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Live Reporting

By Damian Zane

All times stated are UK

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  1. Sierra Leone's ban on pregnant pupils 'unlawful'

    Will Ross

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    School gates in Sierra Leone
    Image caption: Preganant schoolgirls were taken out of mainstream education in Sierra Leone in 2015

    An African regional court has ruled that a decision by the government of Sierra Leone to ban pregnant girls from school was unlawful and must be revoked immediately.

    The decision by a court for countries in the West African regional bloc Ecowas has been welcomed by Amnesty International and other rights groups.

    It says the ruling sent a clear message to other countries with similar bans, including Tanzania and Equatorial Guinea.

    The Ecowas court said banning pregnant girls from school was discriminatory and at odds with the African Charter on Human Rights.

    But the court does not have any enforcement powers. Sierra Leone and other countries have ignored previous judgements, reports the BBC's Umaru Fofana in the capital, Freetown.

    The government of Sierra Leone imposed the ban four years ago when there was a spike in teenage pregnancies due to the impact of the deadly Ebola virus.

    As families were torn apart many girls were left orphaned and extremely vulnerable.

    The government argued that regular school would be too tiring for them and they would be a bad influence on their peers.

    Alternative schools were set up for pregnant girls but rights groups argue they are not of the same standard and limit their career opportunities.

    Read more:

  2. 'I sang for unity at Nobel ceremony'

    Ameyu Etana

    BBC Afaan Oromo

    Betty G performing in Oslo
    Image caption: Betty G was named best East African artists at last year's Afrima all-Africa music awards

    Ethiopian musician Bruktawit Getahun, better known as Betty G, has told the BBC that she wanted to represent the country's diverse cultures when she performed at the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony in Norway on Wednesday.

    "My attire and hair style represented Tigray people. I was singing in the Amharic language, so this represents the Amhara people," she said.

    The title of one of the two songs she sang, Sin Jaaladhaa, means "I Love You" in Afaan Oromoo, the language of the Oromo people.

    "To represent the Muslim community in Harar and DireDawa, I had henna [on my hand].

    "I had a very short time on stage, so I thought I needed to promote what every Ethiopian citizen loves and can relate to.‘’

    She performed in front of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who had just been handed a medal and certificate for winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

    In his speech, the prime minister spoke about his Medemer philosophy, which is partly about finding unity among Ethiopia's diverse communities.

    Mr Abiy told Betty G that he had made him proud, the musician revealed in an interview with BBC Afaan Oromoo.

    Last year, she won the award for best East African artist at the Afrima all-Africa music awards.

    View more on youtube
  3. Seized Tanzanian plane in Canada 'released'

    Sammy Awami

    BBC Africa, Dar es Salaam

    An aeroplane bought by state-owned Air Tanzania that had been impounded in Canada has now been released, Tanzanian President John Magufuli has said.

    The aircraft was being held over a land-compensation dispute between the Tanzanian government and a farmer, dating back to the 1980s.

    In August, South Africa impounded an Air Tanzania plane over the same case involving a Namibian farmer who says he is owed millions of dollars by Tanzania for land seized decades ago.

    The ex-farmer decided to fight his legal battle first in South Africa and then in Canada to get authorities in those countries to seize Tanzanian state assets to help him recover his money.

    South Africa released the plane after a court said the country had no jurisdiction on the matter.

    President Magufuli broke the news about the release of the aeroplane in Canada when he was addressing leading members of the governing Chama Cha Mapinduzi party.

    Mr Magufuli told the cheering gathering that the plane was expected to arrive in Tanzania soon.

    Following its seizure late last month, Tanzania summoned the Canadian ambassador and expressed anger over the move, describing Canada's action as “an imperialistic move” aimed at sabotaging Tanzania's development

  4. Kenyan Olympic champion's struggle with alcoholism

    Wilfred Bungei displays his gold medal
    Image caption: Wilfred Bungei won gold in the 2008 Beijing Olympics 800m race

    Retired Kenyan athlete Wilfred Bungei has told the BBC about his struggle with alchoholism.

    Bungei, who was the 800m gold medallist at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, said he had to check into a rehabilitation centre for six weeks after retiring.

