John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "Kenya"

Al Shabaab, AMISOM, and the United States

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A woman walks by an armoured vehicle of the African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) outside the perimeter area of the Kismayu airport, November 11, 2013. (Siegfried Modola/Courtesy Reuters) A woman walks by an armoured vehicle of the African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) outside the perimeter area of the Kismayu airport, November 11, 2013. (Siegfried Modola/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Alex Dick-Godfrey, program coordinator, Studies administration for the Council on Foreign Relations Studies Program.

In a recent article on the Daily Maverick, Simon Allison identifies the “surprisingly perceptive” core message of al Shabaab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane’s recent propaganda audio message. Read more »

Uganda and the African Standby Force

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A soldier from the Somali National Army uses a belt acting as a weapon during a training exercise in Mogadishu, March 28, 2013. (Tobin Jones/Courtesy Reuters) A soldier from the Somali National Army uses a belt acting as a weapon during a training exercise in Mogadishu, March 28, 2013. (Tobin Jones/Courtesy Reuters)

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.

Since 2003, The African Union Peace and Security Council has sought to establish an African Standby Force, whose purpose would be to rapidly respond to conflicts and emergency situations in Africa. Since then the Council has proposed several structural versions of a standby force to fill this rapid reaction role, none of which have yet yielded results. In the meantime it appears that the Ugandan government is using its own military to fill this role. Read more »

Repatriating Somali Refugees: A Kenyan National Security Red Herring

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Refugees who have been living in the outskirts of the proper camps in Hagadera load their belongings onto trucks as they choose to relocate to the newly-opened Kambioos settlement, at Kenya's Dadaab Refugee Camp, situated northeast of the capital Nairobi near the Somali border, August 29, 2011. (Jonathan Ernst/Courtesy Reuters) Refugees who have been living in the outskirts of the proper camps in Hagadera load their belongings onto trucks as they choose to relocate to the newly-opened Kambioos settlement, at Kenya's Dadaab Refugee Camp, situated northeast of the capital Nairobi near the Somali border, August 29, 2011. (Jonathan Ernst/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Alex Dick-Godfrey, program coordinator, Studies administration for the Council on Foreign Relations Studies program. 

Even before the Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi, Kenya last September, the Kenyan government was wary of the threat posed by Somali terrorist organizations, especially al-Shabaab. After the attack, Kenyan lawmakers heightened their focus on the terrorist organization, and swiftly retaliated. There was also an almost immediate backlash against the nearly 500,000 Somali refugees currently in Kenya. Many Kenyans suspect the Westgate Mall attackers came from a refugee camp, and the presence of the camps has long been a source of tension for the communities around them. Kenya would be wise, however, to not disproportionately blame Somali refugees for security issues within Kenya. Read more »

Kenyatta ICC Trial Temporarily Adjourned

by John Campbell
Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta arrives for the extraordinary session of the African Union's Assembly of Heads of State and Government on the case of African relationship with the International Criminal Court (ICC), in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, October 12, 2013. (Tiksa Negeri/Courtesy Reuters) Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta arrives for the extraordinary session of the African Union's Assembly of Heads of State and Government on the case of African relationship with the International Criminal Court (ICC), in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, October 12, 2013. (Tiksa Negeri/Courtesy Reuters)

On December 19, International Criminal Court prosecutor Fatou Bensouda asked the judges to adjourn the trial date of Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta because one of the prosecution’s witnesses is now declining to testify and another has confessed to giving false evidence. She is asking for the adjournment to give her more time to seek other evidence before proceeding with the trial. Read more »

Unpacking Africa’s Growth Forecasts: Potentials and Risks

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Workers are seen in front the construction site of Eskom's Medupi power station, a new dry-cooled coal fired power station, in Limpopo province, June 8, 2012. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Courtesy Reuters) Workers are seen in front the construction site of Eskom's Medupi power station, a new dry-cooled coal fired power station, in Limpopo province, June 8, 2012. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Diptesh Soni. Diptesh is a master’s degree candidate at the Columbia University School of International Public Affairs (SIPA) studying economic and political development. You can read more by him at: https://dipteshsoni.contently.com/. Read more »

