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  1. Former Somali refugee becomes Canada's migration minister
  2. Gambian President Jammeh appoints mediator and orders amnesty law
  3. Ghana's ex-president 'agrees to leave official house'
  4. Nigeria's ex-president denies oil deal bribes
  5. Amnesty says murderers and rapists are evading arrest in Central African Republic
  6. One dead in Ethiopia hotel explosion
  7. Email stories and comments to - Wednesday 11 January 2017

Live Reporting

By Tom Spender and Lamine Konkobo

All times stated are UK

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  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 proverb: 

    Quote Message: If God had been human, there would have been no rains." from An Akan proverb sent by Edmund Ofei, Cape Coast, Ghana
    An Akan proverb sent by Edmund Ofei, Cape Coast, Ghana

    Click here to send us your African proverbs

    We leave you with this photo of a horse being transported by boat in the Nigerian city of Lagos:

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  2. Ivory Coast leader names new cabinet

    President Ouattara (C) speaks with his new PM Amadou Gon Coulibaly
    Image caption: Mr Ouattara (C) has had a busy week, naming his cabinet and picking a new VP

    The president of Ivory Coast, Alassane Ouattara, has named a new cabinet a day after appointing Amadou Gon Coulibaly as prime minister. 

    The cabinet will have 28 ministers, compared with 35 in the previous administration. 

    It includes seven fresh members and despite the recent mutiny which rocked barracks across the country, the defence and interior ministers have been retained. 

    The mutiny, mainly involving former rebels who are now integrated into the army, was the second such army uprising in less than three years.  

    New PM Mr Coulibaly is from President Ouattara's party, but many ministers come from other parts of the coalition that helped Mr Ouattara win the last two elections. 

    On Tuesday, Mr Coulibaly's predecessor, Daniel Kablan Duncan, was named vice president - a new post created in the constitution voters approved in last October's referendum.

  3. DR Congo New Year's Eve deal challenged

    Mr Badibanga (centre), the PM picked by Mr Kabila intends to hold to the privilege of leading the political transition
    Image caption: Mr Badibanga (C) wants to scrap the latest deal

    A political deal in the Democratic Republic of Congo which was brokered by the Catholic Church to prevent the country descending into chaos over an electoral calendar has been rejected by a senior ally of President Joseph Kabila. 

    According to the deal signed on New Year's Eve, President Kabila, whose second and last term ended last month, should stay on as president with a prime minister picked from the main opposition coalition to lead a transition with the aim of organising a presidential election by the end of the year.

    Now, a former senior MP, Sami Badibanga, appointed last month as prime minister by Mr Kabila under a previous unilateral agreement says he rejects the deal as unfit for purpose. 

    Mr Badibanga argues there is no point in replacing an unpopular deal by another one just because this time the main opposition coalition is in favour of it. 

    Several allies of Mr Kabila have previously expressed a similar view and Mr Badinbanga's public stand is likely to resonate with them. 

    Video content

    Video caption: Joseph Kabila, DR Congo and conflict explained
  4. Concern over Mozambique fuel thefts

    Jose Tembe

    BBC Africa, Maputo

    trucks in beira
    Image caption: Thieves are targeting tankers leaving Beira port

    The Mozambican authorities have expressed concern over the continuous theft of fuel, particularly from fuel tankers in the country’s central region.

    In November a tanker in the western Mozambican province of Tete exploded killing more than 100 people and injured others, some of whom are still in hospital with severe burns. 

    The explosion happened when the Malawian driver turned off the main road to sell fuel to villagers.

    Criminal gangs were reported to be looting fuel and merchandise from trucks leaving the central Mozambican port of Beira.

    Privately-owned Mozambican STV said the criminals keep the stolen fuel in informal deposits at their homes. 

    The sense of impunity is such that some of the thieves in the Beira theft had no problem being filmed by STV and boasted openly of their crimes.

    One youth admitted attacking vehicles and said it was the only thing they could do for survival.

  5. Students boycott exams until Jammeh quits


    The BBC has been speaking to students and lecturers at the University of The Gambia, who have launched an exam boycott until President Jammeh steps down.

    One student said his parents were worried:

    Quote Message: Our families are very concerned about our safety but we have a moral obligation for our country."

    A lecturer said the action was representing the Gambian people:

    Quote Message: The University of the Gambia is responsive to the broader Gambian society."
  6. Nigerian army 'recovers bodies of 16 soldiers'

    The Nigerian army has recovered the bodies of 16 soldiers who had been declared missing in action after an operation against Boko Haram militants in Borno state on 16 October last year, the Daily Trust reports.

    "The corpses were recovered along Kamadugou River line area in Maiduguri," the newspaper quoted Maj-Gen Lucky Irabor as saying.

