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Live Reporting

Lucy Fleming and Clare Spencer

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 BBC Africa Live today. Keep up-to-date with what's happening across the continent by listening to the Africa Today podcast or check the BBC News website.

    A reminder of today's wise words:

    Quote Message: Big fish are caught with big fish hooks." from An Ijaw proverb sent by Azuka Omonuwe in Lagos, Nigeria
    An Ijaw proverb sent by Azuka Omonuwe in Lagos, Nigeria

    Click here to send us your African proverbs.

    And we leave you with this picture from Agadez in Niger:

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  2. Protests in Niger over tax hikes

    Ishaq Khalid

    BBC Africa

    Niger protest

    Thousands of people have been protesting on the streets across Niger against proposed tax increases.

    The 2018 budget introduces housing and inheritance taxes.

    Prices of water and electricity will also be increased and commercial activities will be taxed more.

    The government says it is facing financial difficulties and needs more money to carry out developmental projects.

    The parliament has already approved the budget.

    But some of the protesters in Zinder, the country's second largest city, told the BBC that the proposed taxes would make life more difficult for most people and called on the authorities to rescind their decisions.

    The protests have been generally peaceful across the country. However, the authorities have banned the march in the capital, Niamey, citing security concerns.

    In October, protesters clashed with security forces there during similar demonstrations.

    Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world though it has huge uranium deposits.

    Image caption: Some were protesting on scooters
  3. France finishes Rwanda genocide inquiry

    Mary Harper

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    Skulls displayed inside the Ntarama Catholic Church genocide memorial in Nyamata, Rwanda
    Image caption: Some 800,000 people - mostly Tutsis - were killed in 100 days in 1994

    French judges have completed an investigation into a missile attack that triggered the genocide in Rwanda in 1994.

    The prosecutor's office will now decide whether to take the case to trial.

    The judges accused members of a militia headed by current Rwandan President Paul Kagame of shooting down a plane carrying Rwanda's former head of state, Juvenal Habyarimana.

    Rwanda accuses France of colluding in the genocide.

    The investigation has led to tension between the two countries, with Rwanda severing diplomatic ties with France in 2006.

    They were restored three years later.

    Read more: How Rwanda's genocide happened

  4. Trump imposes sanctions on Jammeh

    Yahya Jammeh
    Image caption: Yahya Jammeh was one of the world's most eccentric and ruthless leaders

    The US has sanctioned former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh, who is accused of looting at least $50m (£37m) of state funds before leaving office last January.

    He only agreed to leave power after losing elections following pressure from West African mediators who sent troops in the country to force his hand.

    He is now living in exile in Equatorial Guinea.

    A US Treasury statement said that during his 22 years in power he had a “history of engaging in serious human rights abuses and corruption”.

    Quote Message: Jammeh created a terror and assassination squad called the Junglers that answered directly to him. Jammeh used the Junglers to threaten, terrorise, interrogate, and kill individuals whom Jammeh assessed to be threats.
    Quote Message: During his tenure, Jammeh used a number of corrupt schemes to plunder The Gambia’s state coffers or otherwise siphon off state funds for his personal gain. Ongoing investigations continue to reveal Jammeh’s large-scale theft from state coffers prior to his departure.”

    Mr Jammeh is among a host of world figures blacklisted by the President Donald Trump’s administration, including a business associate of Congolese President Joseph Kabila and an aide to South Sudan’s leader Salva Kiir.

    Those targeted with links to Africa are:

    • Dan Gertler – an Israeli businessman accused of amassing his fortune through corrupt mining and oil deals in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
    Quote Message: Gertler has used his close friendship with DR Congo President Joseph Kabila to act as a middleman for mining asset sales… As a result, between 2010 and 2012 alone, the DRC reportedly lost over $1.36bn in revenues from the underpricing of mining assets that were sold to offshore companies linked to Gertler.”
    • Slobodan Tesic – a Balkan arms dealer who violated UN sanctions against arms exports to Liberia.
    Quote Message: In order to secure arms contracts with various countries, Tesic would directly or indirectly provide bribes and financial assistance to officials… took potential clients on high-value vacations, paid for their children’s education at Western schools or universities, and used large bribes to secure contracts.”
    • Benjamin Bol Mel – head of a construction firm AMBC, financial adviser and aide to South Sudan’s president and chairman of the country’s chamber of commerce accused of using his political position to make money.
    Quote Message: ABMC allegedly received preferential treatment from high-level officials, and the government of South Sudan did not hold a competitive process for selecting ABMC to do roadwork on several roads in Juba and throughout South Sudan. Although this roadwork had been completed only a few years before, the government budgeted tens of millions of dollars more for maintenance of the same roads.”
    • Yankuba Badjie - former head of Gambia’s feared National Intelligence Agency (NIA) who is accused of overseeing abuses. He was arrested after Mr Jammeh went into exile.
    Quote Message: In April 2016, Badjie oversaw the detention and murder of Solo Sandeng, a member of the political opposition. In February 2017, Badjie was charged along with eight subordinates with Sandeng’s murder. Prior to becoming a member of the NIA’s senior leadership, Badjie led a paramilitary group known as the Junglers to the NIA’s headquarters to beat a prisoner for approximately three hours, leaving the prisoner unconscious and with broken hands. The following day, Badjie and the Junglers returned to beat the prisoner again, leaving him on the verge of death.”

