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Live Reporting

By Hugo Williams and Lucy Fleming

All times stated are UK

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  1. Scroll down for Thursday's stories

    We'll be back tomorrow

    That's all from the BBC Africa Livepage 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:

    Quote Message: You do not enter an open door, you enter an open face." from A Somali proverb sent by Bukhari Sankus in Mogadishu, Somalia
    A Somali proverb sent by Bukhari Sankus in Mogadishu, Somalia

    Click here to send your African proverbs

    And we leave you this class photo of Congolese schoolgirls from 1972, taken by Eliot Elisofon and shared on OkayAfrica's Instagram account: 

    View more on instagram
  2. Matching African leaders to Michael Jackson songs

    Michael Jackson in trademark red jacket
    Image caption: Pop star Michael Jackson died in June 2009 aged 50

    Ghana's President John Mahama has given us the perfect excuse to consider the (tenuous) connections between other Africans leaders and The King of Pop. 

    "Heal the world... make the world a better place for you and for me... and the entire human race," Mr Mahama said, using the lyrics from Michael Jackson's 1991 hit Heal the World to open his speech to the UN General Assembly in New York. 

    "What happened to that enthusiasm?" he wondered aloud, before continuing with a speech which touched on disease, the economy and increasing international tensions. 

    Mr Mahama's approach got us thinking: Which Michael Jackson tracks could provide inspiration for other African leaders? 

    Track 1: Liberian Girl

    A bit of an obvious one, but taken from the classic 1987 album Bad, would Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberia's first female president, ever consider turning to this track, which on its release did much to raise the global profile of the West African nation? 

    Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

    Track 2: Blame It on The Boogie

    It's not technically a Michael Jackson record (it's from his former band The Jacksons), but given the early career of this particular leader, it feels like a perfect fit.

    As we discovered last week, Gabon's President Ali Bongo recorded a disco record in the 1970s, performing under the stage name Alain Bongo (see below).

    Given the current dispute over last month's election results, it's the opposition, not The Boogie, who Mr Bongo has been blaming, but we think the theme is still relevant. 

    View more on youtube

    Track 3: Off The Wall

    The name of both the album and one of the songs on Jackson's debut 1979 album, this one could work for Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who has backed the construction of a 700km (440-mile) wall along the border with Somalia to improve security. 

    Which tracks would work for the rest of the album? Get in touch via email

    Read more: Six politicians who used their favourite song lyrics to make a point

  3. Togo opposition leader gets five-year jail term

    Togolese opposition leader Alberto Olympio has been sentenced to five years in prison for embezzling six billion CFA francs.( $10m £7.8m), BBC Afrique reports

    He wasn’t present for the court judgement and was also ordered to pay 5.9bn CFA to his former business partners.

    His party said he condemned the verdict, AFP says.

    Mr Olympio, a computer scientist and businessman, intended to run in presidential elections last year, but withdrew saying the voters’ registers had been inflated. 

  4. Burkinabe children 'encouraged to smoke'

    BBC Monitoring

    News from around the globe

    Cigarette seller in Burkina Faso
    Image caption: Under existing laws, cigarettes should not be sold near schools

    Schoolchildren in Burkina Faso are being deliberately targeted by the West African country’s tobacco industry, Burkina24 news website quotes a survey as saying.

    The Africa Against Tobacco lobby group (Aconta) said its research, conducted between April and March at 16 schools in the capital, Ouagadougou, showed the industry employed "multiples strategies” to entice youngsters to smoke.

    It said 148 tobacco sales points were counted within a 9km (five miles) of the schools, with an average of nine sales points per institution.

    Aconta has called for the enforcement of existing anti-tobacco laws, which would ban the sale of tobacco products near schools.

  5. Analysis: South Sudan's sacked VP 'not welcome in Ethiopia'

    Emmanuel Igunza

    BBC Africa, Nairobi

    Riek Machar
    Image caption: Riek Machar faces an uncertain future

    The announcement by Ethiopia that Riek Machar, South Sudan's sacked vice-president, will no longer be welcome in the country marks a significant shift of alliances in the region.