    For more details, follow the link below.  

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  7. Congo town residents 'kill 16 suspected criminals'

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    The mayor of Kisangani in DR Congo says inhabitants of the town beat 16 suspected criminals to death between October last year and the beginning of this year, Radio Okapi has reported.

    The latest was a man aged about 30 who was beaten to death on Sunday night after being accused of trying to steal a motorcycle.

    Mayor Augustin Osumaka told his employees to refrain from violence, while the local police chief told residents to call the police when they identified a suspect.

  8. Strike 'paralysing' Kenyan health sector

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    AP news agency has a report from the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, on the difficulties being caused by a doctors' strike, which has entered its second month. 

    Reporter Tom Odula talks to Sharon Andisi, 23, who was turned away from Kenya's only public maternity hospital when she was about to give birth. 

    She was driven to a private hospital where she gave birth in the reception area.

    Others have not been so lucky - local media followed another woman who was turned away from the same hospital, Pumwani hospital, and whose baby subsequently died.

    About 350 women give birth at Pumwani hospital every week when it is staffed.

    The doctors are demanding that the government honour a 2013 agreement to raise their salaries by 180%.

    The strike has caused a near-total paralysis in the health sector and dozens are believed to have died from a lack of emergency services, AP says. 

    For more, follow the link above. 

  9. Al-Shabab targets 'inappropriate' films on mobiles

    Abdullahi Yusuf Osman

    BBC Monitoring, Nairobi

    militant looks for signal

    Somalia's al-Shabab Islamist group has introduced a new unit of police to monitor people's mobile phones to see what they watch, privately-owned Dhacdo website reports.

    The new police unit will monitor and arrest people who watch "inappropriate" films on their phones, according to Sheikh Abu Osama, al-Shabab's leader in the southern region of Lower Shabelle.

    Abu Osama urged locals to work with the police, saying they would "not harass people but will advise them on what is right and wrong".

    The new unit operates in all al-Shabab-controlled areas. 

    In 2013, the al-Qaeda-linked group banned the sale and use of smartphones in areas under its control in the south of the country.

    Watching satellite television is also not allowed in al-Shahab areas.

    Read moreWho are Somalia's al-Shabab?

  10. Cameroon dismantles network of 'state scammers'

    Illustration: A man holds a wad of CFA banknotes
    Image caption: The large scale fraud cost Cameroon's treasury about £1.3m

    The authorities in Cameroon say they have exposed and dismantled a network of unscrupulous civil servants who defrauded the government out of more than CFA 1bn (£1.3m, $1.5m) in 2016.

    The scammers were said to number about 700, with some working for the Ministry of Finance.

    A BBC reporter in Cameroon says they operated the fraud by tampering with payslips, pay grades and other payroll details in order to channel cash into their own accounts.

    An internal probe revealed that fraudsters in the Finance Ministry were in charge of masking traces of the scam in the government computer system.

    All those involved are now being prosecuted, our reporter says.

    Transparency International's corruption index has persistently suggested that Cameroon has a serious fraud problem.

    In 2006, under pressure from foreign investors, the government launched Operation Hawk, an anti-corruption drive, which has led to several high-profile court cases.

  11. Jawari elected speaker in Somalia

    Image caption: Mohamed Osman Jawari (L) defeated his rivals and was re-elected as speaker

    MPs in Somalia have elected a speaker for the country's new parliament, a key step toward the forthcoming presidential election. 

    The vote by 259 MPs amid tight security around the police academy building saw the re-election of Mohamed Osman Jawari to the role, AP news agency reported.

    The country's clan-based system means that the re-election of Mr Jawari, a member of the Digil and Mirifle clan, means that his fellow clansman, the president of Somalia's federal South West state, Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan, will be forced to withdraw from the presidential race, AFP news agency reported. 

    The remaining frontrunners are from two of the major clans, the Hawiye and Darod.

    The election has been delayed several times amid allegations of fraud and intimidation. No official date for the vote has been set, but officials say it will be in late January.

    MPs elect Somalia's president, who is not chosen directly by popular vote. 

    The country is trying to rebuild after decades of chaos. The country is riven by clan rivalries and threatened by al-Shabab Islamist extremists opposed to Western-style democracy. 

    Read moreSomalia's rocky road to democracy

    Image caption: In total, 259 MPs cast votes to choose the new Speaker
    Image caption: There was tight security outside parliament
  12. Angola reports presence of Zika virus


    Angola has reported its first two cases of Zika virus, Reuters reports. 

    "Up until two months ago, we didn´t have any detected case, but, now, we have two cases of Zika," the news agency reported Health Minister José Luis Gomes Sambo as saying.

