In pictures: Focus on Africa in 2014

A selection of the most striking news images from the African continent this year:

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A vendor carrying trays of eggs in Bangui, CAR - Saturday 31 May 2014 The leader of the mainly Muslim Seleka rebel group in the Central African Republic (CAR), Michel Djotodia, resigned as the country's president in January under intense diplomatic pressure, accused of failing to stop anti-Christian attacks during his nine months in power. But this did not end the violence in the fragile nation…
A Seleka fighter fixing his guitar in village between Bambari and Grimari in CAR - Saturday 31 May 2014 Revenge attacks against Muslim communities began as the Seleka fighters - one seen here adjusting a broken guitar string - moved northwards. The country is now split into a mainly Muslim north and largely Christian south. More than 20% of people have fled their homes in the two years of violence.
Children stand next to a plane in the camp for displaced persons at the Mpoko airport in Bangui, CAR - 21 January 2014 At the peak of the crisis, the airport camp in the capital, Bangui, hosted up to 70,000 people fleeing Christian "anti-balaka" militias - and according to the UN 20,000 are still there. Many fled in a monthly convoy guarded by African Union peacekeepers to Cameroon's border. The peace mission has now been formally taken over by the UN.
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A Ugandan soldier launching a surveillance drone in  Qoryooley, Somalia - Tuesday 29 April 2014 The Somali government's fight against al-Shabab has continued; its troops and AU soldiers - who use surveillance drones like this one - have captured all the remaining lucrative ports under the militants' control. The insurgents still launch attacks on the capital, twice breaching the security at the president's palace, the first time in February. But they suffered a major blow later in the year when their leader, Ahmed Abdi Godane, was killed in US air strikes.
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June Steenkamp, mother of Reeva Steenkamp, listens to South African Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius during cross examination in court Pretoria, South Africa - 14 April  2014. The world was captivated by the trial in South Africa of Oscar Pistorius which began in March. The Paralympic athlete denied deliberately shooting dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. Her mother, June, attended much of the trial in the court in Pretoria where the judge eventually found the double amputee guilty of culpable homicide.
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Rachel Daniel holds up a picture of her abducted daughter Rose Daniel, as her son Bukar, sits beside her at her home in Maiduguri, Nigeria - May 2014 In April, Boko Haram militants in north-eastern Nigeria abducted more than 200 girls from their boarding school in the town of Chibok. Here a mother holds up a photo of her missing 17-year-old daughter as she and her son sit in their home in Maiduguri…
A hunter places a machete on his tongue to test its sharpness, Yola, Nigeria - Tuesday 25 November 2014 The kidnappings sparked a worldwide campaign calling for their release, but the girls have not yet been freed. The militants have gone on to capture huge swathes of territory in the north-east where local hunters - like this man pictured in Yola - have been forming vigilante groups to protect their communities from attack.
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Economic Freedom Fighters party MPs, including Julius Malema (r), taking their oath in South Africa's parliament in Cape Town - 21 May 2014 A radical new South African party launched by firebrand leader Julius Malema, who was expelled by the African National Congress, gained 6% of the vote in elections in May. Its 25 MPs turned up to be sworn in at parliament wearing red overalls or maids' uniforms - to show they intended to represent the interest of workers.
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President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi Ramadan lanterns, Cairo, Egypt - Monday 7 July 2014 Elections were also held in Egypt in May, with former head of the armed forces, Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, becoming president. Later in the year, Ramadan lanterns made in his likeness were on sale in a market in Cairo.
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Algerian football fans celebrating on the streets of Algiers, Algeria - June 2014 Fans took part in celebrations across Algeria in June when their team qualified for the knock-out phase of the World Cup for the first time. With Nigeria also making it through, it was the first time Africa had two teams in the round of 16. But the continent's performance in Brazil was ultimately overshadowed by off-pitch controversies.
Wrestler Ahmed Gueye from Senegal pours water on himself, Abidjan, Ivory Coast - Sunday 24 August 2014 Other sporting events on the continent this year included a traditional wrestling tournament in the Ivorian city of Abidjan with competitors from around West African taking part…
Spanish motorbike stunt rider Maikel Melero, a motorbike and a giraffe in South Africa - Wednesday 20 August 2014 And South Africa hosted an event for the Red Bull X-Fighters motorbike stunt-riding World Tour in Pretoria. Here a rider was flying high, surprising a giraffe, during a practice session ahead of the competition.