    In an interview with Foreign Policy magazine this week, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said Mr Machar would only be allowed to travel through Ethiopia but would not be able to stay for long.   

    For long periods during the current civil war, Mr Machar lived in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, from where he not only attended peace talks but was also able to travel to various regional and international capitals to lobby for support. 

    His ability to travel to his headquarters in the north of South Sudan, which was easily accessible via the Ethiopian border, has now been made more complicated.

    And it is not only Ethiopia that seems to have lost patience with him.

    This week the government in Sudan blocked him from holding a press conference in its capital, Khartoum, where he has been receiving medical treatment. 

    Mr Machar returned to South Sudan's capital, Juba, as vice-president in a unity government in April - but was forced to flee in July after fighting broke out between his troops and the presidential guard.

    There were reports of him seeking refuge in South Africa or the Democratic Republic of Congo but his close allies have said he is not looking for asylum anywhere.

    And it is not clear when he will return to Juba - if he eventually does, if he will be accommodated again in the unity government. 

    Read more: The wounds of war

  6. Nigeria 'hunts down 700,000 firms in tax crackdown'

    Tunde Fowler
    Image caption: Tunde Fowler was appointed tax chief last year

    Nigeria has hunted down 700,000 firms that have never paid taxes, the Reuters news agency quotes its tax chief as saying. 

    The country, which is one of Africa’s biggest economies with a population of about 180 million, slipped into recession in August for the first time in more than 20 years. 

    It is now seeking to find new revenue sources to compensate for low oil prices. 

    But it is an uphill task trying to get Nigerians to pay their taxes, considering that 80% the workforce is employed in the informal sector.

    Someone holding naira notes in Lagos, Nigeria
    Image caption: Tax boss Tunde Fowler says there are 60 million Nigerians who should pay some form of tax

    Tunde Fowler, executive chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (Firs), said the aim was to bring the total number of registered individuals to 20 million by the end of the year:   

    Quote Message: "We have been able to add about 700,000 companies and we expect to add about 10 million individuals across the nation [by December]."

    He told Reuters there were plans to twin tougher enforcement with a waiver on interest and penalties for the period 2012-2015:

    Quote Message: We will give them a 45-day window to come forward and register and that will make them eligible for that waiver.
    Quote Message: A lot of people who are not in the tax net are a bit jittery or afraid to come and register, thinking that we might go back two or three years and the amounts might be considerable."
  7. Uganda gay pride march organisers 'will be arrested'

    A Ugandan minister has threatened organisers of a gay pride march with arrest and prosecution if they do not cancel the event, which is due to take place in the capital, Kampala, on Saturday. 

    Minister of State for Ethics and Integrity Lokodo Simon said that the planned celebrations were "criminal and illegal as they have not been cleared by the Uganda police force". 

    However, the BBC has seen a copy of the letter from organisers notifying police of the date and time of the planned march and requesting security for the event. 

    A police commander has signed and dated the letter (9 September), writing that the march "can go ahead". 

    In his statement, Mr Lokodo also alleged that members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community were bribing young people with money and other "inducements" to promote homosexuality. 

    "The public is called upon to refrain from joining and participating in gay activities," he added. 

    Some Ugandan LGBT activists have taken to Twitter to address the minister directly:

    View more on twitter
    Quote Message: Honourable Lokodo, we are going to celebrate pride as a family on the 24th and we are not going to be intimidated by criminalising our activities." from @KuchuTimes

    Others have been using the hashtag #IStandWithPrideUganda to show their support:

    View more on twitter

    A law requiring homosexuals to be jailed for life in Uganda was overturned in 2014, but homosexual acts are still illegal. 

    Many people in Uganda strongly oppose gay rights on religious grounds.

