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Summary

  1. The US leader uses a crude phrase to describe African countries
  2. Guinea-Bissau helps Senegal hunt loggers' killers
  3. South Africa to honour free education promise
  4. Protests in cholera-hit Zambia
  5. More protests expected in Tunisia
  6. Ethiopia jails members of outlawed group
  7. Burundi refugees refuse registration for 'religious reasons'

Live Reporting

By Flora Drury and Dickens Olewe

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Scroll down for Friday's stories

We'll be back next week

That's all from BBC Africa Live this week. 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:

The cold is felt equally by all but hunger isn’t."

Click here to send us your African proverbs

And we leave you with this photo a shopper in central Nairobi considering the array of Chinese-made shoes on sale. It is one of our best photos from this week.

A man in a market
AFP

Analysis: Why these Ethiopian prisoners won't be freed

Emmanuel Igunza

BBC Africa, Addis Ababa

Thousands have been detained since anti-government protests broke out
AFP
Thousands have been detained since anti-government protests broke out

A court in Ethiopia has sentenced more than 30 people to long prison terms for belonging to an outlawed group, just two weeks after it announced it would free some jailed politicians. So what is different about this group?

The government would say there is no contradiction between its recent statement on freeing prisoners and these sentences.

Although their supporters are hoping they will be released, the authorities here see Ginbot 7 members as terrorists, not political activists.

Both its current leader Berhanu Nega and its founder Andargachew Tsege have been sentenced to death in absentia by an Ethiopian court for trying to overthrow the government. They both deny the charges.

Andargachew was extradited to Ethiopia in 2014 while Berhanu's whereabouts are unknown.

Berhanu, a former university professor in the US, has previously threatened to march to Addis Ababa to remove the current government from power.

The government says the US-based group is sponsored by Eritrea and accuses it of trying to infiltrate the country.

Most of its members live in exile but authorities says some are active - but in hiding in Ethiopia.

It is highly unlikely that if any prisoners are released, Andergachew would be one of them as the government has previously taken a very strong stand against his release, despite pressure from human rights groups.

Read more: Ethiopia court jails members of outlawed group Ginbot 7

Correction: A previous version of this post suggested that the UK had campaigned for Mr Andergachew's release

S Africa firefighters battle 'malicious' blaze

Firefighters in South Africa are currently battling at least three separate fires in a small area - one of which was started "maliciously".

The fires, which started on Thursday, are raging just outside Cape Town, in the Overberg area.

South Africa's Eyewitness News says six people have been treated for smoke inhalation.

Local fire chief Reinard Geldenhuys told the website: “One of the fires was started by malicious ignitions. Unfortunately, we have to attribute it to that as we have no other reasons to suspect anything else.”

Here are some pictures of what they are up against:

View more on twitter

#AfricanGangs: Communities respond to negative label in Australia

A picture of three people at a university graduation
TWITTER/@DOORWOL

A spate of violent crimes in Australia has led to accusations that young African men are being caught up in gangs.

Now African-Australian communities have reacted angrily to the front-page coverage by promoting positive stories about themselves with the hashtag #AfricanGangs.

The police have blamed some sections of the media for inflaming the situation with their reporting of the perceived gang violence.

Merita Tabain, Victoria police executive director of media and corporate communications, expressed concern in a confidential email to the editors of Melbourne's main media outlets that aggressive behaviour by journalists might "exacerbate the current tensions".

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull weighed in on the issue at a press conference earlier this month where he said that "growing gang violence and lawlessness in Victoria" was "a failure of the Andrews government [Premier of Victoria]".

According to some liberal politicians, Melbourne is in the grip of growing gang violence and lawlessness which is being attributed to African-Australians predominantly from the South Sudanese community.

Read the full story here.

New homes for low-paid Zimbabweans

For years, many in Zimbabwe have had no alternative but to scratch out a living in the informal sector, meaning they face barriers when it comes to home loans.

But it is hoped that new government initiatives could provide homes to low-income earners.

From Harare, the BBC's Taurai Maduna reports.

New homes for low-paid Zimbabweans

Dead whale washes up on S Africa beach

The 15-metre long body of a dead humpback whale has washed ashore on a beach in Cape Town.

It is not known how the male whale died, a spokesman for the City of Cape Town told South African newspaper TimesLive.

