John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "Africa"

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 »

Civil War within Islam in Nigeria

by John Campbell
National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) staff carry a body bag at the scene of a bombing at Alkali Road in Kaduna, July 23, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters) National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) staff carry a body bag at the scene of a bombing at Alkali Road in Kaduna, July 23, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters)

On July 23, there was an effort to murder two of Nigeria’s prominent Muslim leaders, Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi, a cleric with a large personal following, and Muhammadu Buhari, former head of state. The attempts were two separate operations, though they appear to have been timed close together, in the former northern regional capital of Kaduna. Read more »

Alex Perry on Nigeria’s Boko Haram

by John Campbell
The Hunt for Boko Haram: Investigating the Terror Tearing Nigeria Apart, by Alex Perry The Hunt for Boko Haram: Investigating the Terror Tearing Nigeria Apart, by Alex Perry

With its violence, its ritualized executions, its mixture of the utterly archaic with AK-47s and YouTube videos, its behavior modeling based on a nineteenth century interpretation of an obscure medieval Islamic theologian—Boko Haram is hard for us to get our minds around. Read more »

Is Nigeria’s Boko Haram Becoming Territorial?

by John Campbell
A woman from Gwoza, Borno State, displaced by the violence and unrest caused by the insurgency, weeps at a refugee camp in Mararaba Madagali, Adamawa State, February 18, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters) A woman from Gwoza, Borno State, displaced by the violence and unrest caused by the insurgency, weeps at a refugee camp in Mararaba Madagali, Adamawa State, February 18, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters)

Unlike other radical Islamist groups, such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Nigeria’s Boko Haram has not yet moved to establish a territorial state, nor to provide government services. That may be changing.

The Wall Street Journal and the BBC are reporting that Boko Haram has taken over the strategic town of Damboa, the capital of the Damboa local government area in Borno state, and has raised its black flag over the house of the traditional ruler and in nearby villages. The BBC reports that Boko Haram has established check points around the town and is levying a fee for vehicles to pass. That would imply that it is seeking sources of revenue beyond kidnapping, extortion, or bank robberies. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update July 12 – July 18

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 »

Bringing Solar Power and Hope to the DRC

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
War-orphaned children sit in cardboard boxes at the Kizito orphanage in Bunia in northeastern Congo, February 24, 2009. (Finbarr O'Reilly/Courtesy Reuters) War-orphaned children sit in cardboard boxes at the Kizito orphanage in Bunia in northeastern Congo, February 24, 2009. (Finbarr O'Reilly/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Allen Grane, former intern for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Studies program. Allen is currently an officer in the Army National Guard. His interests are in Africa, conflict, and conflict resolution. Read more »

Two African Obituaries: Dikko and Gordimer

by John Campbell
Novelist Nadine Gordimer was among about 300 white liberals who visited
Alexandra, the black township near Johannesburg on May 18, 1986 to lay
wreaths at the grave of victims of political unrest. (Reuters photographer/Courtesy Reuters) Novelist Nadine Gordimer was among about 300 white liberals who visited Alexandra, the black township near Johannesburg on May 18, 1986 to lay wreaths at the grave of victims of political unrest. (Reuters photographer/Courtesy Reuters)

On July 14, the New York Times carried the obituary of Umaru Dikko, a former Nigerian minister accused of corruption who was once the subject of a kidnap attempt. On July 15, it carried an obituary of Nadine Gordimer, the South African author who became a major anti-apartheid icon. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update July 5 – July 11

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

South Africa’s Mamphela Ramphele Leaves Politics

by John Campbell
Anti-apartheid activist Mamphela Ramphele launches her new political party "Agang" to challenge South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) in Pretoria, June 22, 2013. (Mike Hutchings/Courtesy Reuters) Anti-apartheid activist Mamphela Ramphele launches her new political party "Agang" to challenge South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) in Pretoria, June 22, 2013. (Mike Hutchings/Courtesy Reuters)

Mamphela Ramphele, the founder of the political party AgangSA (Agang is the northern Sotho word for ‘build’) in 2013, announced on July 8 that she is leaving politics. Read more »