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Live Reporting

By Clare Spencer and Farouk Chothia

All times stated are UK

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  1. Scroll down for today's stories

    We'll be back in 2016

    That's it from us for 2015. We're going to have a lie down.

    We'll be back on 4 January. Until then, keep up-to-date with news from across Africa on the Africa Today podcast and the BBC News website.  

    Our proverb of the day was: "If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping in a closed room with a mosquito."

    It was sent by Macduff Odoms in Lagos, Nigeria, and Boniface Bazil in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. 

    Click here to tell us your proverbs.

    Goodbye from us and goodbye from the highly trained landmine detecting rat in a Santa hat:

    rat in a Santa hat
  2. Ghana minister quits

    Ghana bus

    Ghana's Minister of Transport Dzifa Attivor has resigned after a huge public outcry over the decision to spend almost $1m (£670,000) on putting pictures of current President John Mahama and his predecessors on 116 buses.

    A Ghanaian journalist has tweeted her resignation letter:

  3. North Korean diplomat 'expelled for poaching'

    South Africa has expelled a North Korean diplomat who was arrested on allegations of illegal rhino horn trading, South Africa's Department of International Relations has said, the Associated Press news agency reports. 

    The North Korean official was arrested in neighboring Mozambique in May, spokesman Nelson Kgwete said, it reports.   

    The official, who was not identified, was driving a car with a South African diplomatic registration, AP says. 

    The North Korean Embassy in South Africa declined to comment when approached by an AP correspondent. 

    "We don't know about that. It's none of your business,'' said a man at the embassy in Pretoria, who refused to be named. 

    A rhinoceros bull stands in a farm near Vaalwater in the Limpopo Province on March 17, 2015. Official statistics for 2014 show that a record number of 1215 rhinoceros were poached in South Africa
  4. Too short to play rugby? Become a referee

    South African Rasta Rasivhenge loves rugby. 

    But as a man "small in stature", as he puts it, there was no chance he could become a professional player.

    So, instead, he became a referee:

    Video content

    Video caption: South African Rasta Rasivhenge referees for Rugby Sevens
  5. Beached whale moved from South African beach

    Here is the latest picture of the whale being moved after the carcass washed up on the shore in Cape Town, South Africa:


    South Africa's News 24 reports that three bulldozers were used to move the carcass.

    The site says people watched "noses pinched" as the whale was dragged ashore.

    The entire Strand beach was closed for bathing as the carcass was emitting fluids that could attract sharks, the site adds. 

  6. Reprieve for South African monarch

    South Africa's King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo will be spending Christmas with his family after a court extended his bail conditions until 30 December, the local News24 site reports. 

    The monarch's lawyers apparently went into the judge's chambers in Mthatha city this afternoon, and emerged two hours later with the ruling, it reports.

    The king's lawyers told News24 that they were on their way to his residence to brief him.

    The king was due to report to prison today to begin a 12-year sentence for kidnap, assault and arson. 

    Scroll down to the 14:29 and 10:31 posts for more on this.

  7. Nigeria military: 'No Shias killed'

    Members of Shia sect in Nigeria
    Image caption: Nigeria's main Shia leader is in detention

    Nigeria's military has denied killing any Muslim Shias during an operation in northern Zaria city earlier this month, despite a respected human rights group reporting that at least 300 were killed. 

    "I said we don't kill people, you understand," its spokesman Brigadier General Rabe Abubakar told BBC Focus on Africa radio's Akwasi Sarpong. 

    "So the issue of how many people were killed, I think, does not even arise. We are law abiding citizens. We respect constitutional authorities and we do our job in line with the approved international standard," he added. 

    Shias are a minority in Nigeria, with most Muslims belonging to the Sunni sect.  

    See our 09:01 post for more details.

  8. Spurs lose Njie for months after knee injury

    Here's some bad news for Tottenham Hotspur fans... 

    Cameroonian striker Clinton Njie looks likely to be out for two to three months with a knee injury.

    Njie underwent surgery after sustaining the injury in Spurs' Europa League victory over Monaco two weeks ago.

    At the time manager Mauricio Pochettino told reporters: "You never know because every day it's about how the knee responds but maybe two months or a little bit more [he will be out]."

    Clinton Njie
  9. Sierra Leone politician arrested over bigamy allegation

    Umaru Fofana

    BBC Africa, Freetown

    Mr Kabbah
    Image caption: Mr Kabbah says his arrest is political

    A senior opposition politician in Sierra Leone, Alie Kabbah, is now under arrest, following allegations that he is a bigamist (see 13:40 post). 

