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  1. Sudan's President Bashir undergoes heart procedure
  2. Worshippers mark voodoo festival in Benin
  3. Nigerian MPs offer Gambian President Yahya Jammeh asylum
  4. South Africa to honour 'unsung hero' of heart operations
  5. Army worms 'invade Malawi'
  6. Kenya offers striking doctors new pay deal
  7. Ex-presidential candidate arrested in Congo-Brazzaville
  8. Nigeria caught in Taiwan-China row
  9. South Africa miners in underground sit-in protest
  10. Zimbabwe uproar over mobile data price hikes
  11. India hospital builds new unit to operate on '500kg' Egyptian
  12. Email stories and comments to - Thursday 12 January 2017

Live Reporting

By Dickens Olewe, Lucy Fleming and Lamine Konkobo

All times stated are UK

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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:

It is in one's yard that one eats a rat that has a protruding navel."

A Yoruba proverb sent by Urbanyooba in Lagos, Nigeria

Click here to send us your African proverbs

And we leave you with with this picture of a family making an offering to the sea during the voodoo festival in Benin's coastal city of Ouidah. 

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South Africa miners in underground sit-in protest

Milton Nkosi

BBC Africa, Johannesburg

Harmony Gold has reported that 1,700 of its employees are participating in an illegal strike by staging a sit-in underground at its Kusasalethu mine, near Carltonville, west of South Africa's main city of Johannesburg.

The company said the strike began on Wednesday when some of the miners refused to return to the surface after their morning shift - their demands are not clear.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) spokesman Manzini Zungu said he was only informed of the sit-in this morning.

Negotiations are currently underway to try and resolve the crisis.

Harmony Gold said that its primary concern is the safety of all employees.

South Africa saw a tragic end to an illegal mine strike in 2012 when 34 miners were shot and killed by the police in the mining town of Marikana.

Afrobeat wars: Not so easy for Mr Eazi

Nigerian Afrobeat artist Mr Eazi, who is based in Ghana, tweeted yesterday about how much he felt Ghanaian music had had an impact on Nigeria:

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Rivalry between the neighbours is nothing new... and now the singer is getting roasted by the Naija twittersphere:

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NIgeria's website even warns:

Nigerians are a very proud people. We take what we perceive as insults very seriously. This may play out in the way fans react to Mr Eazi’s materials. His songs may be ignored, social media will not be kind to him and when he does get to perform on stage, his act will be met with so much criticism that he’ll wonder what he did wrong for years."

Ruling for Habre appeal 'set for April'

An appeal ruling in the case of Chad's former President Hissene Habre against a life sentence for war crimes and crimes against humanity will be made on 27 April, the AFP news agency reports. 

Lawyers appointed for Habre launched an appeal on his behalf Monday, even though the 74-year-old has refused to recognise the special African Union court sitting in Senegal.

He was convicted of crimes against humanity and sentenced to life in prison in May last year after a landmark trial.

If his conviction is upheld, Habre will serve his sentence in Senegal or in another AU country, the report says. 

Read more: Who is Hissene Habre?

Hissene Habre

Kenya offers striking doctors new pay deal

Kenya's health ministry has been tweeting details of a new deal it is offering to striking doctors who have paralysed health-care operations nationwide.

Doctors who work at public hospitals, on strike for more than a month, are pushing for a 2013 deal that was never implemented that was set to increase their pay by up to 300% and improve their working conditions. 

The ministry says the new proposal includes a monthly pay rise of $5,600 (£4,500) to the highest paid doctors and $2,000 for entry level doctors: 

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Other benefits on offer include car loans and training:

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Zimbabwe uproar over mobile data price hikes

Zimbabwe’s telecom regulator has come under fire for putting up the price of mobile data by more than 100%, the country’s DailyNews reports.

According to the NewsDay website before the increase 250MB of data cost $1 (£0.80) and now 300MB costs $10.

The hikes has “in one sweeping move, all, but sounded the death knell for Zimbabwe’s flourishing social media use”, it says.

