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Live Reporting

Lucy Fleming and Hugo Williams

All times stated are UK

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  1. Scroll down for Thursday's stories

    We'll be back tomorrow

    That's all from the BBC Africa Live page today. Keep up-to-date with what's happening across the continent by listening to the Africa Today podcast or checking the BBC News website

    A reminder of today's wise words:

    Quote Message: A person who doesn't want to eat a snake asks the server for its thigh." from A Lhukonzo proverb sent by Bwambale Musubaho Luke and Philip Sibitha Mande, both from Kasese, Uganda
    A Lhukonzo proverb sent by Bwambale Musubaho Luke and Philip Sibitha Mande, both from Kasese, Uganda

    Click here to send us your African proverbs

    And we leave you with this photo of Father Christmas landing in a helicopter in the grounds of the presidential residence in the Ivorian city of Abidjan, as part of a charity event:

    A man dressed as Santa Claus gestures as he arrives in a helicopter in the garden of the presidential palace in Abidjan
  2. Judge rules against Grace Mugabe in diamond ring row

    Grace Mugabe
    Image caption: Grace Mugabe married Zimbabwe's president in 1996

    A judge has ordered Zimbabwe's First Lady Grace Mugabe to return three properties that she seized from a Lebanese businessman over a $1.35m (£1m) diamond ring deal, South Africa’s News24 website reports.

    According to an affidavit from the businessman, she demanded a refund after the diamond ring, purchased in Dubai, was delivered to her after it had been polished by a third party.

    When Jamal Ahmed failed to repay the money to an account in Dubai, even though he says it was remitted through a Zimbabwe bank, the first lady forcibly took over his three houses last October, his testimony said.

    The case also involved Mrs Mugabe's son from her first marriage to Russell Goreraza and a bodyguard.

    The affidavit said Mr Ahmed then suffered a "reign of terror and harassment" and was "verbally threatened, harassed, insulted" and told that he could not do anything about it "as the parties involved [Mrs Mugabe and her son] were in fact 'Zimbabwe'".

    Justice Clement Phiri said Mrs Mugabe should also ensure that all workers who lost their jobs at the three properties owned by the diamond seller be reinstated, the Voice of America reports.

    The ring was meant to be President Robert Mugabe’s present to his wife for their 20th wedding anniversary, News24 says.

  3. Somali basketball sportswear 'too revealing'

    Farhan Jimale

    BBC Somali service editor

    Sheikh Bashir Ahmed Salat
    Image caption: Sheikh Bashir Ahmed Salat said men were forbidden to see women in inappropriate clothing

    The chairman of the Somali Religious Council has been explaining why the influential body considers a women’s basketball competition unIslamic (see previous post) and not in keeping with Somali culture.

    Sheikh Bashir Ahmed Salat told the BBC Somali service it was mainly to do with the clothing of the female players.

    Even though they cover up – wearing tracksuits and headscarves – he said such sportswear showed more of the body’s contours than a traditional hijab and loose-fitting robes.

    According to Islamic law, the sheikh said, it was forbidden for men to watch women in such attire.

  4. Sierra Leone ex-defence chief shot dead in Freetown

    Umaru Fofana

    BBC Africa

    Lt Gen Samuel Omar Williams
    Image caption: Lt Gen Samuel Omar Williams pictured in 2012

    Family and police sources have confirmed the shooting dead last night of the former chief of defence staff of Sierra Leone at his home in the outskirts of the capital Freetown. 

    The motive and circumstances behind the killing of Lt Gen Samuel Omar Williams are unclear.  

  5. West Ham striker ruled out for up to eight more weeks

    Diafra Sakho
    Image caption: Diafra Sakho has struggled with injury over the past couple of seasons

    West Ham and Senegal striker Diafra Sakho will miss the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations after being ruled out for up to eight more weeks with a back injury.

    The Hammers said on 30 November the 26-year-old would be missing for six weeks because of a thigh injury, meaning he would not return until mid-January.

    But boss Slaven Bilic said on Thursday that Sakho faced up to eight more weeks out, taking him to mid-February.

    The 2017 Africa Cup of Nations starts on 14 January.

