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  1. US drops Nigeria from list of religious violators

    Chris Ewokor

    BBC News, Abuja

    A female preacher holding Holy Bible eco slogans during civil demonstration at the Gani Fahweyinmi Park, Ojota district of Lagos, Nigeria, on 12 June 2021
    Image caption: Nigeria is not in the 2021 list of countries deemed to violating religious freedoms

    The US has removed Nigeria from the list of religious violators, ahead of the visit by the Secretary of State Antony Blinken to the country.

    The US government had last year placed Nigeria to its special watch list of states that had engaged in or tolerated the severe violation of religious freedom

    Nigeria is not in the 2021 list which has Myanmar, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.

    Algeria, Comoros, Cuba, and Nicaragua are also on the special list of governments that have violated religious freedom, according to the US state department.

    However, the jihadist groups Boko Haram and Iswap operating in north-east Nigeria, are still designated as entities of particular concern.

    Mr Blinken is visiting Nigeria on Thursday on the second leg of his three-nation trip that includes Kenya and Senegal.

    He is expected to meet Nigerian President Muhamadu Buhari to discuss how both countries can further co-operate on global health, security, expanding energy access and economic growth.

    Nigeria is battling a range of security threats, including the long-running Boko Haram insurgency, inter-communal clashes and more recently, a wave of mass abductions at schools by armed gangs.

  2. Comedian too cute for Nigeria navy detained

    Daniel Semeniworima

    BBC Pidgin, Lagos

    Cute Abiola

    Popular Nigerian comedian Cute Abiola is not missing but in custody, the Navy has said.

    The reason for his detention is unknown, his lawyer told BBC Pidgin.

    Family members and friends last saw Cute Abiola - whose real name is Abdulgafar Ahmed - on Monday.

    Social media users are speculating that a skit the comedian shared on Instagram wearing a navy uniform, carrying an AK-47 riffle and a bottle of alcohol, to depict trigger-happy military personnel could have landed him in trouble.

    Cute Abiola
    Image caption: An image shared on the comedian's Facebook page captures part of the skit

    In a statement the Nigerian Navy said the comedian, who is a navy officer, is being held for “breaching the Armed Forces Social Media Policy and refusal to obey particular orders”.

    The policy is in place to protect their personal safety and security, as well as the information integrity of the activities of the Armed Forces in Nigeria, the statement said.

  3. West African military chiefs attend security summit

    Lalla Sy

    BBC News, Abidjan

    A security officer in the sahel
    Image caption: The Sahel region has battled Islamist militants' insurgency for years

    West African military chiefs on Wednesday began a three-day summit in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, to discuss the escalating jihadist insurgency in the Sahel region.

    The senior officers from the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) will discuss the ongoing withdrawal of the French Barkhane troops carrying out counter-terrorism efforts in the Sahel, and the Africa Union’s proposal to deploy 3,000 troops to the region, the Ivorian newspaper Fraternite Matin reported.

    Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso have been batting an Islamist militants' insurgency for years. On 10 November, Togo confirmed the first militant attack on its territory.

    The three-day summit will assess current operations and reflect on the prospects for improving security in the Ecowas zone.

    The Chiefs of Staff Committee is a support body for Ecowas that brings together all the chiefs of the armed forces and is responsible for conflict prevention and management in the region.

    They will visit the Jacqueville International Academy for Combating Terrorism.

  4. Nigeria accused of failing rape victims

    Azeezat Olaoluwa

    Women’s affairs reporter, BBC News, Lagos

    Police in Nigeria are failing rape victims by not supporting and investigating the crime when reported, rights groups Amnesty International says.

    "Women and girls continue to be failed by a system that makes it increasingly difficult for survivors to get justice, while allowing perpetrators to get away with gross human rights violations,” said Osai Ojigho, head of Amnesty International Nigeria.

    Victims are instead exposed to shaming and stigma, a situation that perpetuates a culture of silence around sexual violence in the country, she added.

    Gender activist Serben Shehi told the BBC that the lack of political will in tackling gender-based violence, especially rape, is worrying.

    In 2020, Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission recorded 11,200 reported cases of rape. Amnesty describes it as the most prevalent human-rights violation in the West African country.

    Last year Nigerian state governors declared a “state of emergency” on rape and gender-based violence, but Amnesty said nothing had changed.

    Nigeria’s police has not respond to calls from the BBC at the time of this report.