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A helicopter taking off from the Kruger National Park where there is the mutilated carcass of a white rhino - South Africa, Friday 12 September 2014 For South Africa's rhinos, it was another bad year, with poachers killing more 1,000 of the animals for their horn which is prized in China and Vietnam. It is a record high and activists warn that rhino deaths will soon overtake births.
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Delegates marking the 15th anniversary Mohammed VI's 15 years on the throne at the king's palace in Rabat, Morocco - 31 July 2014 July marked the 15th anniversary of the Moroccan monarch's accession to the throne - and delegates from different regions of the North African country attended a ceremony to mark the event at Mohammed VI's palace in Rabat.
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Signposts in Bentiu camp, January 2014 South Sudan also marked its three years of independence in July. But there was little to celebrate following six months of fighting - what started as a political squabble between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar escalated into ethnic violence. Nearly two million people have fled their homes, some to UN camps...
A father cuts his sons hair in Melut on the banks of the River Nile, South Sudan And many families arriving in host communities - like here in Melut, Upper Nile State - have found themselves destitute, without belongings or a means of making money. The warring sides are attending regional talks to form a transitional government but have yet to commit to peace.
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An MSF worker in protective gear looking into a mirror at a medical centre in Kailahun, Sierra Leone - Friday 15 August 2014 West Africa's Ebola outbreak has had devastating effect on the worst-affected countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. In August, the World Health Organization declared it an international health emergency. Health-workers wearing what look like space suits have been the enduring image of the endemic…
Alfred Sirleaf in front of this Daily Talk chalkboard newspaper in Monrovia, Liberia, which shows the score USA 1, China 5 - Tuesday 19 August 2014 More than 7,000 people have so far died of the virus this year. In Liberia's capital, Monrovia, Alfred Sirleaf, who edits a chalkboard newspaper called Daily Talk, has been scoring the world's response to the Ebola outbreak.
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African migrants climbing over a border fence near a golf course, Melilla, Spain -Thursday 23 October 2014 Melilla, which borders Morocco, is a crossing point for migrants seeking to get to Europe. Here some try to scale a fence near golfers in the Spanish enclave. In September, the International Organization for Migration said that 2014 had seen a resurgence in "fence-storming", often involving 1,000 migrants, causing injuries and sometimes fatalities.
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A mass protest in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso - 29 October 2014 In October people took to the streets in Burkina Faso for several days in mass protests as MPs were about to approve an amendment to the constitution to allow Blaise Compaore to stand for election as president again next year…
The burnt inside of the parliament in Ouagadougou a day after it was stormed by protesters in Burkina Faso - Thursday 31 October 2014 On the day of the planned vote, protesters set the parliament alight and the following day Mr Compaore resigned, ending his 27-year-rule of the West African nation…
The Roman Catholic basilica at sunset in Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast - Saturday 1 November 2014 He sought refuge in Yamoussoukro, the Ivorian capital and home to the world's largest church. Burkina Faso's interim leaders have said they will request his extradition so Mr Compaore can face questions over the death of his popular predecessor Thomas Sankara.
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Bottles of William Peel whisky at the port in Tripoli, Libya - Friday 30 May 2014 Instability in oil-rich Libya is as its worst since the overthrow of long-serving ruler Col Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The lawlessness has led to an increase in drug and alcohol trafficking - as this haul of smuggled whisky at Tripoli's port shows - despite it being illegal to drink alcohol…
A militia fighter reacts as a gun is fired in Tripoli, Libya - Tuesday 16 September 2014 The country has also been divided between two rival governments this year, with the supreme court invalidating the country's internationally recognised parliament in November. Earlier, Islamist-leaning militants forced the MPs to flee the capital, Tripoli, and set up in the eastern city of Tobruk instead.
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A supporter of the ruling Zanu-PF shows off shoes with her party's colours during elective congress in Harare, Zimbabwe - December 2014 The end of the year saw a dramatic purge in Zimbabwe's ruling party, in a campaign led by the first lady Grace Mugabe. In December, she was confirmed as the head of the party's women's wing at the Zanu-PF congress, where delegates dressed up for the occasion...
Sapeur Mamitcho Kadithoza poses in Kinshasa, DR Congon - September 2014 But Kinshasa must remain the city for those serious about fashion. Here a "sapeur", a member of the society that believes in elegant dressing, poses in a market in the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo. She is one of the rare women in the Sape movement, where designer outfits are a must.

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