    The head of Sierra Leone's police criminal investigations department, Superintendent Mohamed Kamara, said he would not be released on bail until he appeared before a magistrate.    

    Mr Kabbah  told me that he had divorced his previous wife two months before he got married to Local Government Minister Diana Konomanyi in August 2013. 

    He said that he and the minister divorced in August this year by mutual consent and referred to the allegations as "a bogus and politically motivated witch-hunt aimed at distracting me from my campaign" to secure the presidential nomination of the main opposition Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP) in the run-up to elections.  

    Ms Konomany belongs to the governing All People's Congress (APC) party. 

    Bigamy is a criminal offence under Sierra Leonean law. It carries a maximum sentence of seven years.

  10. Guinea government quits

    Guinea's prime minister and government have resigned, President Alpha Conde has said, clearing the way for him to appoint a new administration two months after being elected to a second five-year term, AFP news agency reports. 

    Mr Conde gave no reason for the departure of Prime Minister Mohamed Said Fofana, but a change of cabinet is typical after a presidential election.  

    Guinea's president Alpha Conde (C) poses with members of Guinee's Constitutional Court after swearing the oath for the second term of his presidency on December 14, 2015 in Conakry
    Image caption: Mr Conde was sworn in for a second term on 14 December
  11. Landmine rats wear Santa rats

    What better way to say Merry Christmas than to put a rat in a Santa hat?

    That's what the organisation that trains rats to detect landmines thinks, anyway. 

    They've been tweeting their rats in Santa hats this afternoon:

    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter

    Apopo trains rats in Morogoro in Tanzania. They are used to sniff out landmines in Mozambique and Angola.

  12. Tanzania 'opposes AU force in Burundi'

    The Tanzanian government is opposed to the African Union (AU) plans to deploy troops in Burundi, according to Tanzania's Citizen newspaper..

    The AU plans to send 5,000 peacekeepers to protect civilians in Burundi, against the Burundian government's wishes.  

    The newspaper reports that Tanzanian foreign minister Augustine Mahiga said he hopes to convince the rest of the AU to reconsider its stance.

    Mr Mahiga is due to meet with Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza on Thursday, the Citizen says.

    Security agents near a burning building in Burundi
    Image caption: At least 400 people have been killed in Burundi since April
  13. Convicted South African king has a history of stirring things up

    Milton Nkosi

    BBC Africa, Johannesburg

    The South African king who was told to go to jail today (see 10:39 post) is no stranger to controversy.

    In 2013 king Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo defected from the governing African National Congress and joined the official opposition Democratic Alliance in spectacular fashion. 

    The 51-year-old publicly insulted President Jacob Zuma saying that "he flushes his ministers like condoms" adding "unfortunately the president has a habit of not condomising", although he later apologised.  

    He once admitted to smoking marijuana.  

    While addressing a media briefing he said "smoking dagga is a cultural behavior.

    "I am a Rastafarian by nature - that association with dagga should not surprise you." 

    He also threatened to boycott Nelson Mandela's funeral.

  14. Top Sierra Leone politician accused of bigamy

    Umaru Fofana

    BBC Africa, Freetown

    A leading opposition figure in Sierra Leone is being questioned by police following bigamy allegations filed against him by his wife. 

    Alie Kabbah is married to Local Govt Minister Diana Finda Konomany, who belongs to the governing party.  

    He is alleged to have a wife in the US as well. 

    Mr Kabbah has not commented on the allegation. However, it is understood that he denies being a bigamist.  

    He is being questioned at the headquarters of the police criminal investigations department in the capital, Freetown.   

    He is campaigning to be the candidate of the main opposition Sierra Leone People's Party in the presidential election due to be held by February 2018.

    Below is the letter the police sent to Mr Kabbah:

    Sierra Leone police invitation letter
  15. Christians exempted from Mogadishu Christmas ban

    Mohammud Ali Mohamed

    BBC Africa, Nairobi

    A Christmas tree pictured by the sea

    The ban on Christmas celebrations in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, does not apply to non-Muslims living in the city, mayor Yusuf Hussein Jimale has told the BBC. 

    "Non-Muslims are free to celebrate.We are not after them," he said. 

    The ban applied to Muslims, and had been introduced to prevent possible attacks by militant Islamist group al-Shabab on people who may gather at hotels or other public places, Mr Jimale added. 

    Somalia is a mainly Muslim country, with a very small Christian population. 

