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Live Reporting

By Hugo Williams and Damian Zane

All times stated are UK

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  1. Polish sailors kidnapped off Nigeria freed

    The Polish government says that five Polish sailors abducted from their ship off the coast of Nigeria at the end of November have been freed, the AP news agency is reporting.

    Poland's Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski thanked Nigeria for help in releasing the sailors, but no details were given about how the men had been set free.

  2. He says, Xi says

    Both the US President Barack Obama and the Chinese President Xi Jinping have made major speeches in Africa this year and there are some common threads in what they had to say.

    In July, President Obama told the African Union: "Africa's progress [depends] on security and peace."

    Last Friday President Xi had a similar message for African heads of state: "Poverty is the root cause of chaos while peace is the guarantee for development."

    Obama and Xi

    They also both quoted Nelson Mandela, but had different messages on human rights and business development.

    Read more here

  3. DR Congo anger over Chinese traders

    China is Africa’s largest trading partner and last week pledged $60bn (£40bn) to help develop the continent, but there are some difficulties in the relationship.

    In the Democratic Republic of Congo, there has been tension between locals and the large Chinese community that lives there.

    In January, during protests against the government, dozens of Chinese shops were looted.

    Watch the report from the BBC's Maud Jullien in the capital, Kinshasa.

    Video content

    Video caption: DR Congo anger over Chinese traders
  4. At least 20 dead in cattle rustling attack in north-west Nigeria

    Kaura Abubakar

    BBC Africa, Abuja, Nigeria

    Unknown gunmen have killed at least 20 people in a remote village of Zamfara state, north-west Nigeria. 

    The region has for years been battling a wave of cattle rustling by armed groups who often kill their victims - and cattle rustlers are suspected to be behind this assault.

    Thousands of cattle have been lost in attacks in recent years. 

  5. Video report - Pistorius granted bail by court

    Video content

    Video caption: Pistorius granted bail by court

    The BBC's Karen Allen reports from Pretoria, where Oscar Pistorius was earlier granted bail until April as he awaits sentencing for murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in 2013.

  6. Uganda's Cranes involved in road accident

    The bus of the Ugandan national football team has been involved in a crash with a minibus taxi near the eastern town of Mbale, according to the country's Football governing body (Fufa). 

    None of the players or staff were injured, Fufa says, but there were deaths among those travelling in the mini-bus taxi involved in the collision, local media report

    "We thank the Lord for saving lives of the Uganda Cranes contingent", Fufa said in a statement on its website. 

    Uganda's privately owned Daily Monitor newspaper has tweeted a photo apparently taken at the scene: 

    View more on twitter

    It reports that the team were on their way back from a meeting with the Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni at the time of the accident.   

  7. Analysis: Impact of record-low oil price

    Matthew Davies

    Editor, BBC Africa Business Report

    A key oil price has dropped to below $40 a barrel for the first time in almost seven years.

    It's a frustrating time for Africa's oil producers. Around two years ago, the continent was on the cusp of an oil boom. In 2013, six of the 10 biggest new oil finds in the world were in Africa. 

    It looked like a bonanza was just around the corner. 

    But then the price slumped and stayed low. That presents a particular problem for African producers. 

    As the price of oil languishes close to seven-year lows, two-thirds of the oil projects in Africa stop being viable in investment terms. 

    Nigerian oil field
    Image caption: Nigeria's economy is heavily reliant on oil income

    Simply put, at under $50 a barrel, much of the oil is not worth getting out of the ground. 

    That has a massive effect on the coffers of the governments that rely on oil - Nigeria and Angola for example.

    Smaller African oil producers, like Ghana, Uganda and Kenya have had to dampen down their expectations and some have put projects on hold. 

    On the other hand, the longer oil prices remain low, the more countries that don't have oil will stand to benefit. 

    Many of them have currencies which are struggling against the dollar, so the result of a low oil price is that the cost of imports will come down.

