#ICYMI Friday Roundup: The Conflict in the Lake Chad Region October 14, 2016

This week, 21 girls kidnapped from the Chibok School in northeastern Nigeria were released, with the ICRC acting as a neutral intermediary, handing the girls to Nigerian government authorities. It’s been the biggest breakthrough since nearly 300 of them were taken two-and-a-half years ago, exposing the larger world to the instability that has gripped much of the country. Also this week, ICRC President Peter Maurer traveled to the Lake Chad region, witnessing firsthand the brutal effects war is having on the people of Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon. It’s a region throughout which the ICRC conducts substantial humanitarian activities, delivering food to more than 500,000 displaced people through the first half of the year. But need still outweighs supply with hundreds of thousands across the Lake Chad region lacking life-saving aid. Mr. Maurer documented his trip with a first person dispatch and called on the world to urgently address this “vast human tragedy.” You can read more about the ICRC’s work in the region here.

In this week’s roundup, we take a look at some of the conversations and discussions happening around the Lake Chad conflicts as portrayed by the media and other online outlets.**

From the Washington Post

‘A famine unlike any we have ever seen’

Kevin Sieff writes, “Across the northeastern corner of this country, more than 3 million people displaced and isolated by the militants are facing one of the world’s biggest humanitarian disasters. Every day, more children are dying because there isn’t enough food. Curable illnesses are killing others. Even polio has returned.” Jane Hahn adds to the article with haunting images of a people struggling to survive.

From CNN

21 Chibok girls released to Nigerian government

“Militants handed over 21 Chibok schoolgirls to authorities Thursday after a series of negotiations, Nigeria's government said, in the first mass release of any of the more than 200 girls and women kidnapped from their school two years ago,” according to CNN reporters Stephanie Busari, Jason Hanna and Faith Karimi. The accompanying video gives a timeline of the abductions.

From NPR’s Goats and Soda Development Blog

Some Missing Girls Were Welcomed Back but Others Were Shunned

Diane Cole reports: “The headline brings good news. On Thursday morning, militants released 21 of the more than 270 missing Chibok schoolgirls who were abducted two years ago. But what happens next? The experiences of those who were formerly held captive suggest the range of challenges ahead, as well as what might help — and what will not.”

 From Voice of America

UN Sees 'Unparalleled' Suffering in Africa’s Lake Chad Area

“Millions of people living in the basin are in the grip of an ever-deepening humanitarian crisis brought on by violent conflict, abject poverty and climate change,” writes Lisa Schlein. “More than 20 million people live in areas around the lake in four countries — Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria. The United Nations says nearly half of them are in need of emergency aid.”

From Reuters

Health workers race to vaccinate 41 million children against polio in Lake Chad: U.N.

Reuters staffers say that after two years in which polio appeared beaten in Africa, Nigeria reported three cases in August casting a shadow over global eradication hopes, according to the World Health Organization. "The re-emergence of polio after two years with no recorded cases is a huge concern in an area already in crisis," said UNICEF regional director Manuel Fontaine. "We must not allow polio to spread."

From Vanguard

Change in changing Nigeria

Clement Udegbe writes in an op-ed in Vanguard how a country of peace-loving citizens has evolved into a country in conflict: “We have changed from a nation strong and united in diversities of tribes and tongues, to a nation plagued with agitations for separation and independent smaller nations.”

**The usual Intercross disclaimer: Just because something is featured here, doesn't mean we endorse or agree with it, and the views expressed on the platforms we're highlighting don't necessarily represent those of the ICRC.**

Are you a writer, videographer, photographer or blogger publishing interesting stuff linked to armed conflict, international humanitarian law (a.k.a. the law of armed conflict), innovation, compassion, history, etc. that you think deserves a shout-out here? Send us a link and we might feature your content next week. Write to: nclark (at) icrc (dot) org