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  1. Gambia's security forces 'take over' electoral commission's building
  2. West African leaders in attempt to persuade Gambia's Jammeh to step down
  3. Gambia's US ambassador backs President Elect Adama Barrow
  4. Kenya court rules doctors strike 'illegal'
  5. Captain of boat that sank killing 700 jailed for 18 years in Italy
  6. Ugandan king Mumbere charged with terrorism over Rwenzururu clashes
  7. Manchester City star says he will not contest UK drink-driving charge
  8. US ups aid to north-eastern Nigeria, where UN has warned of famine risk
  9. Email stories and comments to - Tuesday 13 December 2016

Live Reporting

By Tom Spender and Clare Spencer

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Scroll down for Tuesday's stories

We'll be back tomorrow

That's all from the BBC Africa Live page today. 

The latest developments on the row over the Gambia election result can be found on our main story here.

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:

Your ears can never be bigger than your head."

Swahili proverb sent by Steve Mutinda, Kitui, Kenya, and Wabwire Stephen, Kampala, Uganda

Click here to send us your African proverbs.

And we leave you with this photo from Butaro in Northern Rwanda:

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BreakingJammeh 'contests election result at supreme court'

The ruling party of The Gambia's longtime leader Yahya Jammeh has filed a petition with the supreme court asking it to void the recent presidential election result, AFP news agency reports. 

The filing seen by the news agency said the electoral commission had violated the law and added opposition leader Adama Barrow was "not duly elected or returned as president, and that the said election was void." 

UN announces new special representative for South Sudan

UN troop in South Sudan, July 2016
Getty Images

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has announced the appointment of David Shearer from New Zealand as his new Special Representative for South Sudan. 

He takes over from Ellen Margrethe Loj, from Denmark.

The UN statement said she completed her assignment at the end of November and thanked her for her work.

In contrast, last month Mr Ban Ki-moon sacked the commander of the UN force in South Sudan, Kenyan Lt Gen Johnson Mogoa Kimani Ondieki, after a report said the force had failed to protect civilians when government soldiers attacked an international aid compound.

A local journalist was killed and aid workers were raped during the attack in July.

Read more: UN sacks South Sudan peacekeeping chief over damning report

Gambia teachers union urges Jammeh to step down

Gambia Teachers Union has urged President Yahya Jammeh to stand down, arguing that possible future chaos threatens children's safety.

The union released a statement saying they were "flabbergasted" at President Jammeh's U-turn on accepting the election result.

They added that Mr Jammeh's actions are "a recipe for chaos and disorder" which "endangers" the lives of children.

The video of the statement being read out has been posted on Facebook:

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'My mum sold illegal brew to pay for my education'

Samuel Odawo is the only blind person in his family, and the first to go to university.

Formerly a teacher in Kenya's Dadaab refugee camp, his ultimate goal is to open a boarding school for visually-impaired children.

Blind teacher in world's biggest refugee camp now pursuing PhD

Has Gambia's State House website been hacked?

This is what the homepage of Gambia's State House website currently looks like:

State House website

A Reuters West Africa correspondent suggests the site has been hacked:

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'Jammeh is the only one smiling'

Our reporter has noticed something curious about this picture of West African leaders meeting with Gambian President Yahya Jammeh:

View more on twitter

Read more: The crack in Gambia's smile

'The people who stoned me made me mayor'

In 2010, at the age of 26, Livey Van Wyk became the youngest person ever to be elected mayor in Namibia.

It is an achievement all the more extraordinary because just a few years before the townspeople of Witvlei had made it very clear that she wasn't welcome there. 

She was attacked and ostracised because she was HIV positive. 

Livey had got the diagnosis soon after discovering she was pregnant.

As she told Jo Fidgen, it was a lot for a teenager to take in.  

Livey Van Wyk went from being an HIV-positive teenager, to the youngest mayor in Namibia.

Will Jammeh challenge result in supreme court?

Thomas Fessy

BBC News, Dakar

Officials from Gambian President Yahya Jammeh's ruling party still have a few hours left to challenge the election result at the country's supreme court.

