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  1. Nigeria seals oil deals with local and foreign firms
  2. Prisoners in Ethiopia's unrest-hit Oromia region 'pardoned'
  3. Nigerian troops warned not to upload videos and photos of operations
  4. Moroccan peacekeepers killed in CAR
  5. 'No evidence' against French troops accused of CAR child abuse
  6. Gambia army boss in loyalty pledge to Jammeh
  7. Somali hijab-wearing woman inaugurated as US legislator
  8. Ugandan leader tweets about his 91-year-old friend
  9. Email stories and comments to - Wednesday 4 January 2017

Live Reporting

By Adelaide Arthur, Lamine Konkobo and Farouk Chothia

All times stated are UK

Get involved

  1. Scroll down for Wednesday'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: The words of the elders do not lock all the doors; they leave the right door open." from Sent by Alick Chingapi, Johannesburg, South Africa
    Sent by Alick Chingapi, Johannesburg, South Africa

    Click here to send your African proverbs.

    And we leave you with this photo of street performers in Ghana.

    View more on instagram
  2. Thank you and goodbye for now

    Adelaide Arthur

    BBC News

    After four months with the BBC in London, I'm returning to my home country, Ghana.

    I came to London after being awarded the UK government's Chevening scholarship to pursue a master's degree in multimedia journalism at the University of Westminster. 

    At the end of my studies, I joined the BBC news website on a special work placement.

    I met some incredible people here and gained a wealth of experience. 

    Now, it's time to rejoin my family at Joy News in Accra. I missed them very much and I know they missed me too. 

    So look out for me on Joy News television, radio and online - and BBC Africa Live because I intend to keep filing for it. 

  3. Tunisia dismantles 'terrorist cell'

    Tunisian soldiers stand guard
    Image caption: Tunisia's military has been struggling to defeat militants

    Tunisian security forces say they have dismantled a 13-member "terrorist cell" that was recruiting young people for jihadist groups, AFP news agency reports.

    The interior ministry said the suspects, aged between 22 and 43, were arrested yesterday in Hergla, a town north of the coastal resort city of Sousse.

    Members of the cell held "secret meetings in a mosque" and admitted to recruiting and sending 12 youths to fight with jihadist groups abroad, a statement from the ministry said. 

    Authorities linked the cell to the Okba Ibn Nafaa Battalion, a group connected to al-Qaeda. 

    This is the seventh announcement in less than a week of arrests of alleged "terrorists" and more than 70 people have been detained, according to AFP. 

  4. 'No case' against French troops accused of abuse in CAR

    The French prosecutor's office has confirmed to the BBC that no evidence has been found to warrant further investigations against six French peacekeepers accused of sexually assaulting minors in Central African Republic (CAR).

    "We are at the point where the investigating judges have completed their investigations, since 20 December. No charge has been issued," said Agnes Thibault-Lecuivre, a spokeswoman at the prosecutor's office in Paris. 

    "The prosecutor must now present its final conclusion [on the matter]," she added.

    The investigation focused on alleged sexual assaults between December 2013 and June 2014 at a camp for displaced people near the airport in CAR's capital, Bangui. 

    See earlier post for more details

  5. Ghana's Jonathan Mensah joins MLS side Crew SC

    Oluwashina Okeleji

    BBC Sport

    Jonathan Mensah and another footballer playing on a pitch
    Image caption: Jonathan Mensah (right) won the 2009 Fifa U-20 World Cup and the 2009 African Youth Championship

    Ghana international defender Jonathan Mensah has signed for the US' Major League Soccer side Columbus Crew SC.

    The 26-year-old, who is in the provisional Black Stars squad for the 2017 African Cup of Nations, joins from Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala.

    He has signed a two-year deal as a designated player, so his wages will not be limited by the MLS salary cap.

    "We look forward to him making an immediate impact," head coach Gregg Berhalter told the Crew SC website.

    "With Jonathan's vast playing experience and strong character we believe he will fit into our club nicely.

    Mensah, who has also played in South Africa, Spain and France, joins his fellow Ghana international team-mate Harrison Afful at the club.

    He has 51 caps for Ghana and played at the last two World Cups and past three Africa Cup of Nations.

  6. UN peacekeepers 'killed' in CAR

    Two UN peacekeepers from Morocco have been killed died after gunmen attacked their convoy in the Central African Republic's remote south-east, the UN has said, AFP news agency reports. 

    The attack took place yesterday about 60km (35 miles) from the town of Obo, as the troops were escorting a convoy of fuel trucks sent from Zemio, the UN mission in CAR added.  

  7. Afcon 2017: Adebayor to lead Togo in Gabon

    Oluwashina Okeleji

    BBC Sport

    Emmanuel Adebayor training on a pitch.
    Image caption: Fitness may be an issue for Emmanuel Adebayor

    Unattached Emmanuel Adebayor leads the cast in Togo's final 23-man squad for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.

    Adebayor, 32, a free agent since his contract expired with Crystal Palace last summer, will be making his fifth appearance at the tournament.

    Veteran goalkeeper Kossi Agassa, 38, is another player currently without a club named in the squad for Gabon.

