya and then across the Mediterranean.

All of them suffered abuse, torture and extortion along the way, the UNHCR said in a statement.

The UNHCR is warning far more people could put themselves at risk should Israel push ahead with its plan to force more than 30,000 migrants - many from Eritrea and Sudan - out of the country.

Last week it announced it will start jailing all migrants who fail to leave by April.

The agency has appealed to Israel "to halt its policy of relocating Eritreans and Sudanese to sub-Saharan Africa".

UNHCR spokesman William Spindler, speaking to journalists in Geneva, Switzerland, condemned the plan as not being "coherent" and lacking transparency, calling on Israel to come up with a different solution.

Uganda and Kenya plunged into darkness

A massive power outage has plunged parts of Kenya and Uganda in darkness.

The utility firms in charge of electricity distribution have confirmed the incident, saying they were working to fix the problem.

Umeme's has tweeted that the outage has affected "many areas" in Uganda:

We are aware of the wide area outage affecting many areas. Our teams are currently working with @uetcl to establish… twitter.com/i/web/status/9…

Kenya Power says that the capital, Nairobi and surrounding areas have been affected:

View more on twitter

Buhari orders police boss to relocate to violence-hit state

Mary Harper

Africa editor, BBC World Service

President Buhari has ordered Nigeria's police chief to relocate from the capital Abuja to Benue state, to deal with an upsurge in violence there.

More than 90 people have been killed in Benue and neighbouring Taraba state in the past week.

Eighty-thousand have been displaced by the clashes.

A BBC reporter in Nigeria says the real number of dead is believed to be much higher.

Most of the violence is between nomads and settled farmers, who fight over access to land.

UN backs Obiang after coup attempt

President Teodoro Obiang Nguema
Getty Images
Teodoro Obiang has been president for 38 years

The United Nations has promised to support Equatorial Guinea in its stabilisation efforts following an alleged coup attempt.

A UN special envoy to the country, Francois Fall, condemned any attempt to seize power by force.

Equatorial Guinea said it shot dead one mercenary on the Cameroonian border in late December.

At least 30 other armed men, from different parts of Africa, were arrested in Cameroon, allegedly on their way to Equatorial Guinea.

The country's president Teodoro Obiang Nguema has been in power for 38 years. His government is often accused of corruption and human rights abuses.

Anger at group after Benue killings

In Nigeria, Punch news-site is running an online poll asking if Miyetti Allah, the umbrella body of cattle breeders, should be banned after one of its officials defended the New Year killings in central Benue state.

Garus Gololo, who represents the organisation at state level, told BBC Pidgin last week that herdsmen had responded to an attack by "thieves" who had stolen 1,000 cows.

Around 20 people were killed after Fulani herdsmen attacked communities in Guma and Logo area.

However, Othman Ngelzarma, a top official of Miyetti Allah, has condemned the killings in an interview with Channels Television.

He said the attackers are “killers not herdsmen”.

Tensions between Fulani herdsmen and farmers have heightened since Benue state passed an anti-grazing law leaving the herdsmen with nowhere to graze their cows.

Hundreds of people took to the streets on 3 January to protest the attacks, others continue to express their anger at the government's slow response to the conflict.

Suspected Islamist militants arrested in Mozambique

Jose Tembe

BBC Africa, Maputo

A map of Mozambique
BBC

A group of suspected Islamist militants have been arrested in northern Mozambique.

Police believe the 24 men - all Mozambican nationals - are part of a group which has been terrorising the northern district of Mocimboa da Praia, close to the border with Tanzania.

It is not known why the group has started operating in the area: there is some suggestion it may be linked to its proximty to areas where American and Italian companies are prospecting for gas and oil.

Local police spokesman Augusto Guta said he believed the men might be reinforcements for the group.

However, they deny any involvement.

Mr Guta said:

They claimed to be travelling to Mocimboa da Praia for fishing purposes. But, we think they were going there to reinforce the group of armed Islamist Insurgents, who have been there to create disorder.”

Tunisia situation 'complicated'

The BBC's Rana Jawad has been speaking to Mahmoud Althawadia, a political analyst, about the ongoing anti-austerity protests in Tunisia.

Opposition parties have called for more protests, while the government has been trying to assuage the anger of Tunisians over the 2018 budget, which includes price and tax increases.

