John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

Posts by Category

Showing posts for "Ansaru"

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) 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 »

Boko Haram Factions and the Kidnapping of the Nigerian School Girls

by John Campbell
A woman takes part in a protest for the release of the abducted secondary school girls in the remote village of Chibok, during a sit-in protest at the Unity fountain Abuja, May 12, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) A woman takes part in a protest for the release of the abducted secondary school girls in the remote village of Chibok, during a sit-in protest at the Unity fountain Abuja, May 12, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

Jacob Zenn has published an important article that analyzes the various factions that comprise “Boko Haram,” their leadership and rivalries, and their links with other radical Islamist groups outside Nigeria. The article is dense and exhaustively documented. Here, I highlight certain of his points that I found especially relevant, given that the kidnapped Chibok school girls remain in captivity and a focus of intense domestic and international concern. Read more »

Negotiating the Freedom of the Nigerian School Girls

by John Campbell
Nigerian army chief-of-staff General Kenneth Minimah (C) leaves a closed door meeting with senators at the national assembly in Abuja, Nigeria, May 15, 2014. (Joe Penney/Courtesy Reuters) Nigerian army chief-of-staff General Kenneth Minimah (C) leaves a closed door meeting with senators at the national assembly in Abuja, Nigeria, May 15, 2014. (Joe Penney/Courtesy Reuters)

Nigeria is abuzz with speculation about government negotiations with Boko Haram over the release of the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls. According to the Nigerian media, former president Obasanjo has been speaking with personalities “close to” Boko Haram. Names of other possible official negotiators circulate. Speculation is that the parameters of a possible deal would be Boko Haram freeing some or all of the girls in return for the government releasing Boko Haram operatives and/or their wives and children who are currently extra-judicially detained without charge. Read more »

Shekau’s Latest Video and the Kidnapped Nigerian School Girls

by John Campbell
People carry a banner with an image of Boko Haram leader?Abubakar?Shekau?as they protest for the release of the abducted secondary school girls in the remote village of Chibok, along a road in Lagos May 12, 2014. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters) People carry a banner with an image of Boko Haram leader?Abubakar?Shekau?as they protest for the release of the abducted secondary school girls in the remote village of Chibok, along a road in Lagos May 12, 2014. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters)

Shekau’s latest video has generated international excitement, not least because it raises the hope (I would say chimera) for a negotiated release of the kidnapped school girls. Shekau has once again shown himself a master at manipulating public opinion, both domestic and international. I leave for a later blog post consideration of the possibility of negotiations. Read more »

Unanswered Questions About The Kidnapped Nigerian School Girls

by John Campbell
A soldier walks past a burnt vehicle during a military patrol in Hausari village, near Maiduguri and the Sambisa forest, June 5, 2013. (Joe Brock/Courtesy Reuters) A soldier walks past a burnt vehicle during a military patrol in Hausari village, near Maiduguri and the Sambisa forest, June 5, 2013. (Joe Brock/Courtesy Reuters)

The kidnapping of Nigerian school girls has outraged Nigerian and international opinion. The failure to find and release them after two weeks has further discredited the federal government and the Jonathan administration. This episode, combined with the bombing of a suburban Abuja bus terminal the day before the kidnapping, has brought home to the Nigerian public that their country’s crisis cannot be walled-off in the far northeast of the country. Read more »

A “Soft Approach” to Nigeria’s Boko Haram

by John Campbell
Demonstrators confront a police officer (L) during a protest against the elimination of a popular fuel subsidy that has doubled the price of petrol, in Nigeria's capital Abuja January 9, 2012. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) Demonstrators confront a police officer (L) during a protest against the elimination of a popular fuel subsidy that has doubled the price of petrol, in Nigeria's capital Abuja January 9, 2012. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

Many of Nigeria’s foreign friends have urged the Jonathan government to pursue a northern strategy that makes use of “softer” methods rather than a sole focus on “counter-terrorism” to respond to militants labeled “Boko Haram.” While “Counter-terrorism” places an emphasis on military action against the insurgency; there needs to be a greater focus on addressing its root causes, to “win the hearts and minds” of local people wherever possible. Read more »

A Very Bad Week for Nigeria

by John Campbell
A man walks between vehicles that were destroyed during an attack by Boko Haram militants in Bama, Borno State, February 20, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters) A man walks between vehicles that were destroyed during an attack by Boko Haram militants in Bama, Borno State, February 20, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters)

Below is the Weekly Update for April 12-17 from the Nigeria Security Tracker (NST). It can also be found here. Last week was Holy Week and Passover. It was probably the worst week for violence and carnage since Nigeria’s 1967-70 civil war. Read more »

Weekly Map of Political and Ethnic Violence in Nigeria

by John Campbell
Bomb experts search for evidences in front of buses at a bomb blast scene at Nyanyan in Abuja April 14, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) Bomb experts search for evidences in front of buses at a bomb blast scene at Nyanyan in Abuja April 14, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

Holy Week in Nigeria is off to an ugly start. A bomb detonated during rush hour at a bus station in Abuja’s suburb Nyana on April 14, killed at least seventy-one people, destroyed at least sixteen “luxury buses” and twenty-four mini buses. Nobody has yet claimed responsibility, but it has the marks of a “Boko Haram” operation. Read more »

Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons in Northern Nigeria

by John Campbell
Families 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) Families 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)

The ongoing insurgency in northern Nigeria, called “Boko Haram,” and the government’s often brutal attempts to suppress it, have produced a tide of refugees and internally displaced in one of the world’s poorest regions. With the “fog of war,” government restrictions on news agencies, and a poor communications infrastructure, it is difficult to survey needs with precision. Read more »

United States Military to Train Nigerian Rangers?

by John Campbell
A U.S. Special Forces trainer supervises a military assault drill for a unit within the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) conducted in Nzara on the outskirts of Yambio, November 29, 2013. (Andreea Campeanu/Courtesy Reuters) A U.S. Special Forces trainer supervises a military assault drill for a unit within the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) conducted in Nzara on the outskirts of Yambio, November 29, 2013. (Andreea Campeanu/Courtesy Reuters)

In the March 5 New York Times, Eric Schmitt’s article “U.S. Takes Training Role in Africa as Threats Grow and Budgets Shrink,” reviews U.S. military assistance and training to the weak states of the Sahel that are confronting jihadi militantsHe discusses the constraints on what the U.S. is willing and able to do in a context of domestic budget cuts and a general war-weariness in the aftermath of Iraq and Afghanistan. Read more »