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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

  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: What you do not know how to cook finishes the firewood." from An Acholi proverb sent by Maryano Otto in Kampala, Uganda
    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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  2. Vigil for SA photographer kidnapped in Syria

    Pumza Fihlani

    BBC News, Johannesburg

    Shiraaz Mohamed
    Image caption: 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
    Child looking through a window of a makeshift house in Syria
  3. Afcon: Gabon hit back to deny Burkina Faso

    View more on twitter

    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

  4. '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.  

    Quote Message: 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".

  5. 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: 

    Video content

    Video caption: Afcon 2017: Five players to watch
  6. Why Biafrans 'support Donald Trump'

    Donald Trump
    Image caption: 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? 

  7. 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.

  8. 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:

    View more on twitter

    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.

  9. Mugabe death prophecy pastor - 'still not charged'

    Patrick Mugadza, right, arriving at court in Harare, Zimbabwe
    Image caption: 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.

  10. 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
    Image caption: 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?

  11. AU boss expresses 'concern' for Cameroon situation

    Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma
    Image caption: 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":

    Quote Message: 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.

  12. Aubameyang scores an equaliser for Gabon

    Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
    Image caption: 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:

    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
  13. Ugandan soldier shot in al-Shabab video

    An al-Shabab militant in somalia
    Image caption: 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.

  14. 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:

    View more on twitter

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

    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
  15. Arrests ahead of internet shutdown in Cameroon

    Protesters in Bamenda
    Image caption: 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: 

    View more on twitter
  16. Senegal 'sends troops to Gambian border'

    Senegalese troops during a training exercise 2016
    Image caption: 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.

  17. 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?

  18. Analysis: Is military action in The Gambia likely?

    Tomi Oladipo

    BBC Monitoring's Africa security correspondent

    Nigerian peacekeepers in Liberia in 2003
    Image caption: 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.

  19. 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
    Image caption: 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.

    Quote Message: 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. 

  20. 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:

    Video content

    Video caption: 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.

    Quote Message: 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.
    Quote Message: 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.
    Quote Message: 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."