  5. Chimp in Liberia 'house arrest' after week of treats

    Jonathan Paye-Layleh

    BBC News, Monrovia

    Image caption: The primate has made friends and enjoys three meals a day

    A motorcycle taxi driver in north-eastern Liberia has put a wild chimpanzee he had lured to the local town "under house arrest".

    Gannie Son told the BBC that the animal had started causing trouble by venturing into people's cocoa farms to look for food.

    Mr Son came across the animal near forests on the outskirts of Blorwee town and fed it for days before it followed him to the town.

    It caused quite a stir with locals feeding it and remarking how friendly it was.

    But the locals stopped feeding it and Mr Son says he can't afford the three meals a day he has been giving it.

    "I'm like the main host of the chimp, I have locked it up in one of my rooms so that I don't get into trouble with cocoa farmers," Mr Son said.

    He says he fears that angry cocoa farmers could poison the animal, "and if this happens, I will really feel bad and guilty," he said.

    Mr Son has once again sent out an appeal to the authorities in the region as well as animal rights groups to rescue the animal.

  6. Amnesty demands action against rape in Nigeria

    Chris Ewokor

    BBC News, Abuja

    Amnesty International has called on authorities in Nigeria to take action to protect women and girls from rampant sexual violence.

    In a new report, the international rights group says rape continues to be among the most prevalent human rights violations in Nigeria.

    It states that the failure of authorities to tackle the rape crisis has emboldened perpetrators and silenced survivors.

    The report explained that despite the Nigerian authorities’ declaration of a “state of emergency” on sexual and gender-based violence, rape persists at crisis levels with most survivors denied justice.

    Rapists often avoid prosecution while hundreds of cases of rape go unreported due to pervasive corruption, stigma and victim-blaming.

    Amnesty International came down hard on the Nigerian police, accusing them of taking bribes from rape perpetrators to stop investigating their crimes.

    The head of Amnesty International in Nigeria, Ossai Ojigho, was quoted as saying that “not only are women and girls being raped in Nigeria, but when they are brave enough to come forward they are being dismissed by police officers as liars and attention-seekers – slurs which inflict further injury”.

    The Nigerian police is yet to react to the report.

  7. Two killed in Sudan pro-democracy protests - doctors

    Will Ross

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    Image caption: Protestors have been taking to the streets despite violence by the security services

    Doctors in Sudan say two people have been shot dead as security forces tried to break up a series of protests against the recent military takeover.

    Tear gas was fired at one group of people in the capital Khartoum.

    Activists across Sudan called for people to take to the streets to mark the day when a civilian was supposed to take over the leadership of the governing Sovereign Council.

    Despite measures by the security forces to stop them, men, women and children took to the streets of Khartoum.

    At several rallies people waved Sudanese flags and denounced the military. Their cause has plenty of international support.

    US secretary of state Antony Blinken said the much-needed financial help would be resumed if the military backed down.

    Those in charge of the Sudanese security forces have repeatedly turned to violence to get their way. For now the brave protestors are not giving up. That's why Sudan is so tense.

  8. Fans send Davido millions of naira in one hour


    Nigerian artist Davido has shared a screengrab of his bank account on Twitter saying that fans have sent millions of naira an hour after he asked them to.

    View more on twitter

    "If u know I've given you a hit song .. send me money," Davido tweeted before he started sharing updates of how much had been sent.

    He later tweeted that 7m naira ($16,000; £12,000) had been raised in just 10 minutes, and joked that his target was 100 million naira because he wanted to pay off a loan he had taken for his Rolls-Royce car.

    His latest tweet says he has now raised 57m naira.

    Davido has 9.7 million followers on Twitter.

  9. Nigerian engineers find fault in collapsed building

    Will Ross

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    Rescue team goes through the rubble in collapsed building in search of survivors
    Image caption: The 21-storey apartment block collapsed earlier this month

    Nigerian engineers have said that a building in Lagos which collapsed while under construction killing 45 people was more than three times higher than originally designed.

    The Nigerian Institution of Structural Engineers said there were also signs that more than two engineering firms were working on the project at the same time.

    The Nigerian government is carrying out its own inquiry into the collapse of the 21-storey apartment block earlier this month in the upmarket Ikoyi district.

    The owner of the building was among those who died.