Zimbabweans say they are already noticing a difference in use:

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Analysis: Nigerian MPs strengthen Buhari's hand with asylum offer

Stephanie Hegarty, BBC News, Lagos

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari in The Gambia in December 2016
President Muhammadu Buhari is tasked with getting Gambia's leader to stand down

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has a difficult task ahead of him as he heads to The Gambia tomorrow as the head of a regional mediation team.

He must try and convince President Yahya Jammeh to accept his defeat in last month's election and step down.

But his House of Representatives has just granted him one more tool in his arsenal - the authority to offer the Gambian leader asylum in Nigeria if he steps down peacefully.

It took about an hour for the lower house of parliament to come to the decision - with mild opposition from representatives who argued that it would send the wrong signal to African leaders and set an unhealthy precedent.

Though it’s not the first time that Nigeria has proposed an offer like this. In 2003 it controversially gave asylum to former Liberian leader Charles Taylor.

But MPs hope this decision will strengthen Mr Buhari's hand at the negotiating table.

Mr Jammeh lost to Adama Barrow in elections in December.

President-elect Barrow is due to be inaugurated next week but Mr Jammeh wants the results annulled and a Supreme Court hearing on the case has been delayed until May because of a shortage of judges.

Test your nickname knowledge: Africa Cup of Nations 2017

African lions
Are the Indomitable Lions found on Planet Earth or Planet Football?

The Africa Cup of Nations kicks off on Saturday in the West African nation of Gabon with 16 teams competing in the four-week tournament. 

But how familiar are you with the team nicknames? The BBC has put together a quiz for you to test whether you know the difference between what's a nickname, a species of animal or both.

The BBC's Dickens Olewe, a self-acknowledged football guru, has just lost all the credibility by only registering an above average score:

Screengrab of Planet Earth or Planet Football game

Test your knowledge here

Vigilante justice in DR Congo

BBC World Service

Officials in the town of Kisangani in the Democratic Republic of Congo say 16 suspected criminals have been beaten to death by vigilantes since October.

In the most recent case, a man who was accused of trying to steal a motorbike was seized and killed. 

Local officials have denounced what they called acts of vengeance, and called on people to hand over suspected criminals to the police. 

The BBC's Poly Muzalia in the capital, Kinshasa, says this sort of mob justice often occurs in the country when people feel the police are not doing enough to protect them.                 

Gabon football 'anarchic' amid wage dispute

Piers Edwards

BBC Africa Sport

Local footballers
Footballers in Gabon have publicly protested about their unpaid wages

Just days before Gabon hosts the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, the state of league football in the country has been described as "anarchic".

In December, four local teams boycotted games in protest over unpaid wages.

"The situation is a result of bad management, and a lack of control and accountability in the management of clubs and football institutions," said Gabon's footballers' union (ANFPG).

The ANFPG hopes the Nations Cup can improve local players' conditions.

The union says many first and second division players are still owed substantial salaries from last year.

Read the full BBC Sport story

Sudan's President Bashir undergoes heart procedure

President Omar al-Bashir
Omar al-Bashir, 73, has been in power for nearly three decades

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir has undergone a heart procedure at the main hospital in the capital, Khartoum. 

A terse statement from the state news agency Suna said the 73-year-old leader had an exploratory cardiac catheterisation, which is a procedure used to diagnose and treat cardiovascular conditions, at the Royal Care Hospital on Wednesday evening.

It says that he has resumed his official duties. 

The Reuters news agency spoke to a state official who said that the results of the procedure were very reassuring, adding that "the president left the hospital immediately after the procedure".

Mr Bashir took power in 1989 in a coup and has led Sudan ever since. 

He is accused of suppressing opposition and muzzling the press, which has led to small protests in recent years. 

Mr Bashir has been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on counts of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, allegations he denies.

He told the BBC last year that he would step down at the end of his term in 2020.   

Benin marks voodoo festival

People are gathering in Ouidah, a port city in Benin, for the annual voodoo festival which attracts people from all over the world.

