Got a TV Licence?

You need one to watch live TV on any channel or device, and BBC programmes on iPlayer. It’s the law.

Find out more
I don’t have a TV Licence.

Live Reporting

Flora Drury and Clare Spencer

All times stated are UK

Get involved

  1. Scroll down for Thursday's stories

    We’ll be back tomorrow

    That's all from BBC Africa Live 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: Beggars don’t add water to the pot if they have only managed to gather a little millet flour." from A Kalenjin proverb sent by Kiprono Benson in Bomet, Kenya
    A Kalenjin proverb sent by Kiprono Benson in Bomet, Kenya

    Click here to send us your African proverbs.

    And we leave you with this shot from Djibouti, where stewardesses were on hand to welcome the first commercial train from the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on a platform at Nagad railway station. The service goes daily from next week.

    A line of stewardesses next to the  new train
  2. Salah, Mane and Aubameyang up for 'African Footballer of the Year'

    There are just a few hours to go before this year's African Footballer of the Year award is handed out.

    Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are the contenders for the title, which will be given later today at the Confederation of African Football's awards ceremony in Accra, Ghana.

    The BBC's reporter is at the players' shared press conference, which is taking place ahead of the awards:

    View more on twitter
  3. Ethiopian opposition sceptical of release of imprisoned politicians

    Emmanuel Igunza

    BBC Africa, Nairobi

    The opposition in Ethiopia says it remains sceptical of government plans to release imprisoned politicians - saying the announcement is only a small part of the complete political reforms the country needs.

    The deputy leader of the opposition coalition group Medrek, Beyene Petros, asks if this could be a "face-saving" exercise by the authorities.

    Quote Message: "Is this one of those manipulations they already have been using for the last 26 years? Or is this a new realisation that they have to take some confidence building measures to bring stability to this nation? We have been calling for national dialogue. It's been one of our demands. We will be there if there will be genuine dialogue and impactful negotiation."

    The comments come after Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said on Wednesday that some politicians would be pardoned with the aim of fostering national reconciliation. He denied saying that all political prisoners would be freed.

    Hailemariam Desalegn
    Image caption: Hailemariam Desalegn said a new detention centre will comply with international standards

    Human rights groups have also lauded the plans to shut down a notorious detention center which they claim is a torture chamber.

    Prominent blogger from the group Zone 9, Befeqadu Hailu, said he welcomed the news.

    He says he was beaten by security agents and faced charges of having links to terrorist groups.

    He spent more than 500 days at the notorious Maekalawi prison.

    He says the mental anguish he suffered made him contemplate suicide.

    Quote Message: I was tortured, I was beaten, I was abused physically and psychologically. All the memory I have of Maekalawi is bad and it’s a place I want to see demolished. I hear it will be a museum and that’s pleasant news and I hope there won’t be a replacement for it."
  4. Meet Bassirou...

    ...he fled Burkina Faso because he feared for his life, but then became trapped in libya where he was treated "like a slave".

    He finally arrived in Italy by boat two years ago.

    But it was when he got involved in a project run by Lai-Momo, a charity that is training asylum seekers in one of Italy’s finest arts, that his life really changed for the better.

    You can watch his story here:

    Video content

    Video caption: From slavery to Italy’s fashion world
  5. Nigerian army says it rescued another Chibok girl

    Chibok girls and families embrace
    Image caption: Some 21 of those kidnapped had already been reunited with their families last year

    The Nigerian army has said it has rescued one of the kidnapped Chibok girls.

    The army said troops found the kidnapped girl in the remote Pulka region of Borno state, near the Cameroon border, without giving further details.

    Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu said in a statement:

    Quote Message: Currently the girl, who was intercepted in the company of another young girl... about 14 years old with a child, are in the safe custody of troops and receiving medical attention."

    The Islamist militants Boko Haram abducted more than 200 schoolgirls in 2014 in Chibok, northeast Nigeria.

    In the aftermath, dozens managed to escape and others were freed in hostage deals between Boko Haram and the Nigerian government

    But many are still in captivity and some are feared dead.

    Read more:

  6. Death toll rises again in SA train crash

    Video content

    Video caption: The train crashed on Thursday morning

    A man who tried to rescue women trapped in this morning's train crash in South Africa has revealed he fears they burned to death.

    The number known to have died has risen to at least 14.

    Tiaan Esterhuizen, who had been having breakfast when the accident happened, tried to pull three women out of the wreckage following the accident near Kroonstad, in South Africa's Free State province.

    He told South Africa's TimesLive news site:

    Quote Message: I saw around 12 cars on their side and one was already burning. We heard some women screaming when we came closer' so a few of us climbed over the cars.
    Quote Message: Two of the women were sort of on top of each other. Another was further back. Her legs were trapped. One of the women was shouting that there was a baby inside also.
    Quote Message: We searched but could not find the child... I am quite sure those women burned to death."

    Provincial health spokesman Mondli Mvambi told news agency AFP, rescuers "feared that they could find more bodies as the search, recovery and rescue work is ongoing".