    "We have to take preventable measures, especially in the anti-vectorial fight against the mosquitoes."

    Zika is a viral disease carried by mosquitoes and has spread to dozens of countries since an outbreak in Brazil in 2015. The disease is believed to cause the birth defect microcephaly. 

    For more, follow the link below.

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  13. Kenya unveils opposition alliance

    Wanyama wa Chebusiri

    BBC Africa

    oppo leaders
    Image caption: Musalia Mudavadi, Kalonzo Musyoka, Raila Odinga, Moses Wetangula and Nick Salat at the meeting

    The Kenyan opposition has unveiled an alliance in a bid to defeat President Uhuru Kenyatta in the forthcoming general elections scheduled for August. 

    The announcement of the opposition parties unity, which was made in Nairobi and attended by 4,000 people, brought together President Kenyatta’s bitter rival Raila Odinga and former Vice Presidents Kalonzo Musyoka and Musalia Mudavadi. 

    The opposition chiefs however did not name their torch-bearer, saying they will do so “in the next few weeks”. 

    They also announced that they have shelved street protests against the controversial electoral laws favoured by Kenyatta’s ruling Jubilee coalition. 

    Today’s opposition meeting is akin to the 2002 popular National Rainbow Alliance (NARC) that defeated Uhuru Kenyatta when President Daniel arap Moi preferred him as a presidential flag-bearer for the then ruling party KANU.

    Image caption: More than 4,000 people attended the event
    orange guy
    Image caption: Some showed their support for the Orange Democratic Movement party
  14. Drink driving 'should be treated like murder or rape'

    Milton Nkosi

    BBC Africa, Johannesburg

    SA highway
    Image caption: More than 10,000 people are killed every year on South African roads

    South Africa’s transport minister wants to make drink driving as serious an offence as murder and rape after more than 1,700 people died in drink driving incidents over the December holiday period.

    The figures are up 5% from the previous year.

    Visibly agitated, Dipuo Peters said:

    Quote Message: We are seeking to reclassify drunken driving from schedule three which is less severe, to a more severe schedule five offence to ensure that those who negligently cause crashes on the road do not get bail easily and spend time behind bars.”

    Ms Peters said that consultations with the Justice Department were underway to finalise and introduce minimum sentences for negligent and reckless driving.

    Some 5,943 motorists were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, which accounted for 65% of all traffic violations arrests.

    Quote Message: We cannot have people dying like this. Emergency services and traffic chiefs are traumatised by what they see on the roads.”

    The announcement comes just a week after the release on parole of the hip-hop musician and rapper Molemo "Jub Jub" Maarohanye. He had been serving an eight-year sentence for culpable homicide or manslaughter after killing four pupils who were walking from school while he was drag racing with a friend in Soweto back in 2010.

    Some say it will be hard for the transport minister to achieve her goal because Jub Jub was initially convicted of murder but a separate court reduced this to culpable homicide on appeal.

    South Africa has one of the highest rates of road fatalities in the world with more than 10,000 deaths recorded annually. This is in spite of having the most advanced national road network on the African continent.

  15. Former Somali refugee is Canada migration minister

    Abdullahi Abdi

    BBC Africa, Nairobi

    Hussen Trudeau Johnston
    Image caption: Mr Hussen (C) fled to Canada in 1993

    Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has appointed Ahmed Hussen - a former refugee from Somalia - as the minister for immigration, refugees and citizenship

    Just over a year ago, Mr Hussen was celebrating becoming the first ethnic Somali MP in Canada. 

    Now he has even risen further, by becoming the country's first ethnic Somali minister. He came to Canada as refugee from Mogadishu two decades ago aged 16.

    He is a strong supporter of welcoming migrants and will now be in charge of government policy on the matter.

    Canada already has a refugee-friendly policy and offered a new home to almost 40,000 Syrian refugees last year.

    Read more: The unique programme that brings refugees to Canada

  16. Guinea-Bissau's 'intrepid outsiders' ready for Afcon

    The Guardian has a piece on the footballers of Guinea-Bissau, the "intrepid outsiders" who will be playing in their first major tournament in this year's African Cup of Nations. 

    Here's how the reporter, Nick Ames, introduces their achievement in qualifying: 

    Quote Message: Seven years ago an impoverished state was in football’s wilderness, unable to reliably support a national team and in the midst of an exile during which nearly three years passed without it playing an international game; on 4 June last year, amid delirious scenes in Bissau, an injury-time goal from the former Liverpool winger Toni Silva defeated Zambia and a seemingly impossible mission had become reality."
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  17. Does the governor have a point?

