John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

The Nigeria Security Tracker and Nigeria’s Continuing Fight Against Boko Haram

by John Campbell Friday, January 31, 2014
NST Nov data

We will be posting the week of February 2, 2014, the Nigeria Security Tracker data for January, 2014. We anticipate it will show an increase in Boko Haram and security service activity at the beginning of 2014. In particular, it will take into account the late January jihadi attacks on Christian churches in Adamawa state. Read more »

Repatriating Somali Refugees: A Kenyan National Security Red Herring

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Thursday, January 30, 2014
Refugees who have been living in the outskirts of the proper camps in Hagadera load their belongings onto trucks as they choose to relocate to the newly-opened Kambioos settlement, at Kenya's Dadaab Refugee Camp, situated northeast of the capital Nairobi near the Somali border, August 29, 2011. (Jonathan Ernst/Courtesy Reuters) Refugees who have been living in the outskirts of the proper camps in Hagadera load their belongings onto trucks as they choose to relocate to the newly-opened Kambioos settlement, at Kenya's Dadaab Refugee Camp, situated northeast of the capital Nairobi near the Somali border, August 29, 2011. (Jonathan Ernst/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Alex Dick-Godfrey, program coordinator, Studies administration for the Council on Foreign Relations Studies program. 

Even before the Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi, Kenya last September, the Kenyan government was wary of the threat posed by Somali terrorist organizations, especially al-Shabaab. After the attack, Kenyan lawmakers heightened their focus on the terrorist organization, and swiftly retaliated. There was also an almost immediate backlash against the nearly 500,000 Somali refugees currently in Kenya. Many Kenyans suspect the Westgate Mall attackers came from a refugee camp, and the presence of the camps has long been a source of tension for the communities around them. Kenya would be wise, however, to not disproportionately blame Somali refugees for security issues within Kenya. Read more »

More Muslims “Deported” from Southern Nigeria?

by John Campbell Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Police queue at a petrol station to pump their motorcycles with fuel before the start of the governorship election in Nigeria's northern state of Kaduna, April 28, 2011. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) Police queue at a petrol station to pump their motorcycles with fuel before the start of the governorship election in Nigeria's northern state of Kaduna, April 28, 2011. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

Earlier this week I blogged on the arrest of 320 Muslim traders of northern origin in Rivers state on allegations that they were “Boko Haram.” According to the media, the traders had lived in Rivers state for many years, traveled to the north to buy vegetables to sell and returned home in a bus convoy because of poor security on the roads. Read more »

The Push to Lift U.S. Communication Technology Sanctions on Sudan

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Locals and South Sudanese refugees play video games in a market near a camp 10 km (6 miles) from al-Salam locality at the border of Sudan's White Nile state, after arriving from Malakal and al-Rank war zones within South Sudan, January 27, 2014. (Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Courtesy Reuters) Locals and South Sudanese refugees play video games in a market near a camp 10 km (6 miles) from al-Salam locality at the border of Sudan's White Nile state, after arriving from Malakal and al-Rank war zones within South Sudan, January 27, 2014. (Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Aala Abdelgadir. Aala is a research associate for the Council on Foreign Relation’s Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative.

After a year of collaboration with U.S. civil society groups and U.S. Department of State officials, members of Sudan’s civil society launched a campaign on January 20, 2014, to advocate that the U.S. government lift its technology sanctions on Sudan. Read more »

Is There Harassment of Muslims in Nigeria’s South?

by John Campbell Monday, January 27, 2014
A police officer keeps watch during a protest against the elimination of a popular fuel subsidy that has doubled the price of petrol, in Nigeria's capital Abuja, January 9, 2012. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) A police officer keeps watch during a protest against the elimination of a popular fuel subsidy that has doubled the price of petrol, in Nigeria's capital Abuja, January 9, 2012. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