At the weekend the party said it would issue the challenge after Mr Jammeh rejected the result following a corrected count by the electoral commission.

No challenge has yet been filed, according to one Gambia-focused journalist.

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Buhari says Jammeh is 'receptive'

Nigeria's Muhammadu Buhari said Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh had been very receptive to a delegation of West African leaders who were expected to urge the long-ruling leader to step aside following a poll defeat. 

Asked if Jammeh had been receptive, he told reporters shortly after the meeting: "Yes, very much so," Reuters reported.

The four leaders met with Mr Jammeh behind closed doors, a Guardian reporter in the country says:

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Why have security forces taken over Gambia election office?

Gambians voted with marbles instead of ballot cards

We reported earlier that the head of The Gambia's election commission told the BBC that security forces have taken over his building.

Here's a bit more background information on the row over the election count.

Alieu Momar Njai has previously been defiant after President Yahya Jammeh's questioned the validity of the election result, which he lost.

Mr Jammeh's party had said they would take the issue to the Supreme Court.

But despite some errors in the correlation of results, election commission head Alieu Momarr Njai told Reuters news agency yesterday that he stood by the result.

"If it goes to court, we can prove every vote cast," he said yesterday.

"The election results were correct, nothing will change that."

The results show that while the margin was smaller between President Jammeh and opposition candidate Adama Barrow, Mr Barrow still won the election

Here are the original results:

  • Adama  Barrow won 263,515 votes (45.5%) 
  • President Jammeh took 212,099 (36.7%)
  • A third party candidate, Mama Kandeh, won 102,969 (17.8%)  

Here are the results published after the correction:

  • Adama Barrow won 222,708 votes (43.3%)
  • President Jammeh took 208,487 (39.6%)
  • Mama Kandeh, won 89,768 (17.1%)

Barrow arrives for meeting with West African leaders

BBC Monitoring

News from around the globe

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Gambia's president-elect Adama Barrow has gone to a hotel in Serekunda, on the coast of The Gambia, to hold discussions with West African heads of state, online pro-opposition Fatu Radio reports.

The four presidents - from Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone and Liberia - are currently meeting with President Jammeh to try to persuade him to step down.

It comes as the head of the Electoral Commission says soldiers have seized the building.

The Electoral Commission has revised its results but says opposition candidate Adama Barrow is still the winner.

Gambia election boss 'hopes and prays' Jammeh leaves office

Alieu Momar Njai said he had been barred from his office

The head of Gambia's electoral commission has told BBC Focus on Africa he has left his office building after being ordered to do so by security forces earlier today. 

Alieu Momar Njai told the BBC that the troops appeared to have been following orders.

“I left. I came back home,” he said.

Last week President Yahya Jammeh announced he refused to accept the result of the presidential poll he lost.   

Mr Njai welcomed the arrival of West African leaders in the country, saying: “We hope and pray that he [Jammeh] accepts their advice and leaves office.”

West African leaders meet with Jammeh

Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari and his personal assistant have tweeted pictures of the four West African presidents meeting Gambian president Yahya Jammeh

They are in Gambia to try and persuade Mr Jammeh to step down after he lost the presidential election:

Our meeting with President Yahya Jammeh, at the State House
Our meeting with President Yahya Jammeh, at the State House
Our meeting with President Yahya Jammeh, at the State House

Our meeting with President Yahya Jammeh, at the State House

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Gambia's election HQ taken over shortly after West African leaders arrive in Banjul

The Gambian security forces have seized the headquarters of the electoral commission at a time when regional leaders have flown in to persuade President Yahya Jammeh to step down.

One of the leaders who arrived in the capital Banjul this morning is Liberia's President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

"We hope that the will of the people prevails," she said as she arrived, Reuters news agency reported.

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari tweeted himself and Ms Johnson Sirleaf arriving:

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Ghana's President John Dramani Mahama also tweeted photos of him and his Vice President, Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur arriving:

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Gambia election boss 'ordered to leave office'

Here's more detail on the news that security forces have taken over Gambia's electoral commission offices.