    US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin explained the new policy, saying the US wanted to take "a strong stand against human rights abuse and corruption globally by shutting these bad actors out of the US financial system.

    "Treasury is freezing their assets and publicly denouncing the egregious acts they’ve committed, sending a message that there is a steep price to pay for their misdeeds.”

  5. Ghana MP 'apologises for brawl'

    Nana Akufo-Addo
    Image caption: People were allegedly asked to pay $100,000 to sit next to President Nana Akufo-Addo

    An MP who started what has been described as a brawl in parliament has apologised to Ghanaians on radio, reports Ghana's Pulse radio.

    It all started with an allegation that businessmen were asked to pay between $25,000 (£19,000) and $100,000 to sit next to Ghana's president at an awards ceremony.

    Minority Chief Whip Muntaka Mubarak accused Deputy Trade and Industry Minister Carlos Ahenkorah of asking for the money.

    He denied taking the money, saying in a statement that he was just facilitating the payment for an event organiser, reports CitiFM.

    According to the Starr FM, the organiser, Millennium Excellence Foundation, said it had just been fundraising.

    Things really started to heat up yesterday when it was brought up in parliament.

    This time another MP, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, raised the topic, but he was forced to flee the house after the deputy trade minister reportedly shouted him down.

    Mr Mubarak is now asking for a full investigation, CitiFM adds.

  6. Woman sentenced to 18 years for $5.6m theft

    Jose Tembe

    BBC Africa, Maputo

    A Mozambican official has been sentenced to 18 years in prison for her part in stealing state funds worth $5.6m (£4.2m).

    Setina Titosse, the former chairperson of the government’s Agricultural Development Fund (FDA), was charged with corruption, embezzlement, money-laundering, abuse of her office and membership of a criminal association.

    Judge Alexandre Samuel, of the Maputo City Court, also sentenced 20 others in the case to between 12 years and 18 months.

    Two others were acquitted.

    Defence lawyers described the sentences as unfair and said they would appeal.

    This means all the accused remain at liberty until the appeal procedure runs its course.

  7. ANC aims to decriminalise sex work

    Prostitute in South Africa
    Image caption: Sexual violence has been a hot topic in South Africa this year

    South Africa's governing African National Congress (ANC) party has announced that it wants to decriminalise sex work.

    The policy was unveiled at a late media briefing on Wednesday - the last day of the ANC conference, reports News24.

    The decriminalisation of sex work means the removal of criminal penalties for sex workers, news site EWN explains.

    Reaction on Twitter has been mixed:

    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
  8. Tanzania's wheelchair tennis ace

    Tulanana Bohela

    BBC Africa, Dar es Salaam

    Juma Mohammed Hamisi lost his leg in a bus accident - and at the time he thought he had lost all hope of having a successful future.

    But now he has found purpose in playing for Tanzania’s junior wheelchair tennis national team.

    The team is ranked number one in East Africa and qualified for the wheelchair Tennis World Cup in Italy, but didn't go as the team members couldn't afford the visas.

    Video content

    Video caption: He lost his leg in a bus accident but now he plays for his country.
  9. Cameroon journalist's terror sentence quashed

    A military court in Cameroon has quashed the 10-year prison sentence for a journalist who was arrested in 2015 while researching militant Islamist group Boko Haram

    Radio France International journalist Ahmed Abba was originally charged with non-denunciation of terrorism and laundering of the proceeds of terrorist acts, says Amnesty International.

    The rights organisation says he was tortured in a facility run by Cameroonian secret services.

    Abba's sentence was reduced at the appeal court to 24 months, which he has already served.

    RFI Hausa has tweeted a picture of Abba:

    View more on twitter

    His lawyer Charles Tchoungang told RFI that he hopes Abba will be released in time for the holidays.

  10. Children still in custody after Kenyan madrassa raid

    Wanyama wa Chebusiri

    BBC Africa

    Image caption: Madrassas teach Muslim children how to recite the Koran

    At least 30 schoolchildren in Kenya are still under police guard a day after being taken into protective custody during a security raid at an Islamic school.

    Four teachers and almost 100 children were taken into custody in the raid on Al Falan school Likoni town, on the coast. See yesterday’s report.

