John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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South Africa’s Xenophobic Violence

by John Campbell
A Zimbabwean man takes refuge at the Milnerton police station after fleeing a fresh outbreak of anti-foreigner violence in Cape Town, May 22, 2008. (Courtesy Reuters/Mark Wessels) A Zimbabwean man takes refuge at the Milnerton police station after fleeing a fresh outbreak of anti-foreigner violence in Cape Town, May 22, 2008. (Courtesy Reuters/Mark Wessels)

The current wave of violence and intimidation against African immigrants in South Africa started in Durban and has spread to Johannesburg and other parts of the country. Intimidation and fear mongering appears to be widespread, generating panic among African foreigners. There have been previous waves of xenophobia in post-apartheid South Africa that also were violent. Read more »

Buhari’s Strategy for Stopping Boko Haram

by John Campbell
Nigeria's former military ruler and All Progressives Congress presidential aspirant Muhammadu Buhari attends the inauguration ceremony of Osun state governor Rauf Aregbesola in Osogbo. November 27, 2014. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters) Nigeria's former military ruler and All Progressives Congress presidential aspirant Muhammadu Buhari attends the inauguration ceremony of Osun state governor Rauf Aregbesola in Osogbo. November 27, 2014. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters)

On the one-year anniversary of the Boko Haram kidnapping of more than 200 school girls from Chibok, President-elect Muhammadu Buhari, in a New York Times op-ed, concisely laid out his approach to defeating Boko Haram. His op-ed is remarkable for its candor, realism, and its recognition of his government’s need to address the social and economic drivers of support for Boko Haram. Read more »

Where Are Nigeria’s Chibok School Girls?

by John Campbell
Mothers of kidnapped school girls react during a meeting with the Borno State governor in Chibok, Maiduguri, Borno State, April 22, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) Mothers of kidnapped school girls react during a meeting with the Borno State governor in Chibok, Maiduguri, Borno State, April 22, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

April 14 marks the one-year anniversary of the kidnapping of more than 200 school girls waiting to take their high school final exams at Chibok in Borno state. Three weeks after the kidnapping Abubakar Shekau, the face of Boko Haram, claimed responsibility. At the time of the kidnapping and subsequently, a handful of the girls escaped. The American University of Nigeria has offered scholarships to the few that escaped. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update April 4-April 10

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 April 4, 2015 to April 10, 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 »

An Update on African Immigration to the United States

by John Campbell
A U.S. flag hangs in the grand hall of the Ellis Island immigration museum building in New York October 28, 2013. (Lucas Jackson/Courtesy Reuters) A U.S. flag hangs in the grand hall of the Ellis Island immigration museum building in New York October 28, 2013. (Lucas Jackson/Courtesy Reuters)

I have written before about African immigration to the United States and the presence of African immigrants in New York City, a new demographic trend. On April 9, the Pew Research Center issued a new report, “A Rising Share of the U.S. Black Population is Foreign Born,” which updates and adds precision to the conversation about this important topic. The conclusion from Pew is that black immigrants are doing well and making a significant contribution to American society. Read more »

Boko Haram Still An Imminent Threat

by John Campbell
Police officers assist in getting a vehicle away from a burning car at the scene of a bomb explosion in Gombe, February 2, 2015. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) Police officers assist in getting a vehicle away from a burning car at the scene of a bomb explosion in Gombe, February 2, 2015. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

In the wake of Nigeria’s presidential elections, horror over the massacre at Garissa in Kenya, and a general western focus on a possible Iran nuclear deal, it is easy to leave Boko Haram to one side. Some may see the election of Muhammadu Buhari as somehow “solving” Boko Haram. This misplaced inattention is reinforced by the clearance of Boko Haram militants from towns in northeast Nigeria by the Chadian, Nigerien, and Nigerian militaries fighting alongside South African and other mercenaries. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update March 28-April 3

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 March 28, 2015 to April 3, 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 »

“Hard for Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan Not To Run in 2015—But Can he Win?”

by John Campbell
Two men cast their ballots in a poling station in Kano, March 28, 2015. (Goran Tomasevic/Courtesy Reuters) Two men cast their ballots in a poling station in Kano, March 28, 2015. (Goran Tomasevic/Courtesy Reuters)

That was the title of my December 20, 2013 post. It appeared in the aftermath of former president Olusegun Obasanjo’s highly critical letter to Jonathan cataloging the latter’s political failures, the publicizing of Central Bank Governor Lamido Sanusi’s accusation that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation had failed to remit billions of dollars to the federal treasury, and the defecting of many legislators from Jonathan’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC). Boko Haram attacks in the northeast were also escalating. Read more »

Nigeria President-elect Mohammadu Buhari’s Agenda

by John Campbell
All Progressives Congress presidential candidate and Nigeria's former military ruler Muhammodu Buhari leaves after a verification of his voter's card at a polling unit at the begining of general elections in Daura, March 28, 2015. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters) All Progressives Congress presidential candidate and Nigeria's former military ruler Muhammodu Buhari leaves after a verification of his voter's card at a polling unit at the begining of general elections in Daura, March 28, 2015. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters)

As in the United States, there is a hiatus between a president’s election and his inauguration in Nigeria. Muhammadu Buhari will be inaugurated as president of Nigeria on May 29. In the meantime, President Jonathan remains in charge, but with little prestige and insufficient credibility to take the initiative in the aftermath of his election defeat. There will be gubernatorial and local elections on April 18; rivalries are often intense at that level, and there could be considerable bloodshed. Read more »

Muhammadu Buhari’s Presidential Victory in Nigeria

by John Campbell
Opposition presidential candidate Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC), speaks during the Nigeria Labour Congress in Abuja, February 9, 2015. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) Opposition presidential candidate Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC), speaks during the Nigeria Labour Congress in Abuja, February 9, 2015. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

In a country where elections have routinely been rigged in favor of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential incumbent or his designee, opposition candidate Muhammadu Buhari and his All Progressives Congress have won an astonishing victory. Buhari’s support was nationwide, and his vote total was the largest in four of Nigeria’s six geo-political zones. Unlike 2011, the electorate did not starkly bifurcate along north/south, Muslim/Christian lines. Read more »