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Live Reporting

By Dickens Olewe, Lamine Konkobo and Farouk Chothia

All times stated are UK

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  1. 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:

    Quote Message: When the snake is in the house, one does not need to discuss the matter at length." from Sent by Fombah J. Dullehson, Barkedu, Liberia
    Sent by Fombah J. Dullehson, Barkedu, Liberia

    Click here to send your African proverbs.

    And we leave you with this photo of two donkeys in Niger having a good cuddle:

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  2. Nigerian ex-governor James Ibori released from UK jail

    Mark Easton

    Home editor

    James Ibori was jailed for 13 years in 2012 for money-laundering offences

    Convicted fraudster and former Nigerian state governor James Ibori has been released, despite attempts by the UK government to detain him in prison.

    He was due for release on Tuesday, having agreed to be deported after serving half of his 13-year sentence.

    But it has now emerged that UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd did not intend to deport Ibori to Nigeria until he handed over $22m ( £18m)  of "proceeds of crime".

    A High Court judge said attempts to detain the ex-governor of Nigeria's oil-rich Delta State  were "quite extraordinary".

    Ordering Ibori to be immediately freed from prison, Mrs Justice May said: "You don't hold someone just because it is convenient to do so and without plans to deport them."

    A Home Office application that Ibori be electronically tagged and subject to strict curfew conditions was also rejected after the judge accepted arguments that the home secretary was attempting to misuse her immigration and deportation powers.

    Ibori, a former London DIY store cashier, was jailed for fraud totalling nearly £50m in April 2012.

    He evaded capture in Nigeria after a mob of supporters attacked police but was arrested in Dubai in 2010 and extradited to the UK - where he was prosecuted based on evidence from the Metropolitan Police.

    Read the full story here

    Read how a thief almost became Nigerian president

  3. Congo-Brazzaville clashes 'leave 18 dead'

    At least 18 people have been killed after security forces and a militia group clashed in Congo-Brazzaville's north-western province of Mongala, the Reuters news agency reports. 

    The militia is said to be loyal to a local pastor who has links to sect based in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo. 

    Police were responding to an incident in which the pastor was accused of kidnapping several local residents, Reuters says. 

    A resident of the area, Michael Sakombi, told the agency that the conflict was not related to the clashes in DR Congo over President Joseph Kabila's term in office being extended to 2018 following the failure to hold elections. 

  4. No place to score in Zambia

    Mutuna Chanda

    BBC Africa, Lusaka

    Goalposts are a common feature at football fields in Zambia's public schools but they have been disappearing at an alarming rate - and scrap metal dealers are to blame. 

    The dealers steal the goalposts and sell them to recycling plants. 

    In an attempt to stop this crime, dealers are now required to provide a police permit as proof that the scrap metal is not a product of vandalism and has not been stolen. 

    In the meantime schools have switched to using mobile goalposts which they put up and take down with ease.   

    people playing football
  5. DR Congo arrests '275' during protests

    Policemen drive past burning debris during protests in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2016

    Security forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo arrested 275 people during the latest round of protests against President Joseph Kabila's rule, Reuters news agency quotes police as saying. 

    Of the 275, 159 had been released while 116 were still in detention, police spokesman Col Pierre Mwanamputu said. 

    DR Congo's security forces and protesters clashed in several cities - including the capital, Kinshasa - on Tuesday over Mr Kabila's failure to step down, despite his term expiring. 

    Col Mwanamputuat said 21 civilians and one police officer were killed during the protests, adding that said many civilians were either looting or were hit by stray bullets.

    But a woman working in DR Congo told BBC World Have Your Say that people were warned by police officials they may be killed if they protested against President Kabila:

    Video content

    Video caption: DR Congo protests: 'They said if you go out, you may not return'

      See earlier post for Pope's appeal

  6. Madikizela-Mandela 'in hospital'

    Africa National Congress stalwart Winnie Madikizela Mandela looks on as she is greeted by Women League supporters gathered in Soweto on September 26, 2016 to celebrate her 80th birthday
    Image caption: Ms Madikizela-Mandela celebrated her 80th birthday in September in Soweto

    South Africa's anti-apartheid stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, 80, has been rushed to a private hospital in the main city, Johannesburg, the national broadcaster reports

    The SABC quoted a family spokesperson as saying she was doing fine, but declined to say why she had been admitted to hospital. 

