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  1. West African leaders propose a ban the full-face veil to prevent attacks by female suicide bombers
  2. US ambassador urges Ethiopia to show restraint over Oromo protests
  3. AU proposes protection force to be sent to Burundi
  4. Nigeria security and Biafra separatists clash after court orders release of leader
  5. Rwandans vote on allowing further terms for President Kagame
  6. Niger president says government has foiled coup attempt
  7. WhatsApp stories and comments to +44 734 10 70 844 - Friday 18 December 2015

Live Reporting

By Clare Spencer and Damian Zane

All times stated are UK

Get involved

  1. Scroll down for Friday's stories

    We'll be back on Monday

    That's all from the BBC Africa Live page this week. to keep-up-to-date, listen to theAfrica Today podcastand keep up-to-date with African stories on theBBC News website

    Today's African proverb was "Wisdom is not like money to be tied up and hidden". It's an Akan proverb from Ghana sent by Oguntoye Stephen Babatunde, Ibadan, Nigeria. 

    Click here to send your African proverbs

    We leave you with this imagefrom our week in picturesof the street cleaners - or green brigade - of Burkina Faso's capital, Ouagadougou, at the the country's independence day celebrations last week.  

    Green brigade
  2. Jammeh received Sierra Leone award for Ebola fight

    Yahya Jammeh

    Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh has been awarded a gold medal by Sierra Leone for his financial contribution in the fight against Ebola, the AFP news agency is reporting.

    No sum of money was mentioned in the citation for the award, but in August Mr Jammeh's office said it was donating $500,000 (£336,000) to Sierra Leone, AFP adds.

    Sierra Leone was declared Ebola free on 7 November. 

    Nearly 4,000 people died after contracting the virus.

  3. Taking African haute cuisine to Paris

    Haute cuisine chef Loic Dable is putting a new twist on African food.

    He's a young Parisian whose family comes from Ivory Coast.

    He's just opened a gourmet restaurant right in the middle of Paris' chic 16th arrondissement.

    See what happens when you mix African food with haute cuisine:

    Video content

    Video caption: Taking Haute African cuisine to Paris
  4. Angolan rapper released on house arrest

    Luaty Beirao and some of the 15 on trial in court in Luanda 15 Nov

    The rapper Luaty Beirao is among the 15 Angolan activists who have been released on house arrest today.

    They have been in prison since June, charged with plotting against the president.  

    The judge said they would remain under house arrest until the verdict in their trial is announced in January. 

    Their arrests prompted protests from human rights groups. 

  5. Your views on Rwanda's referendum

    President Kagame at polling station

    We've been posting on the BBC Africa Facebook page about today's referendum in Rwanda on whether to alter the constitution to allow President Paul Kagame to run for a third, fourth and fifth term.

    It is believed that the change will be approved, but nearly all the comments on Facebook were against the idea:

    • Onoja Gideon says: "Mr Kagame should please go, he is not the only person who can govern Rwanda effectively. African leaders and their advisers should be honest with themselves and their citizens about their intentions."
    • Michael Arap Limo says: "It's only Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana, South Africa, Nigeria, Tunisia, Zambia and Namibia who understand the purpose of a constitution. Even if Rwandans love Paul Kagame he should hand over power. In fact, he is the best person to explain to his countrymen why the constitution gives the president a two-term limit."

    There are some alternative views:

    • Lynda Mchana says: "For once I support such a move. Mr Kagame has done Rwanda a lot of good and needs to finish the projects he embarked on in order to leave proper infrastructure and a solid nation when he bows out."
  6. Nigerian oil spill: Who is to blame?

    Earlier we reported the oil giant Shell can be taken to court in the Netherlands (see 11:07 post) for oil spills in Nigeria.

    Behind this judgement is the question of who is to blame for leakages.

    Shell has always blamed the leakages on sabotage, which under Nigerian law would mean it did not have to pay compensation.

    But the Dutch court said it could not be assumed that the oil leaks were caused by sabotage.

    Read more on the BBC News website.

    oil spill
  7. Burundi rejects AU peacekeeper plan

    Burundi's presidential spokesperson has said an AU proposal to send a protection force to Burundi is based on a "fabricated narrative of genocide".

    Willy Nyamitwe told BBC Focus on Africa radio that "there is no genocide in preparation".

