Great Lakes

UN peacekeeping dilemmas in CAR

LONDON, 19 September 2014 (IRIN) - The flags flew, the bands played, green African Union (AU) berets were swapped for blue UN ones, and MISCA officially became MINUSCA. As the handover was taking place MINUSCA tweeted: “The key priority of the UN in CAR is to support the political process & conclude the country's transition”, setting off alarm bells among those who thought the new force's number one priority was supposed to be protecting civilians. full report

Armed groups in CAR

BANGUI, 17 September 2014 (IRIN) - This week saw the official launch of the UN Mission for the Stabilization of the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), which took over the command of 6,000 troops previously deployed as the African Union’s International Support Mission to the Central African Republic (CAR). full report

How to boost food production in Africa

ADDIS ABABA, 15 September 2014 (IRIN) - Smallholder farmers, who hold over 80 percent of all farms in sub-Saharan Africa, are struggling to adapt to rapidly rising temperature and erratic rains, according to the 2014 Africa Agriculture Status Report (AASR), released on 3 September in Addis Ababa. full report

Mistrust of government spurs Ebola spread

NAIROBI, 3 September 2014 (IRIN) - Decades of corruption, deep-rooted mistrust of government and weak public services in Liberia have hastened the spread of the Ebola virus, and much more needs to be done to bridge a communication gap between government and citizens, say civil society groups and analysts. full report

Blood woes in Burundi

BUJUMBURA, 27 August 2014 (IRIN) - Budget cuts and bureaucracy have been blamed for blood shortages which have claimed several lives in Burundi and led to calls for an overhaul of the transfusion system. full report

Paul*, gay rights campaigner in DRC: “They said I was the Antichrist”

BUKAVU, 18 August 2014 (IRIN) - Homosexuality may, unusually for an African country, be legal in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for the time being, but gay people there also face the ostracism, stigma and exploitation, according to Paul* 27-year-old the co-founder of a gay rights organization in the eastern South Kivu Province. full report

Food security alarm for east, central Africa

NAIROBI, 13 August 2014 (IRIN) - Some 20 million people are facing acute food insecurity in eastern and central Africa, with most of them being at “crisis” and “emergency” levels, according to aid agencies. This figure compares unfavorably with 15.8 million people in July 2013. full report

Burundi flood victims need more help

BUJUMBURA, 6 August 2014 (IRIN) - Thousands of people displaced by floods and a mudslide in the Burundian capital Bujumbura and surrounding areas in February 2014 need more help to reconstruct their homes and livelihoods, aid workers say. full report

Interview with outgoing Africa Great Lakes Special Envoy Mary Robinson

NAIROBI, 4 August 2014 (IRIN) - In mid-June UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reassigned the special envoy to Africa's Great Lakes region, Mary Robinson, to special envoy for climate change. IRIN spoke to her about her time working on the Great Lakes region. full report

A tentative ceasefire in CAR

BRAZZAVILLE, 29 July 2014 (IRIN) - While the ceasefire signed in Brazzaville on 23 July by the two principal armed factions in the Central African Republic (CAR), the ex-Seleka and anti-Balaka, was widely greeted as a positive step forward, analysts are sceptical it can lead to lasting peace. full report