John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "Boko Haram"

What Happened Sunday Morning in Abuja?

by John Campbell
A police officer keeps watch 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) A police officer keeps watch 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)

According to the Nigerian media, there was heavy gunfire that may have lasted some hours very close to Aso Rock, the presidential villa, starting at about 7:15 a.m. Sunday morning. The gunfire appears to have been centered at Yellow House, the headquarters of the State Security Services (SSS). Read more »

Nigeria’s Boko Haram Releases New Videos

by John Campbell
Pius Nna, the village head of Angwan Gata, walks through one of the rooms destroyed when gunmen attacked his village in Kaura local government Kaduna State, March 19, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) Pius Nna, the village head of Angwan Gata, walks through one of the rooms destroyed when gunmen attacked his village in Kaura local government Kaduna State, March 19, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

On March 14, fighting broke out in the northeastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri, including at the Giwa Barracks –the military’s main headquarters in Borno. “Boko Haram” claims it secured the release of two thousand detainees during the siege on the barracks. Abubakar Shekau released two new videos to claim responsibility for the attack. Read more »

“To Live and Die in LA,” and Maiduguri

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A dog walks past burnt houses in Angwan Gata village, in Kaura local government area, Kaduna State, March 19, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) A dog walks past burnt houses in Angwan Gata village, in Kaura local government area, Kaduna State, March 19, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Jim Sanders, a career, now retired, West Africa watcher for various federal agencies. The views expressed below are his personal views and do not reflect those of his former employers.

Northeastern Nigeria increasingly resembles the world depicted in the 1985 film, To Live and Die in LA. Directed by William Friedkin, the story is about Secret Service agents’ pursuit of a counterfeiter. In the process, differences between criminals and law enforcement personnel nearly disappear. A reviewer observes that the criminals have more of an inner life than the law enforcers, whose actions are “endlessly self-consuming,” leading to “meaningless death and brutality.” A “contradictory moral universe” emerges “where the wrong people die and redemption is an illusion.” Read more »

Fireworks During White House Meeting of Northern Nigerian Governors

by John Campbell
Kwire-Mana, Kpafrato II, Homun Honest Stephen (R), receives his staff of office from Adamawa state governor, Murtala Nyako, during a presentation ceremony at Makwada Square in Numan, Adamawa state, December 7, 2013. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) Kwire-Mana, Kpafrato II, Homun Honest Stephen (R), receives his staff of office from Adamawa state governor, Murtala Nyako, during a presentation ceremony at Makwada Square in Numan, Adamawa state, December 7, 2013. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

On March 18, governors from Nigeria’s north and Middle Belt met with U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice and other U.S. officials at the White House. The governors come from states where economic development is slow or non-existent and includes those where the radical, Islamist insurgency “Boko Haram” is active. Read more »

Carnage at Giwa Barracks in Northern Nigeria

by John Campbell
Two boys stand near the charred chassis of a vehicle after a bomb attack near a busy market area in Ajilari-Gomari near the city's airport, in Maiduguri, March 2, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters) Two boys stand near the charred chassis of a vehicle after a bomb attack near a busy market area in Ajilari-Gomari near the city's airport, in Maiduguri, March 2, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters)

On March 14, insurgents labeled “Boko Haram” attacked the Giwa Barracks, a major army facility in the northern Nigerian city of Maiduguri. At the time, military spokesmen said that a significant number of “Boko Haram” members were killed. However, in a horrific article in the March 21 New York Times, Adam Nossiter reports that the victims of the killing spree outside the gates of the Giwa Barracks were young men who had previously been indiscriminately rounded up and detained in Giwa Barracks without charge. 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 »

Standoff Between Nigeria’s New Defense Minister and the Chief of Defense Staff

by John Campbell
New Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh (L), and the new Air Force Chief Vice Marshal Adesola Nunayon Amosu salute during a handing over ceremony in Abuja January 20, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) New Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh (L), and the new Air Force Chief Vice Marshal Adesola Nunayon Amosu salute during a handing over ceremony in Abuja January 20, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

Earlier in the week a guest blogger and I published separate posts on Nigeria’s new defense minister, Aliyu Mohammed Gusau. The two blog posts, while covering different aspects of the appointment, saw it as a positive step, providing the possibility for a new Abuja approach to the “Boko Haram” insurrection in northern Nigeria.  Read more »

Health Services Collapse in Northeast Nigeria

by John Campbell
Volunteer Health officials wait to immunise children at a school in Nigeria's capital Abuja February 1, 2010. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) Volunteer Health officials wait to immunise children at a school in Nigeria's capital Abuja February 1, 2010. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

Recently an Agence France Press (AFP) article reported that health services have collapsed in Borno state in northeast Nigeria due to the onslaught of “Boko Haram.” AFP reports that hospitals and clinics have been attacked, and medical personnel kidnapped either for ransom or to treat wounded Boko Haram fighters. AFP also reports that Boko Haram has been carrying out attacks on pharmacies–usually Christian-owned–for looting and destruction. Read more »

All the King’s Men: Goodluck Jonathan and Aliyu Mohammed Gusau

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
New chief of naval staff, Rear Admiral Usman O. Jibrin (centre seated L), and outgoing Vice Admiral Dele Joseph Ezeoba attend a handing over ceremony in Abuja,January 20, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) New chief of naval staff, Rear Admiral Usman O. Jibrin (centre seated L), and outgoing Vice Admiral Dele Joseph Ezeoba attend a handing over ceremony in Abuja,January 20, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Jim Sanders, a career, now retired, West Africa watcher for various federal agencies. The views expressed below are his personal views and do not reflect those of his former employers.

The accession of retired general Aliyu Mohammed Gusau, whose career extends back to Nigeria’s civil war, to a newly empowered Ministry of Defense evidences the gravity of the war in northeastern Nigeria, the president’s inability to deal with it, and the tendency of a political system sustained by patronage and corruption to look backward in crisis, rather than forward. Read more »

Aliyu Mohammed Gusau Named Nigeria’s Defense Minister

by John Campbell
Soldiers from Lagos, part of an expected 1,000 reinforcements sent to Adamawa state to fight Boko Haram Islamists, walk near trucks as they arrive with the 23rd armoured brigade in Yola, May 20, 2013. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters) Soldiers from Lagos, part of an expected 1,000 reinforcements sent to Adamawa state to fight Boko Haram Islamists, walk near trucks as they arrive with the 23rd armoured brigade in Yola, May 20, 2013. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters)

Approximately 1,300 people have been killed since the beginning of the year, and 130 in the first week of March, in violence associated with “Boko Haram” in northern Nigeria. The carnage is accelerating. President Goodluck Jonathan’s counter-terrorism strategy would appear to be failing, and one northern governor (among others) is saying that “Boko Haram” fighters outgun the government’s troops. If Jonathan is not looking for another approach, he should be. Read more »