View more on twitter

The spokesman said the beach would remain closed until the whale was removed, a process which would begin tomorrow.

Whales are a common sight off the Cape coast, but they are more usually southern rights whales.

However, humpback whales are regular visitors to the area as well, although normally between May and November, according to Cape Town Tourism.

Macky Sall shocked by Trump's comments

Macky Sall
Getty Images

Senegal's President Macky Sall has condemned US President Donald Trump's comments calling African countries "shitholes".

He tweeted:

I am shocked by the comments of President Trump on Haiti and Africa. I reject them and condemn them unequivocally. Africa, and black people in general, deserve the respect of all.''

You can read the full story about the comments here - or see our earlier posts here.

Tunisia 'to relent' on protesters' demands

Rana Jawad

BBC North Africa correspondent, Tunis

Protesters shout slogans during, protests against rising prices and tax increases, in Tunis, Tunisia January 12, 2018.
Reuters

The Tunisian government appears prepared to give in to some of the demands of protesters, which include exceptional measures for low-income families, according to a statement from the country’s presidency.

This comes following days of anti-austerity protests that flared up across the country this week.

One demonstrator was killed during clashes with security forces on Monday.

The statement says talks were held with the Prime Minister Youssef Chahed over the matter, but there were no details provided.

The government says that it’s also looking at greater price controls – economic observers say traders have been arbitrarily hiking up prices.

Small demonstrations were held in several cities on Friday, and some are still calling for more on the weekend.

Many of those taking to the streets say they want the new financial law, which has increased the price of some goods and raised taxes on imports, to be scrapped.

Guinea-Bissau helps Senegal hunt killers

Laeila Adjovi

BBC Africa, Dakar

A victim of an attack by armed men in the Bayotte forest lies on a hospital gurney in the regional capital Ziguinchor, southern Senegal on January 7, 2018
AFP
A victim of last Saturday's attack recovers in hospital

Senegal's army has enlisted the help of the military in neighbouring Guinea-Bissau as they continue to hunt the perpetrators of a deadly attack last weekend which left 14 dead.

The motive for the killing, in the southern Casamance region, near the two countries' border, is still a mystery.

Initially, 13 people were found dead in a forest of precious hardwoods where loggers are known to operate last Saturday.

Another body was found later, while nine people were treated in hospital for injuries.

The Senegalese chief of army staff General Cheikh Gueye told the BBC that, no matter how long it takes, the priority was to rid the area of criminals and allow people to live and work freely.

He added that Guinea-Bissau was helping in the search.

“As part of the cooperation between Senegal and Guinea-Bissau on defence and security, our zone commanders are frequently in contact along the border," he said. "Our collaboration is also effective for this particular operation.”

The attack was the most gruesome for several years. It raised fears of a revival of the separatist rebellion in Casamance.

But the separatist movement MFDC has denied any responsibility, and condemned the massacre. It linked the attack to the widespread illegal logging business in Casamance, and accused the authorities of complicity with traffickers.

Casamance is sandwiched between The Gambia and Guinea-Bissau. People there often complain that their region is neglected by the Senegalese government in far-off Dakar. Separatists in Casamance have demanded independence for over 30 years.

map
BBC

The boxer without a country

Bilal Fawaz has found himself trapped between two continents.

A talented amateur boxer, arrived in the UK from Nigeria 14 years ago.

His mother had died six years earlier, when he was just eight, and his uncle promised to bring him to London to see his father.

But his father never appeared, and after 11 years of seeking asylum, Fawaz says he is now effectively stateless.

Hear his story below:

''England'' boxer in 11 year fight

US senator says Trump used slur

A US senator has disputed President Donald Trump's claim that he did not use the word "shithole" during a discussion of immigration to the country.

Mr Trump reportedly used the word to describe Haiti and African countries.

Senator Dick Durbin told reporters that Mr Trump used the "vulgar" word "repeatedly".

The US president said the "language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used".

Watch Mr Durbin's comments here:

View more on twitter

You can read the full story about the comments here - or see our earlier posts here.

Ethiopia jails members of outlawed group

Emmanuel Igunza

BBC Africa, Addis Addiba

A court in Ethiopia has sentenced more than 30 people to long prison terms for belonging to an outlawed group.