  8. Human skeletons visible by roadside in Boko Haram ghost town

    BBC Hausa Service journalist Bashir Sa'ad Abdullahi has gained rare access to Bama, a town on the Nigerian border with Cameroon which was occupied by Islamist militant Boko Haram group the Nigerian army recaptured it four months ago. 

    He hears testimony of the violence suffered by those unable to flee, and reports bones still visible at the roadside. Reconstruction work is planned to start in January 2016, but he says the task ahead is enormous.  

    Video content

    Video caption: Boko Haram leaves Bama a ghost town
  9. Three arrested in Kenya lion-poisoning case

    The BBC's Ferdinand Omondi in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, reports that three people have now been arrested in connection with the poisoning of two lions (see 14.32 post).

    We had earlier reported that there were two suspects.

  10. Ethiopia appeals for donor help

    Ethiopia's government has told the BBC's Focus on Africa radio programme that it is counting on the support of its partners in helping to deal with the more than 10 million people who will need food assistance because of the current severe drought.

    Government minister Getachew Reda said they are working to make sure that no-one is affected "to such an extent that they lose their life".

    "We're doing everything we can to make sure that the crisis doesn't get out of control," he added.

    Woman with son in drought-affected Ethiopia
    Image caption: Crop yields in the worst-affected areas are down by 90% this year

    The BBC's Clive Myrie visited one of the worst-affected areas last month.

  11. Ghanaians react to steep energy price rise

    The BBC's Sammy Darko in Ghana's capital, Accra, says the steep rise in electricity and water prices announced on Monday has prompted a public outcry. 

    The electricity price has gone up by nearly 60% and water has risen by 67%.

    The story is featured on the front page of one of Ghana's financial newspapers today:

    Front page of Ghana paper

    Our correspondent says that people are complaining that there is not sufficient power available to warrant the price adjustment.  

    But the power authority says that it is now relying on more expensive sources of energy to generate electricity, as the water level at the main hydro-electric dam is very low.

    The opposition New Patriotic Party called it the highest level of insensitivity to raise prices just before Christmas.

  12. Unmarked graves to be exhumed in Kenya's north-east

    Ferdinand Omondi

    BBC Africa, Nairobi

    Police in Kenya have obtained a court order to exhume bodies from unmarked graves in Mandera, north-east Kenya. 

    A woman's body was discovered yesterday and residents fear there could be more in the area. 

    Local leaders from the predominantly ethnic Somali region are accusing security agents of killing terror suspects and dumping them in mass graves. 

    Kenya map

    Government officials, pathologists and lawyers are among a huge crowd headed to the scene where the exhumation is expected. 

    Police spokesman Charles Owino told the BBC that the latest reports of mass graves are propaganda from the Somalia-based al-Shabab militant group. 

  13. Trying to make fish more fashionable in Somaliland

    Fish traders in Hargeisa, the capital of the self-declared republic of Somaliland, are trying to net more customers.

    Ten companies are holding a special three-day fish fair there, hoping people will get hooked on the taste of fish. 

    Fish market
    Fish market

    For years sheep, goat and camels have been preferred over fish as a source of protein despite the long coast line, the BBC's Ahmed Said Egeh reports from Hargeisa.

    However, our correspondent says grilled fish is becoming more popular.

    Mmm, tasty!

  14. Samuel L Jackson mulls South Africa move if Trump wins

    Hollywood star Samuel L Jackson has said he would consider moving to South Africa if Donald Trump becomes US President, the local News 24 website reports.

    There has been a storm of condemnation from Donald Trump's fellow Republicans after the presidential candidate called for a ban on Muslims entering the US. 

