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Summary

  1. Liberia election commission spokesman jailed for contempt
  2. Liberian court rejects bid to stop presidential run-off
  3. Togo the only African state to back US over Jerusalem move
  4. Ugandan military "attacks rebels bases in DR Congo"
  5. UN experts give horrific account of sexual abuses in South Sudan
  6. US lawmaker calls for probe into treatment of Somali deportees

Live Reporting

By Dickens Olewe and Farouk Chothia

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Scroll down for Friday's stories

We'll be back next year

That's all from BBC Africa Live for 2017. We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We'll be back after the festive break on 2 January so please join us then.

In the meantime, 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:

On the way to one's beloved, there are no hills."

A Kikuyu proverb sent by John Heho in Lenexa, Kansas

Click here to send us your African proverbs.

And we leave you with this photo of a diver dressed as Santa Claus feeding a stingray at an aquarium in South Africa's coastal city of Durban. It is one of our best photos from this week.

A diver dressed as Santa Claus feeds a stingray during a show on Tuesday at an aquarium in South Africa's coastal city of Durban
AFP

No paper for news in Mauritania

Mauritanians reading newspapers
gett
Private publications have not printed their copies for 10 days

Mauritania's press union has accused the government of deliberately using an ongoing paper shortage to lock out private newspapers and favour only state-run publications, news agency AFP reports.

The union says that privately-run publications have not been able to print their copies for 10 days.

A government-run printing press which handles two-thirds of private publications suspended printing because of a shortage of paper, AFP reports.

In August, rights group Reporters Without Borders said that journalists in Mauritania were arrested and questioned "to reinforce the government's control over the private press".

It was "impossible to criticise the state's actions without being called a political opponent", the group added.

Exporting Swaziland's hand-made candles

A Swaziland firm producing decorative hand-made candles is competing with mass-produced rivals from China, and shipping them all over the world.

The BBC's Africa Business Report visited Swazi Candles just outside the capital Mbabane, to find out more.

Exporting Swaziland's hand-made candles

What you need to know about Liberia's election

Liberia's Supreme Court has ruled that the second round of the country's presidential election will take place on 26 December, between ex-football star George Weah and Vice-President Joseph Boakai.

Here is what you need to know about the run-off.

Liberia election: What you need to know

Emirates 'lifts ban on Tunisian women'

BBC Monitoring

The world through its media

A picture taken on August 10, 2017, shows the logo of Emirates airline on their Dubai headquarters building.
AFP
Emirates is a popular airline

Dubai-based Emirates airline has retracted an earlier statement banning Tunisian women from its flights to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Tunisian media has quoted a statement by the company as saying.

Privately-owned Mosaique FM radio had originally posted on its website a copy of the statement it said had been distributed to Tunisian passengers, informing them that "with immediate effect all Tunisian Females Nationals are denied entry to the UAE".

This also applied to customers transferring in Dubai for onward flights, the statement said.

Mosaique FM reported a state of confusion at Carthage Airport in Tunis and subsequently posted videos of passengers expressing their frustration.

The "temporary" ban had been issued by the UAE government, the original statement said, and Emirates airlines was "required to strictly adhere" to it.

The only exception to this were Tunisian women holding a UAE resident visa or diplomatic passport, it added.

Israel disappointed with Ghana's UN vote

A picture taken on December 13, 2017, shows the Israeli and US flags placed on the roof of an Israeli settlement building in East Jerusalem and Jerusalem's Old City with the Dome of the Rock mosque in the centre
AFP
The US' recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital has caused global outrage

Israel's embassy in Ghana has expressed disappointment with the West African state's decision to back a UN resolution condemning the US's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, Accra-based citifmonline reports.

The statement said that Israel "regrets the vote" and "we hope such mistake will not be repeated by Ghana in subsequent motions."

An overwhelming 128 countries voted for the resolution that effectively called on US President Donald Trump's administration to withdraw its recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

See earlier post for more details

What awaits deportees in Somalia?