This comes just two weeks after the government announced it would release some politicians who are either convicted or facing various charges in court.

All the accused belong to the Ginbot 7, a political group founded by an Ethiopian-born British citizen and committed to the overthrow of the government.

The Ethiopian government designated it a terrorist group in 2011. They will now serve sentences of between 15 and 18 years each.

Dozens more have been jailed by the courts over the past weeks due to their association with the group.

Meanwhile, a leading opposition figure and his co-accused have been sentenced to six months in prison for contempt of court.

Bekele Gerba, an official of the Oromo Federalist Congress, was jailed after he protested against non-appearance of defence witnesses in the court trying his case.

The judge was angered after he reportedly sang a protest song in court.

He is among the politicians who Ethiopians believed would have charges against him dropped, following the announcement by Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn last week.

Up to now, the government hasn’t followed up on its promise or issued a clear timeline on when those politicians jailed would be set free.

How is your geography?

Kenyan cartoonist Victor Ndula has caricatured his imagination of what the US President Donald Trump thinks of Africa after he allegedly called countries in the continent a "shithole".

View more on twitter

Mr Trump has since denied he made the comments, although he admitted to some "tough" talk during a meeting with US politicians on Thursday.

We will be keeping an eye on this story as it develops throughout the day so please keep checking back.

Meanwhile, you can read the full story here - or see our earlier post here.

Burundi refugees refuse registration for 'religious reasons'

The United Nations refugee agency says it will stop any assistance to more than 2,000 Burundian refugees in one camp in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo).

The Burundians are members of a religious sect led by a woman from northern Burundi

Euzebie Ngendakumana, in her late 30s, and her followers fled to DR Congo over three years ago after several incidents where security forces disbanded her prayer gatherings.

Now the refugees in Kamanyola are reported to have refused finger print registration for their identification.

Andreas Kirchhof, UNHCR spokesman in DR Congo, told the BBC that the refugees have refused to undergo registration to verify their status because of "religious reasons".

Africa was a 'partner' before it was a 'shithole'

Donald Trump
Getty Images
Trump told African leaders that the continent has tremendous potential

Before his foul-mouthed comments about African countries, US President Donald Trump had praised the continent as a place of "tremendous business potential".

He made the comments during a speech to African leaders at an event in New York in September.

“In this room, I see partners for promoting prosperity and peace on a range of economic, humanitarian, and security issues," he said.

He singled out Uganda for "its incredible strides in the battle against HIV/Aids" and Namibia for its health system, which he said was "increasingly self-sufficient".

He also poured praise on Guinea and Nigeria for their fight against the Ebola outbreak.

He told the African leaders that he has "so many friends going to your countries, trying to get rich. I congratulate you".

  • We will be keeping an eye on this story as it develops throughout the day so please keep checking back. Meanwhile, you can read the full story here - or see our earlier post here.

Nigerian gang leader behind Brit's death killed

Stephanie Hegarty

BBC Africa, Lagos

Ian Squire
YouTube
Ian Squire was killed in November 2017

The leader of a Nigerian gang responsible for the death of British optician Ian Squire late last year has been arrested and killed, according to the Nigerian army.

Peregbakumo Oyawerikumo, known as Karowei, led a criminal gang in Nigeria’s oil-producing south and is said to have co-ordinated the kidnap of four British missionaries in October.

Three were released but one man, Mr Squire was shot dead in captivity, while singing and playing the guitar for his colleagues.

Since then, Karowei's gang has been responsible for the killing of four soldiers.

But on Thursday his reign of terror ended: in the early hours of the morning, a special military task force arrested the gang leader from a rural village in a neighbouring state.

As they led him back to his camp, they were ambushed and in the fighting, Karowei was killed.

Until the kidnapping, this gang were relatively unknown, they had a reputation for hassling local women returning from the market and had abducted the wife of a local politician.

Kidnapping for ransom is common in southern Nigeria though most often those taken are freed after a ransom is paid.

Trump denies making vile comments

US President Donald Trump has taken to Twitter to deny he labelled Africa a "shithole" - before trying to shift the focus to the opposition:

View more on twitter

The tweet followed a series which he sent defending his immigration policy, saying he did not want people from "countries which are doing badly", advocating "a merit based system of immigration and people who will help take our country to the next level".