    But coach Claude LeRoy has left out Nigeria-based Joseph Douhadji and Victor Nukafu.

    Togo reached the quarter-finals for the first time in the 2013 edition in South Africa but failed to qualify for the last tournament in Equatorial Guinea.

    The Sparrow Hawks will kick off the tournament against defending champions Ivory Coast on 16 January, before facing Group C rivals Morocco and DR Congo.

    The tournament runs from 14 January to 5 February.

  8. British and Kenyan police team up to fight child sex abuse

    Following a number of high-profile cases of UK citizens committing sexual offences against children in Kenya, the UK's National Crime Agency has partnered with Kenyan police to set up the country's first Child Protection Unit.

    Video Journalist: Roderick MaCleod

    Video content

    Video caption: British and Kenyan police team up to fight child sex abuse.
  9. Zambia women's 'day off for periods' sparks debate

    Ndekela Mazimba
    Image caption: Ndekela Mazimba, who works in PR, says Mother's Day helps her manage her period pain

    Discussing female menstruation publicly is something of a taboo in Zambia.

    This is no doubt why a provision in the country's labour law that allows female workers to take off one day a month is known as Mother's Day, even though it applies to all women, whether or not they have children.

    The legal definition is not precise - women can take the day when they want and do not have to provide any medical justification, leading some to question the provision.

    "I think it's a good law because women go through a lot when they are on their menses [periods]," says Ndekela Mazimba, who works in public relations.

    Read the full story here

  10. Headlines from outside Africa

    BBC World Service

     * An Israeli soldier has been convicted of manslaughter for shooting dead a wounded Palestinian attacker in the West Bank. 

    * Turkey has warned the Syrian government and its allies they are violating the ceasefire and could bring about the collapse of the truce. 

    * The leader of the far right National Front party in France has called for an end to the single European currency as she lays out her agenda for the presidential election.

    The new 50 EURO banknote is presented at the European Central Bank, ECB in Frankfurt/Main, Germany, on July 5, 2016
  11. Kenyan leader in bid to end medical strike

    James Copnall

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

     The Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta is meeting health professionals who have been on strike for more than a month. 

    The doctors and other health workers say the authorities have not implemented a 2013 agreement in which they were promised a pay rise and better working conditions. 

    The strike is mainly affecting public hospitals. 

    There have been several stories in the Kenyan press about patients who have died because they were unable to get medical care. 

  12. Gambia army chief backs Jammeh

    Gambian chief of staff Ousman Badjie looks on at a hotel in Banjul to meet with Gambian president-elect with three other African heads of state on December 13, 2016.
    Image caption: The army chief is seen as a potential kingmaker

    The Gambia's army chief has reaffirmed his loyalty to President Yahya Jammeh, following a threat by regional bloc Ecowas leaders to use military force to oust him if he refuses to step down when his term ends on 19 January. 

    In a letter he wrote to the pro-government Daily Observer newspaper, Ousman Badjie said:  

    Quote Message: May I please seize this opportunity to renew to your Excellency the assurance of the unflinching loyalty and support of the Gambia Armed Forces."
    Screen grab

    Ecowas has said troops in neighbouring Senegal are ready to intervene in The Gambia if Mr Jammeh does not hand power to President-elect Adana Barrow on 19 January. 

    Mr Jammeh has warned that their intervention will be an "act of war". 

    The Gambian strongman had initially accepted defeat in the 1 December election, but then launched court action to annul the result.

    Correspondents say that if the army chief switches loyalty, Mr Jammeh's chances of remaining in office are slim.  

    The tiny West African state has not had a smooth transfer of power since independence from Britain in 1965. 

  13. Uganda's Yoweri Museveni tweets about his 91-year old "friend"

    Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni has been tweeting today about his visit to the western regional town of Isingiro where he said he met a 91-year old friend who "offered me sanctuary" from former dictator Idi Amin in the late 1970s.

    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
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    He also asked people who have encroached on forest reserves and river banks to move out promising government support to resettle them. 

    An irrigation scheme is also expected to help boost crop production in the town, he said. 

    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
  14. Exiled Feyisa Lilesa hopes to run for Ethiopia again

    Ethiopian Olympic marathon runner Feyisa Lilesa still hopes to compete for his country - despite being exiled since last summer's Games.

    Lilesa has been living in the US on a temporary visa after making an anti-government gesture when he finished in second place in Rio.

    He believes his life would be in danger if he returned to his homeland.

    "I've always wanted to run for my country and for my people," the 26-year-old told BBC Newsday.

    "I would like to see myself in a country where the current government is removed and the people get freedom, so I can run for my country - not for a different country," he added. 

    You can listen to the interview here: 

    Video content

    Video caption: Feyisa Lilesa is promised a hero's welcome but fears he'll be killed.
  15. Ethiopia 'pardons 10,000 prisoners'

    About 10,000 prisoners in Ethiopia's Oromia region have been pardoned, the state-linked Fana Broadcasting Corporate reports.

    They had shown good behaviour in prison and were expected to be agents of change and development in their communities, it quotes a regional government statement as saying. 

