John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Ebola, Fear, and Better Communication

by John Campbell
A U.N. convoy of soldiers passes a screen displaying a message on Ebola on a street in Abidjan, August 14, 2014. (Luc Gnago/Courtesy Reuters) A U.N. convoy of soldiers passes a screen displaying a message on Ebola on a street in Abidjan, August 14, 2014. (Luc Gnago/Courtesy Reuters)

Ebola is fearful. Its symptoms include raging fever, bleeding from orifices (including the eyes and ears), diarrhea, and vomiting. The mortality rate is high. Caregivers move about in space suits. Necessary care for the sick and proper medical practices, including quarantine and the burial methods, are contrary to the strong family and community-centered values of traditional West African society. Read more »

Ten Books for Approaching Religious Conflict in Nigeria

by John Campbell
A newspaper front page reporting the death of Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe lies on a street in Calabar, Cross River State, southeast Nigeria, March 23, 2013. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) A newspaper front page reporting the death of Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe lies on a street in Calabar, Cross River State, southeast Nigeria, March 23, 2013. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

The Tony Blair Faith Foundation has just published Emily Mellgard’s “Must Reads on Religious Conflict in Nigeria.” Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update August 9–August 15

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 August 9 to August 15, 2014.
These incidents are included in the Nigeria Security Tracker. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update August 2–August 8

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 August 2 to August 8, 2014. These incidents are also available here, and are included in the Nigeria Security Tracker. Read more »

Nigeria’s Chibok School Girls as Suicide Bombers?

by John Campbell
Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili, former minister of education and a "Bring Back Our Girls" campaigner, addresses supporters at the Unity Fountain, on the hundredth day of the abductions of more than two hundred school girls by Boko Haram, in Abuja, July 23, 2014 (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters). Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili, former minister of education and a "Bring Back Our Girls" campaigner, addresses supporters at the Unity Fountain, on the hundredth day of the abductions of more than two hundred school girls by Boko Haram, in Abuja, July 23, 2014 (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters).

It has been nearly four months since Boko Haram kidnapped up to three hundred school girls from a school in Chibok, Borno state. Thus far, there has been little public evidence that the government has located them or is about to rescue them. Nor do the offers of assistance from friendly governments such as the United States appear to have had much impact. Frustration is growing, articulated by former education minister Obiageli Ezekwesili, an animator of the #BringBackOurGirls protests in Abuja. Read more »

South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters Making a Splash

by John Campbell
Members of Julius Malema's Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party demonstrate outside Parliament in Cape Town, June 20, 2014 (Mike Hutchings/Courtesy Reuters). Members of Julius Malema's Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party demonstrate outside Parliament in Cape Town, June 20, 2014 (Mike Hutchings/Courtesy Reuters).

Julius Malema’s political party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), won about 6 percent of the vote in the South Africa’s March national elections. This makes it South Africa’s third largest party, though it remains significantly behind the governing African National Congress (ANC), which won 62 percent of the vote, and the official opposition, the Democratic Alliance, which won 22 percent. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update July 26–August 1

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 July 26 to August 1, 2014. These incidents are also available here, and are included in the Nigeria Security Tracker. Read more »

Kidnapping, Ransoms, and the Sahel

by John Campbell
Former French hostage Daniel Larribe is welcomed by relatives as French President Francois Hollande looks on on the tarmac upon their arrival at Villacoublay military airport, near Paris, October 30, 2013 (Jacky Naegelen/Courtesy Reuters). Former French hostage Daniel Larribe is welcomed by relatives as French President Francois Hollande looks on on the tarmac upon their arrival at Villacoublay military airport, near Paris, October 30, 2013 (Jacky Naegelen/Courtesy Reuters).

Rukmini Callimachi has a chilling story on the front page of today’s New York Times, “Paying Ransoms, Europe Bankrolls Qaeda Terror.” It is a must-read. The story is based on a wide range of interviews with victims, government officials, counterterrorism experts, and thousands of pages of internal al-Qaeda documents found in Mali. Read more »

Where Is Nigeria’s Boko Haram Going?

by John Campbell
Security personnel comb the scene of a bomb explosion at the Sabon Gari bus park in Kano, July 24, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters) Security personnel comb the scene of a bomb explosion at the Sabon Gari bus park in Kano, July 24, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters)

After a weekend of carnage in Kano and two high profile kidnappings in Cameroon—following a nearly successful attempt on the life of former chief of state Muhammadu Buhari—Boko Haram is more than ever a central preoccupation in Nigeria (and now, presumably, in Cameroon). Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update July 19 – July 25

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 July 11 to July 18, 2014. These incidents are also available here, and are included in the Nigeria Security Tracker. Read more »