    Read the full BBC Sport story false

  6. UAE aims to build military base in Somaliland

    BBC World Service

    The United Arab Emirates wants to build a military base in the port of Berbera in the self-declared republic of Somaliland, according to a memorandum of understanding.

    Somaliland’s Transport Minister Farhaan Aadan Haybe said the issue would be debated in parliament. 

    The UAE already has a military facility at the Eritrean port of Assab, which it uses in its campaign against Houthi rebels in nearby Yemen. 

    Earlier this year, Somaliland signed a deal with the UAE ports giant, DP World, to develop the port at Berbera, which mainly exports livestock to the Middle East.

    A ship at Berbera port
    Image caption: Livestock is the main export from the port of Berbera
  7. Liverpool's ex-striker Titi Camara 'gets six-month jail sentence'

    Titi Camara and Michael Owen
    Image caption: Camara was a fan favourite at Liverpool FC during the 1990s

    Former Liverpool and Guinea striker Titi Camera, who also served as the country's sports minister after his playing career, has been has been handed a six-month suspended prison sentence and given a $5,000 (£4,000) fine by a court in Guinea, local media report.

    He was found guilty of "forgery, threats, public insults and family abandonment" in the case, which was brought by his ex-wife, according to the Guinee360 news website.

    The lawyer for his estranged wife, Mariama Koulibaly, said:

    Quote Message: "We are going to see if we can make an appeal to get a larger sum. Because 50 million Guinean francs ($5,000) is not even enough to pay the kids' school fees."

    Titi Camara's lawyer says will appeal the ruling, the site adds.  

  8. Released Ethiopian blogger ‘frightened'

    Ethiopian blogger Befeqadu Hailu has told the BBC's Emmanuel Igunza that he is relieved to be out of jail (see previous post) after a month in detention:

    Quote Message: I am good now, a little bit exhausted and somehow frustrated and also frightened but I think I am doing good, and will return to a normal state soon I hope.

    He said it was “a trying time” in detention especially when he was transferred to a police training centre near the central town of Awash.

    Quote Message: We were far from our parents, the food wasn’t good and we did not know when and if we would ever be released. We were afraid especially because of the uncertainty, and the high temperature in that place that made it very difficult."

    He said that his detention would not affect his activism in the long term:

    Quote Message: Maybe I will take some time away from active participation but I will still write, give comments and do whatever I used to, but I will take some time to myself maybe a week or two."
  9. Kenyan opposition calls for mass protests over election law

    Raila Odinga, Kenya's former prime minister and leader of the opposition Cord alliance, has called for mass action to protest against changes to electoral laws ahead of the presidential poll next year. 

    It follows a bitter dispute in parliament (see previous entry) as the ruling Jubilee party passed a law to allow the use of manual systems during next year's election.   

    The government wants a back-up to the electronic system but the opposition says it is a way of rigging the poll.  

    Writing on his official Facebook page, Mr Odinga said:

    Quote Message: The Jubilee brigade today proved to Kenyans that they have no interest in free and fair elections. In forcing through the amendments to the Election Laws that had been carefully negotiated between all political actors in the country, they revealed the duplicitous nature of this regime.

    Mr Odinga then called for "peaceful, non-violent and legal mass action across the country, starting on 4 January, adding: 

    Quote Message: Elections can no longer be rituals to impose the will of a few on the majority of Kenyans."
    View more on facebook
  10. Lagos 'must spend money to provide water'

    A woman in a well drilled east of Lagos - March 2014
    Image caption: Many people are drilling wells to get access to water in Lagos state

    The authorities in Nigeria's commercial capital, Lagos, need to invest more in providing water and sanitation services to its more than 20 million residents, a UN expert has warned.

    The UN special rapporteur Leo Heller on safe drinking water and sanitation said only 10% of the city's population had access to water provided by the state utility:

    Quote Message: It is profoundly worrying how many millions of people are exposed to this level of vulnerability."

    He said many people were drilling boreholes, which had serious environmental and health consequences.

    Others paid high prices to private vendors, who sell water that is not guaranteed to be safe.