  8. Baggies turn down two African players

    Marouane Chamakh
    Image caption: Marouane Chamakh, who has played for Arsenal and Crystal Palace, is now a free agent

    It’s bad news for Moroccan striker Marouane Chamakh and midfielder Momo Sissoko from Mali.

    Neither footballer satisfied Tony Pulis, the coach for the Premier League side West Bromich Albion.

    The Baggies have tweeted that the pair will not be offered a contract after being on trial for several weeks:

    View more on twitter
    Momo Sissoko
    Image caption: Momo Sissoko last played for Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua

    Assistant head coach Dave Kemp told the UK Express and Star paper that the club may have chosen to keep them had they joined earlier for training:

    Quote Message: "Fitness-wise they're off it, let's be truthful, they haven't done the pre-season our players have done."
  9. Fifty al-Shabab fighters involved in Kenya police raid

    Mohammud Ali Mohamed

    BBC Africa, Nairobi

    Residents of a village in north-eastern Kenya have been describing to the BBC how al-Shabab fighters overran a police station overnight.

    They said the militants set the station alight, before leaving with a police vehicle and stealing some weapons.

    Fourteen officers were reportedly stationed at the police post in Hamey, near the border with Somalia.

    A police spokesperson said 50 attackers travelling in two vehicles were involved and two officers were missing.

    Al-Shabab says it took two officers captive and killed six others during the raid (see earlier post).

    It comes as the country marks three years since the Westgate mall attack in the capital, Nairobi, when 67 people were killed.

    Al-Shabab has repeatedly launched attacks in Kenya since the country joined the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia in 2011.

    People during the Westgate mall siege in Nairobi, Kenya - 2013
    Image caption: The Westgate siege went on for four days
  10. 'No justice' for Khartoum protesters killed in 2013

    James Copnall

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    Man in Sudan covers his mouth to prevent smoke inhalation

    Three years ago today the Sudanese government lifted subsidies on fuel, sending prices of many basic goods soaring. Thousands of demonstrators poured into the streets of the capital, Khartoum, and other cities to protest, only to be met by the bullets of the security forces.

    One of those who died was a young pharmacist, Salah Sanhouri. 

    Shortly afterwards I met his family. As his sister choked back sobs, Salah’s uncle Sheikh spoke firmly: "We need justice. I am not just talking about Salah – there are hundreds of Salahs."

    Rights groups say as many as 185 people were killed, though the authorities put the death total at under 100, and blamed looters for the violence.

    The September protests certainly traumatised people in the capital. In the immediate aftermath, I remember thinking I had never seen people in Khartoum so scared to speak out, and contacts I used to meet frequently did not want to be seen with a foreign journalist.

    Now Sudanese and international human rights groups say the victims and their families – including the Sanhouris - are still waiting for justice. The rights groups are calling on the UN to press Sudan to investigate and prosecute those responsible.

    Official inquiries have been set up, but their findings have not been made public, and rights groups say they know of no prosecutions which have concluded.

  11. Deadline for ruling on Gabon election dispute looms

    constitutional court judges sit in session
    Image caption: Mr Ping has accused the Constitutional Court of being biased in favour of the president

    The deadline for Gabon's Constitutional Court to rule on President Ali Bongo's disputed election victory is expected on Friday. 

    Lawyers for President Ali Bongo and defeated candidate Jean Ping, who alleges electoral fraud, are due to attend an initial hearing at the court this afternoon, AFP news agency reports. 

    The petition from Mr Ping alleges irregularities in Haut-Ogooue province, a stronghold of the president, where he took 95% of the vote on a turnout of 99.9%, according to official results. 

    It is not clear whether the court is planning to carry out a full vote recount.

    Gabon's Ambassador to the US, Michael Moussa-Adamo is reported to have told Foreign Policy magazine that it would be impossible because all of the ballots had been burned straight after the vote. 

    “At every single voting station, the results are read out openly in front of everybody, then everything is tallied, there’s a tally sheet, and the actual ballots are burned in front of everybody,” Foreign Policy quotes him as saying. 