Analysis

Mary Harper

Africa editor, BBC World Service

Dozens of Somalis have been deported since US President Donald Trump came to power.

Official figures released last week show that 521 Somalis were deported from the US this year compared to 198 in 2016.

Many have serious criminal convictions and which makes them unwelcome in Somalia - a fate that may await the 92 Somalis who are currently in a detention centre in Florida after a botched deportation attempt (see earlier post).

Some have never set foot in the country as they were born in refugee camps. Others left when they were very young.

They are returning to a country that has been in a state of conflict for nearly 30 years. The authorities are battling drought and a decade-long Islamist insurgency.

They do not have the power or resources to cope with an influx of former criminals and other Somalis who have little or no experience of living in such a hostile environment.

Ghanaian Christians blast Jerusalem vote

Favour Nunoo

BBC Pidgin

Christians in Ghana have been condemning the country's decision to vote in favour of a resolution condemning the US for recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Some have taken to social media to express their anger, describing the vote as "shameful" and not expected of a "Christian nation":

View more on facebook
View more on twitter

Emmanuel Martey, a former moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, said Ghana's decision to vote against the US was a "mistake."

He added:

Other Ghanaians are worried that the vote might lead to the US cutting aid to the country, as the Trump's administration had warned.

Ghana’s population is predominantly Christian, but with a significant number of Muslims.

Do Ghanaian leaders know the history [of Israel]? Why do they want to deny a people their capital?”

Other Ghanaians are worried that the vote might lead to the US cutting aid to the country, as the Trump administration had warned.

Ghana’s population is predominantly Christian, but with a significant number of Muslims.

See earlier post for more details

Find out how your country voted

Transgender victory in Botswana

Tshepo Ricki Kgositau, a transgender campaigner, has fought a legal case over many years and has won the right to be recognised as a woman in Botswana.

She spoke to the BBC Newsday programme:

'I built a hydropower plant for my village'

People in John Mwafute's village used to call him a dreamer.

But that was before the Tanzanian built his village a hydropower plant that brings electricity to more than 250 households.

Watch his story:

Tanzanian innovator builds hydropower plant for village

'Forced to rape relatives' in South Sudan

Mary Harper

Africa editor, BBC World Service

UN human rights experts say they are deeply disturbed by what they describe as atrocities committed by all sides in the conflict in South Sudan.

Following a 12-day visit, they said the deprivation and range of sexual violence were hard to describe.

Young men said they were gang-raped or forced to rape relatives while family members looked on. Several soldiers raped a 60-year-old woman and left her for dead.

People had to eat leaves from trees because there was no food.

Women from more than forty South Sudanese women's organisations carry placards as march through the city to express the frustration and suffering that women and children face in Juba, South Sudan on 9 December 2017
AFP
About 1,000 people protested in South Sudan's capital, Juba, earlier this month to call for an end to conflict

The experts were told nearly everyone in South Sudan has a gun, resulting in an increase in deaths, which they described as a silent killing.

The catalogue of horror comes just a day after South Sudan's warring parties signed a ceasefire.

All previous deals to end the four years of fighting have disintegrated.

Can Cyril Ramaphosa foster economic recovery?

The election of South Africa's Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa as the leader of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) makes him a shoo-in as the next president in at least two years' time.

Analysts are now looking at the prospects for South Africa's economy with Mr Ramaphosa, a wealthy businessman, in charge of the country:

Can Cyril Ramaphosa foster economic recovery?

Ugandan army attacks 'ADF rebel group bases' in DR Congo

Catherine Byaruhanga

BBC Africa, Kampala

Uganda's military says it has carried out air strikes on the bases of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebel group in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In a statement, it said the attack was pre-emptive.

It added that security agencies had received intelligence that the rebel group was planning "to conduct hostile activities inside Uganda".

