malnutrition in CAR
Last year, clashes in the Central African Republic, or CAR, between Christian and Islamic militants claimed the lives 2,116 civilians. The CAR is fast becoming home to a ghastly humanitarian crisis, in which violence is exacerbating malnutrition.

In the capital city of Bangui, the number of children facing life-threatening malnutrition has tripled since violence began escalating in December of 2013. Their situation is being complicated by the brutal course that the conflict has taken.

Action Against Hunger collected over 1,000 case studies of parents of malnourished children in the CAR between July 2013 and March 2014, and found that 75 percent presented symptoms of PTSD.

PTSD can significantly impair a mother’s ability to nurse a child. Nurses in health centers around Bangui have reported that some traumatized mothers become convinced that they cannot produce milk. Others simply do not respond to their child’s needs—some have even attempted suicide and infanticide. PTSD in children can also play a role in malnourishment, as traumatized children may refuse to eat.

The conflict in the Central African Republic is not only causing malnutrition—it is also exporting it.

Over the past year, conflict in Nigeria and the Central African Republic has displaced some 1.2 million people. These migrants typically seek refuge in neighboring countries like Chad, Niger and Cameroon, further straining the resources of countries already dealing with rampant malnourishment.

On Feb. 12, the U.N. requested $2 billion in aid for people across Africa’s Sahel belt—a semi-arid strip of land south of the Sahara Desert that stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea.

“The violence and conflict has a devastating effect, it is casting a shadow across the region,” said Robert Piper, U.N. regional humanitarian coordinator for the Sahel.

Parker Carroll

Sources: Eyewitness News, The Guardian 1,  The Guardian 2,   The Guardian 3
Photo: Africa Up Close

Following a joint operation that began in August 2014, the Somalia government is taking back the lands that the Islamic militant group seized control over.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud announced on Oct. 27 that, “Al-Shabaab has lost all its territory …” This announcement came after months of strategic air strikes and reconquering cities in Somalia by Allied forces.

Joint Operation Indian Ocean was sent into motion on Sept. 1, including the Somalia military, AMISOM (African Union Mission to Somalia) and the United States. AMISOM is a regional peacekeeping mission controlled by the African Union. The U.S. ignited the operation with an airstrike against the terror group.

“U.S. special operations forces using manned and drone aircraft destroyed an encampment and a vehicle using several Hellfire missiles and laser-guided munitions,” Fox News reported this Pentagon statement in order to confirm the strike.

Later that week, the Pentagon confirmed that it was in that very strike that Al-Shabaab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane was killed, a victory not just for the United States, but for all groups involved in the operation.

Since, the Somalia military and AMISOM have been able to retake territory of Somalia that was taken by the terrorist group since it began its strike against the country in 2006. AMISOM took to Twitter to show its followers and the world that progress was being made by posting a map. The map showed the territory loss from January of this year to October, depicting Al-Shabaab’s loss of over more than half of its conquered territory.

U.N. Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon said this Oct. 29, “Al Shabab’s power is declining, but it is not gone. I congratulate the Somali National Army and AMISOM for their advances and the contributions to peace and stability of Somalia. It is critical that they now secure roads to newly recovered areas to enable commercial traffic and humanitarian access,” UPI reported.

– Kori Withers

Sources: UPI, UPI 2, BBC, CNN, Fox News
Photo: Flickr