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  1. Malawi churches soften opposition to abortion
  2. 'Shooting and stabbing' near US embassy in Kenya
  3. US firm in 'big' oil discovery in Nigeria
  4. Gunmen 'abduct about 30 children' in South Sudan
  5. Eritrean fighter pilots 'defect' to arch-enemy Ethiopia
  6. South Africa's president 'dozes off ' during budget speech
  7. Islamic State militants 'withdraw' from Red Sea town
  8. Get Involved: #BBCAfricaLive WhatsApp: +44 7341070844
  9. Email stories and comments to - Thursday 27 October 2016

Live Reporting

By Damian Zane and Farouk Chothia

All times stated are UK

Get involved

  1. Scroll down for Thursday'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:

    Quote Message: Consistency enables you to achieve your goals." from A Bemba proverb sent by Marcel Siwila, Lusaka, Zambia.
    A Bemba proverb sent by Marcel Siwila, Lusaka, Zambia.

    And we leave you with this photo Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon with Kenyan children who sang at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh today: 

    Scotland"s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon trys on a headpiece with the "Singing Children of Africa" from Kenya after they sang at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh during a visit to Scotland.
  2. New one billion barrel oil field found off Nigeria

    US oil company ExxonMobil says it has made a "significant discovery" of oil off the coast of Nigeria.

    In a tweet it says it could yield up to one billion barrels of oil.

    View more on twitter

    ExxonMobil operates the Owowo oil field, where the discovery was made, and owns just over a quarter of it, the AP news agency reports.

    It adds that Nigeria's state oil company holds the majority share. 

    A worker inspect facilities on an upstream oil drilling platform
    Image caption: Nigeria's economy is heavily reliant on the proceeds from the oil industry

    Rebels have carried out a spate of attacks on oil facilities in Nigeria to demand that poor communities benefit from the oil wealth. 

  3. Malawi churches back abortion in certain circumstances

    Joab Frank Chakhaza

    BBC Africa

    The Malawi Council of Churches (MCC) has told BBC Focus on Africa that it is backing an amendment of the country's abortion law in Malawi so that a termination can be allowed in certain circumstances.

    They include a threat to a woman’s health, a pregnancy resulting from rape, incest or defilement or where there is severe malformation of the foetus.  

    The MCC, the country's largest grouping of churches representing Catholics and Protestants, said it was supporting the change because of the high number of Malawian women dying in an attempt to abort a pregnancy using unsafe procedures. 

    Secretary General Gilford Matonga said the MCC remained opposed to abortion on demand.

    The MCC has, however, received criticism from some religious institutions which remain strongly opposed to the amendment.

    The changes await parliamentary approval. 

    Currently, abortion is punishable by law and attracts a maximum of 14 years imprisonment.

    Women pray during Sunday service at Mofolo Woyera church
    Image caption: Malawi is a deeply religious society and most people are Christian
  4. Britain's 'most influential black person'

    British Nigerian Tom Ilube has just been named Britain's most influential black person by a panel of British experts of African and Caribbean heritage.

    He's a cyber security expert, philanthropist and educator who set up the Gifted Foundation to help change the lives of children. 

    In Ghana he opened the African Science Academy - a science and technology school for girls only.

    He told BBC Focus On Africa's Audrey Brown how he reacted when he won the award - ahead of people like the Olympian Mo Farah and Formula One racing driver Lewis Hamilton  

    Video content

    Video caption: Meet Britain's most influential black person
  5. Kenya investigates whether killed man had accomplices

    Unidentified U.S. Embassy personnel and Kenyan security forces stand near to the body, right, of a man who was killed outside the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016
    Image caption: The embassy is in an upmarket suburb

    Kenyan police are investigating whether the knife-wielding man shot dead by a guard outside the US embassy in the capital, Nairobi, had accomplices, local police chief Vitalis Otieno has said, AFP news agency reports.

    Mr Otieno said the man was a 24-year-old Kenyan, but he did not name him. 

    He had stabbed a Kenyan officer and was then shot in the head by another officer, Mr Otieno said, AFP reports. 

    Five US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) officers were at the scene of the shooting, along with about a dozen Kenyan officers, the news agency adds.

    Kenyan police spokesman George Kinoti had described the man as a "lone criminal", but said investigations were continuing. 

    See earlier post for more details

  6. How many Africans live in the US?

    Many people, from all over Africa, have emigrated to the United States and now live across the country.

    BBC News takes a look at where they came from, and where they live now.

    Video content

    Video caption: How many Africans live in the US?
  7. Rebels 'abduct 30 children' in South Sudan

    A group of around 150 armed rebels have abducted at least 30 children after they attacked two schools in South Sudan's Amadi state, the state governor Joseph Ngere has told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme.

    He said the men were part of the SPLM-IO group of ousted Vice-President Riek Machar.

    Mr Ngere said around 300 children were at the two schools and many fled into the bushes.

    The attack happened on Monday, but the governor said he only learnt of the incident on Wednesday.

