John Campbell

Africa in Transition

Campbell tracks political and security developments across sub-Saharan Africa.

Fighting Somalia Piracy Onshore and Off

by John Campbell Monday, February 28, 2011


Members of a visit, board, search and seizure team made up of U.S. Navy sailors and Coast Guard guardsmen from the guided-missile cruiser USS Gettysburg and U.S. Coast Guard Tactical Law Enforcement Team South, approach a suspected pirate mothership in the Gulf of Aden, May 13, 2009. (Ho New/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post from Michael Baker, the U.S. defense and naval attaché (designate) to Madagascar, and a former CFR fellow. The views expressed are his own.

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Cote d’Ivoire: Gbagbo Forces Clash with the Forces Nouvelles

by John Campbell Friday, February 25, 2011

Residents flee after a clash between soldiers and supporters of Ivorian presidential claiment Alassane Ouattara in the Abobo area of Abidjan February 23, 2011. (Luc Gnago/Courtesy Reuters)

As Libya erupts into civil war, so, too, does Cote d’Ivoire. Yesterday, for the first time, military units controlled by the rival Ivorian presidents, Laurent Gbagbo and Alassane Ouattara, fought in the streets of Abidjan. At the same time, Ouattara’s military, the Forces Nouvelles, occupied a few small, non-strategic villages that have been under the control of Gbagbo, thereby breaching the ceasefire line that emerged out of the last round of civil war. Gbagbo and Ouattara’s rival governments remain in Abidjan, at least for the time being, though the city is under the former’s control and the latter is dependent on the protection of UN forces. Should Ouattara’s government evacuate to its traditional stronghold of Bouake in the north, the country would be split in two, with almost certainly the resumption of full-scale civil war.

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Uganda Heads to the Polls

by John Campbell Friday, February 18, 2011

As Ugandans head to the polls on Friday, we can expect two outcomes. First, President Yoweri Museveni will likely defeat his challenger, Kizza Besigye, and extend his 25 year rule. Afrobarometer’s recent opinion polling in Uganda has Museveni leading Besigye 65 to 15 percent, respectively. The recent survey also demonstrates the National Resistance Movement’s intimidation ahead of the vote: over 80 percent of the 2,000 respondents in the poll admit that NRM members offered them bribes. Read more »

Cote d’Ivoire Is Far from Over

by John Campbell Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Workers gather bags of cocoa at the port of Abidjan January 17, 2011. (Luc Gnago/Courtesy Reuters)

Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, and Iran have pushed Cote d’Ivoire off the front page. However, the election crisis is far from resolved, and the impasse is proving increasingly detrimental to the lives of ordinary Ivorians. UNHCR estimates thirty-five thousand internally displaced persons (IDPs) and has registered thirty-eight thousand refugees who have fled to neighboring Liberia.

At least four major international banks have put a temporary stop to their operations in Abidjan, and recent reports also indicate long lines at ATMs as many Ivorians prepare to withdraw cash from their accounts. The run on the banks is bound to have a negative impact on commerce Read more »