John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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A Very Bad Week for Nigeria

by John Campbell
A man walks between vehicles that were destroyed during an attack by Boko Haram militants in Bama, Borno State, February 20, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters) A man walks between vehicles that were destroyed during an attack by Boko Haram militants in Bama, Borno State, February 20, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters)

Below is the Weekly Update for April 12-17 from the Nigeria Security Tracker (NST). It can also be found here. Last week was Holy Week and Passover. It was probably the worst week for violence and carnage since Nigeria’s 1967-70 civil war. Read more »

Nigeria’s Boko Haram: “We Are in Abuja!”

by John Campbell
Burnt and damaged vehicles are seen at the scene of the bomb blast explosion at Nyanyan, Abuja April 14, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) Burnt and damaged vehicles are seen at the scene of the bomb blast explosion at Nyanyan, Abuja April 14, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

In a video released over the weekend, Boko Haram warlord Abubakar Shekau took responsibility for the April 14 bombing at the suburban Abuja bus station that killed at least seventy-five people and probably many more. He claimed to be physically present in Abuja. He was dismissive of President Goodluck Jonathan, whom he characterized as beholden to President Barack Obama. Read more »

Boko Haram Kidnaps Nigerian School Girls

by John Campbell
A school girl walks past a burnt building in the northern Nigerian city of Maiduguri, August 3, 2009. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuteres) A school girl walks past a burnt building in the northern Nigerian city of Maiduguri, August 3, 2009. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuteres)

A Boko Haram warlord Abubakar Shekau, in his latest video reiterated his war on western education, as well as calling for antigovernment operations throughout Nigeria, with specific reference to Abuja, Lagos, and oil producing areas. Over the past month, there have been successful large-scale operations against the security services in Maiduguri (Giwa Barracks, March 14), in Abuja (an attack on the State Security Services’ headquarters, March 30) and the attack on the Abuja suburb bus station on April 14. At the same time, there are reports of numerous, smaller Boko Haram operations. Read more »

South Sudan Conflict: Personalities, Resources, and Threats

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Rebel fighters walk in a rebel controlled territory in Upper Nile State February 14, 2014. (Courtesy Reuters/Goran Tomasevic) Rebel fighters walk in a rebel controlled territory in Upper Nile State February 14, 2014. (Courtesy Reuters/Goran Tomasevic)

This is a guest post by Allen Grane, intern for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Studies program. Allen is currently an officer in the Army National Guard. His interests are in Africa, conflict, and conflict resolution.

In March, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the international organization that represents east African nations, announced plans to deploy a stabilization and protection force to South Sudan by mid-April. As of April 1, IGAD also announced that peace talks between the warring factions in South Sudan were suspended for a month. There is no update on the development of the stabilization force. Read more »

American “Quality” Press and Nigeria

by John Campbell
Crowd gather at the scene of a bomb blast at a bus terminal in Nyayan, Abuja April 14, 2014. (Courtesy Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde) Crowd gather at the scene of a bomb blast at a bus terminal in Nyayan, Abuja April 14, 2014. (Courtesy Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde)

On April 15, arguably the most influential of the American print press carried the story of the horrific April 14 bombings in Abuja. The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post among others all had stories or photographs on their front pages. Read more »

Weekly Map of Political and Ethnic Violence in Nigeria

by John Campbell
Bomb experts search for evidences in front of buses at a bomb blast scene at Nyanyan in Abuja April 14, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) Bomb experts search for evidences in front of buses at a bomb blast scene at Nyanyan in Abuja April 14, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

Holy Week in Nigeria is off to an ugly start. A bomb detonated during rush hour at a bus station in Abuja’s suburb Nyana on April 14, killed at least seventy-one people, destroyed at least sixteen “luxury buses” and twenty-four mini buses. Nobody has yet claimed responsibility, but it has the marks of a “Boko Haram” operation. Read more »

Medicines Sans Frontiers Critical of UN Mission in South Sudan

by John Campbell
People displaced by recent fighting wait to get water inside a United Nations Mission in South Sudan  camp in Malakal, Upper Nile State March 3, 2014. (Andreea Campeanu/Courtesy Reuters) People displaced by recent fighting wait to get water inside a United Nations Mission in South Sudan camp in Malakal, Upper Nile State March 3, 2014. (Andreea Campeanu/Courtesy Reuters)

Medicines sans Frontiers (MSF –“Doctors Without Borders”) issued a detailed criticism of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) for its alleged failure to improve conditions at the Tomping displaced persons camp in Juba. UNMISS is trying close the camp and remove the displaced persons elsewhere. This will pose logistical challenges during the rainy season, now underway. Read more »

Weekly Incidents of Violence in Nigeria

by John Campbell
Lanterns hang on the wall in a house where gunmen locked in forty-two people and set it on fire, in Angwan Gata, Kaura Local Government Kaduna State March 20, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) Lanterns hang on the wall in a house where gunmen locked in forty-two people and set it on fire, in Angwan Gata, Kaura Local Government Kaduna State March 20, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

The Nigeria Security Tracker (NST) project has developed a new infographic: “Weekly Incidents.” I anticipate publishing this new infographic weekly to show incidents of political violence on a more geographically precise and timely basis. It builds on the NST. The methodology and the definitions of the NST and “Weekly Incidents” are the same. Read more »

Nigerian Human Rights Organization Calls for an Inquiry into March 30 Deaths at Security Services Headquarters

by John Campbell
An army vehicle is seen parked at the entrance of the LEA primary school refugee centre, following a raid by gunmen who killed over 100 people last Friday at Angwan Gata, Kaura local government Kaduna State, March 20, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) An army vehicle is seen parked at the entrance of the LEA primary school refugee centre, following a raid by gunmen who killed over 100 people last Friday at Angwan Gata, Kaura local government Kaduna State, March 20, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

Access to Justice, a distinguished Nigerian human rights organization, has released a statement which questions the official explanation for the shoot-out between the security forces and alleged Boko Haram detainees on March 30 in Abuja at the headquarters of the State Security Services. The incident resulted in the death of twenty-one detainees. In a published statement on April 2, the executive director, Joseph Otteh, in effect demolishes the official explanation of what happened and calls for an independent inquiry, which would be published and available to the public. He also calls for any person that killed a detainee without lawful justification to be brought to justice. Read more »

Crimes Against Humanity and Nigeria’s Giwa Barracks

by John Campbell
A soldier examines a wall riddled with bullets, from an attack by Boko Haram militants, in front of a house in Bama, Borno State, February 20, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters) A soldier examines a wall riddled with bullets, from an attack by Boko Haram militants, in front of a house in Bama, Borno State, February 20, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters)

Amnesty International, the London-based non-governmental human rights organization, has issued a report, “Nigeria: More than 1,500 Killed in North-Eastern Nigeria in Early 2014.” Of particular interest is its dissection of what happened on March 14 at Giwa Barracks, the largest military facility in Maiduguri, Borno State. Read more »