The head of the commission, Alieu Momarr Njai, told Reuters news agency that he was instructed to leave his office:

The military came to my office and said I am not to touch anything and told me to leave. I am worried for my safety."

Gambia army chief 'works for Jammeh'

We reported just now that the electoral commission in Gambia has been taken over by security forces.

Here's some context; the journalist Ruth Maclean said earlier today that the army chief declared that his allegiance is with President Yahya Jammeh:

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Mr Jammeh lost the recent presidential election but announced last week that he rejects the result.

BreakingGambia's security forces 'take over electoral commission building'

Gambia's security forces have taken over the building of the independent electoral commission, and have barred employees from entering, the chairman of the electoral commission Alieu Momarr Njai told the BBC.

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Toure 'didn't realise there was brandy in his Diet Coke'

Yaya Toure

We reported earlier that the Ivorian footballer Yaya Toure has not challenged a drink-driving charge while insisting that he was not aware that he had drunk alcohol.

The Mirror newspaper now has more detail on his explanation.

It reports that he claimed he had only drunk Diet Coke and was not aware the jug he was drinking from had been mixed with brandy.

It adds that he was given an 18-month driving ban and a $68,000 (£54,000) fine.

Toure said in his statement to fans that it is well known that he is Muslim and doesn't drink.

Nine Congolese campaigners against Kabila 'held in custody'

Alex Duval Smith

BBC News, Abidjan

Congolese activists demanding an end to President Joseph Kabila's hold on power say nine of their supporters are being held in custody in Beni and Goma.

The Twitter account for the coalition Lucha which means struggle for change, is encouraging supporters to tweet a countdown to 19 December - the official end of Mr Kabila's term in power. 

Lucha tweeted earlier today that a sit-in had been broken up by police in front of the building where the DR Congo Catholic Church was holding a conference about the constitution:

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Malek brought down by shipwreck survivor testimony

Mohammed Ali Malek had denied being captain of the boat
Mohammed Ali Malek had denied being captain of the boat

The ill-fated boat's journey started, like so many others, on the beaches near Garabulli, in Libya.  

Most of the hundreds of victims on the 27m-long (90ft) vessel were from countries including Mali, The Gambia, Senegal and Ethiopia.

Mohammed Ali Malek claimed to be innocent - not the captain but just another migrant who paid 2,250 Libyan dinars ($1,600) to get to Italy, where he had lived in the past.

But court documents showed that all the other survivors - including a Syrian man also under arrest and accused of being second-in-command - told officials that not only was Malek captain of the boat, but that his lack of sailing skills had caused the tragic collision with a Portuguese ship that had come to its rescue.

The scale of the disaster prompted the EU to rethink its response to the migrant crisis unfolding in the Mediterranean.

However, the numbers of people crossing to Italy in unsafe boats from North African countries has risen this year to 175,244, the UN says. The number of fatalities in the Mediterranean has also risen to 4,742, an increase of almost 1,000 on 2015.  

Full story here

Read more: Anatomy of a shipwreck

Tunisian trafficker responsible for hundreds of deaths - judges

Malek (C), seen here after being rescued, has been jailed for 18 years

An Italian court has ruled that the captain of a migrant boat that sank in April last year, killing up to 900 people, was responsible for the Mediterranean's worst disaster since the Second World War, AFP news agency reports.

Judges in Catania ordered Mohammed Ali Malek, a Tunisian national, to serve 18 years for multiple manslaughter, human trafficking and causing the tragedy. 

Syrian Mahmoud Bikhit, accused of being his first mate, was handed a five-year sentence. 

Malek was among just 28 survivors from the tragedy. The court heard how he had taken charge of the rickety boat despite barely knowing how to steer it.

Hundreds of migrants were trapped in the boat's hold when it went down.

BreakingMigrant shipwreck captain jailed for 18 years

A court in Italy has jailed migrant shipwreck captain for 18 years, AFP news agency reports.

Some 700 people died in the boat he was piloting from Libya to Europe in April 2015.  

