John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "governance"

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update November 15-November 21

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 15 to November 21, 2014. These incidents will be included in the Nigeria Security Tracker.
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What’s Next for Burkina Faso?

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Anti-government protesters gather in the Place de la Nation in Ouagadougou, capital of Burkina Faso, October 31, 2014. (Joe Penney/Courtesy Reuters) Anti-government protesters gather in the Place de la Nation in Ouagadougou, capital of Burkina Faso, October 31, 2014. (Joe Penney/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Molly Rapaport, a Research Associate at the Council on Foreign Relations. She recently returned from a Fulbright fellowship in Burkina Faso, where she studied polygamy.

Ça chauffe moins pour le moment au Burkina. Things have cooled off in Burkina Faso, where massive protests three weeks ago led to the October 31 resignation of Blaise Compaoré. Blaise, as he is known colloquially, was president for twenty-seven years and intended to remain in power. When his proposed constitutional revision, which would have allowed him to run again in 2015, went to the National Assembly for a vote, hundreds of thousands of Burkinabe citizens protested. Their message, reinforced by burning the parliament building and tearing down a statue of Blaise, was crystal clear. Protest signs combined the president’s name with that of a terrible virus (making “Ebolaise”), and Burkinabe entreated their fellow citizens to “disinfect” themselves. Read more »

Can the U.S. Help Nigeria Confront Boko Haram?

by John Campbell
Women study Hadith excerpts at Maska Road Islamic School in Kaduna, July 16, 2014. (Joe Penney/Courtesy Reuters) Women study Hadith excerpts at Maska Road Islamic School in Kaduna, July 16, 2014. (Joe Penney/Courtesy Reuters)

For a long time Nigeria was Washington’s most important strategic partner on issues of security and stability in Africa. But, the Boko Haram insurgency and Abuja’s response to it has put that partnership in jeopardy. The movement and the Nigerian government’s failed response to it pose a dilemma for the Obama administration. On the one hand, Boko Haram is repellent, regularly resorting to terror against the highly vulnerable, including the murder and kidnapping of young people in school. On the other hand, the official security forces carry out atrocities against the local population, and the government has thus far failed to address the drivers of the insurgency, including political marginalization, accelerating impoverishment, and rampant corruption. This state of affairs has allowed Boko Haram to ramp up its military campaign in 2014, having killed over 3,600 civilians and seizing control of more than 10 towns in northeast Nigeria. Boko Haram has also carried out cross-border operations, notably in northern Cameroon. Read more »

How Can U.S. Intel Training Help Fight Boko Haram?

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
U.S. President Barack Obama meets with Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan (L) in New York, September 23, 2013. (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters) U.S. President Barack Obama meets with Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan (L) in New York, September 23, 2013. (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters)

Jesse Sloman is a research associate at the Council on Foreign Relations and a reserve officer in the Marine Corps. He served on active duty from 2009 to 2013. The views expressed here are his own. Read more »

Nigeria’s Kidnapped Chibok School Girls and Boko Haram’s Forced Recruitment

by John Campbell
Children are seen in an internally displaced persons (IDP) camp, that was set up for Nigerians fleeing the violence committed against them by Boko Haram militants, at Wurojuli, Gombe State, September 1, 2014. (Samuel Ini/Courtesy Reuters) Children are seen in an internally displaced persons (IDP) camp, that was set up for Nigerians fleeing the violence committed against them by Boko Haram militants, at Wurojuli, Gombe State, September 1, 2014. (Samuel Ini/Courtesy Reuters)

Jacob Zenn has written a thoughtful and important article, “Boko Haram: Recruitment, Financing, and Arms Trafficking in the Lake Chad Region.” It appears in the Sentinel, a publication of the Combating Terrorism Center based at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York. Read more »

Nigeria’s Boko Haram Moving Toward Governance?

by John Campbell
Internally displaced persons (IDP) camp, set up for Nigerians fleeing the violence committed against them by Boko Haram militants, at Wurojuli, Gombe State, September 1, 2014. Internally displaced persons (IDP) camp, set up for Nigerians fleeing the violence committed against them by Boko Haram militants, at Wurojuli, Gombe State, September 1, 2014.

The Nigerian media is reporting that Boko Haram is firmly in control of Mubi, a strategically important town in Adamawa state. Apparently based on telephone contact with city residents and a few interviews with those who have fled, the media is presenting a Boko Haram effort to return the city to normal, albeit run according to Islamic law. Read more »

Nigeria’s Boko Haram Attacks a French Facility

by John Campbell
A logo is seen at a Lafarge concrete production plant in Pantin, outside Paris, April 7, 2014. (Christian Hartmann/Courtesy Reuters) A logo is seen at a Lafarge concrete production plant in Pantin, outside Paris, April 7, 2014. (Christian Hartmann/Courtesy Reuters)

Boko Haram has launched expanded operations in Gombe state, with numerous killings and burnings. Several media outlets report that among Boko Haram’s targets was a Lafarge cement facility in the town of Ashaka. Lafarge is a French owned cement, concrete, and aggregate business that operates around the world. Lafarge has operated its facility in Ashaka since 1979. Read more »

Burkina Faso’s Compaore and Surrogate Wars

by John Campbell
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) meets with Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore at the State Department in Washington, August 4, 2014. (Yuri Gripas/Courtesy Reuters) U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) meets with Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore at the State Department in Washington, August 4, 2014. (Yuri Gripas/Courtesy Reuters)

Herman J. Cohen recently wrote an article for American Foreign Policy Interests discussing Africa’s “surrogate wars.” The revolt against Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore and his departure from office under duress make this article essential reading. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update October 25-October 31

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 October 25 to October 31, 2014. These incidents will be included in the Nigeria Security Tracker.
Read more »

Nigeria Turns to Russia, Czech Republic, and Belarus for Military Training and Materiel

by John Campbell
A member of the military special forces sits on an armoured vehicle near Kramatorsk, September 4, 2014. (Gleb Garanich/Courtesy Reuters) A member of the military special forces sits on an armoured vehicle near Kramatorsk, September 4, 2014. (Gleb Garanich/Courtesy Reuters)

The Vanguard, a Nigerian daily, carried a report on September 28, confirmed by the Ministry of Defense, that 1,200 Nigerian soldiers, police, and Department of State Services (DSS) are being trained by Russian special forces. The Vanguard says that Abuja has turned to Moscow following an “alleged snub or nonchalant attitude of the United States and the United Kingdom toward Nigeria in her fight against Boko Haram terrorists.” Read more »