    It's not known whether the actor made the comments, which aired in a pre-recorded segment on US chat show Jimmy Kimmel Live on Monday, before or after Mr Trump's latest controversial statement: 

    Samuel L Jackson pictured this weekend at a Q&A for Quentin Tarantino's new film in Hollywood
    Image caption: Samuel L Jackson pictured this weekend at a Q&A for Quentin Tarantino's new film in Hollywood
  15. Small protest against Nigeria social media bill

    The BBC's Chris Ewokor in NIgeria's capital, Abuja, has spotted these vehicles parked near the entrance to Nigeria's parliament.

    Protest banner
    Protest banner

    The banners are denouncing the social media bill that's being considered by lawmakers through a bill at the Nigeria parliament. 

    Some activists argue that it will restrict freedom of expression (see 10.09 post).

    The draft bill proposes jail terms and hefty fines for anyone who "propagates false information" on electronic media.    

    Protesters have planned a march to the National Assembly to call for the bill to be stopped, but only a handful of people have turned up.   

  16. Concerns over democracy in DRC

    The UN's human rights team in the Democratic Republic of Congo has warned that opposition activists are being harassed, and in some cases killed, in the run-up to elections due next year. 

    The report said at least 20 extra-judicial killings were linked to the electoral process. 

    Protest in Kinshasa
    Image caption: There have been protests in Kinshasa over the possibility that President Kabila could extend his time in office

    It said more than 600 people had been arbitrarily arrested and detained - most of them activists objecting to any attempt by President Joseph Kabila to stay in power when his final term ends this year.

    The country's justice minister said the report lacked objectivity and was full of false accusations, BBC Maud Jullien reports from Kinshasa.

  17. Ten million Ethiopians will be reliant on food aid

    Alastair Leithead

    BBC Africa correspondent

    The Ethiopian government has warned that more than 10 million people - a tenth of the population - will need food aid by next month because of the worst drought in decades. 

    Food aid sacks
    Image caption: Ten million Ethiopians could be relying on food aid next month

    Half of those affected are expected to be children. The government and the UN’s World Food Programme are distributing supplies after the failure of both this year’s harvests in some parts of the country.

    The Ethiopian government has increased - by two million – its estimate for the number of those who will require food aid by as early as next month. 

    It has launched a huge national effort, allocating nearly $200m for the crisis. 

  18. Video of Pistorius leaving court

    Oscar Pistorius managed to dodge the media scrum as he made his way out of the court in South Africa's capital, Pretoria.

    This Reuters video shows him leaving the court as he starts his time on bail for murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp:

    Video content

    Video caption: Oscar Pistorius leaves court after successful bail application
  19. Nigerians march against social media bill

    Nigerian protesters are out on the streets of the capital, Abuja, and many  are also taking to social media to protest against a proposed bill which critics say would restrict free speech online. 

    The draft bill, which President Muhammadu Buhari distanced himself from on Monday, proposes jail terms and hefty fines for anyone who "propagates false information" on electronic media.  

    The hashtag #NoToSocialMediaBill has been trending on Twitter in Nigeria, where one user has posted photos of protesters marching to the Nigerian parliament: 

    View more on twitter

    There are an estimated 80 million internet users in Nigeria, and there has been criticism from some are highly critical of any legislation that would restrict their freedom of speech: 

    View more on twitter

    One cartoonist has mocked the ruling APC for considering the bill, given how effectively it used social media to galvanise support during elections earlier this year:

    View more on twitter
  20. Ghana judges sacked

    Many of the front pages in Ghana are carrying the sacking of 20 judges and magistrates over corruption allegations, reports the BBC's Sammy Darko in Accra.

    Daily Graphic front page

    The dismissals followed a thorough investigation into allegations of corruption in the judiciary, Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood said.

    In September, a journalist revealed that he had evidence showing dozens of judges had demanded bribes to influence judgements in court cases.

    The revelation shocked Ghanaians who packed cinemas to see his documentary.

    Announcing the sackings, the chief justice said she wanted to assure the public that the judicial council, the regulatory body for judges, would take "prompt and resolute" action to "redeem" the image of the judiciary.