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  1. Scroll down for this week’s stories

    We'll be back next week

    That's all from BBC Africa Live for this week. You can 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 Friday's wise words:

    Quote Message: Before a bird flies off I've counted the eggs in its belly." from A Krio proverb sent by Ahmid in Waterloo, Sierra Leone
    A Krio proverb sent by Ahmid in Waterloo, Sierra Leone

    Click here to send us your African proverbs.

    And we leave you with this picture of priests from Ethiopian Orthodox Christians celebrating Christmas in the northern town of Lalibela. It's one of our favourite shots from this week.

    Ethiopian Orthodox Christians celebrating Christmas.
  2. Sierre Leone's ex-coup leader in Ghana 'for surgery'

    Thomas Naadi

    BBC Africa, Accra

    Sierra Leone's former military ruler Valentine Strasser has been flown to Ghana for medical treatment.

    He is being treated for a gunshot wound to his left leg, sustained in the 1990s when he was fighting rebels, tweets Sierra Leone reporter Umaru Fofana:

    View more on twitter

    President Julius Maada Bio visited him in hospital last weekend and promised that Sierra Leone's government would support his treatment as Sierra Leone did not have the vascular surgeon needed for the operation.

    President Bio was Capt Strasser’s deputy after a group of soldiers overthrew the government in 1992.

    But in January 1996, he staged a palace coup, arguing that Capt Strasser wanted to renege on the promised handover to an elected civilian government.

    Until recently Mr Strasser, 51, had been operating a community computer centre at his village a few miles from the capital, Freetown.

    The story has prompted some on Twitter to consider the twist Mr Strasser's life has taken:

    View more on twitter
  3. Sudan congregation turns on imam over protests

    Mohanad Hashim

    BBC Africa

    An influential Sudanese imam had to be whisked away from a mosque in the capital, Khartoum, to escape the ire of worshippers who confronted him during Friday prayers for not leading them to join the ongoing protests against President Omar al-Bashir.

    Preacher Abdul Hai Yusuf is known for encouraging his followers to march in solidarity with Palestinians and Syrians.

    He is part of the country’s Muslim Clerics Council and often backs the government.

    The cleric had appealed to the government to exercise restraint in the current unrest, which has spread across the country and resulted in the deaths of dozens of civilians.

    Several videos have been shared on Facebook showing what happened during and after Friday prayers at the Khatim al-Mursaleen mosque.

    In one of them, an angry man shouts: “Get up Abdul Hai and lead us from this mosque!”

    The crowd then is caught in the frenzy and the chant "downfall [of the regime] only” spreads across the mosque.

    View more on facebook

    Another video shows crowds chanting outside the mosque.

    View more on facebook

    The protests - which began in mid-December against the rising cost of fuel and bread - have morphed to calls for Mr Bashir to step down to end his 30-year rule.

    Read more: Why people keep cash under the mattress in Sudan

  4. Fake journalist makes waves in Senegal

    Flora Carmichael

    BBC World Service

    A British journalist has found herself at the centre of a bizarre fake news storm in Senegal.

    On Wednesday, a story surfaced on a website called Modern Ghana, attributed to a journalist whose name bears a striking resemblance to investigative journalist Michelle Madsen.

    The article, attributed to “Michelle Damsen”, accused Senegalese presidential candidate Ousmane Sonko of securing “financial assistance” from a European oil company in exchange for oil contracts.

    With presidential elections scheduled for next month, the controversial accusations made waves in Senegal.

    Ms Madsen has received a barrage of messages trying to verify the story, as no "Michelle Damsen" could be found online.

    She has had to deny any link to the story and the original was quickly taken down, but not before the allegations levelled at Mr Sonko were reported widely.

    Screengrab of article on Modern Ghana
    Image caption: This is a screengrab of the article, which has now been removed

    Senegalese newspaper Les Echos splashed the story on their front page, and added further details, naming both the oil company and the amount allegedly paid to the presidential candidate.

