John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "Human Rights"

Nigeria’s Chibok School Girl Kidnapping Six Months Later

by John Campbell
A member of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign group holds a placard under a bridge on the 140th day of the abduction of 219 schoolgirls from Government Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State, while they were sitting for their final exams, during a protest in Abuja, September 1, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) A member of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign group holds a placard under a bridge on the 140th day of the abduction of 219 schoolgirls from Government Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State, while they were sitting for their final exams, during a protest in Abuja, September 1, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

On the night of April 14-15, 2014 up to three hundred girls from different schools in northeastern Nigeria gathered for their final examinations in the town of Chibok. Instead of taking their tests, they were kidnapped. Three weeks later, on May 5, Boko Haram’s Abubakar Shekau claimed responsibility for the kidnapping. Some victims managed to escape, and the numbers still held in captivity are soft. The figure most often cited by the media is 276. Read more »

Pathetic International Response to Ebola Thus Far

by John Campbell
Supplies, including 100 tons of emergency medical aid, are seen before being loaded on to a 747 aircraft at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport September 20, 2014. (Carlo Allegri /Courtesy Reuters) Supplies, including 100 tons of emergency medical aid, are seen before being loaded on to a 747 aircraft at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport September 20, 2014. (Carlo Allegri /Courtesy Reuters)

Ebola is not showing the international community at its best. Even as Ebola panic seems to be spreading internationally, with possible new cases in Macedonia and the Czech Republic and Ebola deaths in Spain and the United States. Drew Hinshaw and Betsy McKay in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) provide a run-down of which countries are doing what. It is discouraging. Read more »

Is the International Response to Ebola Enough?

by John Campbell
Health workers wearing protective clothing prepare to carry an abandoned dead body presenting with Ebola symptoms at Duwala market in Monrovia August 17, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters) Health workers wearing protective clothing prepare to carry an abandoned dead body presenting with Ebola symptoms at Duwala market in Monrovia August 17, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters)

The Centers for Disease Control has modeled the possible spread of Ebola in Sierra Leone and Liberia. (It did not address Ebola in Guinea.) Based on its computer models, it concludes that the range of victims is between 550,000 and 1,400,000, not taking into account the international Ebola relief efforts. The CDC’s worst-case scenario posts 21,000 cases of Ebola by September 30 and 1,400,000 cases by January 20, 2015. Its best case scenario has the epidemic nearing its end by the same month. The New York Times quotes CDC director Dr. Thomas R. Frieden as saying that the situation was improving because of the arrival of international assistance: “My gut feeling is the actions we’re taking now are going to make that worst-case scenario not come to pass. But it is important to understand that it could happen.” Read more »

Boko Haram Control in Northeast Nigeria

by John Campbell
According to Oliver Dashe Doeme, Archbishop of Maiduguri, Boko Haram has captured twenty-five towns in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa states as of September 19, 2014. This map shows twenty-three of the twenty-five towns reported to be under Boko Haram control. (Thomas Zuber/Developed with Google Maps) According to Oliver Dashe Doeme, Archbishop of Maiduguri, Boko Haram has captured twenty-five towns in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa states as of September 19, 2014. This map shows twenty-three of the twenty-five towns reported to be under Boko Haram control. (Thomas Zuber/Developed with Google Maps)

With only government-controlled communication from northeastern Nigeria, there is a dearth of information about what territory Boko Haram actually controls.However, Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops in Nigeria often are better informed about reality on the ground than anybody else because their networks of local parishes staffed by priests cover most of the country.Hence the recent statement by the Roman Catholic archbishop of Maiduguri about Boko Haram deserves attention. The archbishop, Oliver Dashe Doeme, was born in 1960 and was made bishop of Maiduguri in 2009. Read more »

A Caliphate in Northeastern Nigeria?

by John Campbell
Mike Omeri (R), Coordinator of the National Information Centre, speaks next to Chris Olukolade (L), Nigeria's Director of Defence Information, during a news conference on issues relating to security, multiple bombings and military operations in Nigeria, at the National Briefing Centre in Abuja, July 2, 2014. Mike Omeri (R), Coordinator of the National Information Centre, speaks next to Chris Olukolade (L), Nigeria's Director of Defence Information, during a news conference on issues relating to security, multiple bombings and military operations in Nigeria, at the National Briefing Centre in Abuja, July 2, 2014.

