John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "Conflict"

Nigeria’s Boko Haram as a Peasants’ Revolt

by John Campbell
People 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) People 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)

Over the past two weeks, Nigerian military forces have driven Boko Haram out of several towns in northeast Nigeria. There have also been reports of Cameroonian, Nigerien, and Chadian successes against Boko Haram. President Goodluck Jonathan made a rare visit to the northeast, and he even stopped in Baga, the site of a notorious Boko Haram massacre. All of this seems to support Jonathan’s recent statement that even if Boko Haram is not defeated by the scheduled national elections on March 28, its scope will have been much reduced and it will be possible for elections to take place. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update February 14-February 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 February 14, 2015 to February 20, 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 »

Thoughts on the Chadians, Boko Haram, and Northern Nigeria

by John Campbell
Chadian soldiers participate in the opening ceremony of Flintlock 2015, an exercise organized by the U.S. military in N'Djamena February 16, 2015. Courtesy Reuters/ Emmanuel Braun) Chadian soldiers participate in the opening ceremony of Flintlock 2015, an exercise organized by the U.S. military in N'Djamena February 16, 2015. Courtesy Reuters/ Emmanuel Braun)

Adam Nossiter wrote an article featured in the February 19 issue of the New York Times titled “In Nigeria, Boko Haram Loses Ground to Chadians.” While Nossiter says that it is too early to tell, others have declared that the Chadians have somehow “turned the tide” against Boko Haram. While the Nigerian federal government has remained relatively silent about the Chadians, they too have recaptured terroritory and claimed victories over Boko Haram. Read more »

To Catch a Victim and a Perpetrator: The ICC and Dominic Ongwen

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Dominic Ongwen, a commander of the Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), waits for the start of court procedures as he makes his first appearance at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, January 26, 2015. (Courtesy Reuters/Peter Dejong/Pool) Dominic Ongwen, a commander of the Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), waits for the start of court procedures as he makes his first appearance at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, January 26, 2015. (Courtesy Reuters/Peter Dejong/Pool)

This is a guest post by Cheryl Strauss Einhorn, a journalist and adjunct professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

They’ve got him, but can they get him? That’s the question before the International Criminal Court (ICC) as it finally confronts Dominic Ongwen, the number two commander in Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The Court has been after him for a decade, almost as long as it has been in existence. Read more »

Why Were Nigeria’s Presidential Elections Postponed?

by John Campbell
A vendor displays newspapers with headlines about Nigeria's elections in traffic in Lagos, February 6, 2015. (Courtesy Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye) A vendor displays newspapers with headlines about Nigeria's elections in traffic in Lagos, February 6, 2015. (Courtesy Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye)

On Saturday, Nigeria’s Independent National Elections Commission (INEC) announced that Nigeria’s presidential election would be delayed until March 28. According to Attahiru Jega, chairman of the INEC, National Security Advisor Sambo Dasuki directed the postponement of the February 14 elections for at least six weeks. Dasuki said that starting February 14, the military and security services will launch a campaign against Boko Haram, the militant Islamist movement in northeast Nigeria. Therefore, they can not provide the necessary security for the electoral process. Read more »

Chasing an Elusive Peace in South Sudan

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
South Sudan's president Salva Kiir and rebel commander Riek Machar attend the signing a ceasefire agreement during the Inter Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Summit on the case of South Sudan in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, Feburary 1, 2015 (Courtesty Reuters/ Negeri). South Sudan's president Salva Kiir and rebel commander Riek Machar attend the signing a ceasefire agreement during the Inter Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Summit on the case of South Sudan in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, Feburary 1, 2015 (Courtesty Reuters/ Negeri).

This is a guest post by Aala Abdelgadir, research associate for the Council on Foreign Relation’s Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative.

Earlier this week, after thirteen months of civil war, South Sudan’s warring factions signed an Agreement on the Establishment of a Transitional Government of National Unity. President Salva Kiir and his rival, former vice president Riek Machar, recommitted to a cease-fire. The two factions also agreed to a transitional power-sharing government that will rule for thirty months beginning in July 2015, and they approved the establishment of a truth and reconciliation commission and a judicial body to investigate and address human rights abuses. Read more »

Musings About Nigeria’s Boko Haram and Maiduguri

by John Campbell
An official stands in front of relief materials at a camp for displaced people in Maiduguri in Borno State, January 19, 2015. (Courtesy Reuters/Stringer) An official stands in front of relief materials at a camp for displaced people in Maiduguri in Borno State, January 19, 2015. (Courtesy Reuters/Stringer)

Maiduguri is the capital of Borno state and is the metropole of northeastern Nigeria. It has a federal university and an international airport, co-located with a Nigerian air force base. On the edge of the Sahara, it has long had religious links with Khartoum and been a center of radical Islamic thought. It has become known as the city of Boko Haram’s origin, and the venue where the movement’s leader, Mohammed Yussuf, established his community and was eventually murdered by the police. Most of its indigenous population is Kanuri, but like any big Nigerian city, it is populated by numerous ethnic groups. In pre-colonial times, the jihad of the sultan of Sokoto failed to conquer Borno, and its traditional ruler, the Shehu of Borno, continues to be a significant religious, cultural, and possibly political figure. Maiduguri is primarily a trading center. Even in the best of times, it is very poor, a reflection of the general poverty common to northeast Nigeria. The size of its population is approximately 1.2 million, including many refugees displaced by Boko Haram. Read more »

In Search of Justice for Central Africans

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Internally displaced persons (IDPs) take a break on an armed peacekeeping convoy as they are escorted from the capital Bangui to the northern towns of Kabo and Sido on the border with Chad, April 28, 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Modola). Internally displaced persons (IDPs) take a break on an armed peacekeeping convoy as they are escorted from the capital Bangui to the northern towns of Kabo and Sido on the border with Chad, April 28, 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Modola).

This is a guest post by Tiffany Lynch. She is a senior policy analyst at the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. The views expressed are her own and may or may not reflect the views of the Commission.

In early January, two years after civil war broke out in the Central African Republic (CAR) between the Séléka, a predominantly Muslim rebel faction, and the anti-balaka, a predominantly radical Christian militia, the United Nations International Commission of Inquiry on the Central African Republic publicly announced its conclusion that Christian militias were responsible for the ethnic cleansing of Muslims in this war torn country. Since September 2013, UN officials and independent human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have warned of ethnic cleansing or genocide in CAR. Read more »

What to Expect from the African Union Summit

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
The opening ceremony of the 22nd Ordinary Session of the African Union summit in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, January 30, 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Negeri). The opening ceremony of the 22nd Ordinary Session of the African Union summit in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, January 30, 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Negeri).

This is a guest post by Jason Warner. He is a PhD candidate in African Studies at Harvard University, serving as a U.S. Government Boren National Security Fellow in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Late January in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia brings waves of impenetrable traffic, pan-African flags adorning the central Bole Road, and scarcely a vacant room in the city’s infamously hotel-filled landscape. The cause: the semi-annual African Union (AU) Heads of State Summit, which this year began on Friday, January 23. As the AU’s most important annual meeting kicks into high gear this week, here are some of the more pressing questions that observers and participants will have on their minds. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update January 17-January 23

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 17, 2015 to January 23, 2015. These incidents will be included in the Nigeria Security Tracker. Read more »