    El Hadj Malick Ndiaye, a spokesman from Mr Sonko's party, denied the allegations, telling the AFP news agency: "Mr. Sonko has never received any money from this company, these are fake news stories."

    The source of these further claims is unclear but the newspaper attributes the investigation to London-based “Michelle Damsen”, a British journalist specialising in oil companies and corruption - a similar beat to Ms Madsen.

    Some websites have been using an old photo of Belgian singer Lara Fabian to depict “Michelle Damsen”.

  5. Joburg mayor under fire over sanitary pads

    The mayor of South Africa's largest city, Johannesburg, has been criticised for saying that giving schoolgirls sanitary pads would make them focus on sex.

    Herman Mashaba comments were sparked by a picture showing the Minister of Environmental Affairs, Nomvula Mokonyane, handing over packs of pads to pupils in reception, aged under six years old, IOL news site reports.

    He tweeted that he was "nervous" it that it would make "kids to focus on sex".

    View more on twitter

    Here's a sample of the reactions, including one person explaining to the mayor that girls often get their periods from the age of 10:

    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter

    Ms Mokonyane clarified that the sanitary pads were for older pupils at the school and it was gift packs that had been handed out to the younger students:

    View more on twitter
  6. Ghana will not compensate for gold investors

    Thomas Naadi

    BBC Africa, Accra

    Ghana’s government has said it will not compensate people who invested money in Menzgold, a gold trading firm that has been shut down because it did not have the correct licence.

    A statement issued on Thursday said the state was not legally bound to compensate the investors, thought to be in the thousands.

    Menzgold allegedly promised investors a return of 7.5% a month on gold they deposited with them, which is way above the international average.

    On Wednesday, Ghana’s Supreme Court issued an arrest warrant for the company's CEO, Nana Appiah Mensah, for alleged fraud by "false pretence".

    The company is estimated to have collected $200m (£157m) from customers over five years.

    Local news site MyJoy Online reported that Mr Mensah had travelled out of the country to look for money to refund investors.

    See earlier post: Wanted Ghana gold dealer 'seeking money abroad'

  7. The African comic book Kugali hoping to take on Disney

    Fed up of non-Africans telling African stories, three friends from Nigeria and Uganda have decided to create their own anthology.

    Showcasing artists and writers from across Africa, they hope it will bring African comics to the mainstream.

    They explain why it's so important for Africans to share their own stories with the rest of the world.

    Video content

    Video caption: Afrofuturism comic book Kugali hoping to take on Disney
  8. UN discusses DR Congo

    The UN Security Council is holding a special meeting about the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo following the announcement of the results of the 30 December presidential election.

    Early on Thursday morning, the electoral commission announced that Felix Tshishekedi had won sparking protests from supporters of another opposition figure, Martin Fayulu.

    The influential Catholic Church - which says it had 40,000 election monitors across the country - has said that their figures show a different result from the one announced.

    Mr Fayulu has said he would challenge the election result in the Constitutional Court.

    Watch the UN meeting here:

    View more on youtube

    Read: DR Congo election: What next?

  9. 'Fifty-two mourners hospitalised for eating bad meat'

    At least 52 people are being treated in hospital in Kenya's Bomet county, north-west of the capital, Nairobi, after eating contaminated meat, the Star newspaper reports.

    The patients - 14 children, 29 women and nine men - were part of a group of who had attended a funeral in the village of Tabook in central Bomet, the newspaper says.

    The meat is suspected to have been contaminated while cooking or the animal might have been slaughtered in an unhygienic environment, the Star reports.

    County health chief Joseph Sitonik said the the patients had complained of abdominal pain and vomiting before being rushed to the hospital.

    The authorities have launched an investigation, the Star says.

    View more on twitter
  10. Fighting fake news in Nigeria

    The spread of fake news is on the rise in Nigeria, a worrying fact ahead of general elections next month.

    But why is this, and what are some the top fake news stories to look out for?

    The BBC hosted the Beyond Fake News summit in the capital Abuja to examine ways of combating the problem.