Boko Haram chieftain Abubakar Shekau has announced in a video released on August 24 that the Borno town of Gwoza is now part of a caliphate and will be ruled according to strict Islamic law. The Nigerian Ministry of Defense denies that Boko Haram controls the town and insists that Nigeria’s territorial integrity is intact. According to credible Nigerian media sources, the United Nations Humanitarian Office (OCHA) has confirmed that Gwoza is under rebel control. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update August 16–August 22

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 16 to August 22, 2014. These incidents will be included in the Nigeria Security Tracker. Read more »

Negotiating the Freedom of the Nigerian School Girls

by John Campbell
Nigerian army chief-of-staff General Kenneth Minimah (C) leaves a closed door meeting with senators at the national assembly in Abuja, Nigeria, May 15, 2014. (Joe Penney/Courtesy Reuters) Nigerian army chief-of-staff General Kenneth Minimah (C) leaves a closed door meeting with senators at the national assembly in Abuja, Nigeria, May 15, 2014. (Joe Penney/Courtesy Reuters)

Nigeria is abuzz with speculation about government negotiations with Boko Haram over the release of the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls. According to the Nigerian media, former president Obasanjo has been speaking with personalities “close to” Boko Haram. Names of other possible official negotiators circulate. Speculation is that the parameters of a possible deal would be Boko Haram freeing some or all of the girls in return for the government releasing Boko Haram operatives and/or their wives and children who are currently extra-judicially detained without charge. Read more »

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan Stonewalls on Security Service Human Rights Abuses

by John Campbell
French President Francois Hollande (R) welcomes Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan as he arrives to attend the African Security Summit at the Elysee Palace in Paris, May 17, 2014. (Gonzalo Fuentes/Courtesy Reuters) French President Francois Hollande (R) welcomes Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan as he arrives to attend the African Security Summit at the Elysee Palace in Paris, May 17, 2014. (Gonzalo Fuentes/Courtesy Reuters)

President Jonathan delivered an important speech at the “Regional Summit on Security in Nigeria” held in Paris on May 17, 2014. Its worth a close reading because if provides the Jonathan administration’s “narrative” on Boko Haram, international terrorism, and the school girl kidnapping. Read more »

Contemplating the Nigerian Crises That Attract International Notoriety

by John Campbell
A man holds a placard calling for the release of secondary school girls abducted in the remote village of Chibok, during a protest along a road in Lagos, #BringBackOurGirls, May 14, 2014. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters) A man holds a placard calling for the release of secondary school girls abducted in the remote village of Chibok, during a protest along a road in Lagos, #BringBackOurGirls, May 14, 2014. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters)

There has been no end of atrocities related to the “Boko Haram” insurgency and the Nigerian government’s failed efforts to defeat it. For example, in February, “Boko Haram” slit the throats of some dozens of adolescent boys in the dormitory of a boarding school they attacked and burned. In March, the security services murdered in cold blood hundreds of detainees at Giwa Barracks charged with no crime, an event that is the subject of an Amnesty International report. Read more »

South Africa: What Does “Service Delivery” Really Mean?

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Protesters take part in a service delivery protest in Sebokeng, south of Johannesburg, February 5, 2014. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Courtesy Reuters) Protesters take part in a service delivery protest in Sebokeng, south of Johannesburg, February 5, 2014. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Le Chen, Janice Dean, Jesper Frant, and Rachana Kumar. They are Master of Public Administration students at Columbia University’s School of International Public Affairs. They are working with Ambassador John Campbell on a graduate practicum project, which was made possible by faculty adviser Professor Anne Nelson. A version of this post appeared on the World Policy Blog. Read more »