John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "Military"

Alex Perry on Nigeria’s Boko Haram

by John Campbell
The Hunt for Boko Haram: Investigating the Terror Tearing Nigeria Apart, by Alex Perry The Hunt for Boko Haram: Investigating the Terror Tearing Nigeria Apart, by Alex Perry

With its violence, its ritualized executions, its mixture of the utterly archaic with AK-47s and YouTube videos, its behavior modeling based on a nineteenth century interpretation of an obscure medieval Islamic theologian—Boko Haram is hard for us to get our minds around. Read more »

Is Nigeria’s Boko Haram Becoming Territorial?

by John Campbell
A woman from Gwoza, Borno State, displaced by the violence and unrest caused by the insurgency, weeps at a refugee camp in Mararaba Madagali, Adamawa State, February 18, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters) A woman from Gwoza, Borno State, displaced by the violence and unrest caused by the insurgency, weeps at a refugee camp in Mararaba Madagali, Adamawa State, February 18, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters)

Unlike other radical Islamist groups, such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Nigeria’s Boko Haram has not yet moved to establish a territorial state, nor to provide government services. That may be changing.

The Wall Street Journal and the BBC are reporting that Boko Haram has taken over the strategic town of Damboa, the capital of the Damboa local government area in Borno state, and has raised its black flag over the house of the traditional ruler and in nearby villages. The BBC reports that Boko Haram has established check points around the town and is levying a fee for vehicles to pass. That would imply that it is seeking sources of revenue beyond kidnapping, extortion, or bank robberies. Read more »

Nigeria: Kidnapping and Escape of Women and Girls

by John Campbell
Campaigners attend a speak-out session for the "Bring Back Our Girls" campaign in the rain near Nigeria's Lagos Marina, July 5, 2014. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters) Campaigners attend a speak-out session for the "Bring Back Our Girls" campaign in the rain near Nigeria's Lagos Marina, July 5, 2014. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters)

Western attention continues to focus on the kidnapping of up to three hundred school girls from the Chibok Secondary School in April. Boko Haram has claimed responsibility. There has been an international outcry and offers of assistance from Western countries. The United States offered surveillance aircraft and unmanned drones. Nevertheless, the girls have not been located, much less rescued. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update June 21-27

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 June 21 to June 27, 2014. These incidents are also available here, and are included in the Nigeria Security Tracker.
Read more »

“The Chibok Girls—Nigeria’s Side of the Story”

by John Campbell
A protester addresses the "Bring Back Our Girls" protest group as they march to the presidential villa to deliver a protest letter to Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja, calling for the release of the Nigerian schoolgirls in Chibok who were kidnapped by Islamist militant group Boko Haram, May 22, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) A protester addresses the "Bring Back Our Girls" protest group as they march to the presidential villa to deliver a protest letter to Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja, calling for the release of the Nigerian schoolgirls in Chibok who were kidnapped by Islamist militant group Boko Haram, May 22, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan and his administration have been subject to withering criticism at home and abroad over the government’s response to the Boko Haram kidnapping of some three hundred schoolgirls from Chibok.

There are ongoing demonstrations in Nigeria by women, united across ethnic and religious boundaries, calling for greater government engagement in finding and liberating them. Abroad, the episode has highlighted Nigeria’s governance challenges, including corruption and the apparent near-collapse of its military. Read more »

The Dependent South Sudan

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A South Sudanese girl displaced by the conflict carries a younger boy on her back as they walk through mud in a flooded camp for internally displaced people at the UNMISS base in Malakal, Upper Nile State, May 30, 2014.   (Andreea Campeanu/Courtesy Reuters) A South Sudanese girl displaced by the conflict carries a younger boy on her back as they walk through mud in a flooded camp for internally displaced people at the UNMISS base in Malakal, Upper Nile State, May 30, 2014. (Andreea Campeanu/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Allen Grane, former 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. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update June 5 – June 12

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 June 5 to June 12, 2014. These incidents are also available here, and are included in the Nigeria Security Tracker. Read more »

Nigeria’s Churning Is About More Than Elite Politics

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Commanding officers salute during a parade for the Nigeria Army's 150th anniversary celebration in Abuja, July 6, 2013. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) Commanding officers salute during a parade for the Nigeria Army's 150th anniversary celebration in Abuja, July 6, 2013. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

This post was co-authored by John Campbell and  Jim Sanders. Jim was a career, now retired, West Africa watcher for various federal agencies. The views expressed below are their personal views.

The weekend news from Nigeria has been dominated by former central bank governor Lamido Sanusi’s elevation to emir of Kano. Kano is usually considered the second or third in the hierarchy of Nigeria’s traditional Muslim leaders. The emirate system in Nigeria does not operate according to primogeniture, so Sanusi, as a member of the family that provides the emir of Kano, was eligible for the position. Read more »

A Boko Haram Enclave in Northeastern Nigeria?

by John Campbell
People from Gwoza, Borno State, displaced by the violence and unrest caused by the insurgency, are pictured at a refugee camp in Mararaba Madagali, Adamawa State, February 18, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters) People from Gwoza, Borno State, displaced by the violence and unrest caused by the insurgency, are pictured at a refugee camp in Mararaba Madagali, Adamawa State, February 18, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters)

On June 5 the Wall Street Journal reported that Boko Haram has “tightened its grip” over a 1,200 square mile area of northeastern Nigeria. For the sake of comparison, this area is about the size of the state of Rhode Island, including Narragansett Bay. Read more »

Are Nigerian Military Officers in Court Martial for Helping Boko Haram?

by John Campbell
Director of Defense Information, Major General Chris Olukolade addresses the media as they parade the suspected bombers responsible for the Nyanya bus park bomb in Abuja, May 12, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy reuters) Director of Defense Information, Major General Chris Olukolade addresses the media as they parade the suspected bombers responsible for the Nyanya bus park bomb in Abuja, May 12, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy reuters)

Boko Haram operatives often wear Nigerian military uniforms, use weapons from Nigerian armories, and have attacked military facilities where gates were mysteriously left unlocked. The Nigerian military is as fractured along ethnic and religious lines as other parts of Nigerian society. Hence, many Nigerians think that Boko Haram has penetrated successfully the Nigerian military. Read more »