John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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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 »

The Boko Haram War Machine

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Pictured above is a T-55 Main Battle Tank similar to the one captured by the Nigerian Military on September 27, 2014. Pictured above is a T-55 Main Battle Tank similar to the one captured by the Nigerian Military on September 27, 2014.

This is a guest post by Allen Grane, research associate for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Studies program. Allen is an officer in the U.S. Army National Guard.

In early September there were reports that the Nigerian military captured a “quad barreled ZSU-23-4 Shilka” anti-aircraft gun that was mounted on a Toyota technical truck, from Boko Haram. Sahara Reporters later confirmed that the Nigerian military captured heavy weapons systems from Boko Haram such as a T-55 tank and a Panhard ERC-90 “Sagaie.” Now that we know the kind of weaponry in Boko Haram’s possession, we are left with two major questions. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update September 26-October 3

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 September 26 to October 3, 2014. These incidents will be included in the Nigeria Security Tracker.
Read more »

Nigeria’s Boko Haram and Heavy Weapons

by John Campbell
DATE IMPORTED:January 22, 2010A soldier mans a machine gun on top of an armoured vehicle outside the central mosque as Muslims pray in Nigeria's central city of Jos, January 22, 2010. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters) DATE IMPORTED:January 22, 2010A soldier mans a machine gun on top of an armoured vehicle outside the central mosque as Muslims pray in Nigeria's central city of Jos, January 22, 2010. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters)

Ebola and Counterinsurgency—A Struggle for Legitimacy

by Guest Blogger for 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. The chartered 747 jet, carrying the largest single shipment of aid to the Ebola zone to date and coordinated by CGI and other U.S. aid organizations, departed the airport on Saturday afternoon bound for West Africa. (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. The chartered 747 jet, carrying the largest single shipment of aid to the Ebola zone to date and coordinated by CGI and other U.S. aid organizations, departed the airport on Saturday afternoon bound for West Africa. (Carlo Allegri/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Colonel Clint Hinote. He is the 2014-2015 U.S. Air Force Military Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. The opinions expressed here are his own.

As the United States sends military forces forward to support the effort to stop Ebola in West Africa, it is striking to see how similar this struggle is to counterinsurgency operations. While American soldiers will not be conducting any combat or law enforcement operations, counterinsurgency concepts are applicable to the deteriorating situation, and these have major implications for the broad coalition joining the fight against Ebola. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update September 19-September 25

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 September 19 to September 25, 2014. These incidents will be included in theNigeria Security Tracker.
Read more »

Boko Haram’s Abubakar Shekau Dead or Alive?

by John Campbell
A poster advertising for the search of Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau is pasted on a wall in Baga village on the outskirts of Maiduguri, in the north-eastern state of Borno May 13, 2013. (Tim Cocks/Courtesy Reuters) A poster advertising for the search of Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau is pasted on a wall in Baga village on the outskirts of Maiduguri, in the north-eastern state of Borno May 13, 2013. (Tim Cocks/Courtesy Reuters)

With his gruesome videos and fierce rhetoric, Abubakar Shekau is the public face of Boko Haram, the Islamist insurrection against the Nigerian secular state centered in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states. However, there is little hard intelligence on the internal dynamics of Boko Haram’s leadership. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update September 13- September 19

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 September 13 to September 19, 2014. These incidents will be included in the Nigeria Security Tracker.
Read more »

Establishing a Sacred Trust

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
U.S. President Barack Obama sits next to the Director of the CDC Tom Frieden (R) and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell (L) as he participates in a briefing, on efforts to control the Ebola virus, at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, September 16, 2014. (Larry Downing/Courtesy Reuters) U.S. President Barack Obama sits next to the Director of the CDC Tom Frieden (R) and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell (L) as he participates in a briefing, on efforts to control the Ebola virus, at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, September 16, 2014. (Larry Downing/Courtesy Reuters)

 

This is a guest post by Colonel Clint Hinote. He is the 2014-2015 U.S. Air Force Military Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. The opinions expressed here are his own.

 

Because what makes us unique on the face of the earth is that as a military if you need something, were going to get it for you. You can trust in that. Read more »

The Military Balance in Northeast Nigeria

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan stands for Kenya's national anthem before the Africa Union Peace and Security Council Summit on Terrorism at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi, September 2, 2014. (Thomas Mukoya/Courtesy Reuters) Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan stands for Kenya's national anthem before the Africa Union Peace and Security Council Summit on Terrorism at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi, September 2, 2014. (Thomas Mukoya/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. Read more »