    Mayeni Jones reports on the people fighting fake news in a country where rumours spread about a presidential "clone".

    Video content

    Video caption: Debunking fake news in Nigeria
  11. DR Congo poll dispute: Sadc urges patience and peace

    The Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) has urged political factions in the Democratic Republic of Congo to use legal means to address disputes following the announcement of results of the 30 December presidential election.

    Opposition figure Felix Tshisekedi was declared the winner amid accusations that he had struck a power-sharing deal with outgoing President Joseph Kabila.

    The regional body welcomed the release of the results on Thursday and congratulated voters and the authorities on the conduct of the election. Its statement continued:

    Quote Message: Sadc urges all political parties, candidates, and their supporters to exercise patience, and refrain from acts of violence, whilst the process of releasing all the final results of the elections is being conducted."

    The influential Catholic Church, which had 40,000 election monitors across the country, has said the declaration of Mr Tshisekedi as winner did not match its figures.

    Defeated opposition candidate Martin Fayulu, who was backed a coalition of parties, says he won the vote.

    He says he will file a petition at the Constitutional Court early on Saturday as he seeks to overturn the official result.

    The Sadc statement, signed by Zambia's President Edgar Lungu who chairs the body, did not congratulate Mr Tshisekedi on his victory.

    View more on twitter
  12. Damage for MTN and Nigeria will linger


    Damilola Ade-Odiachi

    BBC Africa business reporter

    An MTN employee
    Image caption: MTN is Africa's largest mobile phone company

    Reuters and Bloomberg news agencies have reported that mobile phone company MTN settled its $8bn (£6bn) “illegal repatriation” case with the Nigerian government for $53m – remarkably less than the initial fine.

    However, the damage to both MTN and Nigeria will linger.

    Zainab Ahmed, Nigeria’s finance minister, said the entire saga was extremely bad for Nigeria which has been trying to reassure other investors in the country.

    MTN shares are still trading 20% below what they were in late August and their disputes are not over.

    Nigeria and MTN will return to court in early February to over a separate claim that the phone company owes $2bn in back taxes.

    Nigeria is MTN’s largest market - and the South African phone company is Nigeria's largest mobile phone operator, with more than 50 million customers.

    It is exposed to risks that face Africa’s largest economy, such as weak economic growth, falling oil prices and the upcoming presidential elections in February.

    See earlier post: MTN reaches settlement in Nigeria over $8bn row

  13. Sudan police fire tear gas at protesters

    Will Ross

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    Police have fired tear gas to break up protests in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, and the city of Omdurman.

    Demonstrations have been taking place across the country since last month, triggered by the rising price of bread and fuel.

    Sudan is facing an economic crisis with foreign currency in short supply.

    Protesters have increasingly called for the overthrow of President Omar al-Bashir, but he has remained defiant.

    He has blamed the protests on foreign interference.

    Since the unrest began, the Sudanese security forces have used live ammunition to break up several demonstrations.

    The authorities say 22 people have been killed since last month. Human rights groups put the figure far higher, saying at least forty have died.

    Read: Why people keep cash under the mattress in Sudan

  14. Ouattara calls for West African political union

    Ivory Coast’s President Alassane Ouattara
    Image caption: President Ouattara said Uemoa was an example of successful integration in Africa

    Ivory Coast’s President Alassane Ouattara has said the West African Economic and Monetary Union (Uemoa) - the eight countries which use the CFA franc, the currency guaranteed by the French treasury - should embark on political integration.

    During an event marking the 25th anniversary of the creation of the regional body in Burkina Faso, he said:

    Quote Message: I think that we should now move towards a real union, like the European Union, and even go further."

    He cited the economic success since Uemoa was created in 1994 following the devaluation of the CFA franc.

    "Ever since the currency has been doing well... last year, the region grew by 6.7% - among the highest rates in Africa," he said.

    With inflation at just 3.3%, he said this was an example of successful integration in Africa.