    He said that the people who are trying to talk about a genocide are "enemies of Burundi... because in Burundi we are living at peace".

    The AU has not yet released a formal statement regarding its proposal on Burundi. 

    But it has indicated that it could send peacekeepers to protect civilians there, even without the government's consent.  

    Banner saying Burundi bleeds
    Image caption: Burundians living in Kenya have held vigils to raise awareness about the conflict
  8. German police search for ex-Ivory Coast player Gohouri

    Steve Gohouri

    German police have confirmed that the family of Steve Gohouri has filed a missing person's report for the former Ivory Coast international. 

    The 34-year-old attended his German club's Christmas party on Friday before heading to see his family in Paris. 

    Six days on, the TSV Steinbach defender has yet to arrive. 

    Read more on the BBC Sport website.

  9. Africa's airlines miss out on cheaper fuel

    Russell Padmore

    Business correspondent, BBC News

    The world’s airlines are reaping the benefits of cheaper jet fuel, thanks to the drop in oil prices, but carriers in Africa are missing out. 

    That's because they have to pay for jet fuel in US dollars and yet they earn their revenues in local currencies, which have lost value against the dollar. 

    Brian Pearce, the chief economist of IATA, the global body that represents airlines, told BBC Business that governments in Africa are failing to create conditions to help airlines thrive.

    Ethiopian Airlines airline
  10. Analysis: What was behind the Niger coup?

    Baro Arzika

    BBC Africa, Niger

    Even though no military or government facility was attacked by those accused of plotting to overthrow the administration of Niger's President Mahamadou Issoufou, he appears to be taking the issue seriously.

    Some high-ranking military officers have been arrested and linked to the plot. More arrests are expected in the coming days.

    President Mahamadou Issoufou

    Some people will however be relieved that the president has not linked the alleged coup attempt to the ongoing political crisis between him and the opposition over the preparation of next year's poll.

    The opposition has accused the ruling party of interfering in the electoral process, which it denies.

    Most people I have spoken to were shocked and dismayed about what they consider as yet another attempt to scuttle the country's fragile democracy.

    People here are well aware of Niger's history of military coups.

    Even the election that brought the current government to power was organised by a military junta which in 2010 overthrew President Mamadou Tandja, after he had attempted to change the constitution and extend his rule.

  11. Angola President wants crackdown on social media

    Jose Eduardo Dos Santos

    Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos has called for a crackdown on social media, reports Reuters news agency.

    In a television address, Mr dos Santos said websites like Facebook were abused to publish "derogatory and morally offensive content".

    He demanded that the government introduce legislation against this, says Reuters.

  12. Kagame: 'This was the idea of Rwandans'

    The BBC's Catherine Byaruhanga managed to grab a quick word with Rwanda's President Paul Kagame as he went to vote in today's constitutional referendum.

    Rwandans are voting on whether the president would be able to run for election for further terms - which in theory could see him in power until 2034.

    President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame posts his ballot, in Kigali, Friday, Dec. 18, 2015

    Here's a transcript of the interview:  

    Catherine Byaruhanga: Why is it necessary to change the constitution?

    President Kagame: I did not apply for this, you go and ask Rwandans why they got involved in this.

    Catherine Byaruhanga: What can you offer Rwandans if you run for another seven-year term?

    President Kagame: If you first look at the record maybe you can build from that and know what is coming.

    Catherine Byaruhanga: But what future do you have for them, what do you plan to do?

    President Kagame: What future do they have for themselves? Not me holding their future. They have their future in their own hands. 

  13. Analysis: US troops chased from Libya

    Rana Jawad

    BBC North Africa correspondent, Tunis

    The revelation that US forces flown to Libya to support government troops had to leave after landing because of demands from a local militia group is undoubtedly an embarrassing revelation for the Americans.

    The timing of the incident, so close to the long-awaited deal signed by Libya's rival parliaments on Thursday, has fuelled speculation among Libyans over what they see as the ulterior motives of the US and other Western nations.

    There has been increasing suspicion that foreign troops are looking to establish their presence on the ground in Libya, especially with the so-called Islamic State grabbing more territory in recent months.

    Reactions on social media ranged from accusations that the US was promoting one side of the conflict, to questions over the West's long-term military aims in Libya.

    However, if nothing else, the incident chiefly serves as a reminder of the challenges foreign military forces will face trying to operate in a country with no central security structure.

