John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "Boko Haram"

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 »

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 »

Nigeria: Why are Boko Haram Fighters Successful?

by John Campbell
Commanding officers salute during a parade for the Nigeria Army's 150th anniversary celebration in Abuja, July 6, 2013. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) Commanding officers salute during a parade for the Nigeria Army's 150th anniversary celebration in Abuja, July 6, 2013. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

Boko Haram, the diffuse, apparently grass roots insurrection, has undertaken a current wave of carnage in Nigeria’s northeast. Several of the most recent incidents involve government security forces unaccountably not at their posts, allowing Boko Haram freedom of movement. The governor of Borno state publicly said that Boko Haram fighters outgun government forces. Read more »

Questions After the Slaughter in Northern Nigeria

by John Campbell
Residents, who were injured during an attack by Boko Haram militants, wait at the Bama General Hospital in Bama, Borno State, February 20, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters) Residents, who were injured during an attack by Boko Haram militants, wait at the Bama General Hospital in Bama, Borno State, February 20, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters)

The Voice of America reports that the death toll from a “Boko Haram” attack on a federal government college the night of February 24-25 has reached fifty-nine. The method of the slaughter was characteristically horrific; the male students were deliberately locked into their dormitory and burned to death, those who tried to escape had their throats cut. The female students were unharmed but sent home with instructions to abandon western education and to find husbands. The campus appears to have been torched. Read more »