John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "Air Strikes"

Nigerian Air Force Mistakenly Bombs IDP Camp

by John Campbell
Women gather at a water collecting point at the internally displaced people's camp in Bama, Borno State, Nigeria, August 31, 2016. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde)

There is heavy media attention to the Nigerian air force’s tragic, accidental bombing of a camp for internally displaced persons near Rann, in northeast Nigeria. Though details are hardly definitive, it appears that the attack resulted from the mistaken identification of the camp as a center of Boko Haram. (Recently, Boko Haram has been active in the area.) As is usually the case when such accidents happen in northeast Nigeria, the numbers killed are not definitively known, but appear to be in the fifty to one hundred range. The media reports that the number of dead is likely to increase because of the difficulty of evacuating the wounded from an isolated area and because of the inadequacy of medical facilities in the camp. The dead include humanitarian workers for the Red Cross and Doctors without Borders. Both organizations have issued scathing public statements. Read more »

Credibility and the Nigerian Military

by John Campbell
DATE IMPORTED:August 31, 2016Major General Lucky Irabor, commander of "Operation Lafiya Dole", the counter insurgency operation in the northeast, attends an interview with Reuters in Maiduguri, Borno, Nigeria, August 30, 2016. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde)

During the second half of August, the Nigerian military announced numerous successes in the fight against Boko Haram, the militant, jihadist movement that seeks to overthrow the Nigerian state. On August 30, the commander of the fight against Boko Haram, Lucky Irabor, announced that the military will root the group out from its remaining locations within weeks. Previously, Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman, an army spokesman, said that Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau had been “fatally injured” during an air raid. The same day, the chief of air staff, Air Vice-Marshal Sadiq Abubakar, said that the air force killed over three-hundred Boko Haram militants during night airstrikes on August 19. Read more »

U.S. Drone Base in Cameroon

by John Campbell
A General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper stands on the runway during "Black Dart", a live-fly, live fire demonstration of 55 unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, at Naval Base Ventura County Sea Range, Point Mugu, near Oxnard, California, July 31, 2015. (Reuters/Patrick T. Fallon)

President Barack Obama’s announcement that the United States is establishing a drone base in Cameroon and will deploy up to three hundred military personnel has been enthusiastically welcomed by Cameroonian President Paul Biya and Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari. Read more »

Kenya’s Al-Shabaab Problem

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A man participates in a protest against the gunmen attack at the Garissa University, at the Eastleigh neighborhood in Kenya's capital Nairobi, April 8, 2015. (Thomas Mukoya/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Aala Abdelgadir, research associate for the Council on Foreign Relation’s Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative.

On October 16, 2011, the Kenyan army, in an ostensibly joint operation with the Somalian and Ethiopian militaries, crossed the border into Somalia and attacked the insurgent group al-Shabaab. In response to the October 16 offensive, al-Shabaab launched an attack in Kenya on October 24, 2011. The attack killed one person. Read more »

The Danger of Al-Shabaab’s Evolution

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Policemen guard the bus ferrying rescued students from the Garissa University as it arrives at Nyayo stadium in Kenya's capital Nairobi, April 4, 2015. (Thomas Mukoya/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Alex Dick-Godfrey, Assistant Director, Studies administration for the Council on Foreign Relations Studies Program.

In the past five years, the Somali jihadist group al-Shabaab has lost most of its senior leadership, surrendered its control of southern Somalia, and seen its cash flow shrink. The group has certainly seen better times. But as the success of recent attacks in Kenya and Mogadishu indicate, the group is regaining some of its previous stature but as a fundamentally different group. Al-Shabaab is now more decentralized and has a larger geographic focus. Given regional dynamics, an inept Kenyan security response, refugee flows from Yemen, and a diminished United States presence, this new embodiment of al-Shabaab is becoming increasingly difficult to counter. Read more »

Mercenaries in Nigeria, Part II

by John Campbell
Mercenary "Skoloza" (R) carrying a sniper rifle wrapped in camouflage netting, surveys a construction compound in this black township north of Durban, South Africa, May 9, 1994. (Desmond Boylan/Courtesy Reuters)

With the detailed March 13 New York Times story on the presence of mercenaries in Nigeria, further comment is required. Read more »

Reactions to the U.S. Strike in Somalia

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A Somali government soldier holds his fighting position against suspected militants during an attack at the Jilacow underground cell inside a national security compound in Mogadishu, August 31, 2014. (Feisal Omar/Courtesy Reuters)


This is a guest post by Alex Dick-Godfrey, Assistant Director, Studies administration for the Council on Foreign Relations Studies Program.

Last week, the United States conducted an airstrike on an al Shabaab target in the Lower Shabelle region of Somalia. Al Shabaab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane was killed in the attack. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update June 21-27

by John Campbell
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 June 21 to June 27, 2014. These incidents are also available here, and are included in the Nigeria Security Tracker.
Read more »

Crimes Against Humanity and Nigeria’s Giwa Barracks

by John Campbell
A soldier examines a wall riddled with bullets, from an attack by Boko Haram militants, in front of a house in Bama, Borno State, February 20, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters)

Amnesty International, the London-based non-governmental human rights organization, has issued a report, “Nigeria: More than 1,500 Killed in North-Eastern Nigeria in Early 2014.” Of particular interest is its dissection of what happened on March 14 at Giwa Barracks, the largest military facility in Maiduguri, Borno State. Read more »

Is the U.S. Strategy in Somalia Working?

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A U.S. Air Force MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle assigned to the California Air National Guard's 163rd Reconnaissance Wing flies near the Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville, California in this January 7, 2012 USAF handout photo obtained by Reuters, February 6, 2013. (U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Effrain Lopez/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Allen Grane, 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.

In the last week of January news outlets reported that an American drone had conducted an unsuccessful strike against a high level al-Shabaab leader in the Lower Shabelle region of Somalia. Later reports stated that the target of the strike was Ahmed Abdi Godane, the presumed current head of al-Shabaab. While the strike failed in its main mission to eliminate Godane, it and other such strikes may represent greater success for American and Somali strategies against the terrorist organization than this single unsuccessful strike. Read more »