John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "Chad"

Boko Haram Control in Northeast Nigeria

by John Campbell
According to Oliver Dashe Doeme, Archbishop of Maiduguri, Boko Haram has captured twenty-five towns in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa states as of September 19, 2014. This map shows twenty-three of the twenty-five towns reported to be under Boko Haram control. (Thomas Zuber/Developed with Google Maps) According to Oliver Dashe Doeme, Archbishop of Maiduguri, Boko Haram has captured twenty-five towns in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa states as of September 19, 2014. This map shows twenty-three of the twenty-five towns reported to be under Boko Haram control. (Thomas Zuber/Developed with Google Maps)

With only government-controlled communication from northeastern Nigeria, there is a dearth of information about what territory Boko Haram actually controls.However, Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops in Nigeria often are better informed about reality on the ground than anybody else because their networks of local parishes staffed by priests cover most of the country.Hence the recent statement by the Roman Catholic archbishop of Maiduguri about Boko Haram deserves attention. The archbishop, Oliver Dashe Doeme, was born in 1960 and was made bishop of Maiduguri in 2009. Read more »

Kidnapping, Ransoms, and the Sahel

by John Campbell
Former French hostage Daniel Larribe is welcomed by relatives as French President Francois Hollande looks on on the tarmac upon their arrival at Villacoublay military airport, near Paris, October 30, 2013 (Jacky Naegelen/Courtesy Reuters). Former French hostage Daniel Larribe is welcomed by relatives as French President Francois Hollande looks on on the tarmac upon their arrival at Villacoublay military airport, near Paris, October 30, 2013 (Jacky Naegelen/Courtesy Reuters).

Rukmini Callimachi has a chilling story on the front page of today’s New York Times, “Paying Ransoms, Europe Bankrolls Qaeda Terror.” It is a must-read. The story is based on a wide range of interviews with victims, government officials, counterterrorism experts, and thousands of pages of internal al-Qaeda documents found in Mali. 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 »

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 »

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 »

Ansaru: Who Are They And Where Are They From?

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Evidence is displayed during a hearing for suspected members of al Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb (AQIM) at a military court in Tunis June 9, 2012. (Zoubeir Souissi/Courtesy Reuters) Evidence is displayed during a hearing for suspected members of al Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb (AQIM) at a military court in Tunis June 9, 2012. (Zoubeir Souissi/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Jacob Zenn, an analyst of African Affairs for the Washington D.C.-based think tank, The Jamestown Foundation, and a contributor for the West Point CTC Sentinel.

Ansaru is not a grassroots organization like Boko Haram, the more prominent Islamist militant group in Nigeria. Nonetheless, Ansaru has been more of a threat to Western interests than Boko Haram. Recent evidence also shows that the two groups may be merging. Read more »

Lord’s Resistance Army and Elephant Poaching

by John Campbell
Lords Resistance Army (LRA) fighters arrive at an assembly point in Owiny Ki Bul, 160km (100 miles) south of Juba, Sudan, September 19, 2006. (James Akena/Courtesy Reuters) Lords Resistance Army (LRA) fighters arrive at an assembly point in Owiny Ki Bul, 160km (100 miles) south of Juba, Sudan, September 19, 2006. (James Akena/Courtesy Reuters)

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon reported to the UN Security Council Group of Experts, who monitor the Libyan arms embargo, that Joseph Koney and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) are funding themselves through elephant poaching, as are other armed rebel groups. He commented that Libyan heavy weapons, formerly in Muammar Ghaddafi’s Libyan arsenal, and now scattered prolifically across sub-Saharan conflict areas, are making the poachers more efficient. His report added weight to the growing security concerns associated with elephant poaching, especially across Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Gabon, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Read more »

The Great Green Wall of Africa

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A dried up river filled with sand winds its way across the desert near Gos Beida in eastern Chad June 5, 2008. (Finbarr O'Reilly/Courtesy Reuters). A dried up river filled with sand winds its way across the desert near Gos Beida in eastern Chad June 5, 2008. (Finbarr O'Reilly/Courtesy Reuters).

This is a guest post by Kyle Benjamin Schneps; a dual master’s degree candidate at Columbia University specializing in international security policy and global health initiatives. He is currently completing a graduate internship with the Africa Studies program at Council on Foreign Relations. Read more »

A Nigerian Rubicon or More of the Same?

by John Campbell
A soldier walks past the scene of a bomb explosion in Nigeria's northern city of Kaduna December 7, 2011. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters) A soldier walks past the scene of a bomb explosion in Nigeria's northern city of Kaduna December 7, 2011. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters)

Over the weekend, fighting in the northern Nigerian border town of Baga killed at least 185, according to the New York Times and Nigerian media. The magnitude of the killings leads the Times to conclude that a Rubicon of sorts has been crossed: “The assault marks a significant escalation in the long-running insurgency Nigeria faces in its predominately Muslim north, with Boko Haram extremists mounting a coordinated assault on soldiers using military-grade weaponry.” Read more »

Mali Descends into Hell

by John Campbell
Members of a self-defense militia calling itself the FLN (Front for the Liberation of the North) train in Sevare, about 600 kms (400 miles) northeast of the capital Bamako, July 11, 2012. (Reuters Staff/Courtesy Reuters) Members of a self-defense militia calling itself the FLN (Front for the Liberation of the North) train in Sevare, about 600 kms (400 miles) northeast of the capital Bamako, July 11, 2012. (Reuters Staff/Courtesy Reuters)

Under the best of circumstances, life for Malians has been hard for millennia. The country faces recurrent drought and the Sahara encroaches. The social and economic statistics are poor. That in part was why the country’s stable governance for two decades was so remarkable, and its subsequent collapse such a tragedy. Read more »