    Peopl said to be US troops
    Image caption: The people said to be US troops were pictured with assault rifles equipped with silencers
  14. What Rwandans have been voting for

    Ballot paper
    • The exact question is: "Do you accept the constitution of the Republic of Rwanda that was amended in 2015?"
    • Earlier this year MPs passed these amendments to constitution:

    1) Presidential term limits:

    • To be cut from seven years to five years - with the two-term tenure remaining
    • But an exception has been made for President Kagame, who will be allowed to run for one more seven-year term and two further five-year terms because of petitions collected from 3.7 million Rwandans demanding he remain in office.

    2) Senators' term limits: To be extended from one eight-year term to two five-year terms

    3) Gacaca courts: References to the community courts set up to deal with those accused of involvement in the 1994 genocide are to be removed as they have finished trying nearly two million people

  15. Miss Zambia prepares for China pageant

    The grand final of this year’s Miss World Competition takes place on Saturday in the Chinese city of Sanya where 120 contestants are vying for the title.

    For many of them, this will be their first visit to China, but it won’t necessarily be their first brush with Chinese culture.

    Miss Zambia, Michelo Malambo, is one of those taking part. Before she left for the competition, she spoke to the BBC about how she was preparing for the visit, with a some help from a Chinese friend.

    Video content

    Video caption: Miss World competition: Miss Zambia prepares for China pageant
  16. CAR votes for new constitution

    People queuing in Central African Republic vote
    Image caption: People voted on Sunday

    About 90% of voters in the Central African Republic's capital Bangui have voted in favour of a new constitution.

    The results from the rest of the country on Sunday's poll are expected in the next few days.

    It is hoped the new constitution will help end more than two years of conflict in the CAR between Muslims and Christians.    

    There was violence reported at the time of the vote - the Red Cross said five people were killed.

    The turnout was around 30%, Reuters news agency says.

  17. US presidential candidate Carson cancels Africa trip

    The Kenyan press is reacting to the news that the US republican presidential candidate Ben Carson has cancelled his trip to Kenya, Zambia and Nigeria.

    His team cited security concerns but didn’t give further details.

    Kenya’s The Star newspaper explains the trips abroad were intended to address concerns that he could not handle international diplomacy.

    Dr Carson says he is descended from the Turkana people, whom he said lived in the “Kenya-Tanzania region”.

    But the Nation points out that the Turkana live near Kenya’s borders with Ethiopia and South Sudan, hundreds of kilometres from the border with Tanzania.

    Zambia's The Post had mentioned earlier this month Mr Carson, who is a retired neurosurgeon, was expected to visit the conjoined Zambian twins that he had helped separate.

    Ben Carson
  18. US ambassador calls on Ethiopia to 'use restraint'

    The US ambassador to the UN has described the Ethiopian prime minister's reaction to the recent Oromo protests as "concerning".

    Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said on Wednesday that the government "will take merciless legitimate action against any force bent on destabilising the area".  

    View more on twitter

    The Ethiopian authorities are linking the protests to the Oromo Liberation Front which it calls a terrorist group.

    Ambassador Power has urged the government to "use restraint".

    View more on twitter
  19. Referendum 'pride of Rwanda'

    Patrick Kihara

    BBC Monitoring, Nairobi

    Rwanda TV has been dedicating live coverage to today's constitutional referendum aimed at giving President Paul Kagame the go-ahead to run for a third term at the next election in 2017. 

    The changes being proposed would allow him, assuming he won the elections, to be in power until 2034.

    Screengrab from Rwanda television

    The caption on the screen reads: "Referendum, Our Choice is Our Pride". 

    The station has been broadcasting clips of citizens expressing their support for the vote.

  20. Outcry over presidents' faces on Ghanaian buses

    These buses have been causing controversy in Ghana's capital, Accra:


    It cost almost $1m to get pictures of the country's presidents plastered on 116 buses.

    The figures of 3.6m Cedi ($940,0000, £630,000) was made public by Ghana's minority leader of parliament, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu. 


    The BBC's Sammy Darko in Accra says this didn't go down well with the public - some have even said they would have preferred adverts.

    Others are complaining that the cost of the rebrand was far too high. 

    Following the public outcry the president's chief of staff has directed the attorney general to review the contract for the rebrand.