John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "Boko Haram"

Major Nigerian Terrorist Arrested

by John Campbell
Nigerian special forces conduct a mock casualty evacuation during Flintlock 2015, an American-led military exercise, in Mao, February 22, 2015.  (Reuters/Emmanuel Braun) Nigerian special forces conduct a mock casualty evacuation during Flintlock 2015, an American-led military exercise, in Mao, February 22, 2015. (Reuters/Emmanuel Braun)

The Nigerian Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, and a spokesman for the Nigerian army announced on April 3 the capture and arrest of Khalid al-Barnawi, the leader of Ansaru (“Vanguard for the Protection of Muslims in Black Lands”), a splinter group of Boko Haram. (The confirmation by Lai Mohammed makes the capture claim credible.) Ansaru has carried out a campaign of high-profile targeted assassinations and has kidnapped foreigners, especially Europeans. Read more »

Therapy for a Broken Nigerian Community

by John Campbell
A local vigilante checks a vehicle at a check point in Michika town, after the Nigerian military recaptured it from Boko Haram, in Adamawa state, May 10, 2015. (Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye) A local vigilante checks a vehicle at a check point in Michika town, after the Nigerian military recaptured it from Boko Haram, in Adamawa state, May 10, 2015. (Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye)

The consequences of the brutal war between Boko Haram and the Nigerian security services will be with us for a long time. In the BBC’s series, “Letter from Africa,” Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani describes how the experience of Boko Haram occupation and subsequent liberation exacerbated the division between Christians and Muslims in the town of Michika. Christians and Muslims now hold their markets on different days of the week, and children from each community taunt those from the other. Nwaubani sums it up, “These days, the Christians and Muslims cannot stand each other.” She reports that the town was liberated by the Nigerian military after seven months of Boko Haram occupation, but security is now in the hands of “professional game hunters” and “vigilantes,” two informal, nongovernmental groups that are also suspicious of each other, even though their memberships are religiously mixed. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update March 19-25

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 March 19, to March 25, 2016. This update also represents violence related to Boko Haram in Cameroon, Chad, and Niger. These incidents will be included in the Nigeria Security Tracker.
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Nigerian Muslim Views on Suicide Bombing

by John Campbell
Smoke is seen after an suicide bomb explosion in Gombe, Nigeria on February 1, 2015. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde) Smoke is seen after an suicide bomb explosion in Gombe, Nigeria on February 1, 2015. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde)

Historically, there has been no West African tradition of martyrdom by suicide. Suicide, in fact, continues usually to be viewed as anathema. Nigeria’s first case of suicide bombing occurred only five years ago, in 2011. Since then, it has become associated with Boko Haram, the radical, Islamist movement that seeks to destroy the secular government in Nigeria. Read more »

Caution Required About New Video from Boko Haram’s Shekau

by John Campbell
A screenshot from the video most recently credited to Abubakar Shekau of Boko Haram, March 24, 2016. A screenshot from the video most recently credited to Abubakar Shekau of Boko Haram, March 24, 2016.

Abubakar Shekau has been the face of Boko Haram, the radical Islamist terrorist movement associated with the killing of more than twenty thousand in northern Nigeria since 2009. The group is responsible for about two hundred deaths thus far in 2016, and more than two million internally displaced persons. In the past Shekau regularly issued videos, many of which featured grisly scenes of beheadings and other violence against Nigerian security service and other official personnel. Some of the videos were long. Shekau usually spoke in Hausa and Arabic, and occasionally in English. Then he went silent and his videos were replaced by no one. His last video appeared in March 2015 when he pledged allegiance to the so-called Islamic State. In August 2015 he (or someone) issued a brief audio recording, though it was unclear where or when it was made. However, on March 24, 2016 he allegedly issued a video, seven minutes in length, also in Hausa and Arabic. Read more »

Former British High Commissioner on Nigeria’s Kidnapped Chibok School Girls

by John Campbell
DATE IMPORTED:January 14, 2016Parents of the Chibok girls hold a "Bring Back Our Girls" banner during their meeting with Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa in Abuja, Nigeria, January 14, 2016. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde) DATE IMPORTED:January 14, 2016Parents of the Chibok girls hold a "Bring Back Our Girls" banner during their meeting with Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa in Abuja, Nigeria, January 14, 2016. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde)

It has been almost two years since Boko Haram, the radical Islamist movement operating in northeast Nigeria, claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of some 276 school girls. Despite significant international outcry, offers of assistance from the international community, and commitments from two Nigerian presidents, most of the girls still have not been found. A small number have escaped. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update March 12-18

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 March 12, to March 18, 2016. This update also represents violence related to Boko Haram in Cameroon, Chad, and Niger. These incidents will be included in the Nigeria Security Tracker.
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Radical Islamist Terrorism in West Africa

by John Campbell
Ivory Coast's President Alassane Ouattara prepares to lay a wreath for those killed in Sunday's attack by Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, on a beach in Grand Bassam, March 16, 2016. (Reuters/Luc Gnago) Ivory Coast's President Alassane Ouattara prepares to lay a wreath for those killed in Sunday's attack by Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, on a beach in Grand Bassam, March 16, 2016. (Reuters/Luc Gnago)

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and its affiliates launched an attack in Mali in November, one in Burkina Faso in January, and now in Ivory Coast over the past weekend. On March 16, Boko Haram attacked a mosque in Maiduguri, Nigeria, killing at least twenty-two people. The CFR’s Nigeria Security Tracker shows that Boko Haram has been associated with more than 150 deaths since January 1, 2016, but before the March 16 mosque attack. Even in Senegal, a genuine democracy where the opposition comes to power through elections, there is concern about signs of radical activity. Read more »

Nigerian Popular Support for Boko Haram

by John Campbell
People gather at the cattle market in Maiduguri, Nigeria March 9, 2016. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde) People gather at the cattle market in Maiduguri, Nigeria March 9, 2016. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde)

One of the many unknowns about Boko Haram, the radical Islamist terrorist movement associated with over 150 killings thus far in 2016, is how much popular support it actually enjoys. It is counterintuitive to witness popular support for a movement that brags about (and films) its grisly beheadings, makes use of female and child suicide bombers, and has contributed to some three million internally displaced persons in Nigeria and hundreds of thousands of refugees in adjacent countries. On the other hand, in its current iteration it has been active for five years, shows tactical flexibility, and kidnaps hundreds of women and girls. The more than two hundred Chibok school girls kidnapped in 2014 have never been accounted for, indicating that the movement has some logistical support structures that can feed, clothe, and house them. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update March 5-11

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 March 5, to March 11, 2016. This update also represents violence related to Boko Haram in Cameroon, Chad, and Niger. These incidents will be included in the Nigeria Security Tracker. Read more »