    He told TimesLive the number was likely to increase as "the passengers in three carriages have burnt beyond recognition".

    The driver of the truck which is believed to have collided with the train is among those receiving hospital treatment.

    Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi, who visited the scene earlier, told reporters he "took chances... which cost a lot of lives".

    However, it is not yet known exactly what caused the crash.

    Read our earlier post on the accident here, and keep checking back with Africa Live for the latest updates.

  7. '24 dead' in DR Congo floods

    Twenty-four people died overnight when torrential rain and mudslides swept though shanty homes in Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the authorities told news agency AFP.

    Flooding is a major peril for residents of Kinshasa - many homes are built on hillsides where lack of drainage makes them vulnerable to mudslides and flash floods.

  8. Zambia shuts fast-food restaurants after cholera discovery

    A fast-food chain has been ordered to shut three of its branches in the Zambian capital Lusaka after their food tested positive for the bacterium which causes cholera.

    The Hungry Lion restaurant chain, which boasts of being "Africa's best-loved chicken brand", were shut this morning, the Lusaka Times newspaper reports.

    The city is currently trying to control an outbreak of the disease, which has left 51 dead and more than 2,000 sick.

    Local government minister Vincent Mwale told news agency Reuters they had met with managers at the restaurants to discuss how hygiene could be improved.

    He added:

    Quote Message: We suspect that some food handlers in these food outlets may be coming from parts of the city that are the epicentre of the disease.”

    No one from Hungry Lion, which is owned by South Africa's Shoprite supermarket chain and has branches in seven countries, was immediately available for comment, Reuters said.

    However, they did take to Twitter to reassure their customers.

    View more on twitter

    Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal infection caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacteriumVibrio cholerae.

    It can spread quickly in cramped, dirty conditions.

  9. 'When Marseille loses a game, I don't eat'

    Senegal may be almost 5,000km from the Orange Vélodrome - home to France's Olympique Marseille - but it does not stop it being home to some of the club's biggest fans.

    And there are few more passionate than Alioune Diop...

    Video content

    Video caption: Meet the biggest Senegalese fan of French club Olympique de Marseille
  10. Seven injured in Mozambique plane crash

    Jose Tembe

    BBC Africa, Maputo

    A private plane has crashed taking off from a luxury resort off the coast of Mozambique, seriously injuring seven of eight people on board.

    The aircraft was carrying people from Bazaruto Island, where a villa can cost more than £1,700 ($2300) a night.

    The injured, who have not been identified, were flown to neighbouring South Africa for medical assistance.

    Joao de Abreu, chairman of Mozambique’s Civil Aviation Institute said investigations into the cause of the crash were underway:

    Quote Message: We suspect that bad weather may have contributed for the accident. But the fact that the aircraft failed to fly high can lead us to suspect that it was excessively loaded.
    Quote Message: But, we are investigating. We have to say that the aircraft’s pilot is still in Vilankulos for questioning. Currently, the licence to fly and other aircraft technical documents are under the custody of the Mozambican authorities."
  11. Angolan authorities investigate $41m payment

    Jean Claude Bastos
    Image caption: Mr Bastos is a close friend of the then president's son

    Angola's finance minister has told journalists an investigation is underway into the management of the country's sovereign wealth fund.

    Archer Mangueira was responding to the question why the fund's asset manager Jean Claude Bastos received a series of payments totaling more than $41m (£30m).

    The revelation came out in the Paradise Papers in November.

    All sides deny any wrongdoing.

    Mr Mangueira added a new strategy for Angola's sovereign wealth fund will be announced in the first half of this year.

    The fund, which began with $5bn (£3.75bn) in 2011, was mired in controversy from the start, after the then-Angolan President Eduardo dos Santos' son, Jose Filomeno, was appointed to head it up.

    Flow chart
  12. Tanzania's conjoined twins see heart specialist

    Maria and Consolata Mwakikuti in their school uniform

    Tanzanian conjoined twins have been admitted to a heart specialists in the main commercial city, Dar es Salaam, just months after they started university.

    The details of their heart condition have not been revealed.

    But a spokesperson for the Jakaya Kikwete Heart Institute told BBC Swahili that the two were in good spirits “laughing, talking and chatting on their phones”.

    Maria and Consolata Mwakikuti began their university course in September 2017.

    In May, they told the BBC’s Leonard Mubali reporter that they want to become teachers and hope to get married to one husband in the future.

  13. More injured in South African train accident

    Two rescue workers stand by an overturned truck and burnt-out train

    The BBC's Lebo Diseko has been told by the local disaster emergency coordinator at the scene of South Africa's train crash that 268 have been injured.

    That is up from our previous report of 180.

    Witnesses say the train failed to stop at a level crossing.

    But authorities have told the BBC that it is still too early to say what happened, and that this is an ongoing police investigation.

    Emergency services are still working at the scene, and people are still being taken to hospital.

    Read our previous posts on the crash here, and keep checking back for further updates.

