West Africa

Islamic law and the rules of war

DUBAI, 24 April 2014 (IRIN) - Islamic law contains a rich, but complex set of rules on the protection of civilians which can be difficult to understand, given the range of sources and interpretations available. IRIN walks you through the basics. full report

Jihadi jurisprudence? Militant interpretations of Islamic rules of war

DUBAI, 24 April 2014 (IRIN) - Within extremist militant circles is a debate over acceptable behavior under the Islamic rules of war. This so-called “jihadi jurisprudence” is increasingly studied by humanitarians as practitioners seek to understand the degree to which there is room for even the most radical armed groups to be influenced in favour of the protection of civilians and aid workers. full report

Can Islamic law be an answer for humanitarians?

DUBAI, 24 April 2014 (IRIN) - In the last decade, aid and advocacy agencies have increasingly tried to understand Islamic law in order to use its humanitarian provisions as tools of negotiation with armed groups in the Muslim world. While the approach has seen some successes, it also raises certain ethical dilemmas. full report

Rough guide to Islamic rules of war

DUBAI, 24 April 2014 (IRIN) - There is a renewed interest in translating classical texts about Islamic rules of war into English, adding to the increasing body of work on the intersections between Islam, international humanitarian law (IHL) and the protection of civilians. IRIN provides this study guide to get you started. full report

Refugees, returnees from Nigeria strain Niger host population

DAKAR, 23 April 2014 (IRIN) - There are now more returnees and refugees in Niger’s southeastern region of Diffa near the border with Nigeria than there are Malian refugees in western Niger, straining host populations who are already some of the poorest people in the world, and the local authorities. full report

Need to ramp up aid response in Nigeria's violence-torn northeast

KANO, 22 April 2014 (IRIN) - Security fears, a lack of humanitarian actors on the ground and a perception that Nigeria's government can handle its crises without help, are leaving many of the thousands displaced by Boko Haram violence in the northeast short of food, with little to no access to health care or basics like clean water and blankets. full report

Remittance rip-offs

LONDON, 22 April 2014 (IRIN) - All over the world migrant workers are sending money home to their families. The money pays hospital bills and school fees, buys land, builds houses and sets up small businesses. The cash goes from the US back to Mexico, from the Gulf back to India, from the UK back to Somalia, and from South Africa back to Malawi, Zimbabwe and the rest of southern Africa. full report

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