BBC News Africa

Top Stories

Latest Updates

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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:

  5. 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.

  6. 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’
  7. Harmonize apologises for marijuana song after summons

    Alfred Lasteck

    BBC News, Dar es Salaam

    Harmonize
    Image caption: Harmonize is one of East Africa's most popular musicians

    Tanzanian musician Harmonize has apologised over the content of his new song, called Weed Language, saying it violates the values ​​and culture of his home country.

    The song, about marijuana, is a collaboration with Jamaican dancehall artist Konshens and was released last week.

    The lyrical refrain throughout the song is: "How do you call weed in your language?". It then lists the terms for the drug in different countries.

    Some of the words in Swahili describe the feeling that results from smoking marijuana.

    In a statement, Harmonize's managers said the song has been pulled down from social media platforms and its lyrics will be replaced by words that do not offend Tanzanian values.

    Social use of marijuana is criminalised in Tanzania and attracts a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

    This comes a day after the musician was summoned by the Tanzania Drug Control and Enforcement Unit for promoting consumption of marijuana in the song.

    Harmonize also met with officials from the arts regulatory authority, Basata, before putting out the apology.

    “The general leadership of Konde Gang Music Worldwide is apologizing over the content of my latest song Weed Language. The song has gone against the morals of our nation,” the statement by his managers said.

    Harmonize had earlier said that the song was one of his main projects this month.

    The musician was previously been summoned over allegations, which he denies, of illegal consumption of marijuana.

  8. UK says there will be justice over Kenyan woman's death

    Victor Komen

    BBC News, Nairobi

    Agnes Wanjiru
    Image caption: Agnes Wanjiru was 21 when she was killed and left behind a five-month-old baby

    UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly says his country "wants to make sure" that the family of a Kenyan woman allegedly killed by a British soldier a decade ago gets justice.

    The body of Agnes Wanjiru, 21, was found in a septic tank at a hotel in central Kenya in 2012, nearly three months after she had spent an evening partying with soldiers.

    Last year the UK defence ministry said that it was co-operating with a Kenyan inquiry into the death following allegations of a cover-up.

    Mr Cleverly, who was in Nairobi on Wednesday, said Ms Wanjiru’s murder was discussed in his meeting with Kenyan President William Ruto.

    “We take our responsibility incredibly seriously to ensure that there is a proper legal process and that any perpetrators are brought to justice and we will continue working closely with the Kenyan government on this,” he said.

    Ms Wanjiru, who dropped out of high school and later became a sex worker to look after her baby, was last seen by witnesses on the night of 31 March 2012. She was walking out of a bar in the town of Nanyuki accompanied by two British soldiers.

    Kenyan judge Njeri Thuku concluded after an inquest in 2019 that Ms Wanjiru had been murdered by one or two British soldiers.

    Mr Cleverly will on Thursday be in Ethiopia.

    Read more on Agnes Wanjiru's murder:

  9. Kenya promises scholarships to republic day attendees

    Kenya's government has promised to offer an unspecified number of free scholarships to Kenyans who will attend Monday's Jamhuri Day celebrations - to mark the day the former British colony gained independence in 1963 as well as the day it became a republic a year later.

    An official from the interior ministry, Raymond Omollo, made the announcement when he inspected a stadium in the capital, Nairobi, that will host the event.

    The scholarships on technology certification courses will be offered to "any eligible adult attending the celebrations in person".

    "This in a bid to make Kenya the top talent of the world and the region in the technology and digital economy," the interior ministry added in a tweet.

    The free courses are being offered "in the spirit of the technology and digital economy theme" for this year's celebrations, it said.

    Opposition leader Raila Odinga has announced plans to hold parallel celebrations on the same day at a venue in the city - about 18km (11 miles) from where the official event will be taking place.

    View more on twitter
  10. Ethiopia party calls for arming of Oromia civilians

    BBC Monitoring

    The world through its media

    A prominent Ethiopian opposition party, Ethiopian Citizens for Social Justice (Ezema), has called on the government to arm civilians so that they can defend themselves from attacks by rebels of the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) in Oromia region.

    "We would like to strongly emphasise that it is imperative to arm communities living in places that government security forces cannot easily reach, in a legitimate and organised manner, to enable them resolutely defend themselves," Ezema said in a statement posted on Facebook.

    Ezema is one of the main opposition parties that agreed to work with the government, and its leader, Prof Berhanu Nega is the minister of education.

    Its call follows attacks that have claimed the lives of hundreds of civilians, destroyed property and displaced millions in western Oromia.

    Meanwhile, the spokesman of the rebel Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) in northern Ethiopia, Getachew Reda, in a Twitter post accused federal authorities of fanning the conflict in Oromia.

  11. Over 130 civilians killed by DR Congo rebels - UN

    BBC World Service

    Displaced people flee towards the city of Goma in eastern DR Congo
    Image caption: Thousands of people have been displaced by rebel activity in in eastern DR Congo

    A UN investigation has found that at least 131 people were killed at the end of November in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo at the hands of the M23 rebel group.

    It says investigations have confirmed the deaths of the civilians in two villages - Kishishe and Bambo - in the Rutsuhuru district of North Kivu province.

    The UN says the victims were executed in what appears to be a reprisal to the current government offensive.

    "This violence was carried out as part of a campaign of murders, rapes, kidnappings and looting against two villages in the Rutshuru territory as reprisals for the clashes between the M23" and other groups, it says.

    The M23 rebels, who have captured several towns near the borders of Rwanda and Uganda this year, have denied they are attacking civilians.