    But trade within the region remains weak, and is also hampered by illegal border charges, he added.

    The region has also had to face up to new challenges, such as insecurity, which didn’t exist 25 years ago, according to Benin’s Planning Minister Abdoulaye Biotchane.

    “In recent months and years, all our countries are threatened by that [insecurity]. Some countries live with it every day,” Mr Biotchane said.

    Uemoa's goal is to create a common market and share resources to achieve economic and monetary development.

    Read: African protests over the CFA 'colonial currency'

  15. DR Congo election: What comes next?

    Louise Dewast

    Kinshasa, DR Congo

    Presidential candidates who want to challenge provisional results of the Democratic Republic of Congo election will have to file them at the Constitutional Court by Saturday.

    Felix Tshisekedi was declared the winner of the 30 December election but Martin Fayulu, who was the candidate for an opposition coalition, says he was cheated out of a victory.

    He says he will challenge the results in court.

    If a challenge is filed, judges will have seven days to deliberate on the appeal .

    DR Congo constitutional expert, Jacques Ndjoli, told the BBC there are three possible scenarios. The court could:

    • Reject the appeal and confirm Felix Tshisekedi as the winner.
    • Decide to partially cancel results, concluding that provisional results from some areas lack credibility, do a recount and announce a different result.
    • Cancel the results altogether and ask the electoral commission to organise new elections.

    In the case of the first scenario, if they go ahead and confirm Mr Tshisekedi's election, the inauguration of the new president is expected to take place within 10 days.

    The country's Constitutional Court has never overturned provisional results before, and some observers believe the majority of its judges are close allies of the ruling party.

  16. MTN reaches settlement in Nigeria over $8bn row

    Image caption: MTN has 50 million customers in Nigeria

    The Nigerian government and MTN have agreed an out-of-court settlement after Africa's largest mobile phone company was accused on taking $8bn (£6bn) out of the country illegally.

    The government said the South African firm had contravened foreign exchange regulations and had ordered it to return the money.

    It also demanded $2bn in related taxes from the company.

    MTN - which has 50 million customers in Nigeria - denied it illegally transferred money abroad and filed a suit challenging the fine.

    The giant telecommunication company - which is Africa’s largest phone company - was hit with a $5bn fine by Nigeria’s telecommunications regulator in 2015 for missing a deadline to disconnect unregistered subscribers.

    The fine was later reduced to $1.7bn.

    Details of the settlement have not been made public by the parties but there are indications the dispute triggered fears among other investors.

    Read this analysis from September 2018: Nigeria takes on mobile phone giant

  17. Jailing 'fraudsters' won't recover lost money - Chissano

    Jose Tembe

    BBC Africa, Maputo

    President Joaquim Chissano
    Image caption: Mr Chissano said jailing those involved would not be worth much as returning the stolen money

    Former Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano has weighed into the ongoing fraud investigation over the loss of $2bn (£1.5bn).

    Mozambique authorities have named 17 people alleged to be involved in the scandal, including former Finance Minister Manuel Chang.

    Mr Chang, who is fighting a US extradition request in South Africa where he was arrested in December, denies any wrongdoing.

    US prosecutors say that through a series of financial transactions between approximately 2013 and 2016, Mr Chang and others created fraudulent maritime projects and used state-owned companies in Mozambique as fronts to raise $2bn.

    Some of the investors defrauded included US nationals, the indictment says.

    It added that they "intentionally diverted portions of the loan proceeds to pay at least $200m in bribes and kickbacks to themselves, Mozambican government officials and others".

    The state-owned companies missed more than $700m in loan payments after defaulting in 2016 and 2017, the indictment adds.

    Mr Chissano said jailing those involved would not be worth much if the money was not returned.

    He urged the Mozambique's justice department to work with the US and South Africa authorities to ensure the money was returned.

    Quote Message: If there’s any money it should be returned to Mozambique. This would be useful. Now, I don’t know which strategy to use to return the money. But, if the person is imprisoned, he may not have means to repatriate the money.
    Quote Message: What is essential here is that Mozambique will learn a lesson for the future and create a much pure society."

