The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Monday announced it would reduce its operations in Afghanistan after facing multiple attacks this year in the country’s northern region. Earlier in February, suspected ISIS militants killed six Afghan ICRC staff members after attacking their convoy. The militants in September released two ICRC employees abducted in the February attack. A patient at ICRC’s rehabilitation center last month shot and killed Lorena Enebral Perez, a 38-year-old Spanish physiotherapist. Monica Zanarelli, who heads ICRC in Afghanistan, said the group would shut down two of its offices in the country’s north and also downsize its activities in the northern Balkh province. “Limiting our staff’s exposure to risks is our focus, all the while assisting the people affected by the conflict the best way we can,” she said. —O.O.
Zannah Mustapha last week received the United Nations refugee agency’s Nansen award for his efforts to educate children orphaned by Boko Haram’s insurgency. Mustapha in 2007 set up a school for orphans and vulnerable children in Borno state, the center of the fighting, after witnessing growing numbers of children on the streets. The students receive free meals, clothes, and healthcare. The lawyer also helped to negotiate with the Nigerian government for the release of some of the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls. “When I look at the children’s faces, I see resilience and stability,” Mustapha said as he received the award. “I feel utter contentment when I walk through the school gates.” —O.O.
A Nigerian military court on Monday started trials for more than 1,600 suspected Boko Haram militants. The mass trial is the largest since the group launched its insurgency. Justice Binta Nyako said the suspects would receive a fair trial amid human rights concerns from lawyers and rights groups. The proceedings began at the Wawa Military Cantonment in Nigeria’s Niger state with detainees from holding centers within the state and from Maiduguri, Boko Haram’s former stronghold. —O.O.