Kenya and the International Criminal Court

by John Campbell
A general view shows the opening session of Heads of States and Government of the African Union on the case of African relationship with the International Criminal Court (ICC) in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, October 11, 2013. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters) A general view shows the opening session of Heads of States and Government of the African Union on the case of African relationship with the International Criminal Court (ICC) in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, October 11, 2013. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters)

Significant African opinion appears hostile to the International Criminal Court at The Hague (ICC). In Kenya, President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto, both under ICC indictment for crimes committed during post-election violence in 2007-2009, included in their campaign rhetoric that the ICC was a tool of Western imperialism. This view is shared by many. Read more »

Nairobi’s Westgate Mall Attack: Unanswered Questions

by John Campbell
Women carrying children run for safety as armed police hunt gunmen who went on a shooting spree in Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi September 21, 2013. (Goran Tomasevic/Courtesy Reuters) Women carrying children run for safety as armed police hunt gunmen who went on a shooting spree in Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi September 21, 2013. (Goran Tomasevic/Courtesy Reuters)

The basic narrative of what unfolded at the Westgate Mall still stands. An undetermined number of al-Shabaab operatives entered Nairobi’as upscale Westgate Mall on Saturday, September 21 and killed at least seventy persons, including women and children. The murderers apparently questioned some shoppers, killing those they thought to be Christians while sparing Muslims. At other times they appear to have indiscriminately killed as many as they could. Many, most, or perhaps all of the murderers then slipped away, some apparently after changing clothes. Initial reports claimed that the murderers numbered less than a dozen and included non-Africans, however there remains no hard evidence as to the attackers numbers nor composition. It is also unclear when the murderers vacated the mall, though nominally the “siege” lasted for four days. Read more »

Is the Nairobi Mall Carnage Bigger than Just Kenya?

by John Campbell
Relatives and Muslim faithful bury the slain body of Rehmad Mehbub, 18, who was killed in a crossfire between armed men and the police at the Westgate shopping mall, in Kenya's capital Nairobi September 22, 2013. (Thomas Mukoya/Courtesy Reuters) Relatives and Muslim faithful bury the slain body of Rehmad Mehbub, 18, who was killed in a crossfire between armed men and the police at the Westgate shopping mall, in Kenya's capital Nairobi September 22, 2013. (Thomas Mukoya/Courtesy Reuters)

The weekend’s horrific al-Shabaab attack on Nairobi’s Westgate Mall is still not over, and the context and consequences of the attack are uncertain. Despite Kenyan authorities’ claim of “full control” of the building , at last report the militants were still “hiding” and many hostages remained unaccounted for. Westgate is upmarket, and the victims are also up-market, including the nephew of President Uhuru Kenyatta and his fiancé. Read more »

Kenya Churns Over the International Criminal Court

by John Campbell
Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta attends the opening of the 11th Parliament in the capital Nairobi April 16, 2013. (Noor Khamis/Courtesy Reuters) Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta attends the opening of the 11th Parliament in the capital Nairobi April 16, 2013. (Noor Khamis/Courtesy Reuters)

Deputy President William Ruto’s International Criminal Court (ICC) trial for crimes against humanity associated with the 2007 elections opens September 10 in The Hague. President Kenyatta’s trial is scheduled to open November 12. On September 5 the Kenyan National Assembly passed a motion calling for Kenya to withdraw from the ICC; the passage of the necessary legislation is expected by the end of the month. Read more »

Why U.S. Diplomatic Missions Became Fortresses

by John Campbell
An injured man is removed from the wreckage after a bomb went off in Nairobi August 7. August 8, 1998. (Courtesy Reuters) An injured man is removed from the wreckage after a bomb went off in Nairobi August 7. August 8, 1998. (Courtesy Reuters)

Now overshadowed by 9/11, the August 7, 1998 attacks on the U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in retrospect also crossed a new terror threshold.

Two hundred and one Kenyans as well as twelve American diplomats were killed in Nairobi. Eleven Tanzanians were killed in Dar es Salaam. Many more Kenyans and Tanzanians were wounded in the attacks, which were carried out by al-Qaeda operatives. The United States continues to be responsible for their medical care and rehabilitation. Read more »