So it might be worth him taking a look at this piece about some amazing migrants from Africa, Haiti and El Salvador, and what they have done for the US.

  • You can read our earlier post on the Trump-comment fallout here, and keep checking back with Africa Live for the latest.

Does this look like a shithole?

US President Donald Trump has decided all African countries are "shitholes".

Of course, those who live in said shitholes know better, and have been sharing pictures which may make the foul-mouthed president think twice:

View more on twitter
View more on twitter
View more on twitter
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View more on twitter
View more on twitter

We will be keeping an eye on this story as it develops throughout the day so please keep checking back.

Meanwhile, you can read the full story here - or see our earlier post here.

'I replied to a Facebook post and was married six days later'

Chidimma Amedu and Sophy Ijeoma
CHIDIMMA AMEDU
The couple had been friends on Facebook for over a year but had never spoken to each other before the advert

Everyone who uses Facebook will have come across some pretty strange posts in their time.

Random friend requests, being added to groups you did not ask to join, and tags that allow "friends" to clog up your timeline with posts or photos you don't necessarily want.

But a Nigerian man took that to a whole new level when he posted an unusual advert.

Chidimma Amedu put up a post on 30 December, asking any woman interested in being his wife to reply, he told the BBC.

Read the incredible love story.

Trump comments 'reprehensible and racist'

Botswana's government has termed the comments made by US President Donald Trump, calling African countries "shitholes" as "irresponsible, reprehensible and racist".

Mr Trump made the comments while discussing a US immigration policy, which he thought citizens from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries should be excluded from.

Botswana said in a statement that it had summoned the US ambassador in the country to ask if the US considered the southern-African nation a "shithole".

It said the phrase was derogatory from a country it has cordial relationship with.

It also called on on regional body Sadc and the African Union to condemn Mr Trump's remarks.

Read the full statement here:

View more on twitter

SA girl, 11, completes Robben Island swim

An 11-year-old South African has become the youngest girl in the world to swim from Robben Island to Cape Town, eNCA reports.

Abriella Bredell accomplished the 7.5km (4.6 miles) feat this morning to raise money for the city's Red Cross Children's hospital.

She has been swimming since the age of two and practices six times a week, the report says.

A video of her taking on the challenge has been shared on her Instagram page:

View more on instagram

Swimming between the island and Cape Town is no small challenge. For a start, the water is very cold.

The youngest person to ever finish the swim is Indian national Aditya Raut, who was just 10 when he took the challenge on back in 2004.

Robben Island is notorious around the globe for housing the jail which held Nelson Mandela and many other political prisoners during South Africa's apartheid regime.

The island, which also housed a leper colony, is now a museum.

Trump comments 'racist', says UN body

Donald Trump
Getty Images
Mr Trump made the comments when discussing immigration policy

Officials have started to lash out at President Donald Trump's declaration that Haiti and African countries are "shitholes" - with the UN's human rights agency saying it is nothing more than racism.

Mr Trump apparently asked a bi-partisan meeting of US lawmakers "why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?" during a meeting about immigration on Thursday.

The White House has not denied the comments, which have drawn ire from around the world.

UN human rights spokesman Rupert Colville told reporters in Geneva, Switzerland:

There is no other word one can use but 'racist'. You cannot dismiss entire countries and continents as 'shitholes', whose entire populations, who are not white, are therefore not welcome."

African Union spokesman Ebba Kalondo also spoke angrily against the comments, the UK's Independent newspaper reported:

Given the historical reality of how many Africans arrived in the United States as slaves, this statement flies in the face of all accepted behavior and practice. This is particularly surprising as the United States of America remains a global example of how migration gave birth to a nation built on strong values of diversity and opportunity."

Meanwhile, Jessie Duarte, deputy secretary general of South Africa's ruling ANC, slammed Trump at a press conference in the Eastern Cape - saying her country would not stoop to his level.

She told reporters:

Ours is not a shithole country, neither is Haiti or any other country in distress. It's not as if the United States doesn't have problems. There is unemployment in the U.S., there are people who don't have healthcare services.... We would not deign to make comments as derogatory as that about any country that has any kind of socioeconomic or other difficulties."

We will be keeping an eye on this story as it develops throughout the day so please keep checking back.