  12. Ebola vaccines arrive in Uganda for trials

    Patience Atuhaire

    BBC News, Kampala

    An anti-Ebola advocacy van
    Image caption: Uganda confirmed the outbreak of Ebola in September

    Uganda has received 1,200 experimental vaccine doses designed to work against the Sudan strain of the Ebola virus that will be used in scientific trials.

    The country has confirmed 142 cases of the Sudan strain, with 56 deaths, since it announced an outbreak of Ebola in September.

    Currently, there is no vaccine proven to be effective against this strain of the viral haemorrhagic fever.

    The vaccine will be administered to people who have been in contact with those who tested positive for the virus, in what is called ring vaccination.

    Researchers hope to recruit at least 3,000 people, aged six years and above, to take part in the study, which will be conducted by a team of Ugandan scientists.

    The vaccine, made by the Sabin Institute in the US, was given to the Ugandan government as a donation by the World Health Organization. It has already been proven to be safe for use in human trials.

    There have been no new positive cases in Uganda in almost three weeks, and the last of the people who had been hospitalised were released on November 30.

    There have been concerns that the vaccine doses have arrived at the tail end of the epidemic in Uganda.

    But Health Minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng has said the study is still necessary to equip the country with all the public health tools it needs to fight similar outbreaks in future.

    Read more:

  13. DR Congo rebels accuse army of killing civilians

    BBC Monitoring

    The world through its media

    Displaced people wait for a food distribution and non-food items distributed by UNICEF to sustain them during this period of crisis in Munigi on December 5, 2022.
    Image caption: Thousands of people have been displaced by the violence in eastern DR Congo

    The M23 rebel group in the Democratic Republic of Congo has condemned "genocide and targeted killings" against the Tutsi community by government forces and its allies in the east.

    It said that the government's coalition forces had on Tuesday "attacked our positions in Bwiza and its surroundings, in total breach of the current ceasefire".

    The M23 said government-allied forces had killed innocent civilians, destroying houses, looting and slaughtering their cattle, noting that the ongoing attacks had displaced civilians and wounded many.

    "These targeted killings of Tutsi, and those who have rejected the genocide ideology by the said DR Congo government's coalition, while the international and national community remained tight-lipped, take us back to the time prior to the genocide of 1994 perpetrated against the Tutsi in Rwanda," it said in a statement.

    The group has said that it will not "stand by and watch" as civilian populations get killed, adding that it's "ready to intervene and stop these horrific massacres".

    The army has not spoken about the allegations but had last week accused the M23 of killing dozens of civilians in the eastern town of Kishishe, which the M23 denied.

    The statement by the M23 comes after the group agreed to withdraw from occupied territory following sustained pressure from the government and international community following resolutions agreed on by heads of states during a recent meeting in the Angolan capital, Luanda.

    Over 50 Congolese armed groups that attended peace talks which concluded this week in Nairobi also announced that they had agreed to lay down their weapons.

  14. Gambia study shows high heat a risk to pregnancy

    BBC World Service

    A pregnant African woman
    Image caption: Extreme heat is a health risk to an unborn child, a study on Gambian women has shown

    New research shows that when a pregnant woman works in extreme heat, it can pose a health risk to her foetus.

    The study monitored more than 90 subsistence farmers working in rice fields in The Gambia - in direct sun and often high humidity.

    Researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said the heart rate of each mother's unborn child increased to dangerous levels.

    They found the blood flow to the foetus slowed as the mother's placenta was impacted by the heat.

    The scientists are calling for more research, with many locations facing rising temperatures.

  15. Nigeria ran secret mass abortion programme - Reuters

    Mayeni Jones

    BBC News, Lagos

    The Reuters news agency says it has found evidence that the Nigerian military ran a secret mass abortion programme for at least nine years, targeted at women who had children by Boko Haram militants.

    Many of the women had been kidnapped and raped by the Islamist militants in the country’s north-east.

    The scale of the alleged programme is shocking - at least 10,000 women are thought to have had pregnancies terminated without consent, according to Reuters.

    The news agency spoke to 33 women and girls who say they underwent abortions while in the custody of the Nigerian Army.

    The women describe being given injections and pills – and only later finding out it was to abort their pregnancies.

    Reuters also interviewed five healthcare workers and nine security personnel involved in the programme.

    Procedures are said to have taken place as recently as November of last year.

    Reuters was unable to establish who in the military or government created or ran the abortion programme.

    Last week, days before the investigation was published, the defence ministry denied Reuters’ findings, saying that the story was an “insult on the Nigerian people and culture”, who “still cherish life”.

    The statement lists a number of instances where the Nigerian military has provided help and support to women and children in need, including to some of the rescued Chibok girls, who had children while in detention, as well as the almost 5,000 Boko Haram fighters and family members who’ve surrendered to the Nigerian army since 2021.

    The army also says it would have been impossible for it to carry out the abuses highlighted by Reuters, without the knowledge of the UN and aid agencies that work in north-eastern Nigeria.

  16. SA minister calls on Ramaphosa to resign over scandal

    Will Ross

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    Cyril Ramaphosa
    Image caption: South Africa's president is seeking re-election as the governing ANC's leader later this month

    South Africa’s Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has called on the president to resign.

    Cyril Ramaphosa is facing allegations that he covered up the theft of a huge sum of money from his farm.

    The controversy comes ahead of next month's ANC conference with the president seeking a second term in office.

    Ms Sisulu - who says she wants the top job herself - told the BBC's Newshour programme that Mr Ramaphosa should step down, as he was holding the whole party to ransom.

    Next week parliament is due to discuss the issue and the president, who denies any wrongdoing, could potentially face impeachment.

    Read more about Mr Ramaphosa's corruption scandal here.