    His comments come as the Lagos House of Assembly discusses the state's annual budget.

  11. Cameroon anger over Bamenda arrests

    Randy Joe Sa'ah

    BBC Africa, Bamenda

    Relatives of about 70 men arrested following protests in Cameroon’s English-speaking city of Bamenda are angry and upset that they have been transferred to jails in the French-speaking capital, Yaounde.

    Bamenda is one of the main cities in English-speaking Cameroon whose residents have long complained that they face discrimination.

    A few months ago lawyers and teachers began striking against the imposition of the French language.

    Serious clashes broke out in Bamenda two weeks ago when the prime minister tried to hold a ruling party rally in the city.

    Since then there have been many arrests and rounding up, of mainly young men, and soldiers are still guarding strategic junctions.

    A pregnant woman told me that her husband, a carpenter, was arrested a week ago when he went to deliver furniture.

    A day later when she went to visit him in prison, she was told he had been moved to Yaounde.

    He is likely to be tried, along with the others arrested, in a military court where legal proceedings will be in French - a language they are unlikely to understand.

    Anglophone activists say that if President Paul Biya does not address their concerns about marginalisation in his end-of-year national address, they will start protests again on 2 January 2017.

    At Bamenda's main market today, people were busy getting ready for Christmas, but tensions are running high:

    Bamenda market, Cameroon
    A maize seller in Bamenda, Cameroon
  12. Tunisian suspect 'used to get drunk and didn't pray'

    The BBC’s Rana Jawad has travelled to Ouslatiyah in Tunisia’s Kairouan province to find the family of the man suspected of being behind the attack on a Berlin Christmas market on Monday. 

    Anis Amri's brother Walid is very upset about the allegations, she tweets: 

    View more on twitter

    He told our reporter that the family were expecting his brother home in January. 

    Quote Message: I would speak with him on the phone and through Facebook. I would always ask how he was and he would say he’s fine and ask about everyone and say that he wanted to come back, but he was saving money so he could come here and buy a car and start a business, that was his dream.
    Quote Message: I last spoke to him 10 days ago before this attack. I said, ‘Anis, are we going to see you?’ and he said that God willing, he would be back in January. He was laughing and being playful, nothing seemed wrong."

    Walid said that while in Europe his brother used to do farming to earn money on the black market as he didn’t have the right paperwork. 

    He said the news of his alleged involvement in the market raid in Germany was a surprise for people in Ouslatiyah. 

    Quote Message: His friends here in the neighbourhood all knew him. He used to get drunk and go around, he didn’t pray, he grew up like most youngsters here and spent his teenage years here… We are of course shocked... it was a shock because he’s our brother and we never imagined… excuse me.”

    He was too upset to continue speaking. 

  13. Ethiopia releases prominent Zone 9 blogger

    Emmanuel Igunza

    BBC Africa, Nairobi

    Poster from 2014 shows cartoon drawings of six zone 9 bloggers
    Image caption: Befeqadu Hailu (top left) was previously arrested in April 2014 along with other Zone 9 bloggers

    Authorities in Ethiopia have released a prominent Ethiopian blogger and activist - Befeqadu Hailu - more than a month after he was arrested in the capital, Addis Ababa. 

    He was among thousands of people who were arrested by security agents during the ongoing state of emergency. 

    More that 10,000 people have been released over the last two days, but nearly the same number remain in custody without charge. 

    Mr Befeqadu is one of the reknowned group of anti-government critics known as the Zone 9 bloggers. 

    He was arrested at his house in November and has since been held in various police stations and detention camps.

    No reason was given for his arrest but he has constantly condemned the government for its handling of widespread protests in the Oromia and Amhara regions. 

    Mr Befeqadu was previously arrested in April 2014, together with nine other bloggers and journalists, and was charged under the country’s controversial anti-terrorism laws. 

    The case was eventually thrown out after 18 months. But Mr Befeqadu and four others still have other pending cases from that time.

    Ethiopia has seen an unprecedented wave of protests in two of its largest regions, with demonstrators demanding greater representation and civil liberties.