    South Africa's first black President Nelson Mandela divorced Ms Madikizela-Mandela in 1996, ending one of the most celebrated marriages in the country.   

  7. A war of words end with a Christmas card

    Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta seems to have ended a war of words with opposition politician Millie Odhiambo, who called him "extremely stupid" after a highly-charged discussion in parliament over changing aspects of the electoral law. 

    Mr Kenyatta's party is pushing for the manual counting of votes if the electronic system fails, a proposal the opposition says is a plan to rig next year's election. 

    The video of Ms Odhiambo's comments has been widely shared on social media: 

    View more on twitter

    Mr Kenyatta gave his initial response last night. At an event to usher in the festive season, he said "some idiots continue to insult me" but added that it was part of their freedom:

    View more on twitter

    Today his Twitter account shared a post making reference to "every market having a mad man". 

    View more on twitter

    A local media station has now shared a picture of a Christmas card from the president addressed to Ms Odhiambo:

    View more on twitter
  8. Nigeria to pay whistleblowers

    Nigeria's government has approved a policy that will see whistleblowers paid for exposing corruption, the local Premium Times newspaper reports

    Whistleblowers will be entitled to up to 5% of the recovered amount, it reports.

    Minister of Finance Kemi Adeosun said the new programme would encourage Nigerians with information about financial crimes to disclose it and it would help the government fight corruption.  

    Nigeria's Vanguard newspaper quotes her as saying that the government has taken steps to protect whistleblowers: 

    Quote Message: If you whistle-blow in public spirit and in good faith, you will be protected. If you feel that you have been treated badly because of your report, you can file a formal complaint. If you have suffered harassment, intimidation or victimisation for sharing your concerns, restitution will be made for any loss suffered.”
  9. Ethiopia releases detainees

    Emmanuel Igunza

    BBC Africa, Addis Ababa

    Nearly 10,00 people detained under the current state of emergency in Ethiopia were freed this morning,  deputy government spokesman Zadig Abraha has confirmed to the BBC. 

    On Saturday, the government said more than 24,000 people have been arrested since the state of emergency was declared three months ago and half that number still remain in custody without charge. 

    The government has dismissed reports by human rights and opposition groups that many of those arrested have been tortured at various camps and their families have been refused permission to see them. 

    A picture taken on December 15, 2015 shows Ethiopians from the Oromo group blocking a road in Ethiopia after protesters were shot dead by security forces in Wolenkomi, some 60km West of Addis Ababa.
    Image caption: People in Ethiopia's Oromia and Amhara regions have been demanding greater political freedom
  10. Almost fooled by fake rice in Nigeria

    Martin Patience

    BBC News, Lagos

     I went to see some of the 2.5 tonnes of fake rice confiscated by Nigeria's customs officials. 

    Whoever made it did an exceptionally good job - on first impression it would have fooled me.

    When I ran the grains through my fingers nothing felt out of the ordinary.

    Fake rice

    But when I smelt a handful of the "rice" there was a faint chemical odour. Customs officials say when they cooked up the rice it was too sticky - and it was then abundantly clear this was no ordinary batch.

    They've sent a sample to the laboratories to determine exactly what the "rice" is made of. 

    They are also warning the public not to consume the mystery foodstuff as it could be dangerous.

    Fake food scandals are thankfully rare in Nigeria when you compare it to countries such as China.

    The big scandal here is fake pharmaceutical drugs that kill a huge number of people every year.

     See earlier post for more details

  11. Mahama's last-minute appointments criticised

    Thomas Naadi

    BBC Africa, Accra

    ohn Mahama (C) arrives to cast his vote at a polling booth in the Bole district, northern region, on December 7, 2016
    Image caption: Mr Mahama failed to secure a second term in last month's election

    Ghana's President John Dramani Mahama has been criticised for making appointments to key public institutions less than three weeks before he hands over to  President-elect Nana Akufo-Addo. 

