John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update July 4-July 10

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 July 4, 2015 to July 10, 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 »

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)

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 »

Mapping Mogadishu and the Problem of Warlord Politicians

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
People stand in front of a building destroyed during a fight between al Shabaab militants against African Union and Somali Government forces in Mogadishu June 26, 2012. (Goran Tomasevic/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Jim Sanders, a career, now retired, West Africa watcher for various federal agencies. The views expressed below are his personal views and do not reflect those of his former employers.

Somalia is clawing its way out of twenty years of war-torn chaos. Some are proposing initiatives that use innovative technology to assist in state building and recovery, but they face a struggle against Somalia’s warlord-dominated past. Many former warlords remain in power at various levels of government and civil society. This dynamic of warlord versus technology is therefore becoming a lively discussion. Read more »

Mapping the Nigerian State of Emergency

by John Campbell
Soldiers from Lagos, part of an expected 1,000 reinforcements sent to Adamawa state to fight Boko Haram Islamists, walk near trucks as they arrive with the 23rd Armoured Brigade in Yola May 20, 2013. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters)

Emily Mellgard coauthored this post. Emily is the Africa research associate at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Information about the state of emergency in the three northern Nigerian states of Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa comes almost exclusively from government sources. Cell phones no longer operate and there are few journalists in the area; though some have been able to make contact with refugees fleeing across the border into Cameroon and Niger. The government claims that as many as 2,000 troops were deployed within twenty-four hours of President Goodluck Jonathan’s declaration of the state of emergency. They are accompanied by air and ground support, including military jets, helicopters, and tanks. But we cannot confirm these claims from independent sources. The troops appear to have been compiled from those already deployed in other parts of Nigeria, Mali, and Liberia. Read more »