  14. Guinea-Bissau biggest Fifa movers in 2016

    Bocundji Ca in action
    Image caption: Guinea-Bissau's France-based captain Bocundji Ca will lead his side at Gabon 2017

    Guinea-Bissau are the biggest movers on the Fifa rankings for 2016, having gained 78 places since December last year.

    They are now 68th on the global list and 15th in Africa.

    It means they are above Uganda, Togo and Zimbabwe who have also qualified for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon.

    Senegal end the year as the top-ranked African side at 33 in the world.

    Africa's Top 10 on Fifa's December ranking (global position in brackets):

    1. Senegal (33)
    2. Ivory Coast (34)
    3. Tunisia (35)
    4. Egypt (36)
    5. Algeria (38)
    6. DR Congo(48)
    7. Burkina Faso (50)
    8. Nigeria (51) (did not qualify for Gabon 2017)
    9. Ghana (53)
    10. Morocco (57)

    Read the full BBC Sport story

  15. Abuja airport closure 'will cause chaos'

    The main airport serving the Nigerian capital Abuja is to close for a major upgrade.

    The announcement comes after airlines threatened to stop flying to Abuja because of safety concerns over the state of the runway.

    During the repairs, domestic and international flights to Abuja will be diverted to the city of Kaduna, about 160 km (100 miles) away. 

    There are worries about safety and the impact on government and business.

    Bismarck Rewane, an economist and businessman based in Nigeria, has been telling the BBC's Newsday programme about his concerns:

    Video content

    Video caption: Work needed to repair runway
  16. Losing lemurs – Madagascar’s wide-eyed wanderers

    Threatened by habitat loss and hunting, Madagascar's lemurs, a critically endangered species, are finding refuge in a private sanctuary.  

    Video content

    Video caption: Losing lemurs – Madagascar’s wide-eyed wanderers
  17. Which Premier League stars are going to Afcon?

    BBC Sport looks at which clubs will be affected by the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations, with the likes of Riyad Mahrez, Sadio Mane and Wilfried Zaha among the call-ups:

    Video content

    Video caption: Africa Cup of Nations: Which Premier League stars are going?
  18. Joy and anger over release of Nigerian ex-governor

    Mugshot of James Ibori
    Image caption: James Ibori was jailed for 13 years in 2012 for money-laundering offences

    Some Nigerians are unhappy with the celebrations prompted by news of the release of convicted fraudster and former Nigerian state governor James Ibori, local media report.

    There was wild jubilation in the Niger Delta region following the news of the release of the former governor, the widely read Punch newspaper reports, showing photos of locals driving around his home town of Oghara with a welcome-home banner:

    View more on twitter

    The paper quotes one Lagos-based businessman who is disappointed at the joyful reaction to the release of Ibori, who was jailed in the UK for fraud totalling nearly £50m ($62m) in April 2012:

    Quote Message: The problem of some Nigerians is a clear case of poverty of the mind. We value wealth so much. They are not even bothered about why he went to prison.
    Quote Message: They don’t even care that the money stolen was meant for their welfare and development.”

    One London-based anti-corruption campaigner has shared photos purportedly showing the scenes outside the prison in London after his release:

    His name has been trending on Twitter in Nigeria since his release.

  19. Black Queens protest over unpaid football bonuses

    Sports journalists in Ghana are tweeting that the national women's team - the Black Queens - are demonstrating over the failure to pay them their bonuses:

    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter

    They are clearly taking a leaf out of the Super Falcons' book - the Nigerian women's football team staged a succesful sit-in protest at a hotel to get money owed to them for winning the Women Africa Cup of Nations.

    According to the football website Ghana Soccernet, it is not the first time the Black Queens and Ghana's Ministry of Sports have clashed over unpaid bonuses and allowances.  

  20. Would this 'plastic rice' fool you?

    The BBC's Martin Patience has been examining some of the 2.5 tonnes of "plastic rice" seized this week in the Nigerian city of Lagos. 

    The Lagos customs chief said the fake rice was intended to be sold in markets during the festive season and was very sticky after it was boiled. Take a look:

    Video content

    Video caption: Plastic rice seized in Nigeria 'feels realistic'