See earlier posts for more details

Mugabe attempts to stamp authority on restive party

Shingai Nyoka

BBC Africa, Harare

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe
Mr Mugabe has said he will not be pressured to retire

Zimbabwe’s president Robert Mugabe is presiding over his party’s non–elective annual conference which begins today.

The 92 year old leader is expected to try to stamp his authority on his Zanu PF party, beset by fights between groups jostling for political power.

Party leaders are meeting in the capital Harare today and will travel to Masvingo at the end of the week - where security has been tightened - when President Mugabe will address party loyalists.

Up to 7,000 delegates are expected to attend, and they will be keen to present a united front to their leader.  

But the party is anything but united. Over the last year a war of words has escalated on social media and through the newspapers between groups fighting to position themselves to take over power when President Mugabe steps down.

He expected to try to reign in the factions as well as to lay out plans to address the economic challenges.  

But the president is not expected to address some Zimbaweans calls for his resignation over the worsening economy.

He recently told party supporters he will step down on his own terms and won't be pressured to retire.     

Military intervention in The Gambia 'conceivable' - West African body

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Military intervention in The Gambia is "conceivable" if President Jammeh does not step down, a top official with the West African states group has told French radio.

Marcel de Souza, president of the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) commission told RFI that the organisation favoured "preventative diplomacy" and this was the thinking behind the visit of four regional leaders to the country today.

However if this along with pressure from international bodies such as the UN did not have the desired effect, "more draconian" options would be considered, he said.

The international community and Ecowas favour diplomacy initially and that is what we are doing with the mission there on Tuesday. We have to use persuasion to get Mr Jammeh to respect the principles. After that we will see about putting on pressure voa the UN Security Council, the AU and Ecowas in order to avoid conflict. And if none of that works we will consider more draconian options."

Asked to clarify if this meant military intervention, Mr de Souza said:

We have done it in the past. We currently have troops in Guinea-Bissau with the ECOMIB mission. We have had troops in Mali. And therefore it is a conceivable solution."

See earlier posts for more details

Fans congratulate Mahrez on becoming African Footballer of the Year

Riyad Mahrez
Mark Harvey

Commenters on our Facebook page are still taking time to congratulate Riyad Mahrez for winning the BBC African Footballer of the Year award last night. 

Sheikh Tijan Jeng Sallah in The Gambia voted for Mahrez but is not so sure about his chances of winning next year:

Yes, I am not surprised. I have watched almost all his matches last season and that is why I voted for him to the award. He is a great talent. My only challenge now is if he can win it again taking into account what is happening to Leicester this season compared to last season.

Even people who voted for the other contenders are conceding that he deserved it.  

But some are not happy with the result. Iwuoha Courage Chinonyerem from Ibadan in Nigeria suggests there is a bias towards players in the English Premier League:

How can you tell us that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was eliminated in the first round? Aubameyang is clearly the favourite. You are bias in favour of Riyad Mahrez because he plays in England. Smh!

Gabonese footballer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang plays for Borussia Dortmund in the German Bundesliga.

Read more: Mahrez wins BBC African Footballer of the Year

Ghanaian president arrives in The Gambia

Ghanaian president John Mahama has tweeted that he has arrived in The Gambia, ahead of discussion with his Gambia counterpart President Yahya Jammeh about stepping down:

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They both lost elections in the last few weeks but Mr Mahama has promised to step down whereas Mr Jammeh conceded defeat at first before changing his mind.

We reported earlier that four West African leaders are travelling to The Gambia to try and persuade President Yahya Jammeh to step down.

A Guardian reporter at the airport says there is an impressive collection of vehicles waiting for them:

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Censorship and intimidation at South African broadcaster SABC

Karen Allen

BBC southern Africa correspondent, Johannesburg

A Protester rallies with others outside the Constitutional Court on July 1, 2016 in Johannesburg to protest against alleged bias and self-censorship in news coverage by the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC)
Getty Images
Protests against alleged censorship and bias took place back in July

Hearings into the fate of the South African state-run broadcaster SABC have revealed staggering levels of censorship, intimidation and even the diversion of funds to a rival station owned by friends of President Jacob Zuma.