The ADF, which is originally from Uganda, is blamed for the 7 December attack in DR Congo's North Kivu province that killed 15 Tanzanian soldiers serving as UN peacekeepers.

At least 53 other peacekeepers were wounded in the attack.

Brig Richard Karemire told the privately-owned Daily Monitor newspaper that Ugandan soldiers did not enter DR Congo, and used attack planes and long-range weapons to target the rebels.

Several armed militias are fighting for control of DR Congo's mineral-rich lands in North Kivu and often clash with Congolese troops and UN peacekeepers.

Zuma to appeal order to set up judicial inquiry

BBC World Service

Tens of thousands of South Africans from various political and civil society groups march to the Union Buildings to protest against South African president and demand his resignation on April 7, 2017 in Pretoria
AFP
The Zuma and Gupta families deny allegations of corruption

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma has sought leave to appeal against a court ruling ordering him to set up a judicial inquiry into alleged influence-peddling in his government.

The High Court ruled earlier this month that he must set up the investigation within 30 days.

Last year, South Africa's public protector ordered an inquiry into the alleged inappropriate relationship between the powerful Gupta business family and Mr Zuma.

They deny any wrongdoing.

Mr Zuma was replaced earlier this week as head of the governing African National Congress by ex-trade unionist and business tycoon Cyril Ramaphosa, who has promised to tackle corruption.

Read: Will Zuma be ousted as president?

Kiir denies ties with sanctioned businessman

President Salva Kiir
Getty Images
President Salva Kiir has been in power since South Sudan's independence in 2011

The spokesman of South Sudan's President Salva Kiir has denied a report that a businessman sanctioned by the US was his adviser.

It was also "not true" that Benjamin Bol Mel had business ties with the president, Ateny Wek Ateny said.

He said that Mr Mel was "not an adviser to the president and he should be treated as an individual, adding that the information used to blacklist South Sudan officials was "misleading".

The US placed Mr Mel under sanctions on Thursday, along with The Gambia's ex-ruler Yahya Jammeh.

The US was "taking a strong stand against human rights abuse and corruption globally by shutting these bad actors out of the US financial system", Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in the statement.

The US embassy in South Sudan said on Friday that Mr Mel exploited his connections with Mr Kiir "to regularly engage in large scale government contracts worth millions of dollars for construction work that was not completed".

Liberia election spokesman jailed for contempt

Jonathan Paye-Layleh

BBC Africa, Monrovia

A police officer stands guard at the Supreme Court in Monrovia on November 3, 2017.
AFP
The Supreme Court has ruled that Tuesday's poll should go ahead

Liberia's electoral commission spokesman has spent his first night in jail for being in contempt of court.

Henry Boyd Flomo was taken to a prison in the capital, Monrovia, on Thursday evening after the Supreme Court sentenced him to two days in prison and fined him $500 (£375).

This means that the commission is currently without a spokesman for Tuesday's presidential run-off election.

“I am here and okay,” Mr Flomo, a former sports writer, told me from prison this morning.

He said his biggest relief was that the court - the highest court in Liberia - gave the go ahead for the election, rejecting an application by the governing party to postpone it.

Dressed in a grey suit, Mr Flomo was in court when he was sentenced.

Last week, the Supreme Court said the commission should clean up the voters roll by removing names that appeared more than once.

A day later, Mr Flomo told state radio that the roll had already been cleaned up - a comment that led to the Supreme Court finding that he had acted in contempt.

See earlier post for more details

US thanks states backing Jerusalem move

The US ambassador to the UN has thanked countries that either abstained or voted against a UN General Assembly resolution effectively calling on President Donald Trump's administration to withdraw its recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Nikki Hailey tweeted a list of 66 countries, saying the US apperecaited the fact that they were "not falling to the irresponsible ways" of the global body.

View more on twitter

Togo is the only African country that voted against the resolution, while nearly 40 voted for it and eight abstained, according to a list published by Quartz magazine.

