John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

Posts by Author

Showing posts for "John Campbell"

Nigeria’s Boko Haram as a Peasants’ Revolt

by John Campbell
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
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
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
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
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 »

Thoughts on the Chadians, Boko Haram, and Northern Nigeria

by John Campbell
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
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
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 »

Anti-Semitism at a South African University?

by John Campbell
Former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela, unveils an English Heritage Blue Plaque dedicated to South African freedom fighters, Joe Slovo and Ruth First in London, July 11, 2003. (Courtesy Reuters) Former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela, unveils an English Heritage Blue Plaque dedicated to South African freedom fighters, Joe Slovo and Ruth First in London, July 11, 2003. (Courtesy Reuters)

South African and Israeli media report that the student council at Durban University of Technology is demanding that “Jewish students, especially those who do not support the Palestinian struggle, should de-register.” Read more »

Nelson Mandela Freed Twenty-Five Years Ago Today

by John Campbell
A local holds a lit candle in front of a mural of former South African President Nelson Mandela ahead of Mandela's first death anniversary, in Soweto, December 4, 2014. (Courtesy Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko) A local holds a lit candle in front of a mural of former South African President Nelson Mandela ahead of Mandela's first death anniversary, in Soweto, December 4, 2014. (Courtesy Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko)

In 1964, Nelson Mandela was convicted of sabotage in conjunction with the armed struggle against apartheid in the Rivonia Trial. He was sentenced to life in prison. His statement at his sentencing was an anthem for a democratic South Africa free of racism. Because Americans may be less familiar with it than South Africans, it is worth quoting part of it here: Read more »