Benin is the birthplace of voodoo which - as a result of slavery - later reached distant lands such as Haiti and Brazil.

The AFP news agency has posted this video about the ongoing festivities:

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Tanzania's tailoring school for the blind

Esther Namuhisa

BBC Africa, Dar es Salaam

Abdallah Nyangalio has had an extraordinary career. Despite being blind, he has had a impressive career as a tailor. 

He is now helping others who are visually impaired by teaching them his trade in a project sponsored by Tanzania Trade Development Authority.

I visited the training centre in central Dar es Salaam where I found students busy new skills:

Tanzania's first blind tailor school

Mr Nyangalio first spoke to the BBC about his work in 2015 when he revealed that his famous clients included the former Tanzania's President Jakaya Kikwete:

Tanzania's blind tailor who made clothes for the president

Nigeria MPs offer Gambia's president asylum

Ibrahim Isa, BBC Hausa:

Poster of President Jammeh
President Jammeh has ruled for more than two decades

Nigeria's lower house has supported a motion to offer Gambian President Yahya Jammeh asylum if he steps down.

He lost elections in December, but wants the vote annulled (see earlier post).

The MPs spent more than half an hour debating the proposal put forward by Fani Zorro, who chairs the house committee on refugees.

It was a packed session of parliament, as lawmakers are just back from their end-of-year break.

Some member did not support the proposal, saying they considered President Jammeh, who first took power in a coup in 1994, a dictator and regarded such a move as sending the wrong message to other autocrats.

However, the majority of the parliamentarians were in favour, saying that it could be a way to stop a full-grown crisis.

If trouble erupted in The Gambia it could have an impact on the entire region, they argued.

Many top civil servants and members of the judiciary working in The Gambia were actually Nigerian, they noted.

Offering Mr Jammeh asylum would be a way of ensuring a “soft landing” and peaceful resolution to the dispute.

In essence this motion has no real authority, but it does give Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, who is trying to mediate an end to the crisis, a free hand should he want to offer Mr Jammeh asylum as part of negotiations when he goes to The Gambia tomorrow.

Nigeria has given asylum to former leaders in the past – most recently Liberia’s former President Charles Taylor in 2003 as part of a deal to end Liberia’s civil war.

At the time Nigeria said it would not extradite him to Sierra Leone, where he was wanted by an international court for aiding and abetting war crimes in its civil war.

However, it did say it would send him back to Liberia after the two-year transitional period if the new government there requested it – which it did and he was then handed over to Sierra Leone for prosecution by the Special Court for Sierra Leone.

Charles Taylor
Liberia's former leader Charles Taylor was convicted of aiding and abetting war crimes and sentenced to 50 years in jail

Student gets chopper ride for passing exam

Abdinoor Aden

BBC Africa, Nairobi

Kelvin Muriuki Nderitu
Kenya Air Force Officers Veterans Association

A Kenyan schoolboy has been gifted with a helicopter ride for getting good grades in the national examinations last year.

Kelvin Muriuki Nderitu was the top student in Karicheni town in central Kenya, scoring 372 marks out of 500. 

His future looked uncertain after his father failed to raise $530 (£430) for his high school fees. An attempt to raise funds from his colleagues at a quarry did not raise enough money.

An association of veteran pilots heard about Kelvin's plight and stepped in to offer to pay for his high school education. 

They also offered to take him to school on a helicopter to inspire his ambition of wanting to become a pilot.

Kelvin Muriuki Nderitu
Kenya Air Force Officers Veterans Association
Kelvin Muriuki Nderitu
Kenya Air Force Officers Veterans Association

The gay sex assault sketch that divided Nigerians

In a country in which same-sex sexual activity is illegal and LGBT rights do not exist, a sketch by a Nigerian comedian depicting a gay man who is about to be sexually assaulted has sparked a heated debate.