In powerful testimony, from more than half a dozen journalists in front of a committee of MPs, it was claimed that some had been investigated by state security agents in a bid to intimidate them.  

They revealed how they faced death threats, intimidation and also meddling by politically connected managers at SABC.  

One described how they were forced to censor news pictures of opposition protests calling on President Zuma to stand down.   

Journalists also revealed how the embattled broadcaster used public funds to support an industry rival - the TV station AAN7, owned by the wealthy Gupta family whose close ties with President Jacob Zuma were recently the subject of an investigation by the anti-corruption chief.  

It comes as a senior SABC executive - Hlaudi Motsoeneng, whose close friendship with President Zuma was described by journalists as an "open secret" in the newsroom - failed to show up for work after a court ruled on Monday that his appointment had been unlawful.

Gambia ambassador to US 'urges Jammeh to accept result'

Umaru Fofana

BBC Africa, Freetown

In a letter seen by the BBC purportedly from the Gambian embassy in Washington DC, the Ambassador Sheikh Omar Faye calls upon President Jammeh to accept the result of the election and step down.

Mr Faye says Mr Jammeh's decision on 9 December to reject the election result has created a "serious post-elections crisis and put The Gambia on a dangerous path".

He is speaking out, he says, because it is "morally difficult to remain silent while Gambians are in fear and uncertainty".

As the Ambassador of the Republic of The Gambia to the United States of America, I respectfully ask His Excellency President Jammeh to accept the will of Gambians and hand over the presidency to President Elect Adama Barrow as stipulated in the Gambian Constitution.

I am supporting the people of The Gambia by recognizing Mr Adama Barrw as the President Elect of The Gambia out of my personal decision and desire to protect and safeguard the peace and social cohesion of our beloved country.

Gambia Embassy in US
Ambassador Faye's leaked letter

See earlier post for more details

DRC minister says sanctions are illegal

Alex Duval Smith

BBC News

Lambert Mende

The US and EU sanctions against several high ranking officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo are 'illegal' under international law, according to country's communication minister Lambert Mende.

He says the DRC government is going to appeal against them at the UN Security Council and ''in several European courts''.

However, the sanctions have been welcomed by Human Rights Watch. "Most critical is that Kabila make a public commitment to respect the constitution and announce he will step down from office, " the human rights organisation said.

Ugandan king charged with terrorism

Patience Atuhaire

BBC Africa, Kampala

Charles Wesley Mumbere, king of the Rwenzururu

A Ugandan king has been charged with terrorism, aggravated robbery and attempted murder.

That's on top of being accused murder of a police officer.  

The King of Rwenzururu Charles Wesley Mumbere appeared in court today in the eastern Ugandan town of Jinja.

The court was packed with the king’s supporters, as well MPs from his home region.  

He was arrested on 27 November following a raid by the police and army on his palace in Kasese town, in the west of Uganda.

Clashes between the king of the Bakonzo tribe’s guards and the army left over 80 people dead and over 100 others in police detention.

The government accused the kingdom establishment of recruiting and training militants that are seeking secession from the rest of Uganda, to create their own Yiira Republic, an accusation the kingdom denies.

He was remanded to Luzira Upper Prison in Kampala until 28 December. 

The king's lawyer told the BBC that 12 other men have also been charged, including royal guards and a witch doctor.

Read more: Why a palace lies in ruins

Uganda military carries his weapon as he guards the burnt down royal palace
Many of the king's palace buildings were burned down during the clash

Yaya Toure 'didn't intentionally consume alcohol' before drink driving charge

Toure has apologised to fans after admitting drink-driving

Ivorian footballer Yaya Toure has said that he is not challenging a charge for drink driving but insisted he didn't intentionally drink alcohol.

The Manchester City player said in a Facebook post that it is well known that he is a Muslim and has always refused alcohol:

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He added that the judge also in his sentencing remarks accepted that he had not been intentionally drinking.  

He does not go on to explain how he could have been drinking alcohol without realising he was doing so.

Court rules doctors strike 'illegal'

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Kenya's Labour Relations Court has declared the doctors strike in the country illegal and ordered them to resume work immediately, reports say.

