John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "Niger Delta"

Nigerian Archbishop Kidnapped, Freed

by John Campbell
Nigerian policemen await the arrival of Inspector-General of Police Mike Okiro in Port Harcourt, July 6, 2007 (Austin Ekeinde/Courtesy) Nigerian policemen await the arrival of Inspector-General of Police Mike Okiro in Port Harcourt, July 6, 2007 (Austin Ekeinde/Courtesy)

Peter Akinola, retired primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) and his driver were kidnapped the day before Christmas as he drove away from his office in Abeokeuta, Ogun state (in Yorubaland). Some reports–but not others–say his daughter was also kidnapped. There are other contradictions and inconsistencies in the details of the episode in the press reports. Read more »

Boko Haram Terror on Northern Nigeria’s Highways

by John Campbell
A woman crosses a deserted road in Bulumkutu, after the military declared a 24-hour curfew over large parts of Maiduguri in Borno State May 19, 2013. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) A woman crosses a deserted road in Bulumkutu, after the military declared a 24-hour curfew over large parts of Maiduguri in Borno State May 19, 2013. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

Drew Hinshaw in the Wall Street Journal reports Boko Haram terror on the four hundred-mile long highway between Kano (northern Nigeria’s largest city) and Maiduguri (the Northeast’s largest city). He reports incidences of chain-saw beheadings of truck drivers at the hands of Boko Haram members, perhaps an indication of the high propaganda value of such brutal murders. Read more »

Amnesty International on Student and Teacher Killings in Northern Nigeria

by John Campbell
Residents survey vehicles damaged after a bomb blast at a primary school in Maiduguri, the capital of Nigeria's Borno state February 29, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) Residents survey vehicles damaged after a bomb blast at a primary school in Maiduguri, the capital of Nigeria's Borno state February 29, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

The horror of student and teacher killings in Nigeria is amplified by Amnesty International’s almost clinical recounting and enumerating of their deaths at the hands of radical jihadists. Its report, “Keep Away from Schools or We’ll Kill You: Education Under Attack in Nigeria” is a grim must-read. Read more »

Boko Haram’s Shekau: He’s Back!

by Guest Blogger for 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)

This is a guest post by Jacob Zenn, an analyst of African Affairs for the Washington D.C.-based think tank, The Jamestown Foundation, and a contributor to the West Point CTC Sentinel.

At least four times since 2009, Nigerian security officials have claimed they have killed brutal Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau, who says he “slaughters infidels like rams.” On August 19, the army spokesman and Nigerian analysts suggested Shekau died in Cameroon after gunshot wounds sustained in a battle in Borno State on June 19. Other officials claimed Cameroonian border guards killed Shekau. Read more »

Nigeria: Anglican Archbishop Joins Ranks of the Kidnapped in Nigeria

by John Campbell
Some 24 hostages of the Philippines sit as they are guarded by militants of the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) at an undisclosed location on the creeks of Niger delta January 31, 2007. (George Esiri/ Courtesy Reuters) Some 24 hostages of the Philippines sit as they are guarded by militants of the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) at an undisclosed location on the creeks of Niger delta January 31, 2007. (George Esiri/ Courtesy Reuters)

Kidnapping of prominent persons for ransom is so common in southern Nigeria that according to the Economist, the press largely ignores it unless the victim is especially prominent. Last year, the mother of Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was kidnapped and released allegedly upon payment of a ransom. In September of this year, the Anglican archbishop of the Niger Delta Province of the Anglian Communion, Ignatus Kattey and his wife were kidnapped in oil-rich Rivers State; she was quickly released, but he was held for nine days. The archbishop told the press that he did not know if a ransom was paid. The police are claiming credit for his release, but the archbishop is emphatic: “The police did not rescue me. They were not the ones who rescued my wife, Beatrice… The police are telling lies, if you cannot trust the police again, then who can you trust? I told the commissioner of police and he has apologized.” Read more »

Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea Greater than in the Horn of Africa

by John Campbell
An Ivory Coast gendarmerie boat is seen at the port of Abidjan, April 23, 2013. (Thierry Gouegnon/Courtesy Reuters) An Ivory Coast gendarmerie boat is seen at the port of Abidjan, April 23, 2013. (Thierry Gouegnon/Courtesy Reuters)

It is official. There is more piracy in the Gulf of Guinea now than off the coast of Somalia. The International Maritime Bureau (IMB), Oceans Beyond Piracy (OBP), and the Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Programme (MPHRP) have published an intriguing report: The Human Cost of Maritime Piracy 2012. It is a fascinating read. It states that 966 sailors were attacked in the Gulf of Guinea and adjoining water in 2012, while 851 were victims of pirate attacks off the Somali coast over the same period. The report analyzes the differences in piracy between the two areas. In West Africa, it mostly takes place in national territorial waters, especially off of Nigeria, rather than in international waters. Vessels awaiting entry into port and those transferring oil from one vessel to another are particularly vulnerable. Rather than kidnapping for ransom as Somali pirates do, West African pirates are after oil cargoes or, in some cases, the personal property to be found on the vessels. Read more »

The New Niger Delta Action Plan: One More Missed Opportunity?

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A door is pictured near an oil spillage site in Ikarama community, Bayelsa state in Nigeria's delta region August 20, 2011. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters) A door is pictured near an oil spillage site in Ikarama community, Bayelsa state in Nigeria's delta region August 20, 2011. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Dr. Deirdre LaPin, co-author of Securing Development and Peace in the Niger Delta (Woodrow Wilson Center, 2011) and a longstanding resident and development expert on Nigeria. Read more »

Delta Militant Insists Goodluck Jonathan Run for President in 2015

by John Campbell
A man walks past election posters for Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan in the Maryland district of the commercial capital Lagos April 16, 2011. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters) A man walks past election posters for Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan in the Maryland district of the commercial capital Lagos April 16, 2011. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters)

President Goodluck Jonathan has refused to say whether he will run for the presidency in 2015, although many Nigerians expect he will. The current efforts among the opposition parties to come together behind a single presidential candidate is based on the assumption that Jonathan will run. Read more »

What Next for Nigeria’s Oil Patch?

by John Campbell
Children stand in front of a stilt house used as a local fuel station near river Nun in Nigeria's oil state of Bayelsa November 27, 2012. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters) Children stand in front of a stilt house used as a local fuel station near river Nun in Nigeria's oil state of Bayelsa November 27, 2012. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters)

With Mali’s implosion, Islamic extremism in the Sahel, and the “Boko Haram” insurgency in Nigeria’s north drawing international attention, the Niger Delta has dropped off the radar of many West Africa watchers. Yet, only five years ago an insurrection there resulted in a major reduction in Nigeria’s oil production and impacted on state revenue. In 2009, then-president Umaru Yar’Adua introduced an “amnesty” that has been continued by President Goodluck Jonathan and ended (or at least reined-in) that cycle of violence. The United States Institute for Peace has just published an assessment of the amnesty by Aaron Sayne. The report is based on a wide range of interviews, but he cautions that it not a rigorous assessment of the amnesty’s success because the necessary data is absent. Nevertheless, the tone of his report is positive. Read more »

South African Court Convicts Nigerian Terrorist

by John Campbell
Nigerian militant leader Henry Okah (L) gestures as he is escorted by police after his sentencing was postponed at a Johannesburg court February 28, 2013. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Courtesy Reuters). Nigerian militant leader Henry Okah (L) gestures as he is escorted by police after his sentencing was postponed at a Johannesburg court February 28, 2013. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Courtesy Reuters).

A South African judge has sentenced Henry Okah, a Nigerian citizen, to twenty-four years in jail for twin car bombings in 2010. The bombings took place in Nigeria’s capital of Abuja on the fiftieth anniversary of the country’s independence. According to the Nigerian press, at least twelve people were killed and thirty-eight were wounded in the attack. Read more »