    A spokesperson for Mr Ping told BBC Afrique that authorities were acting "as if they already know the decision" of the court. 

    Vote rigging: How to spot the tell-tale signs

    gabon parliament damaged by fire
    Image caption: Protesters set fire to the parliament building after the results were announced
  12. No waste from whisky bottles

    How would you like your whisky glass to be made from the last bottle you threw away?

    In Kenya’s coastal town of Kilifi, a craftsman has drawn the attention of tourists by recycling bottles and coconut shells into useful home products.

    Video by Hassan Lali

    Video content

    Video caption: Kenyan craftsman turns waste whiskey bottles into glasses
  13. FGM cutters on the warpath in Sierra Leone

    Umaru Fofana

    BBC Africa, Kenema

    Cutters in Kenema

    Female genital mutilation (FGM) cutters are on the warpath in the eastern town of Kenema in Sierra Leone.

    Influential women in the region still believe in FGM, even though the practice is officially banned in the country.

    Hundreds of cutters, who belong to the circumcision society known as Soweis, descended on a police station in the town after one of their members was arrested. 

    The police inspector has confirmed that Elsie Kondoromoh had been "tentatively" released. 

    The cutters have also protested at a hospital where her alleged victim is being treated.

    Khadija Balayma Allieu, 28, alleges that she was blindfolded and forcibly circumcised by  five or six cutters.

    Quote Message: One sat on my chest, one each held my hands. Another two held my legs and spread them open. They gagged me as I shouted. Then she [Ms Kondoromoh] started cutting
    Quote Message: "I felt her cut towards my vagina. She dipped her hand inside my vagina and I felt her pull something and cut it. They held my head down and continued cutting. I started bleeding profusely. I tried screaming but there was [a] cloth inside my mouth."

    Ms Kondoromoh has denied any wrongdoing but has admitted to circumcising her.

    She said that Ms Allieu met her at her home saying that she was being "taunted" by her fellow women because she had not been circumcised.  

    There are growing calls from civil society activists for Ms Allieu, who was freed from a house where she said she had been locked in for days without food or treatment after the FGM procedure, to be evacuated from Kenema for her own safety.

    For more read: Police free woman accused of FGM

  14. Kenya new chief justice 'doesn't work on Saturdays'

    Abdinoor Aden

    BBC Africa, Nairobi

    President Uhuru Kenyatta (R) and Judge Maraga (L)
    Image caption: President Uhuru Kenyatta (R) needs to approve the appointment of Judge Maraga (L)

    Kenya has at last filled the important position of chief justice – the person who would decide on any petition if there is a legal challenge after next year's presidential election. 

    Judge David Maraga, 65, was chosen from among 11 candidates.

    The country has been without a chief justice since June following the retirement of Willy Mutunga.

    Judge Maraga, a Seventh-day Adventist, warned the interviewing panel that he was serious about his religion and would not hear a presidential petition on a Saturday, his church’s Sabbath day.

    He still needs the president and parliament to approve his appointment.

    Then all eyes will be on him to regain the trust of Kenyans after a rocky time for judiciary, hit by allegations of corruption. 

    Read more: Kenya's judiciary on trial

  15. SA police clash with stone-throwing students

    South African police have fired tear gas and rubber bullets at students protesting about tuition fees in Pietermaritzburg.

    Journalists' tweets from the scene show students throwing stones and the police’s response:

    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter

    "The students attempted to set a building on fire and were pelting motorists and police with rocks," Reuters news agency quotes police spokesman for the KwaZulu-Natal province Thulani Zwane as saying.

    Students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal are still demonstrating, blocking some roads:

    View more on twitter

    The protest is part of nationwide demonstrations by students who are demanding free education. They were sparked by a government proposal earlier this week to allow universities to increase tuition fees by up to 8% next year.

    The demonstrations have led to a number of universities to suspend classes.