The strike, which began more than a week ago, has paralysed medical services in public hospitals across the country and is so far believed to have led to the deaths of about 20 people.

Private medical providers are also expected to join in the industrial action in solidarity with their counterparts in the public sector, crippling medical provision yet further. 

Doctors and nurses in public hospitals have downed their tools until the government increases their pay.

They want a 300% pay rise for doctors and 25% to 40% for nurses, as part of a collective bargaining agreement signed with the government in 2013.

The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) has rejected a pay offer for some of the lowest-paid doctors.

But the union said some members had been mobilised to treat victims of Sunday's fuel tanker explosion in Naivasha, which killed 39 people, the Star reported.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has also urged doctors to return to work.

Sentence expected for migrant boat disaster captain

Ali Malek, centre
Ali Malek, centre, on board an Italian rescue boat after the sinking

A court in Italy is due to sentence the captain of a migrant ship after 700 people died in the boat he was piloting in April.

Mohammed Ali Malek, from Tunisia, was one of only 28 survivors from the ship which set off from Libya in April last year. 

The court in Sicily heard how Mr Malek, who barely knew how to steer a ship, had taken charge of the overcrowded rickety boat. Prosecutors are seeking an 18-year sentence. 

His lawyers argue that he was a passenger on the boat, something contested by the other survivors of the shipwreck. 

Hundreds of migrants were trapped in the boat's hold when it went down.

US sanctions two DR Congo officials

The US government has issued financial sanctions on two government officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo, accusing them of muzzling the opposition.

All assets in the US of Deputy Prime Minister Evariste Boshab and Kalev Mutondo from the national intelligence agency will be frozen and people in the US are not allowed to engage in transactions with the two.

The State department tweeted late last night:

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These aren't the only sanctions the US has placed on government officials in DR Congo.

In September it placed sanctions on army Gen Gabriel Amisi Kumba and John Numbi, a former police chief, accusing them of threatening the country's stability by suppressing the opposition.  

Yesterday we reported that the European Union (EU) also imposed sanctions on seven senior security officials over their alleged role in the deaths of at least 50 people during protests against President Joseph Kabila's rule.

President Joseph Kabila was scheduled to relinquish power when his second mandate expires on 19 December, but the election has been delayed.

US boosts aid for northeastern Nigeria

Abdullahi faces a serious risk of starvation
Up to 120,000 people are at risk of starvation, the UN says

The US has announced an additional $92m (£73m) in aid for people affected by the Boko Haram insurgency and food insecurity in northeastern Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin region.

It follows warnings from the UN that 120,000 people were at risk of dying from starvation in northeastern Nigeria as a result of the conflict, which it called the "greatest crisis on the continent".

The latest aid brings the US contribution to $291m, money that will go to the UN and NGOs to provide food, water, shelter, health services and food.

The Boko Haram insurgency has left 6.4m people in need of emergency food assistance and displaced 2.6m people, the US said.

The UN has appealed for an additional $1bn to meet humanitarian needs in the region in 2017.

Read more: 'We survived militants but face starvation'

West African leaders implore Jammeh to step down

Yahya Jammeh

We're expecting the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari to arrive in The Gambia today in an attempt to persuade President Yahya Jammeh to step down after he lost the election.

Mr Buhari is expected to be joined by Liberian leader Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Sierra Leone's Ernest Bai Koroma and Ghana's John Mahama, who himself lost an election last week and has said he will step down as president next month.

After initially accepting defeat, at the end of last week he claimed he no longer accepted the result and asked for a new poll run by a "Godfearing" electoral commission.

President elect Adama Barrow has welcomed plans for the leaders to visit and is reportedly going to meet them too.

Read more: How Gambia's Yahya Jammeh lost his grip on power

Today's wise words

Our African proverb of the day:

Your ears can never be bigger than your head."

Swahili proverb sent by Steve Mutinda, Kitui, Kenya, and Wabwire Stephen, Kampala, Uganda

Click here to send us your African proverbs.

Good morning

Welcome to BBC Africa Live page where we'll be bringing you the latest news from around the continent.