    Local media are describing the raid as a counter-terrorism operation involving detectives from Kenya, the US and the UK.

    A source told the BBC that one of the children was from the UK.

    The Star newspaper reported that the children, some as young as five, came from places as far afield as the US, UK, and Canada, as well as countries across Africa.

    A police source, who did not want to be named, told news agency Reuters yesterday that the school was a “centre for indoctrinating young men and children with militant ideology” which had been under surveillance for some time.

  11. Monkeypox in Nigeria spreads to 23 states

    Ishaq Khalid

    BBC Africa, Abuja

    Hands of a monkeypox patient - archive - NB single use only
    Image caption: Symptoms of monkeypox include aches, fever and blisters

    Monkeypox has now spread across 23 of Nigeria’s 36 states, the country's health authorities say.

    The outbreak, which began in September, has infected 61 people and one person has died.

    But the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control said the number of new cases was now declining.

    An awareness campaign - including warning people against eating monkeys and bushmeat - and surveillance measures were in place, it said.

    Monkeypox is a rare smallpox-like disease, which is not usually fatal to humans.

    The virus is transmitted to humans by monkeys, rats and other wild animals, and causes blisters, aches and fever.

    Humans can also spread it among themselves.

  12. Ethiopian MPs' boycott over ethnic unrest

    Mary Harper

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn
    Image caption: The MPs want an explanation from Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn

    MPs from Ethiopia's Amhara and Oromia regions have boycotted parliament.

    They say there is no point in parliament meeting until Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn gives an explanation for ongoing ethnic unrest in the country.

    The Amharas and Oromos have been protesting against what they say is political and economic marginalisation.

    There have also been months of deadly clashes between the Oromos and the Somalis, with more than 60 people killed last week.

    On Wednesday, the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front coalition blamed weaknesses in its executive for the ongoing trouble.

  13. Senegal burns tonnes of cannabis

    Police officer burning cannabis in the

    Drug law enforcers in Senegal invited the press to watch 4.5 tonnes of cannabis being burnt today.

    One question immediately comes to mind - did the observers inhale the smoke and get stoned themselves?

    The BBC's Mamadou Ba, who took these pictures in the Mamelles neighbourhood of the capital, Dakar, did watch the proceedings for a while - but left specifically because he did not want to get high.

    Burning cannabis in Dakar, Senegal

    The cannabis, which is illegal in Senegal, was confiscated along with small amounts of cocaine and heroin.

    All over the world, including New Zealand and Indonesia, police have made the curious decision to destroy the marijuana by burning it.

    The idea of holding a press conference to burn cannabis has long been the butt of jokes - including this scene in the British comedy Drop the Dead Donkey where the reporter gets increasingly high while making a TV dispatch.

  14. Somali army not ready to fight, says AU

    Tomi Oladipo

    BBC Africa security correspondent

    A Somali soldier

    Somalia army is not ready to take over security operations - even though African Union (AU) troops have already begun withdrawing from the country, the head of the AU mission has said.

    Some Somali forces end up working for private security companies, while those who remain in the army lack weapons and other essentials, Francisco Madeira said today at a briefing in neighbouring Kenya.

    There was also poor co-ordination among the different countries training Somali troops, he added.

    The European Union, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and several others have programmes training Somali forces.

    One thousand AU troops have already left Somalia this month, and more will go next year.

    African Union forces in Somalia - archive shot
    Image caption: The AU forces have helped to regain territory from al-Shabab militants

    They have been fighting the Islamist group al-Shabab, which is linked to al-Qaeda, and controls much of the country.

    The AU mission also suffers from limited funding and equipment and there are fears that its withdrawal could reverse the gains it has made so far against the militants, who have been ousted from major cities and towns over the last few years.

  15. Ramaphosa's careful ANC tightrope


    Lebo Diseko

    BBC News, Johannesburg

    Cyril Ramaphosa
    Image caption: Cyril Ramaphosa was elected on Monday to succeed President Jacob Zuma as party leader.

    It was a long wait to hear Cyril Ramaphosa's first speech as leader of South Africa's governing African National Congress (ANC) - it had been scheduled for Wednesday morning.

    When he finally made it at around midnight, he congratulated his party on having emerged from conference "united".

    He pledged to fight corruption and pursue a policy of "radical economic transformation".

    But there are many who point to issues like the alleged disappearance of 68 votes, cast for the powerful position of secretary-general, and argue that splits in the party could well deepen.

    Mr Ramaphosa's choice of words on the land issue was interesting.

    They reflect the careful tightrope the ANC is trying to walk: Addressing the concerns of the majority black population, whilst trying to assuage the business community and allay comparisons to its neighbour Zimbabwe.

    His condemnation of corruption in government and so-called state capture was expected. What was not was his swipe at corporate corruption, and thinly veiled reference to the recent Steinhoff scandal.