  16. Ghana president links migration to frozen chicken

    John Mahama addresses the UN

    Ghana's President John Mahama has said Africa needs a fair chance to trade with the rest of the world instead of sympathy or overseas development assistance, the local CitiFM website reports

    It quotes an excerpt of Mr Mahama's speech at the UN General Assembly in New York on Wednesday, in which he touched on the pressures that excess imports have on African agriculture: 

    Quote Message: Some of the young Africans who hazard the desert and Mediterranean Sea to cross to Europe from my country are young poultry farmers or other entrepreneurs who sell their shops and undertake the journey because they can no longer compete with the tonnes of frozen chicken dumped on African markets annually."

    If you want to know more about the significance of Africa's poultry problems, there's a great piece on the "chicken and egg" arguments here by Harvard University professor Calestous Juma:

    View more on twitter
  17. Tanzania 'has the world’s fittest children'

    Children on a beach in Tanzania
    Image caption: Tanzania children are more active than their peers

    Tanzania has the world’s fittest children, a study by Australian scientists has found.

    The fitness levels of 1.1 million children aged between nine and 17 from 50 countries were tested.

    The children were made to do what’s called a 20m shuttle run, which measures aerobic fitness.

    Grant Tomkinson, one of the lead researchers on the University of  South Australia report, told the BBC’s Newsday programme that Tanzania probably came top because they were more active:

    Quote Message: You probably find that they’re obliged to be physically active so that’s why they’re at the top."

    If you listen to the full interview you can find out why the unequal distribution of wealth may be why the US comes last:

    Video content

    Video caption: New study looks at 1.1 million children from 50 countries to find the healthiest
  18. Celebrating legendary Ghanaian fashion photographer

    The Guardian is running a lovely photo gallery showcasing some of the work of seminal Ghanaian photographer James Barnor, whom it describes as "the first man to shoot Ghana in colour". 

    He documented "fashion in a country marching towards independence" and is now exhibiting his work in London, it adds. 

    Despite his advanced years, he's also on Instagram, where he shares images of his work. 

    View more on twitter

    See the full photo gallery here

  19. Gabon oil workers 'to stay home in case of violence'

    An off-shore oil rig in Gabon
    Image caption: Gabon is a major oil producer but a third of its population live in poverty

    Oil workers in Gabon will stay at home from Thursday over concerns about potential violence when the Constitutional Court delivers its verdict on Friday on the disputed presidential election, the Reuters news agency reports.

    It quoted from a statement from the sector's main union, Onep, which said that those working to provide minimum service at oil installations would be “expatriate staff whose families are not exposed to the danger of likely unrest".

    Riots erupted in August after the electoral commission announced that President Ali Bongo had won the vote by fewer than 6,000 votes.

    Defeated candidate Jean Ping complained of fraud, pointing out that in one province Mr Bongo had won 95% of the vote.

    Government spokesman Alain Claude Bilie By Nze warned on Wednesday that Mr Ping would be held responsible for any further unrest:

    Quote Message: If Mr Ping crosses the line, he will be arrested. And this red line is well-known. If a Gabonese falls, he will answer."

    According to Reuters, Gabon produces around 200,000 barrels a day, with Total and Shell being the main producers.

  20. Ex-Sierra Leone international Bah dies

    Mamadu Alphajor Bah in action
    Image caption: Mamadu Alphajor Bah (right) scored 12 goals in 35 intenational matches

    Former Sierra Leone international midfielder Mamadu Alphajor Bah has died after being involved in a road accident in Freetown on Wednesday.

    The 39-year-old, who made 35 appearances for Sierra Leone, was driving when a truck coming from the opposite direction hit his car.

    Bah was later taken to hospital in Goderich, where doctors pronounced him dead as a result of excessive bleeding.

    Bah was one of the most talented players of his generation in Sierra Leone and was a key player for the national team between 2000 and 2008.

    At club level, he played in Belgium for KSC Lokoren from 1994-96 before he transferred to South Korea to play for Chunnam Dragons in 1997.

    Read the full BBC Sport story