Prime Minister Youssef Chahed has acknowledged the country was experiencing economic challenges, but promised 2018 will be the "last difficult year".

Mr Althawadia, however, says the situation is "complicated":

In reality, there are severe price hikes…that’s something everyone agrees on, and that Tunisia is facing a difficult economic problem, and the government feels the painful measures are necessary. The opposition and the unions say that we should not resolve the difficult economic problems at the expense of the weaker class.”

He adds:

The problem is there’s a misunderstanding or difference in opinion over what constitutes essential goods. The government sees it as is bread and oil, which is an old view, and today these are not the only essentials.

Raising taxes on some things will affect prices of goods and services that the government does not consider as essential… the danger today in those protests, is that if they are not contained, and some solutions include backtracking on some issues and protecting the weaker class, like increasing the minimum wage.”

A journalist shared this video of people marching in the streets:

View more on twitter

Magufuli and Lowassa in surprise meeting

Aboubakar Famau

BBC Africa, Arusha

Tanzania's opposition leader Edward Lowassa has today met with his political nemesis, President John Magufuli, at state house.

Pictures of the two leaders' surprise meeting have been shared on social media, including this one tweeted by The East African publication:

View more on twitter

Mr Lowassa turned into a chief critic of President Magufuli after he lost to him in the 2015 election.

He has accused Mr Magufuli, whose administration has cracked down on people deemed critical of his government, as having elements of dictatorship.

Tanzanians are therefore surprised, not just by the first official meeting between the two leaders, but also by Mr Lowassa's remarks praising the president.

He said the president was doing "great work":

First of all, I am so happy to have come to state house, we have had a good talk, and also to congratulate him for the good work that he is doing. He is doing a great work, that everybody can see, he need to be encouraged."

The meeting coincides with the ongoing defection of MPs from the main opposition party Chadema to the ruling party CCM.

Speculation is also rife that a high profile Chadema politician would soon be joining them.

The exodus has forced the party to issue a directive demanding its MPs declare publicly where their loyalty lies.

Mr Lowassa was once a CCM member but left to join Chadema as its candidate in the 2015 election after the party settled on Mr Magufuli as its flag bearer.

Just 103 days until Cape Town taps run dry

Running tap
Getty Images
Cape Town is now in its third year of drought

Cape Town's "Day Zero" - when the South African city's taps will run dry - has been moved forward, as half the population fails to keep to their daily ration.

Mayor Patricia de Lille revealed "Day Zero" was now likely to be 22 April at a press conference on Tuesday, Times Live reports.

It had been 29 April.

She hit out at people who were failing to keep to the 87 litre limit imposed in order to keep the city's water usage below 500m litres a week.

If each and everyone of us makes sure that we use less than 87 litres of water per day‚ we can stretch the little bit of water that we have even longer.”

Cape Town is now in its third year of drought, with its dams less than a third full.

Algeria 'bans import of mobile phones'

A woman holds a smartphone showing the Brazilian App for ridesharing 99 Taxi in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on January 4, 2018
AFP
The ban includes 900 products

Algeria has put a temporary ban on the import of mobile phones and another 900 products, according to news agency Reuters.

The move also applies to all vegetables - apart from garlic - as well as a number of other foods, including chocolate, some furniture and bottled waters.

It is hoped the ban, which came into force on Sunday, will decrease the country's import bill as it struggles to cope with falling crude oil prices.

Oil, along with gas, accounts for around 95% of Algeria's exports.

According to the document drawn up by the trade ministry and seen by Reuters, the ban "is limited in time, and will be lifted gradually with or without maintaining or increasing taxes and other duties".

South Africa's monarchs get a pay rise

Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini (C) looks on prior to deliver a speech during a traditional gathering called Imbizo at the Moses Mabhida Football Stadium in Durban on April 20, 2015
AFP
Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini (pictured centre in 2015) is arguably South Africa's most powerful monarch

South Africa's kings, queens and traditional leaders are to get a pay rise - but not everyone's happy about it.

The country's monarchs, including the Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini, who has complained about his income previously, will see an increase from 1.12m rand to 1.17m rand ($91,000 - $95,000; £67,000 - £70,400).

Traditional leaders, down to headmen and headwomen, will also get a boost after 2017's pay freeze.