The Nigerian media is reporting that the Rivers State police command arrested 320 people to investigate allegations that they were Boko Haram members. “Boko Haram” is the government and media label for the radical, Muslim jihadi insurrection in northern Nigeria; Rivers state is in the south, a major oil producer, and mostly Christian in population. “Boko Haram” has never been active there. See the CFR Nigeria Security Tracker for the current extent and level of violence associated with “Boko Haram.” Read more »

The End of the South Sudan Dream

by John Campbell Friday, January 24, 2014
An SPLA soldier stands on the back of a pick-up truck in Bentiu, Unity state, January 12, 2014. (Andreea Campeanu/Courtesy Reuters) An SPLA soldier stands on the back of a pick-up truck in Bentiu, Unity state, January 12, 2014. (Andreea Campeanu/Courtesy Reuters)

The New York Times and other media report that South Sudan president Salva Kiir and ex-vice president Riek Machar, and their respective forces, have signed a cease-fire in Addis Ababa. The civil war, which started in December 2013, has left thousands dead and estimates are that at least a half a million South Sudanese have been displaced in what under the best of circumstances is one of the poorest countries in the world. Read more »

Will Nigeria’s Strategy Toward Boko Haram Shift?

by John Campbell Thursday, January 23, 2014
Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan (C) arrives for the service for former South African president Nelson Mandela at the First National Bank Stadium, also known as Soccer City, in Johannesburg, December 10, 2013. (Kevin Coombs/Courtesy Reuters) Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan (C) arrives for the service for former South African president Nelson Mandela at the First National Bank Stadium, also known as Soccer City, in Johannesburg, December 10, 2013. (Kevin Coombs/Courtesy Reuters)

After four years of military action against Boko Haram and Abuja’s declaration of a state of emergency in three states eight months ago, Boko Haram’s depredations continue. Just last week, Boko Haram claimed responsibility for killing nineteen in a Borno village. Read more »

A Hopeful Choice for the Central African Republic’s Interim President

by John Campbell Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Catherine Samba-Panza shakes hands with a supporter after she was elected as Central African Republic's interim president at the national assembly in Bangui, January 20, 2014. (Siegfried Modola/Courtesy Reuters) Catherine Samba-Panza shakes hands with a supporter after she was elected as Central African Republic's interim president at the national assembly in Bangui, January 20, 2014. (Siegfried Modola/Courtesy Reuters)

The Central African Republic’s National Transitional Council (NTC) elected Catherine Samba-Panza as interim president on January 20. She has been serving as interim mayor of the Central African Republic (CAR) capital, Bangui. (Those multiple “interims” are a sign that formal government has almost entirely broken down.) Read more »

Somalia Needs a National Newspaper

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Tuesday, January 21, 2014
A woman walks by a Kenya Defence Force (KDF) soldier on the outer perimeter area of the Kismayu airport controlled by the African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), November 11, 2013, (Siegfried Modola/Courtesy Reuters) A woman walks by a Kenya Defence Force (KDF) soldier on the outer perimeter area of the Kismayu airport controlled by the African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), November 11, 2013, (Siegfried Modola/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Jim Sanders, a career, now retired, West Africa watcher for various federal agencies. The views expressed below are his personal views and do not reflect those of his former employers.

As the Somalia diaspora returns to the country, along with foreign embassies and international organizations, the country’s long slide into darkness appears to be slowing. Despite many obstacles rendering such an idea unrealistic, establishing a national newspaper could contribute to greater unity and stability. Read more »

Nigeria’s Central Bank Governor to Stay

by John Campbell Friday, January 17, 2014
Nigeria's Central Bank governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi attends an interview with Reuters at the World Islamic Economic Forum in London, October 30, 2013. (Stefan Wermuth/Courtesy Reuters) Nigeria's Central Bank governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi attends an interview with Reuters at the World Islamic Economic Forum in London, October 30, 2013. (Stefan Wermuth/Courtesy Reuters)

According to the Nigerian media on January 9, an angry President Goodluck Jonathan asked the governor of the Central Bank, Lamido Sanusi, to resign immediately. Sanusi’s term is up in June, and he has long said he would not seek another term. Read more »