West Africa

Fears in Cameroon of Boko Haram recruitment

MAROUA, 16 April 2014 (IRIN) - Nigeria’s extremist Islamist group Boko Haram are believed to be actively recruiting fighters across the border in Cameroon’s Far North Region, according to residents and local government officials. full report

Back to the ballot-box - Guinea-Bissau seeks stability

BISSAU, 11 April 2014 (IRIN) - Guinea-Bissau observers doubt that the long-delayed post-coup presidential election set for 13 April will be sufficient to jolt the country back to stability. But there are hopes that the polls will restore constitutional order, revive donor support and stabilize the economy. full report

Chronic malnutrition dogs Côte d’Ivoire’s north

ABIDJAN, 9 April 2014 (IRIN) - Forty percent of Ivoirian children in the northern region are chronically malnourished, the country’s highest rate, which has not fallen for the past six years. The effects of a drawn-out conflict, desertion by aid groups and inadequate medical staff have contributed to the situation. Food scarcity here is often due to harsh weather and high food costs. full report

Closing Guinea’s Ebola infection gap

DAKAR, 3 April 2014 (IRIN) - The Ebola outbreak in Guinea’s southern region which has spread to the capital, Conakry, and to neighbouring countries, has been propagated mainly through person-to-person contact, a gap that health experts and state authorities are struggling to close. full report

Malian returnees face economic hardship

BAMAKO, 28 March 2014 (IRIN) - Displaced Malians who have recently returned to their homes in the north of the country say they are facing economic difficulty as their businesses, livestock and other forms of livelihood have been wiped out, while those still displaced also say financial assistance is their main need. full report

Curbing West Africa’s Ebola outbreak

DAKAR, 26 March 2014 (IRIN) - As health authorities and aid groups work to contain the spread of Ebola in Guinea which has killed 59 people and infected scores of others since January, suspected cases have emerged in neighbouring Liberia, prompting calls for a regional response. full report

Regional insecurity fuels polio in Cameroon

YAOUNDÉ, 26 March 2014 (IRIN) - Three new polio cases have been confirmed in Cameroon over the past two weeks, making it the country’s first outbreak since 2011 and causing alarm among health officials who link the virus’s spread to weak vaccine campaign coverage and displacement following violence in neighbouring northeastern Nigeria and the Central African Republic (CAR). full report

Staunching Burkina’s abortions

OUAGADOUGOU, 24 March 2014 (IRIN) - One-third of all pregnancies in Burkina Faso are unintended and a third of them end in abortion, according to a study published this month by the University of Ouagadougou and the reproductive health think tank Guttmacher Institute, which also found that more than 100,000 abortions were carried out in the country in 2012, most of them performed in unsafe conditions or by untrained health workers. full report

Scant progress on Senegal’s talibé problem

DAKAR, 21 March 2014 (IRIN) - Despite pledges by the Senegalese government to end child begging and to crack down on the Koranic schools that exploit the tens of thousands of boys, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report released on 19 March that very little has been done. full report

Trading away West Africa’s hunger

DAKAR, 20 March 2014 (IRIN) - Severe food shortages in the Sahel and West Africa are often the result of droughts and poor harvests. But inefficient intra-regional trade also places significant strain on food availability, exacerbating hunger. full report