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  1. SA whistle-blower who is in hiding speaks out after award

    BBC Focus on Africa radio

    Patricia Mashale

    A South African winner of a whistle-blowing prize who is now in hiding has said that her efforts to expose alleged corruption in the police force were worth it despite threats to her life.

    "I am doing this as a mother for a better future for my children. I want to rebuild South Africa and I will stay in South Africa until I see justice," Patricia Mashale told the BBC's Focus on Africa radio programme.

    The international group Blueprint for Free Speech has named her as one of its five winners of its 2022 Whistleblowing Awards

    She was working as an administrator in a police unit in South Africa's Free State province when she reported corruption in appointments as well as disciplinary hearings, the Mail and Guardian reported.

    She was charged with misconduct for bringing the police into disrepute at the beginning of the year. Then "after 15 years of service, Ms Mashale was dismissed after she refused to attend a misconduct hearing chaired by one of the police officials she had implicated in corruption", Blueprint for Free Speech says.

    Ms Mashale heard that some people in the police were trying to kill her because of these accusations.

    She told the BBC that she was recently involved in a high-speed car chase after she had left the place where she was in hiding to go and see her children.

    Despite the consequences, she felt that blowing the whistle was a duty. "It's just being ethical; the fact that I signed an oath of office to speak out about corruption," Ms Mashale said.

  2. Religious leaders call for end to South Sudan clashes

    Nichola Mandil

    BBC News, Juba

    Map of South Sudan

    Religious leaders in South Sudan are calling on parties to the conflict in the oil-producing Upper Nile State in the north of the country to implement a ceasefire amid escalating hostilities.

    There are growing concerns that the renewed fighting might derail the implementation of the revitalised peace agreement, which was signed in September 2018 to end a five-year civil war.

    There are also fears that the fighting could cause a humanitarian catastrophe in the region.

    The ceasefire monitoring body says the violence began in mid-November when tensions started building up between rival groups.

    Father Paolino Tipo Deng, chairman of the interdenominational Upper Nile Initiative for Peace and Reconciliation, said that heavy weaponry was being used by tribal youth in the ongoing hostilities.

    “We pastors of different churches regret the tragic violent deaths and displacement of so many innocent people, especially women, children and elderly caused by the tension in Upper Nile State," Fr. Tipo told reporters in the capital, Juba, on Thursday.

    "At the same time, we condemn and reject such a senseless and unnecessary war amongst people of one nation who were supposed to be living in peace and harmony.”

    He urged President Salva Kiir, First Vice-President, Riek Machar, and all parties to the peace agreement to take immediate action to stop the fighting in Upper Nile State.

  3. Nigeria army says forced abortion report is nonsense

    BBC World Service

    Chief of the Defence Staff Lucky Irabor
    Image caption: Chief of the Defence Staff Lucky Irabor said: "I don't think I should waste my energy in such things."

    Nigeria's top general has dismissed as nonsense a report that the army has run a secret, mass abortion programme for the past decade.

    Chief of the Defence Staff Lucky Irabor said he would not waste his time investigating something that wasn't true.

    According to the Reuters news agency, at least 10,000 abortions have been carried out, many involving women who had been raped by Islamist militants.

    Women interviewed by Reuters said the terminations were performed without their consent.

    The US government has described the report as harrowing and said it was seeking further information.

  4. Ghana blocks 8m mobile lines for failure to register

    Thomas Naadi

    BBC News, Accra

    The authorities in Ghana say more than eight million unregistered Sim cards have been blocked in the country after their owners failed to meet a final registration deadline.

    The disconnection of the mobile lines means their owners will no longer be able to make calls or access the internet, neither will they be able to use mobile money services.

    Ghana’s Ministry of Communication and Digitisation and the National Communications Authority had said the mandatory Sim card registration was to help fight crimes such as fraud and to ensure digital security.

    The process started in October last year when the government issued a directive for people to register their mobile lines.

    The first stage of the registration involves mobile phone customers linking their Sim cards with their national identity card details.

    They then have their biometric data captured by mobile phone service providers to complete the registration.

    The deadline had been extended several times.

    The last given date was 30 November.

    A significant number of Ghana’s population of 31 million have yet to acquire a national identity card, making it difficult to register their Sim cards.

    The authorities say more than 20 million lines have been fully registered so far. Individuals are allowed to register a maximum of 10 Sim cards with their national ID card.

  5. Tunisia law to protect women has failed - rights group

    BBC World Service

    A leading human rights group says that a domestic violence law introduced five years ago in Tunisia has failed to protect women.

    In a new report, Human Rights Watch has concluded that poor implementation of what it describes as one of the strongest laws against domestic violence in the Middle East and North Africa has left Tunisian women at risk.

    The group alleges that the Tunisian authorities have failed to systematically respond, investigate and provide protection to women who report violence.

    Read more on this story:

  6. Video content

    Video caption: Nigeria elections: An interview with Bola Ahmed Tinubu

    Presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, describes his priorities and why Nigerians should vote for him.

  7. Controversial Kenyan policeman too ill for court

    Mercy Juma

    BBC News, Nairobi

    Ahmed Rashid, a controversial Kenyan police officer facing murder charges over the 2017 killing of two suspected thieves, did not enter a plea in court on Thursday, as had been expected.

    His lawyer Danstan Omari, who says Corporal Rashid acted within the law, told the court that his client was unwell and had been in hospital since 5 December. He also said the policeman had never been personally served with a summons to appear in court.

    The policeman is accused of carrying out extra-judicial killings in the Eastleigh, Pangani and Mathare areas of the capital, Nairobi, without any consequences.

    In an interview with BBC Africa Eye, Corporal Rashid admitted to killing alleged criminals.

    A video that went viral shows him shooting the two unarmed teenagers in 2017. They had both surrendered and were lying down. This happened in broad daylight and with dozens of people watching.

    Corporal Rashid is loathed and loved in almost equal measure.

    At the court, were the families of about 43 young men who were allegedly killed by the policeman. His supporters were also there, most of them from the Eastleigh business community, who say gangs that used to terrorise them are now a thing of the past.

    Corporal Rashid is now expected to appear on 23 January.

    You can watch more about him here:

    Video content

    Video caption: Inside the world of Kenya’s ‘killer cop’