    Again this is indicative of the delicate balance Mr Ramaphosa is trying to achieve.

    He wants to let investors know he is serious about correcting the issues of the recent past, and convince black voters that he will equally address the mistakes of white-owned businesses.

    Read the BBC News story for more.

  16. SA queues to meet Zimbabwe's new president

    Queues of people are lining up in South Africa's capital, Pretoria, to meet Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa - on a visit to woo back investors and revive his country's ailing economy (see earlier post).

    The Twitter account that monitors Zimbabwe's media has tweeted some photos of the crowds:

    View more on twitter
  17. Uganda opposition to challenge age limit law

    Patience Atuhaire

    BBC Africa, Kampala

    Yoweri Museveni
    Image caption: President Yoweri Museveni has led Uganda for more than 30 years

    Uganda's parliamentary opposition leader Winne Kiiza says she will challenge the age limit law passed last night.

    MPs approved a constitutional change which would remove the age limit of 75 for presidential candidates.

    The change allows the current president, 73-year-old Yoweri Museveni, to run for an unprecedented sixth term in office.

    Ms Kiiza did not specify how exactly the opposition would challenge the decision, although she hinted at a possibility of going to court.

    Her objections included:

    • The process and constitutional amendment being proposed by a private member of parliament
    • The invasion of the house by security personnel in September
    • The speaker allowing MPs to continue coming in after the voting process had started yesterday.

    MP Mbwaketamwa Gaffa is one of 19 MPs who chose to vote against the law. He explained his complaints to me:

    Quote Message: What we (MPs) did yesterday is real raping the constitution in favour of one person; President Museveni. Ugandans are so bitter. When the president ascents to the bill, it might be legal, but it will be illegitimate, and we are going to challenge it."
  18. Nigerian footballer quits China for Europe

    Nigeria international striker Anthony Ujah playing for Werder Bremen in Germany in 2016
    Image caption: Anthony Ujah has played for Bundesliga teams in the past, including Mainz

    German side Mainz have signed Nigeria international striker Anthony Ujah from Chinese club Liaoning FC.

    He joins the Bundesliga side, who he has played for in the past, for an undisclosed fee and signs a three-and-a-half-year deal until summer 2021.

    Some wonder whether this indicates a pattern among footballers.

    Back in 2012 journalist Stephen Fottrell wrote that more and more African players were moving from Europe to China.

    But BBC Sport's Oluwashina Okeleji points out that Ujah's move hints at a reverse trend:

    View more on twitter

    Ivorian striker Didier Drogba went to Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua in 2012 left in 2013 for Turkish club Galatasaray.

    More recently, this August Gabonese striker Malick Evouna left Chinese side Tianjin Teda to join Turkish club Konyaspor.

    Our correspondent has more examples: Seydou Keita, Peter Utaka and Gaël Kakuta to name a few.

    Read more on BBC Sport.

  19. Zimbabwe's 'crocodile' to woo SA investors

    Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa has left for South Africa on his first foreign trip since taking office following Robert Mugabe’s resignation amid an army takeover last month.

    The state-run Herald newspaper has tweeted a picture of him bidding farewell to Environment Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, who will be acting president in his absence.

    View more on twitter

    Known as "the crocodile" because of his political cunning, Mr Mnangagwa is expected to be meet business people keen on investing in Zimbabwe on his trip.

    He has made reviving the economy his number priority.

    Under President Mugabe's rule, the Herald says Zimbabwe’s indigenisation laws were seen as a barrier by some investors as they require that an investment of more than $500,000 have at least 51% local black ownership.

    But Mr Mnangagwa's government has announced plans to amend this requirement, restricting it to only diamond and platinum mining.

    Also more than three million Zimbabweans are estimated to live outside the country - many in South Africa - having fled the dire economic conditions over the past two decades.

    Analysts say the new president will want to encourage this diaspora to come back home and invest too.

    Read more: Five ways to revive Zimbabwe's economy

  20. Somali government critic 'freed without charge'

    Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed
    Image caption: Abdirahman Abdishakur Warsame is a critic of President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed (pictured)

    Somali security forces have released without charge a critic of the government who spent two days in jail after being arrested for alleged treason, Reuters news agency reports.

    Abdirahman Abdishakur Warsame was arrested on Monday after a deadly raid on his home in which five of his guards were killed.

    Reuters says that after the arrest Somalia's Attorney General Ahmed Ali Dahir described Mr Abdishakur's house as a hub for the opposition and a gathering point for people "who want to collapse the government".

    But Mr Abdishakur accused the attorney general of waging “an unconstitutional war on Somali MPs and parliament”.

    Mr Abdishakur was unsuccessful in his bid for the presidency in February which was won by Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, who is also known as "Farmajo".