Botswana, which backed the resolution, put out a strongly worded statement ahead of the vote, saying it would not be "intimidated" by the US.

See earlier post for more details

Call for US probe over 'shackled' Somali deportees

A US congressman has called for an investigation into the alleged mistreatment of 92 Somalis during a botched deportation.

Keith Ellison, who represents a district in Minnesota state that has the largest Somali-American community, said in a statement that immigration agents shackled the detainees, and withheld food, medicine and sanitation.

Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) reports that the the flight carrying the detainees left the US on 7 December but never made it to Somalia and returned to Miami the following day.

It adds that the flight allegedly took 40 hours, including a 23-hour stopover in Senegal's capital, Dakar.

View more on twitter

The report, quoting a lawsuit filed by the detainees' lawyers, says that the 92 deportees remained bound, their handcuffs secured to their waists, and their feet shackled together for 48 hours.

Mr Ellison called on the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency to respond to a series of questions within 48 hours, including why the plane returned to the US.

ICE said the flight returned to the US because it was "unable to get sufficient crew rest due to issues with their hotel in Dakar", MPR reports.

The agency also denied allegations of abuse, and said that no one was injured during the flight.

It said that the 92 detainees were restrained for the safety of those on board.

It added that 61 of them had criminal convictions, including, homicide, rape and aggravated assault.

Lawyers for the detainees have secured a court order, preventing their deportation until 8 January.

The judge directed that the group, being held in a detention centre in Florida state, be given "adequate medical treatment for any injuries they have sustained," MPR news reports.

Go-ahead for Liberia Boxing Day vote

Jonathan Paye-Layleh

BBC Africa, Monrovia

Liberia's Supreme Court has thrown out a request by the governing Unity Party to halt the 26 December presidential run-off election between ex-football star George Weah and Vice-President Joseph Boakai.

The party asked for a delay, arguing that the electoral commission had failed to implement an earlier order of the court to clean up the voters roll of irregularities such as the names of people appearing multiple times.

The court ruled that the commission acted within the law to set a date for the run-off, and the commission should abide by its earlier ruling to clean up the roll and post it at polling stations before Tuesday's vote.

One judge dissented, saying the Unity Party's petition should be upheld because the voters roll had not yet been sorted out.

The run-off was called after Mr Weah beat Mr Boakai in the first round in October, but failed to secure an outright majority.

Joseph Nyuma Boakai, Liberia's vice president and presidential candidate of Unity Party (UP), is seen at a polling station in Monrovia, Liberia, October 10, 2017.
Reuters
Joseph Boakai obtained the second-highest number of votes in the first round

The candidate who came third, Charles Brumskine, said the poll was marred by fraud, but failed in a court bid to order a new election which all candidates could contest.

Read: Election commission spokesman jailed

Togo votes with US over Jerusalem move

US President Donald J Trump speaks briefly to the media as he departs the White House for a visit with wounded veterans at Walter Reed Medical Center Washington DC- 21 December 2017
EPA
President Trump has threatened to cut aid to countries which voted in favour of the resolution

Togo was the only African state to vote against a UN General Assembly resolution effectively calling on the US to withdraw its recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Many African states - including South Africa, Nigeria and Ethiopia - voted for the resolution, while others - such as Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan - abstained.

On Wednesday, Mr Trump warned he might cut financial aid to states who voted in favour of the resolution while the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, said the US would be "taking names" and "watching carefully" how countries voted.

Botswana - a staunch US ally - dismissed the threat, saying it would not be "intimidated" as it voted in favour of the resolution.

Togo was one of only nine states to vote against it. The others were Israel, Guatemala, Honduras, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau and the US.

Read the full BBC story here

Wise words

Our African proverb of the day:

On the way to one's beloved, there are no hills."

A Kikuyu proverb sent by John Heho in Lenexa, Kansas, US

Click here to send us your African proverbs.

Good morning

Welcome to BBC Africa Live where we will bring you the latest news and views from around the continent.