    "For me I knew, when I started drinking there was no stopping, completely nothing, I don’t go to work, I wake up in the morning and I don’t even eat," he said.

    As an athlete, Bungei had a busy schedule and his days were packed with training. But after retirement he had too much time on his hands.

    "When it comes to being an athlete, I never had a social life. I only had 20 days break per year for over 13 years.

    "So you see when I retired in 2010 that is when there was a big problem," he told BBC Sport Africa.

    Things got so bad that he missed the birth of his third child because he was drunk.

    The Olympic champion would drink through the night and was sometimes found sleeping outside early the next morning.

    "I was in a ditch [and ] people actually thought I had died. What was so scary was hallucinations, the darkness comes and I am scared, literally."

    Bungei would start his drinking session intending to take a few shots of vodka only to end up drinking a litre in about 30 minutes.

    He has now started encouraging retired athletes to speak out and seek support.

    "It makes me happy when I share my story and I know it can be able to save someone that is how I get healed myself," he said.

    Read more about Wilfred Bungei.

  5. Southern Africa warned of further heavy rain

    Map of rainfall

    The southern African regional body Sadc has released a weather forecast warning that further heavy rain could be on the way in the north and east of the area.

    It says that there is a "high probability" of it falling in parts of Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo,Mozambique, Madagascar and the Seychelles.

    Sadc's climate centre also warns of localised flooding.

    Earlier this week, heavy rains battered parts of South Africa, submerging whole neighbourhoods and flooding coal mines and power stations in a nation already hit by electricity blackouts.

  6. Ex-president to sue Botswana over embezzling claim

    BBC World Service

    Ian Khama
    Image caption: Ian Khama was president of Botswana for 10 years from 2008

    Botswana's former President Ian Khama says he plans to sue the government for defamation after he, other former officials and a South African businesswoman were accused of embezzling billions of dollars.

    A department investigating state corruption in Botswana alleges that they set up bank accounts in Hong Kong and South Africa in order to finance terrorism.

    All the accused have denied the allegations and at a news conference in South Africa, Mr Khama described them as wild claims that were part of a state-sponsored smear campaign.

    Since stepping down last year, Mr Khama has accused current President Mokgweetsi Masisi of betraying the country and reversing policy decisions, including lifting a ban on elephant hunting.

  7. Algeria police fail to disperse poll protesters

    Police confronting Algerian protesters

    Thousands of people have taken to the streets of the Algerian capital, Algiers, to protest against the holding of the presidential election.

    An attempt by police to disperse the crowd failed.

    Elsewhere, in the Kabylie region, protesters ransacked two polling stations.

    Algerian protester with a flag
    Man waving a protest card
  8. Burundians urged to copy successful Burundians not Westerners

    Samba Cyuzuzo

    BBC Great Lakes

    Dacia Munezero
    Image caption: Dacia Munezero wants people in Burundi to find role models in their own country

    Young people in Burundi are being urged to find Burundian role models rather than emulate foreigners.

    That's the theme of the Inanga n’Indanga festival in the main city, Bujumbura, with guest speakers ranging from juice factory owner Müque Kigoma to micro-finance entrepreneur Claude Nikondeha.

    Inanga n’Indanga roughly translates from Kirundi as "something exemplary within tradition".

    Organiser Dacia Munezero told the BBC that she wants young people to start looking locally for role models.

    “Many are chasing their dreams and want to walk in Westerners' footsteps, because that is what they see online and on social media," she said.

    "But in Burundi we have successful people who can be their model. But these people who have good stories to share mostly do not. We want this inaugural festival to be a bridge between both sides."

  9. Al-Shabab attacks military base north of Mogadishu

    BBC World Service

    Dozens of fighters from the jihadist group al-Shabab have attacked a military base in Somalia.

    Eyewitnesses said they briefly took over the Hilweyne base north of the capital, Mogadishu, and destroyed vehicles and buildings before withdrawing.

    Military sources say government troops made a tactical withdrawal and one soldier was killed.

    Eyewitnesses say four civilians also died in Thursday night's attack.

    Al-Shabab said it had killed four soldiers.

    The al-Qaeda linked group - which opposes Somalia's UN-backed government - was forced out of Mogadishu in 2011.