Meanwhile, you can read the full story here- or see our earlier post here.

South Africa to honour free education promise

Lebo Diseko

BBC News, Johannesburg

South Africa's finance minister has said the government will go ahead with plans to provide free higher education for 90% of new students.

President Jacob Zuma announced the plan at ruling African National Congress (ANC) conference in December.

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba told journalists that "the decision has been made" - and his department is now working on how funding is provided.

But on that question, he said South Africans will have to wait until the budget in February for details.

Mr Zuma announced free higher education would be given to students from homes which have a combined annual income of up to South African rand 350,000 ($28,000; £20,000).

The new policy goes against a commission finding that such plans were unaffordable.

There have been fears that universities and colleges might not be able to cope with the expected increase in applicants.

Last year local media estimated such a policy could cost $3bn.

But the government says it will cost close to $1bn.

More protests expected in Tunisia

Rana Jawad

BBC North Africa correspondent, Tunis

Tunisian protesters take to the streets in Siliana, some 130 kms south of Tunis, late on January 11, 2018
AFP

Tensions remain high in Tunisia with more anti-austerity protests expected today in the capital Tunis and elsewhere in the country.

There were confrontations in at least two towns overnight, between protesters and security forces.

People have been protesting the government's new financial measures that increased the price of petrol and other goods, as well as a rise in taxes on imported products.

Civilians and the country’s leftist opposition party, who have been calling for continued protests, want the new financial law to be scrapped because it will increase the cost of living.

More than 600 people have been arrested this week, accused of arson and looting.

But the human rights watchdog Amnesty international is also warning against what it’s described as apparent intimidation tactics by security forces, with at least 15 activists arrested this week for calling for protests.

Many have since been released.

The country’s main political parties, business organizations and unions are expected to hold talks on Saturday over the civil unrest.

The Tunisian prime minister has accused his political opponents of fueling dissent.

Will Cape Town be the first city to run out of water?

A man gets water from a tap.
Getty Images

There are just 100 days left until Cape Town reaches "Day Zero" - the day the taps will run dry, making the popular tourist destination the first major city in the world to run out of water.

But while it may be the first, it will almost certainly not be the last.

So what do you do? Gabriella Mulligan takes a closer look at the solutions.

Read all about it by clicking here.

Protest against cholera control measures in Zambia

A riot has broken out in a Zambian slum over measures designed to curb the spread of cholera, news agency Reuters reports.

Police have been sent into Kanyama township, in the capital Lusaka, after outrage over a ban on street vending was put in place.

The capital is struggling to contain an outbreak of the deadly disease, which has killed more than 60 people since October, while almost 3,000 people nationally have fallen ill.

Kanyama resident Peter Zulu told Reuters the rioters had blocked a major road, and police had responded by firing tear gas to disperse them.

Local Government and Housing Minister Vincent Mwale confirmed police had been sent into the area, which was put under curfew last Sunday after suffering badly during this latest outbreak.

People have been sharing pictures on Twitter which reportedly come from Kanyama:

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

The riots come two days after a vaccination drive targeting two million people across Zambia began.

Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal infection caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae.

It can spread quickly in cramped, dirty conditions.

Trump's jibe hits the fan

Africans have been reacting after US President Donald Trump labelled the continent's residents as "people from shithole countries".

In remarks widely reported by US media, Mr Trump lashed out at immigrants in a foul-mouthed outburst.

He is said to have demanded: "Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?"

The White House made no attempt to deny the comment.

South African comedian Trevor Noah called Mr Trump a "racist", adding that "as someone from South Shithole, I am offended":

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A South African DJ opened her Friday morning show by embracing the slur:

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And an American TV host for MSNBC wondered if he should tweak his Twitter profile:

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Governments have been slower to react.

News agency AP sought comment from South Sudan's government spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny, who said: “Unless it was specifically said about South Sudan, we have nothing to say.”

In recent weeks, the Trump administration has been trying to limit the number of family members of immigrants who can enter the US, and has moved to end the protected status of thousands of immigrants already in the US.

We will be monitoring the story, so stay with us throughout the day.

Today's wise words

Our African proverb of the day:

The cold is felt equally by all but hunger isn’t."

Click here to send us your African proverbs

Good morning

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