John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "Conflict"

The Future of Islamic State Operations in Africa

by John Campbell
A fighter of Libyan forces allied with the U.N.-backed government aims his weapon as he takes up position inside a ruined house at the front line of fighting with Islamic State militants in Ghiza Bahriya district in Sirte, Libya, November 9, 2016. (Reuters/Ismail Zitouny)

As the self-proclaimed Islamic State loses ground in Syria and Iraq, there is increasing concern that it will gradually shift its operations to Africa. Indeed, in late 2016, Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Bagdhadi claimed that the group had shifted elements of command, media, and wealth to Islamic State “provinces in north Africa and west Africa.” However, in a useful article Joseph Siegle of the Africa Center for Strategic Studies convincingly argues that the Islamic State is not well established in those areas of Sub-Saharan Africa where extremist Islamist groups operate. The two most violent groups, Boko Haram and al-Shabaab, predate the formation of the Islamic State and are not dependent on it for operational or tactical support. Furthermore, it is the Wahhabism of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states that is the major ideological foundation of radical, Jihadi Islam in sub-Saharan Africa, rather than the Islamic State. Read more »

Nigerian Army Abuse of Civilians

by John Campbell
A Nigerian soldier practices marksmanship during Flintlock 2016, a U.S.-led international training exercise with African militaries in Thies, Senegal, February 11, 2016. (REUTERS/Sylvain Cherkaoui)

There have been a series of credible reports on the Nigerian army’s abuse of civilians in the struggle against the jihadist movement Boko Haram. A story on the front page of the February 28, New York Times cites a particular village where residents said that there were no Boko Haram present. Apparently, the soldiers did not believe the villagers and concluded that it was nest of Boko Haram. In response, the army proceeded to torch the village and slaughter the majority of its male population. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker Weekly Update: January 14 – January 20

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 January 14 to January 20, 2017. 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 »

Possible End to the Gambia Crisis

by John Campbell
Gambian refugees in a wooden canoe approach a beach in the Senegalese village of Niafarang, Senegal, January 17, 2017. (Reuters/Emma Farge)

Adama Barrow was sworn-in January 19 as the president of the Gambia at his country’s embassy in Dakar. He was the victor in the Gambia’s presidential elections on December 11. However, Yahya Jammeh, the loser of the election, who has ruled Gambia since 1994, refuses to step down. The members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) with the Senegalese at the lead have sent in military forces. The UN Security Council, which convened today, announced its support of Barrow, but emphasized pursuing a political transition first. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker Weekly Update: January 7 – January 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 January 7 to January 13, 2017. 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 »

Delta Militant Group Turns Against Buhari

by John Campbell
A militant of the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) guards hostages of the Philippines at an undisclosed location on the creeks of Niger Delta, January 31, 2007. (Reuters/George Esiri)

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) announced New Year’s Day that it had passed a vote of no confidence in President Buhari. Prior to the 2015 election, MEND had endorsed President Muhammadu Buhari, rather than Goodluck Jonathan. Read more »

After Shift from East to West, Maritime Piracy Remains Threat to U.S. Seafarers and Interests

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A machine gun is seen on a sandbag on a boat off the Atlantic coast in Nigeria's Bayelsa state, December 19, 2013. (Reuters/Stringer)

This is a guest post by Michael Clyne. Michael is an assistant director at Drum Cussac, a global risk management consultancy.

When President Obama took office nearly eight years ago, his first national security test came within one-hundred days, not from al-Qaeda or the self-proclaimed Islamic State, but pirates. It was the rescue of Captain Richard Phillips, the merchant mariner kidnapped aboard U.S. container-ship Maersk Alabama off the Somali coast, which triggered the president’s first known standing order for lethal force. At the time, the Gulf of Aden, which separates the Middle East from East Africa, was the world’s piracy hotspot, spawned from the lawless destitution of lower Somalia. Read more »

Nigeria Claims $4.7 billion Lost Due to Oil Attacks

by John Campbell
Smoke and flames rise from a pipe-line fire in Ebute-Oko near Lagos November 30, 2000. The fire at the leaking oil pipeline, believed to have been started by a nearby cooking fire, has killed more than 60 people, many of them fishermen in wooden canoes that were engulfed by the flaming liquid. More than a dozen burned bodies littered a beachhead at the village of Ebute-Oko which faces the central business district of Lagos across a lagoon.

Maikanti Baru, the group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company stated on December 14 that the company’s subsidiary Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) lost 1.5 trillion naira (about $4.9 billion) from militant and criminal attacks on its oil production facilities to date in 2016. Baru went on to say that NPDC recorded fifty-nine separate security incidents that resulted in crude production being shut down or deferred. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker Weekly Update: December 3 – December 9

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 3, 2016 to December 9, 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: November 26 – December 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 November 26, 2016 to December 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 »