In the video, a gay man, played by well-known actor and comic Ogusbaba, is seen lying in bed at home looking at his mobile phone when a visitor comes to the door. The visitor is enthusiastically welcomed in - but has unexpectedly brought two heavies along with him, who confront Ogusbaba's character about his sexuality and use threatening language towards him.

As the video draws to a close the gay man is held down on a bed while the other three men threaten to sexually assault him.

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India hospital builds new unit to operate on '500kg' Egyptian woman

An Indian hospital is building a special facility so that an Egyptian woman, believed to be the world's heaviest at 500kg (1,102lb), can soon undergo weight reduction surgery.

The facility at Mumbai's Saifee Hospital will have an operating theatre and an intensive care unit.

Eman Ahmed Abd El Aty, 36, is expected to arrive in the city on a chartered plane at the end of January.

Her family says she has not been able to leave home for 25 years.

The estimate of her weight is given by relatives.

Read full story

Eman Ahmed Abd El Aty,

Cameroon radio station shut over Anglophone tensions

Protesters at a demonstration in Bamenda, Cameroon
Radio Hot Cocoa is blamed for inflaming tensions among Anglophone residents

A radio station in Cameroon’s English-speaking city of Bamenda has been closed down.

A police squad visited the offices of Radio Hot Cocoa and ordered that it stop operations. 

Officials accuse the station of using interactive programmes to stir up tension among Anglophone listeners, who often complain that they face discrimination.

In the last few months there have been protests in Bamenda against the use of French in courts and schools in two of the country's two English-speaking regions. The other eight semi-autonomous administrative regions are Francophone. 

An editor at Radio Hot Cocoa, Pierre Anoufack, told the BBC: 

We were taken aback by this raid as there was an assault by troops who came with officials to [the station]. We want to go and meet the officials so they understand the fact that we are a radio in the service of the people just like the publicly funded media."

Nigeria caught in Taiwan-China row

A car drives past the city gate to Abuja
Nigeria has no formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan

Taiwan is upset by Nigeria’s order that it move its trade office from the capital, Abuja, to the commercial hub, Lagos in what as seen as show of support for Beijing.

China regards Taiwan as a breakaway province, and does not recognise its sovereignty as an independent nation.

The Taiwan trade mission office swap was ordered after a visit by the Chinese foreign minister when his government pledged a $40bn (£32.5bn) investment in infrastructure.

Taiwan's foreign office condemned Nigeria "for collaborating with China's political goal to engage in unreasonable, barbaric, rough and violent political manipulation".

But a spokesman of China's foreign ministry said it regarded Nigeria's action as support for its "one-China principle".

Nigeria has no formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, which is only recognised by 21 countries.

According to the Reuters news agency, in countries with which Taiwan has no formal diplomatic relations it often sets up trade and commerce offices.

For years China and Taiwan have been locked in a bitter diplomatic tug-of-war, luring away each other's allies with generous financial packages in so-called "cheque-book diplomacy", the AFP news agency reports. 

Relations have become even more frosty since Tsai Ing-wen became Taiwan's president in May - not helped when she made a congratulatory call to US President-elect Donald Trump last month, breaking with US policy set in 1979, when formal relations were cut.

Read more: What's behind the China-Taiwan divide?

Copper case lawyer arrested in Zambia

A lawyer was arrested in Zambia as he held a public meeting with clients who have filed complaints about alleged pollution from a copper mine, British law firm Leigh Day tweets:

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Oliver Holland was updating communities, who believe a nearby copper mine is damaging farmland and water sources, to update them on their case against London-based Vedanta Resources and its Zambian subsidiary, Konkola Copper Mines.

According to Leigh Day, the lawyer was held without charge in the police cells for four hours without access to a lawyer, food or water.

Mr Holland says the police officers who carried out the arrest were driving a vehicle displaying the Konkola Copper Mines logo.

He was eventually charged with “conduct likely to cause a breach of peace'' and had to pay a $5 (£4) fine, Leigh Day says.  

According to the Reuters news agency, the authorities have confirmed that Mr Holland and two local government officials were arrested and released.