John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update February 21-February 27

by John Campbell Monday, March 2, 2015
The map above depicts deaths in Nigeria by state. (Source: CFR Nigeria Security Tracker; powered by Tableau) The map above depicts deaths in Nigeria by state. (Source: CFR Nigeria Security Tracker; powered by Tableau)

Below is a visualization and description of some of the most significant incidents of political violence in Nigeria from February 21, 2015 to February 27, 2015. This update also represents violence related to Boko Haram in Cameroon, Chad, and Niger. These incidents will be included in the Nigeria Security Tracker. Read more »

Nigeria’s Boko Haram as a Peasants’ Revolt

by John Campbell Friday, February 27, 2015
People from Gwoza, Borno State, displaced by the violence and unrest caused by the insurgency, are pictured at a refugee camp in Mararaba Madagali, Adamawa State, February 18, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters) People from Gwoza, Borno State, displaced by the violence and unrest caused by the insurgency, are pictured at a refugee camp in Mararaba Madagali, Adamawa State, February 18, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters)

Over the past two weeks, Nigerian military forces have driven Boko Haram out of several towns in northeast Nigeria. There have also been reports of Cameroonian, Nigerien, and Chadian successes against Boko Haram. President Goodluck Jonathan made a rare visit to the northeast, and he even stopped in Baga, the site of a notorious Boko Haram massacre. All of this seems to support Jonathan’s recent statement that even if Boko Haram is not defeated by the scheduled national elections on March 28, its scope will have been much reduced and it will be possible for elections to take place. Read more »

Buhari on Being Nigeria Military Chief of State

by John Campbell Thursday, February 26, 2015
Nigeria's former military ruler and opposition party All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate Muhammadu Buhari meets with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at the U.S. consulate house in Lagos January 25, 2015. (Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters) Nigeria's former military ruler and opposition party All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate Muhammadu Buhari meets with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at the U.S. consulate house in Lagos January 25, 2015. (Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters)

Muhammadu Buhari, the leading opposition candidate in Nigeria’s upcoming presidential election, delivered an address at the Royal Institute for International Affairs (Chatham House) in London on February 26. The speech appears intended for an international audience. In it, Buhari revisits his campaign themes: the importance of democracy and of credible elections, the struggle against corruption, and military reform in the face of Boko Haram. Read more »

Has the Tide Turned Against Boko Haram in Nigeria?

by John Campbell Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan gestures during an interview with Reuters at the Presidential Villa in Abuja January 26, 2012. (Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan gestures during an interview with Reuters at the Presidential Villa in Abuja January 26, 2012. (Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

On February 25, in the aftermath of two bombings that killed at least twenty-seven, President Goodluck Jonathan said that the tide has turned against Boko Haram. Over the past week, this has been a consistent message from senior Nigerian officials. Read more »

ISIS and Boko Haram

by John Campbell Tuesday, February 24, 2015
Smoke raises behind an Islamic State flag after Iraqi security forces and Shiite fighters took control of Saadiya in Diyala province, from Islamist State militants, November 24, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters) Smoke raises behind an Islamic State flag after Iraqi security forces and Shiite fighters took control of Saadiya in Diyala province, from Islamist State militants, November 24, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters)

The relationship, if any, between Nigeria’s Boko Haram and ISIS is a question that vexes the policy community. If there is one, it would support the argument that Boko Haram is, indeed, a new front in the international war on terrorism, as Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan maintains. If a relationship does not exist, or if it is minimal, that would support the argument that Boko Haram is essentially a domestic Nigerian issue, while ISIS has more of a global agenda. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update February 14-February 20

by John Campbell Monday, February 23, 2015
The map above depicts deaths in Nigeria by state. (Source: CFR Nigeria Security Tracker; powered by Tableau) The map above depicts deaths in Nigeria by state. (Source: CFR Nigeria Security Tracker; powered by Tableau)

Below is a visualization and description of some of the most significant incidents of political violence in Nigeria from February 14, 2015 to February 20, 2015. This update also represents violence related to Boko Haram in Cameroon, Chad, and Niger. These incidents will be included in the Nigeria Security Tracker. Read more »

South Africa’s Billion Dollar Rhino Question

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Friday, February 20, 2015
Rhinos with cut horns walk at a farm of Dawie Groenewald, who is accused of rhino poaching, in Musina, Limpopo province, May 9, 2012. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Courtesy Reuters) Rhinos with cut horns walk at a farm of Dawie Groenewald, who is accused of rhino poaching, in Musina, Limpopo province, May 9, 2012. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Allen Grane, research associate for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Studies program.

On February 10, the South African government announced the formation of a committee to determine the viability of legalizing the trade of rhino horn. Read more »

Thoughts on the Chadians, Boko Haram, and Northern Nigeria

by John Campbell Thursday, February 19, 2015
Chadian soldiers participate in the opening ceremony of Flintlock 2015, an exercise organized by the U.S. military in N'Djamena February 16, 2015. Courtesy Reuters/ Emmanuel Braun) Chadian soldiers participate in the opening ceremony of Flintlock 2015, an exercise organized by the U.S. military in N'Djamena February 16, 2015. Courtesy Reuters/ Emmanuel Braun)

Adam Nossiter wrote an article featured in the February 19 issue of the New York Times titled “In Nigeria, Boko Haram Loses Ground to Chadians.” While Nossiter says that it is too early to tell, others have declared that the Chadians have somehow “turned the tide” against Boko Haram. While the Nigerian federal government has remained relatively silent about the Chadians, they too have recaptured terroritory and claimed victories over Boko Haram. Read more »

A Way Out of Nigeria’s Political Crisis?

by John Campbell Wednesday, February 18, 2015
A woman casts her vote during the presidential elections at Surulere district in Nigeria's commercial capital of Lagos April 16, 2011. (Courtesy Reuters/ Akintunde Akinleye) A woman casts her vote during the presidential elections at Surulere district in Nigeria's commercial capital of Lagos April 16, 2011. (Courtesy Reuters/ Akintunde Akinleye)

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has broken with President Goodluck Jonathan’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in favor of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC). This move, along with numerous other defections from the ruling party, may be a sign that the hitherto badly splintered ruling elites may be coming together again in the face of the Boko Haram insurgency, corruption, incompetency of the federal government, and the Abuja government’s declining economic performance. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update February 7-February 13

by John Campbell Tuesday, February 17, 2015
The map above depicts deaths in Nigeria by state. (Source: CFR Nigeria Security Tracker; powered by Tableau) The map above depicts deaths in Nigeria by state. (Source: CFR Nigeria Security Tracker; powered by Tableau)

Below is a visualization and description of some of the most significant incidents of political violence in Nigeria from February 7, 2015 to February 13, 2015. These incidents will be included in the Nigeria Security Tracker. Read more »