It hasn't gone down well with everyone on social media:

View more on twitter

However, change is on the horizon: South Africa's Business Tech reports that of the 13 existing monarchies, just seven will remain after the current leader dies.

Alex Iwobi faces fine over pre-match party claims

Alex Iwobi playing in a league match
Getty Images
Alex Iwobi, right, is the nephew of former Nigeria and Bolton player Jay-Jay Okocha

Nigerian footballer Alex Iwobi will be fined by his club Arsenal if it is confirmed he was at a party 36 hours before Sunday's FA Cup loss at Nottingham Forest.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said is it "impossible" and "unacceptable" to go out within 48 hours of a game.

A video appearing to show the 21-year-old at the party in the early hours of Saturday morning was released on Snapchat.

It shows the Nigerian dancing at a party at a house in central London at 02:37 GMT, and was published in The Sun newspaper.

Iwobi played the full match as holders Arsenal lost the third-round tie.

Read full story on the BBC Sport website.

Thousands flee fighting in Central African Republic

Mary Harper

Africa editor, BBC World Service

A little girl fleeing, with her family, the threat of attacks on Betoko town, northwestern Central African Republic, poses for a photograph on December 27, 2017.
AFP
This little girl was among the thousands fleeing Paoua

The medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) says 30,000 people have been displaced by recent fighting in the north-west of the Central African Republic (CAR).

Civilians fleeing to the town of Paoua speak of men on horseback shooting at anything that moves.

MSF says it has had to suspend work in seven health centres in the area, and that three have already been looted.

It has expressed concern that only 13 injured people have made it to the hospital in Paoua.

Until now, the region has been relatively untouched by the violence that has affected many other parts of the CAR since 2012.

Family of US man missing in Namibia 'baffled'

The brother of a US tourist who went missing in Namibia three weeks ago says everyone is "baffled" by his disappearance as the search for him is scaled back.

Speaking to The Namibian newspaper, Roy Mokosso revealed the family were still keeping all options open following his brother Mark's disappearance.

However, hopes are fading he will be found alive.

The 37-year-old, a former sergeant with the US Army, was last seen on 15 December, when he stopped to speak to some stone sellers and asked about climbing Brandberg Mountain, Namibia's tallest peak which sits north-west of the capital Windhoek.

His car was later found abandoned near Klein Brandberg, with his local cellphone, money and maps inside.

His tracks have since been discovered - but no sign of Mark.

Roy, who spent more than 20 years in the Marines, said:

Everyone is baffled by his disappearance. The absence of a body makes it suspicious."

Roy said he believed his brother had probably got lost, and thought it was possible his brother had fallen or been taken advantage of.

He hoped a reward of N$50,000 ($4,000; £3,000) - rising to N$150,000 if he is alive - will prompt someone to come forward.

The hope with the reward is that it brings out new information that ultimately leads to finding Mark, and helps us answer questions that ultimately might help with closure."

Police told the newspaper they were still searching for Mark, keeping all options open.

Tunisia opposition call for more protests

The leader of Tunisia's main opposition party has called for more protests until the government drops what is says is an "unjust" budget, news agency Reuters reports.

The 2018 budget includes price and tax increases effective from 1 January.

Popular Front leader Hamma Hammami told reporters that opposition parties were meeting to coordinate the protests.

Today we have a meeting with the opposition parties to coordinate our movements, but we will stay on the street and we will increase the pace of the protests until the unjust financial law will be dropped."

As we reported earlier, Prime Minister Youssef Chahed acknowledged the country was experiencing difficulties, but said 2018 will be the "last difficult year".

Anti-austerity protests were held yesterday.

Snow blankets the Sahara

Our colleagues at BBC Weather have put together a short video explaining a weather phenomena which has seen snow cover large swathes of the Sahara desert.

Temperatures in this part of Africa are known to soar well above 35C (95F), so why has the snow settled?

Find out below:

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This will be Tunisia's 'last difficult year' - PM

Police vehicles stop in front of burning tires set up by protesters during demonstrations against rising prices and tax increases, in Tunis, Tunisia, January 8, 2018
Reuters
Protesters set light to tires in the capital Tunis overnight

Tunisia's prime minister has promised 2018 will be the last difficult year, as anti-austerity protests sweep the country.

Youssef Chahed took to the radio to reassure citizens on Tuesday, following a number of demonstrations against tax increases and price rises.