    Mozambique's government revealed in 2016 that it had taken undisclosed loans, prompting the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and foreign donors to cut off support.

    This triggered a currency collapse and a default on Mozambique’s sovereign debt. It is still struggling to overcome from the debt crisis.

  18. Five killed in DR Congo post-election clashes

    BBC World Service

    Supporters of Felix Tshisekedi, who was named provisional winner of Democratic Republic of Congo's presidential election
    Image caption: Supporters of Felix Tshisekedi, who was named provisional winner of Democratic Republic of Congo's presidential election, have been celebrating

    Police in the Democratic Republic of Congo say five people were killed and 17 police officers injured during outbreaks of violence following the announcement that Felix Tshisekedi won the presidential election.

    The runner-up in the election, Martin Fayulu, says the election was rigged and will challenge the result in court.

    The Catholic Church, which is very influential in DR Congo, has also suggested there was foul play.

    There have been international calls for calm as people wait for the full results to be announced by the electoral commission.

    Later on Friday the UN Security Council is due to discuss the Congolese election.

  19. South African school denies being racist

    White and black schoolchildren were seated apart from each other at Laerskool Schweizer-Reneke
    Image caption: White and black schoolchildren were seated apart from each other at the school in Schweizer-Reneke

    A board member of a school in South Africa caught in the middle of a race row - after a picture of white and black children sitting at separate desks was shared online - has said the institution is not racist.

    "There’s definitely no racism in this school," Oloff van Niekerk said about the school in Schweizer-Reneke, state broadcaster SABC reports.

    A teacher was suspended after complaints about the picture. A black parent told Timeslive that she thought her child's first day at school had got off to a good start until she saw the image.

    "This was meant to be an exciting day for me, but it's not," she is quoted as saying.

    Local authorities say they "highly condemn" the incident and have removed the teacher "pending investigation".

    Sello Lehare, the education minister for the North West province, said the school's explanation was that "the learners were separated according to those who could understand Afrikaans and English".

    The school was forced to close on Thursday after protesters gathered outside the compound.

    White parents, some armed with guns, said the black parents should remove their children from the predominantly white school if they were not happy with it, Soweto Live reports.

    Racism is still deeply embedded in South Africa nearly 25 years after white-minority rule ended.Language policy has historically been used to exclude black learners.

  20. Wanted Ghana gold dealer 'seeking money abroad'

    Nana Appiah Mensah
    Image caption: Mr Mensah is known to rub shoulders with politicians and celebrities

    Top Ghanaian gold dealer, Nana Appiah Mensah - who is wanted by authorities for alleged fraud - is out of the country looking for money to refund investors, privately owned news site MyJoy Online says, quoting his company's spokesman.

    "He has travelled outside the shores of Ghana and is working to make sure that he gets money to come and pay our customers," Menzgold's Nii Armah Amarteifio told the news site.

    Ghana’s Supreme Court issued an arrest warrant on Wednesday for Mr Mensah, who is the CEO of gold dealership Menzgold, for alleged fraud by "false pretense".

    The company allegedly promised customers a return of 7.5% monthly on gold they deposited with them, which is way above the international average.

    But customers say they didn't receive the promised money and on Tuesday more than 100 of them protested outside the Menzgold office in the second city, Kumasi.

    The company is estimated to have collected $200m (£157m) from customers over five years.

    Mr Mensah, popularly known as NAM 1, has not yet commented.

    He is known to rub shoulders with politicians and local celebrities, MyJoy Online reports.

    In another development a High Court on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit filed last year by Menzgold to bar the Bank of Ghana and the Securities and Exchange Commission from looking into its business.

    The gold firm had argued that the activities of the two regulatory bodies were hurting its business.

    Protesters, wearing red, were demanding their money back from Menzgold in Kumasi
    Image caption: People demonstrated in Kumasi on Tuesday demanding their money from Menzgold