  16. Get Involved

    WhatsApp your christmas preparation pictures: +447341070844

    It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in downtown Kampala, Uganda.

    The BBC's Patience Atuhaire sent this picture of the Christmas lights on the offices for telecoms company Airtel:

    Airtel tower

    And over in the Eastleigh surburb of Kenya's capital Nairobi, the BBC's Bashkas Jugsodaay's says the market is packed with Christmas shoppers:

    Eastleigh Market

    Send us pictures of your Christmas preparations on WhatsApp: +447341070844.

  17. Bility in new bid to run for Fifa presidency

    Nick Cavell

    BBC Africa Sport

    Musa Bility

    Liberia Football Association President Musa Bility, pictured above, is appearing at the Court of Arbitration for Sport today in Zurich as he seeks to be declared eligible to run for the Fifa presidency in February. 

    The electoral committee at football's world governing body ruled that Bility failed their integrity checks, due to a six-month ban he was handed in 2013 for using confidential documents from African football's governing body in a legal challenge against its President Issa Hayatou. 

    The 48-year-old is also seeking compensation for the harm suffered to his reputation. He is hoping to have a decision on 31 December.

  18. Tanzania leader suspends rail chief

    John Magufuli, CCM party's presidential candidate in Tanzania - July 2015
    Image caption: Mr Magufuli has promised to tackle corruption and financial mismanagement

    Tanzanian President John Magufuli has suspended a senior rail official, reports Reuters news agency.

    Mr Magufuli has ordered an investigation into alleged "gross irregularities" into the tendering process for a rail contract, it adds.

    Tanzania's authorities said in March that they planned to spend $14.2bn (£9.5bn) to construct a new rail network in the next five years.

    Since coming to power in October, Mr Magufuli, nicknamed "The Bulldozer", has carried out surprise visits and sacked a raft of officials. 

    Woman walking by rail
    Image caption: One of Tanzania's current rail lines goes to Zambia

    Read: Magufuli in profile

  19. Ban on first class flights for Ghana officials

    The Nigerian press is reacting to news that Ghana's president has banned officials from flying first class. 

    The Daily Post says it is to cut wasteful spending.

    Premium Times points out that Ghana has begun a three-year aid deal with the International Monetary Fund to revive state finances.

    Ghana's Citi FM said on Monday that President John Mahama also ordered a stop on all non-essential travel. 

    President John Mahama
    Image caption: President Mahama is trying to cut costs
  20. Cameroon forces 'kill 70 in Nigeria'

    Cameroonian troops have killed at least 70 residents in north-eastern Nigeria while chasing militant Islamists, villagers have said, the Associated Press news agency reports. 

    The troops entered Kirawa-Jimni village in Borno state on Sunday, searching for insurgents from the Boko Haram group, residents said. 

    "We didn't know what was going on but the Cameroonian troops suddenly appeared and began to ask us for Boko Haram terrorists,'' said Muhammed Abba, a resident of the village and deputy commander of a local group of civilians set up to fight the extremists in Gwoza, AP reports. 

    "Before we could say a word, they started firing. That scared most of us and we began to run,' 'Mr Abba added. 

    AP quoted him as saying that when people returned on Monday, they found 70 corpses littering the ground. 

    Cameroon's military has not yet commented on the allegations.

    A picture taken on 17 February 2015 shows Cameroonian soldiers holding a position in the Cameroonian town of Fotokol, on the border with Nigeria
    Image caption: Cameroon's troops are battling to protect the border with Nigeria

    The Borno state spokesman for a civilian self-defence group, Abbas Gava, confirmed the reports, saying he received calls from residents of Ashigashiya village near the border with Cameroon. 

    "They said the soldiers were in hot pursuit of the Boko Haram terrorists who ran into Kirawa-Jimni. The soldiers did not waste time upon arrival as they immediately opened fire on the villagers,'' he said. 

    Kirawa-Jimni is a border community near Cameroon, located around the area where Boko Haram is active. 

    Cameroonian troops also chased Boko Haram fighters into Nigerian territory on 30 November, killing at least 150 people, burning huts and forcing people out of their communities, Nigerians said, AP reports.  

    Boko Haram launched its insurgency in north-eastern Nigeria in 2009. It has carried out a spate of attacks in Cameroon, Niger and Chad in recent years, threatening the stability of the region. 

    The countries had pledged to co-ordinate military activities to fight the militants. 

    Read: Boko Haram's links with Islamic State group