  14. Court case starts after raid on Kenyan Islamic school

    Tomi Oladipo

    BBC Africa security correspondent

    A Kenyan magistrate court is hearing a case against the administration of an Islamic school in the city of Mombasa.

    Security agents raided the institution two weeks ago over concerns that the children enrolled there were at risk of harm.

    Close to 100 children were initially detained but some were later handed over to their parents.

    Initially after the school was raided in December, local media suggested it was because the children there might have been trafficked and were being radicalised.

    But today, at the court in Mombasa, neither claim was mentioned.

    The prosecution asked for the closing of the school, alleging that the children there were being molested.

    The magistrate agreed that the school should be closed for now and the children enrolled elsewhere, as the case continues.

    The whole saga has infuriated local Muslim clerics who say it could lead to other Islamic institutions being shut down on false charges.

    The case will resume in court in March.

  15. At least 12 dead in SA train crash

    The death toll in this morning's train crash in South Africa has risen to at least 12, according to news agency AFP.

    Just four people were initially thought to have died in the accident in Free State.

    Provincial health spokesman Mondli Mvambi told the agency at least another 180 people had been injured, warning the death toll could rise further.

    South Africa's transport minister is currently on the scene, according to local reporter Sikelelwa Mdingi:

    View more on twitter

    You can read our earlier posts on the accident here, and keep checking back for more updates throughout the day.

  16. More than 30 loggers abducted in Nigeria

    Ishaq Khalid

    BBC Africa, Abuja

    More than 30 Nigerian loggers have been kidnapped near the border with Cameroon.

    The abductions happened near the town of Gamboru - the same town where a suicide bomber killed at least 10 people in a crowded mosque yesterday.

    It is not clear who took the villagers, but Boko Haram is active in the area on the border with Cameroon.

    Residents say most of those taken are young men who went to the bush to fetch firewood, which they sell for a living.

    It comes days after the Nigerian military announced more than 700 people had escaped from Boko Haram following intense military operations against the militants.

  17. Steve Biko's son appears in court on assault charges

    Anti-apartheid legend Steve Biko's son Hlumelo has appeared in court in South Africa, accused of assaulting of his wife, local media reports.

    Mr Biko was charged with assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, according to website

    His wife, 27, is reported to have laid charges against her husband of two years at Camps Bay police station, in Cape Town, on New Year's Day.

    Mr Biko's lawyer Roy Barendse told reporters outside Cape Town Magistrates' Court:

    Quote Message: At this point in time, we want to put it out there that he vehemently denies having committed any assault."

    The case has been adjourned until late February to allow for investigations to be carried out.

    Mr Biko's father is seen as one of the heroes of the anti-Apartheid struggle.

    Steve Biko died in police custody in 1977.

    In this video he is remembered by Peter Jones, who was arrested alongside him:

    Video content

    Video caption: The funeral of anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko was held in September 1977
  18. Nigeria opens new port - hundreds of kilometres from the sea

    Mary Harper

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari has launched the country's first ever dry port in the northern city of Kaduna.

    The container facility is linked by railway to the giant sea port in Lagos, more than 700km (430 miles) away, and will open up the landlocked north to trade.

    It will initially be able to handle 29,000 tonnes of cargo each year, and is expected to generate 5,000 jobs.

    The dry port will also serve as a distribution point for landlocked countries north of Nigeria, including Niger and Chad. Nigeria plans to open six more dry ports in other parts of the country.

    Here are some pictures of Mr Buhari at the event today:

    View more on twitter
    Shipping containers
  19. The five men vying for control of Ethiopian football

    Ethiopian football fans celebrate

    On 13 January five men vie to become the next president of the Ethiopian Football Federation.

    Here are the five:

    Despite its place as one of the founding members of the Confederation of African Football and former Africa Cup of Nations winners, Ethiopian football has struggled in recent years.

    One of the first tasks for the next president will be to employ a new national team coach after Ashenafi Bekele left recently by mutual consent.

    Ethiopia's next competitive game will be a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier when they host Sierra Leone in September.

    The Waliya Antelopes, who last qualified for the Nations Cup in 2013, lost their opening 2019 qualifier 5-0 to Ghana.

    Read more on BBC Sport.

  20. Woman 'tries to cross Mozambique border with heroin-filled backpack'

    A woman has been arrested after trying to walk from Mozambique to South Africa carrying almost $300,000 of heroin in her backpack, according to TimesLive.

    The South African news site goes on to say that the woman was caught when her illegal cargo was sniffed out by dogs as she tried to walk down the road at the Lembobo border post, south of the Kruger National Park.

    South African Revenue Service spokesman Sandile Memela told the news website the haul amounted to 3.6m rand ($293,000; £215,000).

    Quote Message: “Upon search‚ heroin was found concealed in false compartments with two plastics containing an off-white crystal-like substance that reactive positive to tests.
    Quote Message: The goods were detained and handed over to South African Police Service for safe-keeping and further investigation. The passenger has been arrested at Komatipoort police station.”