    Mr Mahama appointed the heads of the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and the National Commission on Civic Education. 

    CHRAJ has been without a permanent head for several months after the removal of the previous commissioner over allegations of corruption. 

    Philip Addison, a local lawyer, has filed a lawsuit seeking to prevent the president from making further appointments. 

    Mr Akufo-Addo's transition team has also issued a statement condemning Mr Mahama's move. . 

    In a statement, the team says that the incoming administration reserves the right to review the appointments. 

    Mr Mahama has also increased the allowances of national service personnel by 60% and the salaries of public sector workers by 12.5%. 

    In addition to this, the outgoing administration has signed an $18m (£14.5m) waste management contract. 

    These developments have generated mixed reactions in the country. 

    Some Ghanaians believe that government has acted legally, others think it’s a deliberate attempt to make the work of the incoming government difficult at a time when the economy is in crisis. 

  12. Jammeh's party disputes election results in court

    Umaru Fofana

    BBC Africa, Freetown

    Gambia's ruling APRC party has appeared before the Supreme Court to challenge the results of the 1 December election in which President Yahya Jammeh lost to opposition leader Adama Barrow.

    Chief Justice Emmanuel Fagbele adjourned the case because there were not enough judges to hear the case.

    He said a panel of judges had been appointed, since July, from Nigeria and Sierra Leone and the court would sit on 10 January to hear the case.

    "We are trying to maximize on time," he said, an apparent reference to the fact that the term of office of the current president ends on 18 January. 

    Mr Fagbele ordered for the electoral commission to be served immediately because it was not represented in court.

    Dozens of Mr Jammeh's supporters gathered outside the courthouse.  

    This development follows Mr Jammeh's warning that he would fight any attempt to remove him from power by force.

  13. Uganda MPs exempted from paying tax

    Uganda lawmakers will be exempted from paying taxes, according to a new law signed by President Yoweri Museveni, the state-owned newspaper New Vision has tweeted:

    View more on twitter
  14. Pope calls for Congolese to be 'artisans of peace'

    Image caption: DR Congo's capital has been a flashpoint of violence

    Pope Francis has appealed to the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo to be "artisans of peace" following deadly violence yesterday over President Joseph Kabila's failure to give up power, the AFP news agency reports. 

    In his weekly address at the Vatican, he said: 

    Quote Message: I renew my heartfelt appeal to all Congolese so that in this delicate moment of their history, may they be artisans of reconciliation and peace.
    Quote Message: May those who are in positions of political responsibility listen to the voice of their conscience, learn to see the cruel sufferings of their fellow citizens and have at heart the common good."

    The Catholic Church has been trying to mediate between the main opposition coalition and the government after presidential elections, which were supposed to have been held last month, were postponed to 2018. 

    At least 20 people were killed in clashes between security forces and protesters yesterday. 

    Mr Kabila, in office since 2001, is constitutionally barred from running for a third term. 

  15. 'Children die' in Nigeria bus crash

    Eleven children were killed and 17 others were seriously wounded when a bus ploughed into a Muslim procession marking the birthday of Prophet Muhammad in northern Nigeria, police have said, AFP news agency reports.

    Tuesday's accident, in Malam Sidi village in Gombe state, was caused by brake failure, resulting in the driver losing control, police spokesman Ahmed Usman added.

    An angry mob descended on the driver and beat him to death, Mr Usman told AFP 

    The victims were aged between 11 and 15, he said.

    Many Muslims in northern Nigeria celebrate the birthday of Prophet Muhammad with month-long religious gatherings and street processions.

  16. Jammeh: 'Justice must be done'

    Gambian president-elect Adama Barrow speaks during an interview in Banjul on December 12, 2016.
    Image caption: Mr Barrow is internationally recognised as president-elect

    The Gambia's long-serving ruler Yahya Jammeh has said that opposition leader Adama Barrow will not be inaugurated as president on 19 January, unless a court gives the go-ahead, AFP news agency reports. 