    There has been no comment from Mr Machar.

    South Sudan's rebel leader Riek Machar gestures as he holds a press conference in Kampala on January 26, 2016
    Image caption: Riek Machar fled the capital, Juba, in July after soldiers loyal to him clashed with those loyal to President Salva Kiir
  8. Man killed outside US embassy in Kenya was 'criminal'

    The knife-wielding man shot dead outside the US embassy in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, was a "loan criminal", police spokesman George Kinoti has said, Reuters news agency reports. 

    A Kenyan police officer shot him dead after he came under attack, he added.

    The motive for the attack in unclear and investigations are under way, Mr Kinoti said, Reuters reports. 

    See earlier posts for more details

  9. Lennon returned MBE over Britain's involvement in Biafra

    A letter to the Queen of England from British musician John Lennon explaining that he was returning his MBE award because of Britain's involvement in Nigeria's Biafra conflict has been valued at $73,000 (£60,000).

    The letter, believed to be a draft of the one that was actually sent in 1969, was discovered in an old record sleeve.

    Lennon was one of the four members of The Beatles, who all received the MBE in 1965.

    The letter reads: "I am returning this MBE in protest against Britain's involvement in the Nigeria-Biafra thing, against our support of America in Vietnam and against Cold Turkey slipping down the charts."  

    Talking to the press in 1969 Lennon was more specific:

    View more on youtube

    He said the return of the MBE was:

    Quote Message: A protest against violence and war especially Britain's involvement in Biafra, which most of the British public aren't aware of because all the press, TV and radios slant all the news from Biafra. And all this stuff I learnt from journalists off the cuff folks is a different story and I began to be ashamed of being British."

    From 1967 the British government gave support to the Nigerian government in its fight against the Biafran separatist rebels.

    It's thought that a million Biafrans died during the conflict from 1967 to 1970 mostly from starvation.

  10. Man killed outside US Nairobi embassy was 'Kenyan'

    The man shot dead outside the US embassy in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, was a Kenyan, local police chief Vitalis Otieno is quoted by the Associated Press news agency reports.

    Police knew the identity of the man and he came from the north-eastern Wajir region, Mr Otieno said, AP reports.

     The embassy is in Nairobi's upmarket Gigiri suburb, opposite the main UN complex. 

  11. Kenyan paramilitary officer in shooting near US embassy

    A member of Kenya's paramilitary General Services Unit (GSU) shot dead a man near the US embassy in the capital, Narrobi, after he came under attack, local police chief Vitalis Otieno has said, AFP news agency is reporting. 

    He added that the GSU officer, who was guarding the embassy, had sustained stab wounds. 

    Mr Otieno said the dead man had been walking towards the embassy and was close to the entrance to the visa section when he attempted to grab a gun from one of the officers, AFP reports.

    One local newspaper is sharing a picture from the scene that some may find upsetting:

    View more on twitter
  12. US embassy in Nairobi confirms shooting

    The US embassy in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, has tweeted about the shooting near its building:

    View more on twitter

    Journalists are reporting that someone was shot dead.

  13. 'Stabbing and shooting' at US embassy in Kenya

    The man shot dead outside the US embassy in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, had stabbed an officer, forcing police to open fire, police are quoted by AFP news agency as saying. 

    See earlier post for more details

  14. Man shot dead outside US embassy in Kenya

    A man has been shot dead outside the US embassy in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, following a "confrontation" with officers guarding the building, AFP news agency is quoting policce as saying.

    Heavily armed policemen have been deployed to the scene and part of the road has been sealed off, Kenya's privately owned Capital News reports on its site

    It quotes its reporter Joseph Muraya as saying that a man with a bullet wound to the head is lying outside the entrance of the embassy's visa section. 

    We will bring you more details as they come in.

  15. Baking behind bars: Senegal second chance for inmates

    The Baker will provide bread for inmates
    Image caption: Inmates in the Liberty 6 prison in Dakar will be baking their own fresh bread

    Officials in Senegal have inaugurated a bakery in a prison to provide inmates with fresh bread and the opportunity of a future career in baking, BBC Afrique reports.

    The facility in the Liberte 6 prison in Dakar, the capital, is branded as the Rehabilitation Bakery and is meant to help prisoners return to a normal life at the end of their sentence

    One prisoner hailed the initiative, telling BBC Afrique: 

    Quote Message: I have been a baker since a tender age. I did that job for 15 years. I am here in prison out of bad luck. With this bakery, I can do my job again; even from behind bars."
  16. Pope 'accepts invitation to South Sudan'

    South Sudanese religious leaders are saying that Pope Francis has accepted an invitation to visit their country to preach peace, the Reuters news agency is reporting.

    Along with Catholic leaders, Rev Peter Gai Lual Marrow from South Sudan's Presbyterian Church held talks with the Pope and told Reuters that "in principle he really wants to come".

    It adds that Pope Francis now needs a formal invitation from the government.