Mr Chahed said:

People have to understand that the situation is extraordinary and their country is having difficulties but we believe that 2018 will be the last difficult year for Tunisians."

Tunisia's economy has been struggling since 2011, when former ruler Zine El Abdine Ben Ali was ousted from power.

Two deadly terror attacks in 2015 targeting its vital tourism industry made it more difficult to recover.

But these latest protests were triggered by inflation and increased taxes on imports like cars.

Sudan vows crackdown over bread protests

Anne Soy

BBC Africa, Nairobi

Bread
Getty Images
The cost of bread has doubled after a hike on flour prices

Sudanese authorities have warned they will use force to suppress protests against the increase in the prices of bread.

At least one person has been killed and schools ordered closed since demonstrations started four days ago.

Bakeries in Sudan doubled the price of bread on Friday, sparking off protests in the capital Khartoum and several other regions.

In response, the government is reported to have launched a campaign of arrests alongside a media crackdown.

Classes were suspended in the Western Darfur State after a student was killed and others wounded during demonstrations.

Interior Minister, Babikir Digna, said the police would use force against protesters who destroyed property.

But he denied that the demonstrations were linked to the cost of bread.

Bread prices doubled from 7 US cents to 14 after the government raised the price of flour by nearly 300%.

The opposition urged people to go to the streets to protests what they described as an unprecedented rise in the cost of living.

Several opposition politicians are reported to have been arrested.

More than 200 injured in S Africa train crash

Nana Radebe, spokeswoman for Johannesburg's Emergency Management Services, tweets:

View more on twitter

The train crash happened this morning in Germiston, east of Johannesburg.

Read our full story here, and keep checking back with Africa Live for more updates.

Injuries after train crash in South Africa

A commuter train has crashed in South Africa, just five days after a collision left 19 dead.

The train crashed on Tuesday morning in Germiston, east of Johannesburg, with a number of injuries reported.

Nana Radebe, a spokeswoman for Johannesburg's Emergency Management Services, tweeted:

View more on twitter

Metrorail spokeswoman Lillian Mofokeng told South Africa's TimesLive website an incoming train hit a stationary train from behind.

She added there had been "some cable theft" which meant the train drivers were using a manual system.

Meanwhile, families have begun identifying their loved ones following the fatal crash in Kroonstad, in Free State province, last week.

News site IOL says local police have now confirmed 19 people died after the train collided with a truck, before bursting into flames.

However, another 15 are still unaccounted for.

Sipho Sithole, Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), told EyeWitness News the families would receive assistance:

They have to be emotionally and psychologically prepared for what they are to experience. So we do have the psychiatrist and the counsellors that are there, including a priest, that will be able to just bring us closer to God and give us some strength."

Zimbabwe investigates Grace Mugabe's doctorate

Grace Mugabe at a campaign rally
AFP
Mrs Mugabe obtained the degree after months of study

Zimbabwean anti-corruption authorities have opened an investigation into the controversial awarding of a doctorate to Zimbabwe's former First Lady Grace Mugabe, news agency AFP reports.

Phyllis Chikundura, the spokesperson for Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, confirmed there was an ongoing investigation.

"We confirm there is such a report and there is such a probe," she said.

Mrs Mugabe reportedly got the PhD after months of study in 2014.

State-run The Herald newspaper reported at the time that Mrs Mugabe's dissertation was on the theme of "changing social structure (and) the functions of the family".

It reported she undertook research on Zimbabwean children's homes.

Mrs Mugabe was personally capped by her husband and then-president Robert Mugabe, who was also the chancellor of the University of Zimbabwe.

She was praised at the time by other government officials who defended the controversial degree award.

Mrs Mugabe had hoped to replace her husband as leader, but antagonised a faction of the ruling Zanu-PF party which led to a fallout within the party.

The military then stepped in and forced President Mugabe to end his 37 year rule of the southern African country and installing his former deputy, Emmerson Mnangagwa, as president.

Read: Grace Mugabe: Who is Zimbabwe's former first lady?

Today's wise words

Our African proverb of the day:

Do not see a lion that has been rained on and think it is a cat."

A Swahili proverb from Kenya sent by Debi Ndindjock in Dallas, United States

Good morning

Welcome to BBC Africa Live where we will bring you the latest news from around the continent.