    Stephanie Hegarty

    BBC Africa, Lagos

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    In some ways the Borno governor's gripe may be legitimate. In the last six months his city of Maiduguri has been transformed. Whereas before it was rare to see foreign aid workers, now the tiny airport in Maiduguri is full of staff from non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

    It is a struggle to get a booking in the city's few hotels and armoured vehicles - each costing about $500,000 - are visible all around. The UN in particular has a policy of using them, many other NGOs do not. But they have reason - last July a UN convoy returning from a camp in rural Borno was attacked by Boko Haram fighters; Unicef staff survived direct gunfire thanks to their armoured vehicle.

    It is not the first time the UN has been criticised for wasting money, but the idea that Unicef is profiting from the crisis is probably a step too far. It is involved in various nutrition programmes in camps around Borno state that are undoubtedly contributing to feeding the thousands at risk of starving to death.

    Read the story here

  18. South Africa struggle fighter granted parole after 27 years

    Milton Nkosi

    BBC Africa, Johannesburg

    South Africa has granted one of its last remaining struggle prisoners, Kenny Motsamai, full parole after he served 27 years in prison for the murder of a white traffic officer in 1989 in the town of Rustenburg, north-west of Johannesburg.

    The announcement by the prison authorities comes after a campaign by the Pan African Congress (PAC), of which Motsamai was a member, and civil rights organisations to have him released after the Truth and Reconciliation Commission denied him amnesty.

    Correctional service department spokesman Singabakho Nxumalo confirmed Motsamai's day parole was lapsing, but could only say the prisoner would be released pending the parole board's decision.

    "I'll be free on the 11th," Motsamai said last week.

    The PAC said his release was a bittersweet moment as it reminded them of the many fighters still behind bars.

    It said the release proved how little was being done by the governing African National Congress (ANC) to ensure all those who fought for freedom were recognised.

    Its spokesperson Kenneth Mokgatlhe said: “So we’re saying to the ANC that they must go back as they did during the government of President Thabo Mbeki because in that period we saw lots of our cadres being released and the issue was taken more seriously.”

    He said it was shocking that 133 prisoners were still behind bars.

    PAC supporters met at the Boksburg Correctional Services Centre, east of Johannesburg, for Motsamai’s release.

    At the time of his arrest, then 26-year-old Motsamai was a member of the PAC’s armed wing, the Azanian People’s Liberation Army (APLA).

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  19. 'Things can get nasty very quickly' - reporting in Libya

    The remains of an explosive device lies on the tarmac of Tripoli international airport in the Libyan capital on July 21, 2014 after Islamist-led militiamen stepped up their assault on the country's main airport, which is controlled by rival fighters.
    Image caption: Tripoli airport is controlled by a militia, which can complicate travel plans

    The BBC's North Africa correspondent recommends this account by AFP's bureau chief in Tripoli, Imed Lamloum, in which he explains the difficulties of reporting from Libya.

    Here's a taster: 

    Quote Message: There are dozens of armed groups, each one controlling its own turf. When any of them have something to say to the world, they do so on social media, mostly Facebook. But you can never be certain that their declarations really reflect what is going on. Which can make for a mess. Especially since Facebook is where most of the country’s population gets its news...
    Quote Message: Much of my work takes place at night. Libyans go to bed, and wake up, very very late. So most information comes out at night. Which is problematic if you want to go to the scene of an event. There are a myriad of checkpoints throughout the country, and with crime levels sky high, you never know at whose mercy you’ll find yourself.
    Quote Message: The capital presents its own challenges. You have to know when you can work in the open and when to remain discreet. No one knows exactly how many militias there are in the city and the areas under their control. It’s certain that there are dozens, with at least five controlling others. But how many exactly? No one can say.
    Quote Message: I am always very careful when the situation is calm. Because when it’s calm, things can get nasty very quickly. You just have to stumble on a bad checkpoint. All of this means that social life is reduced to a bare minimum. Criminality is sky-high, with foreigners especially at risk. Since most locals are armed, robbers don’t risk breaking into their homes - they can stumble on someone with a rocket launcher…"
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  20. Defeated Mahama 'will leave official residence'

    President of Ghana John Dramani Mahama (C) arrives at a hotel in Banjul on December 13, 2016, for a meeting with regional West African leaders
    Image caption: Mr Mahama's letter suggests he is backing down

    Ghana's former Foreign Minister Hanna Tetteh has tweeted a picture of a letter sent by former President John Mahama on Tuesday in which he tells his successor that he is withdrawing his request to remain in his official residence. The letter also says he is withdrawing a request for an office.

    Mr Mahama's failure to vacate the house when his term ended on Saturday has caused huge controversy in Ghana. Critics say his continued presence there is unlawful and has also left incoming Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia without an official residence. Officials have insisted that Mr Mahama's request to stay on, and also receive an office, were not approved.

    Read more about the row here.

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