    But it still controls swathes of the countryside and frequently detonates bombs and carries out gun raids in the city.

    On Tuesday it attacked the SYL hotel near the president's residence.

    Bullet holes are seen around the windows of the SYL hotel after fighting between Somali security forces and Al Shabaab gunmen
    Image caption: At least five people were killed in Tuesday's attack on the SYL hotel in Mogadishu
  10. Algeria protesters ransack polling stations

    BBC World Service

    Protesters angry at the holding of a presidential election in Algeria have ransacked two polling stations in the Kabylie region, east of the capital, Algiers.

    The vote follows the end of the 20-year presidency of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who was forced to resign in April after weeks of anti-government demonstrations across the country.

    The protesters have continued to demand the sweeping away of the entire political establishment, and they are boycotting Thursday's election.

    All five candidates standing were closely linked with the rule of the former president.

    Analysts say the army regards the election as the only way to restore order and normality.

    Read more:

    Algerian presidential candidate and former prime minister Ali Benflis (R) casts his ballot during the presidential elections in Algiers, Algeria
    Image caption: One of the five candidates, former Prime Minister Ali Benflis, was photographed voting on Thursday morning
  11. Abiy calls for Eritrea meeting on return from Nobel ceremony

    BBC World Service

    The Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has said he wants to meet the president of Eritrea soon, in what is likely to be an effort to kick-start the stalled reconciliation process.

    Mr Abiy was speaking on his return to Ethiopia where he was welcomed by large crowds after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in Norway.

    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter

    The fact that he reached out to make peace with Eritrea last year was a key reason for being awarded the prize.

    However during Tuesday's award ceremony, the chairwoman of the Nobel committee Berit Reiss-Anderson described the peace process as being at a standstill and said she hoped the award would lead to progress.

    Despite the peace deal, border crossings between the two countries remain closed.

    Read more:

  12. Tanzania football boss found guilty of forgery

    Sammy Awami

    BBC Africa, Dar es Salaam

    A former president of the Tanzanian Football Federation (TFF) and Fifa committee member, Jamal Malinzi, has been found guilty of document forgery.

    Malinzi has been in prison on remand since June 2017.

    He was facing 20 charges over claims of embezzlement and money laundering but was found guilty of only one charge.

    The judge at the magistrate’s court in Dar es Salaam sentenced him to a either a fine of 500,000 Tanzanian shillings ($218; £166) or serve a two-year jail term.

    Although Malinzi has agreed to pay the fine, he maintained throughout the case that the charges he was facing were malicious.

    After the ruling concluded on Wednesday, family, friends and colleagues rushed to a podium where Malinzi and his co-accused were standing to shake their hands and hug them.

    Malinzi appeared calm, occasionally smiling and waving to the attendees in the court.

  13. African visitors to Nigeria to get visas on arrival

    Any African visiting Nigeria will be able to get a visa on arrival, President Muhammadu Buhari has announced.

    He told a meeting of African leaders on Wednesday that it was part of a commitment to ensuring freedom of movement on the continent.

    View more on twitter

    Citizens of countries that belong to the regional group Ecowas already have visa-free access to Nigeria, but the measure announced by the president should mean other visitors will not need to fill out paperwork before they arrive.

    A notice on the immigration service website earlier this year appeared to show that visa on arrival for Africans was already in place, but the authorities have told the BBC that African visitors will no longer have to fill out an application form before they leave their home country.

    Although Nigeria's president was promoting the freedom of movement currently the country is not applying the same rules to goods coming into the country.

    In August, all land borders were closed in order to tackle smuggling. The measure has brought once-bustling border crossings to a standstill.

  14. France postpones Sahel security summit

    France's President Emmanuel Macron has sent the head of the army to Niger following a suspected Islamist militant attack that killed at least 71 Nigerien soldiers.

    Mr Macron, along with Niger's President Mahamadou Issoufou, have also announced that a summit to discuss security issues in the Sahel area that was scheduled for Monday has been postponed to early next year.

    Tuesday's attack at a military base in Inates is thought to be the deadliest on soldiers in the country since 2015.

    Niger, Mauritania, Chad, Burkina Faso and Mali make up the G5 Sahel group established to combat jihadist violence in the region.