  10. Kenya prison chief sacked after Islamist inmates escape

    Mohamed Ali Abikar
    Image caption: Mohamed Ali Abikar was serving a 41-year jail term

    The head of Kenya's prison service has been sacked days after three inmates serving time for terror-related offences allegedly escaped from a maximum security prison.

    In a statement President Uhuru Kenyatta said Wycliffe Ogalo would be replaced with immediate effect "to entrench accountability in the ranks of the leadership of all security organs".

    Mr Kenyatta also directed security agencies to use "all available resources" to pursue the escapees.

    The fugitives include Mohamed Ali Abikar, who was convicted for his role in the 2015 Garissa University attack in which 148 people were killed.

    The second man was arrested in 2012 over a foiled attack on the Kenyan parliament and the third for trying to join the al-Shabab militant group in Somalia.

    The authorities have also made an appeal to the public, offering 20m Kenya shillings ($178,000; £132,000) for information about the three escapees.

  11. Pro-democracy protests under way in Sudan

    Will Ross

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    Image caption: Sudanese have been protesting against the removal of civilian leaders

    Protests against the recent military takeover in Sudan are getting underway.

    Activists across Sudan have called for people to take to the streets to mark the day when a civilian was supposed to take over the leadership of the governing Sovereign Council.

    In a move reminiscent of former president Omar al-Bashir's oppressive tactics, the authorities have switched off phone lines and cut the internet.

    If last month's coup had not taken place, today would have been an important milestone for the country.

    The army chief, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, was due to hand over the leadership of the Sovereign Council to a civilian.

    Instead he's still in charge and seems intent on preventing the people of Sudan from choosing who should lead the country.

    Read more: Protesters: 'They cannot kill us all'

  12. Report blames Kenya conservation groups for conflict

    Ferdinand Omondi

    BBC News, Nairobi

    An armed ranger in a Kenyan conservancy
    Image caption: There have been deadly ethnic clashes involving pastoralists in Kenya's wildlife conservation areas

    A new report by a US-based policy think-tank says that some conservancies in Kenya are driving local communities from their lands and fuelling ethnic conflict in the north.

    Over this year, ethnic clashes involving pastoralists in wildlife conservation areas have left more than a dozen dead and displaced hundreds.

    The Oakland Institute is accusing the Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT) of dispossessing communities of land in the name of conservation, while alleging that some of its armed ranger units have engaged in human rights abuses.

    The trust denies all allegations and says the report is based on misconceptions.

    The NRT is an umbrella organisation for 43 community conservancies in northern Kenya.

    These conservancies describe themselves as locally run conservation areas for the protection of wildlife, and preservation of grazing lands and water resources, over an area of 42,000 sq km (16,200 sq miles).

    But the Oakland report now claims that the NRT has dispossessed communities of their ancestral lands through intimidation and violence, to create wildlife conservancies aimed at foreign visitors. 

    It also claims that NRT rangers, some of whom it says have been armed by the government to help fight poaching and guard against cattle rustling, have engaged in ethnic violence and extrajudicial killings.

    The NRT denies all allegations and it's CEO, Tom Lalampaa, told the BBC that joining the organisation is voluntary and that none of its rangers are involved in violence.

  13. Mass detention of Tigrayans ongoing in Ethiopia - UN

    BBC Monitoring

    The world through its media

    Demonstrators call for end of war in Ethiopia's northern region of Tigray
    Image caption: Demonstrators have been marching around the world to highlight the plight of Tigrayans

    A report by the United Nations human rights agency says at least 1,000 people, mostly ethnic Tigrayans, have been arrested since the government declared a state of emergency on 2 November.

    Under the six-month emergency, the authorities have sweeping powers to arrest people, detain suspects without trial, and conduct house searches without warrants.

    The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said “at least 1,000 individuals are believed to have been detained over the past week or so – with some reports putting the figure much higher”.

    The statement said detention conditions are generally poor and many detainees are held in overcrowded police stations.

    Ten local UN staff members who were arrested on 9 November remain in detention.

    “Most of those detained are reported to be people of Tigrayan origin, arrested often on suspicion of being affiliated to or supporting the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF),” the UN said.

    In the past, police said the arrests were not ethnically motivated but targeted supporters of the TPLF, which has been fighting the federal government for the past year and is now advancing towards the capital.

  14. Meet Sierra Leone's 'queen of garri' inspired by God

    Sierra Leonean Mamie Margao has decided to make her garri stand out by adding other ingredients founds locally.

