John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Nigeria Security Tracker Weekly Update: September 10 – September 16

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 September 10, 2016 to September 16, 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 »

Nigeria Security Tracker Weekly Update: August 27 – September 2

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 August 27, 2016 to September 2, 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 »

The Sub-Saharan Security Tracker

by John Campbell
Volunteers set up eight thousand candles in the shape of the African continent as part of a demonstration entitled "Africa needs medicine now" at the parliament square in Berne, Switzerland December 1, 2005. (Reuters/Pascal Lauener) Volunteers set up eight thousand candles in the shape of the African continent as part of a demonstration entitled "Africa needs medicine now" at the parliament square in Berne, Switzerland December 1, 2005. (Reuters/Pascal Lauener)

The Council on Foreign Relations’ Africa Program has just “soft-launched” a new online tool we call the Sub-Saharan Security Tracker (SST). We anticipate a roundtable at the Council’s New York and Washington offices to introduce formally the SST. In the meantime, it is available for use. Read more »

Boko Haram Tied to the Self-Proclaimed Islamic State

by John Campbell
Libyan soldiers man a checkpoint in Wadi Bey, west of the Islamic State-held city of Sirte, February 23, 2016. (Reuters/Ismail Zitouny) Libyan soldiers man a checkpoint in Wadi Bey, west of the Islamic State-held city of Sirte, February 23, 2016. (Reuters/Ismail Zitouny)

Especially after Boko Haram “face” Abubakar Shekau’s March 2015, pledge of allegiance to the self-proclaimed Islamic State, there has been speculation that the two movements are drawing closer together. However, there has up to now been little evidence of tactical or strategic cooperation. That could be changing. Read more »

AU Vote to Leave the International Criminal Court of Little Consequence

by John Campbell
Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta attends the opening ceremony of the 26th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) at the AU headquarters in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, January 30, 2016. (Reuters/Tiksa Negeri) Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta attends the opening ceremony of the 26th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) at the AU headquarters in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, January 30, 2016. (Reuters/Tiksa Negeri)

Led by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, the African Union (AU) voted by a huge margin in favor of a proposal for withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC). In the aftermath of the vote, President Jacob Zuma reiterated his threat that South Africa would withdraw from the ICC’s jurisdiction: “Our strongly held view is that it is now impossible, under the circumstances, for South Africa to continue its participation…” The AU chairman, Chadian President Idriss Deby, repeated the regular criticism that the ICC is biased against Africa: “Elsewhere in the world, many things happen, many flagrant violations of human rights, but nobody cares.” Read more »

What to Watch: Africa 2016

by John Campbell and Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Boys play on the roof of the entrance to a football stadium in Gao February 20, 2013. (Reuters/Joe Penney) Boys play on the roof of the entrance to a football stadium in Gao February 20, 2013. (Reuters/Joe Penney)

While western governments are currently transfixed on events in Iraq and Syria, it is important that they do not forget Africa. Boko Haram has become the world’s deadliest terrorist organization and Libya is increasingly becoming a base of operations for the Islamic State. Below, CFR’s Africa program outlines six African issues to watch in 2016. While they could certainly affect the lives of millions of Africans, these issues could also have serious implications for international politics. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update December 5-December 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 December 5, 2015 to December 11, 2015. 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 »

Boko Haram Resurgence

by John Campbell
A signboard rests against a wall in a compound in Michika town, after the Nigerian military recaptured it from Boko Haram, in Adamawa State, May 10, 2015. (Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye) A signboard rests against a wall in a compound in Michika town, after the Nigerian military recaptured it from Boko Haram, in Adamawa State, May 10, 2015. (Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye)

President Muhammadu Buhari has repeatedly said that the Nigerian security services would destroy Boko Haram by December. Recently, he has walked back from that optimistic prediction. The reality is that Boko Haram of late has been resurgent. Associated Press (AP), reports that Boko Haram destroyed a Nigerian military base at the end of November and occupied the town of Gulak, in Adamawa state. The military fled, leaving local “self-defense fighters” to reoccupy Gulak, which they held until military re-reinforcements arrived. Separately, a military intelligence officer confirmed that 107 soldiers remain missing about a week after a battle in which Boko Haram also captured and drove away a government T-72 tank. In a third episode, the Xinhua news agency reported on November 30 that an unspecified number of girls were kidnapped from Bam village, in Yobe state. The raiders, presumed to be Boko Haram, sang Arabic choruses and killed at least seven persons. As in other Boko Haram female kidnappings, the perpetrators separated the adolescent and unmarried women from those that were married. The report is not clear as to whether only the younger women were taken away or all of the women. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update November 7-November 13

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 November 7, 2015 to November 13, 2015. 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 »

Boko Haram: “The World’s Deadliest Terror Organization”

by John Campbell
Security personnel rush towards the site of a car bomb explosion near a stadium in the northeastern Nigerian city of Gombe, February 2, 2015. (Reuters/ Afolabi Sotunde) Security personnel rush towards the site of a car bomb explosion near a stadium in the northeastern Nigerian city of Gombe, February 2, 2015. (Reuters/ Afolabi Sotunde)

According to the Institute for Economics and Peace’s most recent Global Terrorism Index, Boko Haram is the “world’s deadliest terror organization.” Their figures claim that Boko Haram was responsible the death of 6,665 people in 2014. The self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS) was responsible for 6,073 during that same period. Read more »