    Mr Jammeh has lodged an application in the Supreme Court to annul Mr Barrow's victory by four percentage points in the 1 December poll. 

    AFP quotes him as saying in a televised address: 

    Quote Message: Justice must be done and the only way justice can be done is to reorganise the election so that every Gambian votes. That's the only way we can resolve the matter peacefully and fairly."

    And the BBC has has done a graphic, with one of Mr Jammeh's other defiant quotes from last night:   

  17. Nigeria army dismisses video of soldiers begging for water

    A spokesman for the Nigeria military has dismissed as mischievous a video uploaded on YouTube yesterday, and widely-shared on social media, showing Nigerian soldiers begging for food and water. 

    The privately owned Daily Trust newspaper quoted a statement by Brigadier General Sani Kukasheka Usman as saying that the video was six months old. 

    The army unit had enough water supply but it had been concealed by one a soldiers who had since been "charged and punished", he added. 

    The video also shows several soldiers lying on the ground with their colleagues fanning them:

    View more on youtube

    Brig Usman said the video was shot by an army unit during an operation in north-eastern Borno state, which has been badly hit by militant Islamist group Boko Haram's insurgency. 

    He questioned the timing of the video's release: 

    Quote Message: It is disheartening that some mischievous elements have decided to circulate it now, creating the false impression that it is a recent occurrence"
  18. Hollande backs citizenship bid of African war veterans

    African veterans who fought alongside French soldiers, commonly known as the Senegalese tirailleurs
    Image caption: Most of the "Senegalese tirailleurs" are now elderly people in their eighties or nineties

    France's President Francois Hollande has pledged to support the campaign for citizenship by Africans who fought for France during the Second World War.  

    Mr Hollande's pledge comes in the wake of a petition initiated by the mayor of a small town in France, Aissatou Seck, who is of Senegalese origin. 

    President Hollande, after hosting Senegalese President Macky Sall in Paris, said: 

    Quote Message: I asked for clear instructions to be given so that they would be provided all possible assistance for being granted French citizenship.
    Quote Message: [But] it will be up to them to introduce their request and we intend to express our recognition."
    President Macky Sall of Senegal and Francois Hollande of France
    Image caption: The plight of the "Senegalese tirailleurs" has been an issue for successive presidents in Senegal

    Africans formed a colonial battalion within the French army and were recruited from the colonies France controlled at the time in West Africa. 

    For many years, there had been complaints that they were treated less favourably than their native French counterparts and that led to French officials boosting their pensions. 

    While most of the soldiers were sent back home after their discharge, Mrs Seck says that about 1,000 of them live in France, on about €700 (($730; £600) a month. 

    These veterans will qualify for citizenship, if Mr Hollande sticks to his promise. 

  19. Craft gin made entirely from African plants

    South Africa is experiencing an explosion in sales of craft gins, made exclusively from plants grown on the continent.  

    Watch the video here:

    Video content

    Video caption: Craft gin made entirely from African plants
  20. Ethiopia 'to free nearly 10,000 detainees'

    Mary Harper

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    Ethiopia says it's releasing nearly 10,000 people detained under the state of emergency imposed in October.

     Another 2,500 will be charged with crimes related to unrest. 

    The authorities say those released have been given special training to ensure they will no longer engage in "destructive behaviour". 

    Most of the detainees are from the regions of Oromia and Amhara, where there were months of protests against political and economic marginalisation. 

    The situation has been relatively calm since the state of emergency came into force. 

    Demonstrators hold up a placard reading 'Oromia shall be free - remove excessive military from Oromia' as members of the Oromo, Ogaden and Amhara community in South Africa demonstrate against the ongoing crackdown in the restive Oromo and Amhara region of Ethiopia on August 18, 2016 in Johannesburg
    Image caption: Ethiopians in the diaspora have constantly protested against the state of emergency

    Read: Ethiopia's secretive government