    The report did not say who the prisoners were, but said that among those pardoned were inmates who had served 13 years and more after receiving life imprisonment. 

    BBC Ethiopia correspondent Emmanuel Igunza says the 10,000 are unlikely to include people detained under the state of emergency imposed in October folowing a wave of anti-government protests in the Oromia and Amhara regions. 

     Read: What started Ethiopia's protests?

  16. Nigeria in oil deals with foreign firms

    Martin Patience

    BBC News, Nigeria correspondent

    View of a Total Nigeria offshore oil and gas production platform at Amenam in the Niger delta 18 May 2005.
    Image caption: Oil is the Nigerian government's main source of revenue

    The state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has awarded its crude oil contracts to 39 companies for 2017. 

    Almost half of the firms are Nigerian but international winners included China’s Sinopec, British Petroleum (BP) and France's Total. The contracts cover around 1.3 million barrels of oils produced a day. 

    By announcing the winners, the state-owned oil company said it was seeking greater transparency when it comes to awarding contracts. 

    Previous deals have been shrouded in secrecy leading to accusations of widespread corruption. 

    At current oil prices, the contracts for more than half of Nigeria’s oil production are worth more than $70m (£57m) a day. 

    Oil sales are crucially important for the government, accounting for around two thirds of its revenue. 

    But they also generate American dollars, which are vital to the health of the overall economy suffering from its worst crisis in decades. 

    Nigeria’s production normally tops two million barrels of oil a day. But last year, petroleum facilities were hit by a wave of militant attacks in the Niger Delta, slashing production by as much as a third. 

  17. Ilhan Omar: 'We are privileged to have one another'

    Ilhan Omar greeting others after her swearing in ceremony.
    Image caption: Ms Omar asked her constituents to be supportive

    Ilhan Omar, the first Somali-American lawmaker in the US, has "pledged to be the best she can be" as she serves.  

    A video posted online by Star Tribune, shows Ms Omar taking her oath of office on the Koran before making a speech at a ceremony in the capital of the US state of Minnesota.

    Quote Message: We are privileged to be people that can live in unity and diversity, and we are privileged to have one another. So as much as I pledge to you to be the best that I can be, I hope you will pledge to me to be the best you can be as well
  18. France 'drops' CAR rape investigation

    Three of the kids claiming to have been victims or witnesses of sex abuses on minors by peacekeepers soldiers of Sangaris operation
    Image caption: The troops were accused of abusing children

    Six French soldiers who were accused of sexual assaults against minors in the Central African Republic (CAR) will not face criminal charges, judicial sources have said, AFP news agency reports. 

    The soldiers had served in CAR as part of a peace mission despatched to the country after chaos broke out there following a coup in 2013. 

    The French judicial sources told AFP the accused were heard by an investigating judge who decided there is no evidence to warrant a prosecution or any further investigation. 

    The development means the case could be entirely brought to a close, but parties to the matter have a three-month window to demand fresh investigations before a final decision is delivered by prosectutors. 

    The alleged sexual assaults are said to have happened between December 2013 and June 2014 at a camp for displaced people near the airport in Bangui, the capital. 

    Read more: France ends Sangaris military operation in CAR

  19. Social media 'ban' on Nigerian troops

    Nigerian troops have been banned from uploading videos or photos of their operations. 

    The move comes after video footage emerged last year of soldiers involved in the fight against militant Islamist group Boko Haram complaining about a lack of food and other supplies.

    In a speech delivered to soldiers in northern Kaduna state on behalf of army chief Tukur Buratai, Mag-Gen Adeniyi Oyebade said: 

    Quote Message: Specifically, I want to warn you on the use of social media. While you are on operation, you may want to take photo shot of some good moment but you should be very careful while doing that. Avoid any picture or video that has to do with your colleague or operation."
    Soldiers from the 7th Division of the Nigerian Army on the back of a vehicle in Damboa, Borno State northeast Nigeria on March 25, 2016.
    Image caption: Troops have been fighting Boko Haram militants since 2009
  20. Angolan lawyers 'appeal dos Santos ruling'

    Portrait of Isabel dos Santos.
    Image caption: Ms dos Santos is ranked Africa's richest woman by Forbes

    Angolan lawyers, challenging the legality of the president's appointment of his daughter as chief executive of the state oil company, have applied for their case to be heard in the Constitution Court, Reuters new agency reports.

    The Supreme Court last month rejected an application by 12 human rights lawyers which sought to have Isabel dos Santos removed as head of Sonangol,  which handles the country's vast oil and gas reserves.  

    President Jose Eduardo dos Santos in June 2016 appointed his 43-year-old billionaire daughter to the post.   

    Lawyers have accused the president of nepotism. 

    "We have filed an extraordinary appeal at the Supreme Court, who transit the process to the Constitutional Court," David Mendes, one of the attorneys, told Reuters.

    "Nobody should get advantage based on their origin." he added. 

    But Isabel dos Santos, who is ranked as Africa's richest woman by Forbes magazine, says she was given the job because of her business acumen.   

    The 74-year-old president has been in power since 1979 and has said he will step down in 2018.