    Garri is a major staple food in West Africa. It is the creamy fine to coarse granular flour that is obtained by processing the starchy roots of freshly harvested cassava.

    Ms Margao's variations of garri have coconut and sesame seeds making the taste and colour different from that of ordinary garri.

    She told the BBC's Focus on Africa that her inspiration was from God.

    "I just wanted to make a different taste and add value," she said.

    Ms Margao is the chairperson of the garri processing centre in Sierra Leone's second largest city, Bo.

    Her customer base has been increasing and word has spread to Africans living in the diaspora who have bought the new garri.

    Here is her full interview on Focus on Africa:

    Video content

    Video caption: Mamie Margao uses local Sierra Leonean ingredients to make unique garri dishes
  15. Burkina Faso protesters demand president's resignation

    Burkina Faso's President Roch Marc Christian Kabore
    Image caption: Burkina Faso's president is accused of not doing enough to address insecurity

    Hundreds of protesters held demonstrations in Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou on Tuesday demanding the resignation of President Roch Kabore.

    The protesters accuse the president of failing to rein in militants in the north and east who last weekend killed 28 soldiers and four civilians.

    The country is holding three days of national mourning that began on Tuesday over the latest attacks.

    A dozen civilians were killed at the beginning of the month in an attack by gunmen as they were going to a weekly market near the northern border with Mali.

  16. Kenya on high alert after Uganda attack

    Kenya's government has said security agencies are on high alert following Tuesday's terror attacks in the capital of neighbouring Uganda.

    Government spokesperson Cyrus Oguna urged citizens to be vigilant and report any suspicious people.

    The alert comes days after three prisoners who were convicted for terrorism-related charges escaped from a maximum security prison just outside the capital Nairobi.

    In Uganda, three suicide bombers detonated explosives at two sites in Kampala killing themselves and three other people.

    The Islamic State group has said it was behind Tuesday's blasts.

    US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in Kenya for regional security talks with President Uhuru Kenyatta.

  17. Fraud claims sinks Kenya teen mums crowdfunding

    A mobile fundraising platform has began refunding money contributed to support an initiative set up to support teenage mothers after fraud claims were made.

    A Twitter thread by Shirleen Mukami had last week explained how she and a few other struggling young mothers with "absent baby daddies and unsupportive families" had come together to support each other.

    The tweet was widely shared in Kenya and across the continent.

    Kenyans then started contributing to the BABY SHOWER SISTERS initiative, raising more than 800,000 Kenya shillings ($7,100: £5,200).

    But days later, some Kenyans questioned the genuineness of the initiative after someone posted a screengrab of an online chat, of a man allegedly bragging to his friends about how he had started the fundraising initiative to buy a car.

    The platform, M-Changa, now says the initiative did not meet its "due diligence" and was refunding the entire amount raised.

    Those who contributed say they have started receiving messages stating that refunds were being processed. Some had confirmed having received full refunds by Wednesday morning,

    Ms Mukami has however defended the campaign, saying it was genuine.

    She said she had sought the help of the man implicated in the online chats to help out - as he had been successful in fundraising in the past.

    In another series of Twitter posts, she said the man told her that he was just joking with his friends:

    View more on twitter
  18. IS group says it carried out Uganda attack

    Patience Atuhaire

    BBC News, Kampala

    Cars are on fire after a bomb explosion near the Parliament building in Kampala, Uganda, on November 16, 2021
    Image caption: The explosions in Uganda killed three civilians, as well as three suicide bombers

    The so-called Islamic State group (IS) has said it was behind the blasts in Uganda’s capital, Kampala, on Tuesday.

    Using the the social messaging app Telegram, it claimed that there had been more than 30 deaths and injuries as a result of the explosions.

    Tuesday's explosions killed three civilians, as well as three suicide bombers, according to official figures. Over 30 people were injured in the blasts.

    The police said they had pursued, shot and arrested a fourth suspected bomber.

    IS's "news agency" Amaq said Uganda was "one of the countries participating in the war against Islamic State fighters in Central Africa" - its justification for targeting the country.

    This is the third time the IS has claimed responsibility for attacks in Uganda since October this year.

    President Yoweri Museveni, in a series of tweets on Tuesday night, condemned the attacks and said that they were being carried out by “confused grandchildren”.

    View more on twitter

    Police have blamed the latest attacks on the Ugandan rebel group, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), which is based in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

    The ADF claims to be affiliated to the IS group.