    French soldiers are deployed in the Sahel to support this effort.

    Last month 13 French soldiers died in Mali when two helicopters collided during an operation against jihadists there.

  15. Ethiopia to get $2.9bn IMF loan

    The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is poised to give Ethiopia a loan of $2.9bn (£2.2bn), as long as it is approved by the board.

    The loan has been agreed by the fund's staff team and the Ethiopian government who had been in discussions.

    The decision was announced in an end of mission press release published by IMF on Wednesday.

    Eyob Tolina, Ethiopia’s state minister of finance, told journalists that the anticipated IMF programme was "a huge stamp of approval" for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s agenda.

    "It’s excellent news. They want to support our policy reform," he said.

    The IMF staff team, led by Sonali Jain-Chandra, visited Addis Ababa from 29 October to 8 November 2019 and held discussions with the government.

    Ms Jain-Chandra said in a statement that the "Ethiopian government and the IMF staff team reached preliminary agreement, subject to approval by the Fund’s Executive Board".

  16. Homeless South Africans take authorities to court

    Carin Gelderbloem, left, and Rameez Kemp
    Image caption: Carin Gelderbloem, left, and Rameez Kemp complain officials confiscated their belongings

    Seven homeless people in the South African city Cape Town are taking the local authority to court to challenge fines and the confiscation of their belongings.

    The case will be heard on Thursday at the Western Cape high court.

    One of the seven, Carin Gelderbloem, told a South African news website IOL that she had been fined several times for sleeping on the streets.

    She said that her identification card and clothes were taken in June when she was fined 500 rand ($34: £25) for littering.

    She alleged that she had been accused of littering the streets with the cardboard that she uses as a mattress.

    The city’s executive director for safety and security, Richard Bosman, told the news website that he would comment once the case was concluded.

  17. Botswana politician 'admits to vote rigging'

    People voting in Botswana election
    Image caption: The vote took place in October

    A Botswana ruling party member has said he took part in vote rigging - in which people voted twice - during the October election, reports AFP news agency.

    The runner-up in the election, Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), had complained it had seen irregularities in some constituencies and filed the legal challenge against the election result.

    A member of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) told court that he ferried thousands of people to vote in the opposition stronghold Gaborone, according to AFP.

    He also said that people voted twice - first in their own constituencies, then in other constituencies.

    The BDP won a majority in all of Gaborone's five constituencies, which were previously held by the opposition.

    The BDP won the overall election, continuing its run in power - the BDP has been in power since Botswana gained independence in 1966.

    A panel of High Court judges hearing the UDC's petitions is set to rule within 90 days of their submission, AFP adds.

  18. Five killed in Kenya bus crash

    Five people have died and dozens others have been injured after two buses collided on Kenya's Nairobi-Mombasa highway.

    Kenya's Daily Nation newspaper has tweeted a picture of the crash:

    View more on twitter

    The two buses, which were heading in opposite directions, collided after the Nairobi-bound bus veered off its lane.

    The crash happened at 02:00 local time (23:00 GMT) in the Kiongwani area in eastern Kenya, according to the Daily Nation.

    Some 62 injured passengers were rushed to hospital for treatment, the local police commander Joseph ole Napeiyan is quoted as saying.

    Mr Napeiyan also told the Star newspaper that police had managed to control traffic and there was no gridlock on the busy highway.

  19. Algerians go to the polls

    A woman protesting against the election in Algeria
    Image caption: Protesters have been demonstrating for months

    Algerians go to the polls on Thursday to elect a new president.

    It's the third attempt to hold a vote this year, after mass protests forced the long-term president Abdelaziz Bouteflika to resign in April.

    Turnout is expected to be low, as the country's protest movement is boycotting the vote, rejecting it as a farce.

    All five candidates are former senior officials linked to the ousted president.

    The protest movement, sparked by Mr Abdelaziz's earlier announcement that he would stand for a fifth term, is demanding a transitional period before new elections are held.

  20. Thursday's wise words

    Our proverb of the day:

    Quote Message: As you worship plantain, remember to worship banana as well." from Sent by Adwoa in Ghana
    Sent by Adwoa in Ghana
    A bunch of bananas

    Click here to send in your African proverbs.