    South Sudan has been embroiled in a civil war since December 2013, which has killed thousands of people and displaced hundreds of thousands of others.

    Lat year's peace deal fell apart after clashes between rival factions in the capital, Juba, in July.

    Pope Francis addresses Kenyan youth at Kasarani stadium in Nairobi on November 27, 2015
    Image caption: Pope Francis visited Uganda, Kenya and the Central African Republic last year
  17. Plus-size models strut their stuff on Lagos catwalk

    Stephanie Hegarty

    BBC Africa, Lagos

    Lagos Fashion & Design Week is in town and has set up shop in a long, dark, ice-cool tunnel on the ever-chic Victoria Island. The buzz last night was as palpable as the long line of traffic queuing up to get inside.

    Like any good fashion week they made the fashion gang wait and like any good event in Lagos the wait wasn’t brief. 

    Three hours after kick-off the crowd was flagging but they perked up pretty quickly as the music blasted and beautiful elk-like beings began stalking the catwalk. 

    They murmured in approval to sheer dresses, draping collars and plunging necklines that would be as at home in London as in Lagos, considering them studiously.

    But then the crowd broke out in wild shrieks as soon as plus-size models hit the catwalk. 

    Three designers had dressed them, in association with website #AboutThatCurvyLife, and the crowd loved it. 

    They hurled whoops of encouragement at the models. But these ladies didn’t need it. They stormed down the catwalk flaunting not only the clothes but the curves beneath them.

    Plus-size models on the catwalk in Lagos
    Plus-size models in Lagos

    Designer Aisha Abubakar Achonu told the AFP news agency:

    Quote Message: Our culture appreciates plus size more than other parts of the world... No woman should be subjected to looking a certain way."

    The show was inspired by Latasha Ngwube, a former journalist who became tired of seeing skinny girls on the Lagos catwalk. 

    It started with a hashtag and now she runs a website that supports and encourages plus-size women - and men too.   

  18. New Ghana law to ensure swift transfer of power

    Outgoing ministers in Ghana could be forcibly evicted from their official residences if they fail to move out in time, under new laws.

    Ministers and other government officials are being given a three-month deadline to hand over state-owned homes and vehicles, from the date of the new president's inauguration.

    The law targets presidential appointees who try to cling on to the perks of office after a new leader is elected.

    Ghana is due told presidential and parliamentary elections on 7 December.

    After previous transfers of power, some officials have had to be forcibly evicted and had their state-owned vehicles seized after failing to hand them back.

    The law does not apply to presidents and vice-presidents as we earlier reported.

     Ghana's current leader John Mahama is standing for re-election and his main opponent is Nana Akufo-Addo. The winner is expected to be inaugurated on 7 January.  

    Supporter of Ghana's opposition party
    Image caption: Supporters of Ghana's opposition are hoping the victory of their man in December will force top politicians to move out of their official homes
  19. Senegalese cleric escapes jail despite guilty verdict

    A Muslim cleric in Senegal has escaped a custodial sentence after being found guilty in connection with posting a video on Facebook which condemned elders of the powerful Mouride sect. 

    Cheikh Mbacke Sakho was given a six-month suspended sentence for what prosecutors called an "insult against a whole community, through electronic means”.

    The Mouride sect, which belongs to the Sufi branch of Islam, has a huge following in Senegal, giving it political and economic clout in the mostly Muslim country. 

    Mr Sakho belongs to the sect, and the AFP news agency reports that he caused anger last month when he alleged in a video that Mouride elders "swindled" their followers, and took money from Muslims to advance their business interests.   

    The leaders of the Mouride community denied the allegations and warned that his comments could cause public unrest. 

    Those who defended him, mostly online and anonymously, said Mr Sakho had only exercised his right to freedom of speech. 

    Mr Sakho was not in court in the capital, Dakar, when the sentence was given.  His lawyer said he feared being physically attacked.

    A street vendor sells images of local Mourides religious leaders, including the founder of the brotherhood Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba Macke, near the grand mosque in Touba
    Image caption: The sect has its headquarters in Senegal's Touba city

    Read: Islam's mystical entrepreneurs

    In pictures: Senegal's Mouride Islamic sect

  20. Chad plans move to become federal state

    Chad president, Idriss Deby
    Image caption: Under the proposed changes President Idriss Deby would govern a federal state

    Chad could become a federal state if proposed constitutional reforms are introduced, BBC Afrique reports.

    Chad is currently a unitary state, but President Idriss Deby ordered a commission to move quickly towards implementing reforms that will introduce a new form of government.

    A coalition of political parties under the leadership of Chad's veteran opposition leader Ngarledji Yorongar has long been vocal in demanding a federal system. 

    He has argued that Chad, which is a geographically vast country, cannot be governed from the capital, N'Djamena, alone.

    But the commission in charge of pushing through the reforms has not given a role to any known opposition figure.

    The reforms will re-introduce presidential term limits which were removed by Mr Deby in a previous constitutional amendment.