John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update October 18-October 24

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 October 18 to October 24, 2014. These incidents will be included in the Nigeria Security Tracker.
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Central African Republic: Forgotten Crisis

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Internally displaced women from Bangui attend a community meeting in Bambari June 16, 2014.
(Goran Tomasevic/Courtesy Reuters) Internally displaced women from Bangui attend a community meeting in Bambari June 16, 2014. (Goran Tomasevic/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Thomas Zuber, intern for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Studies program. He is currently pursuing a Master’s in International Political Economy and Development at Fordham University. 

The Ebola crisis in West Africa has distracted international attention from developments in other parts of Africa, notably in the Central African Republic (CAR). On September 15, the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Central African Republic (MINUSCA) initiated peacekeeping operations in a country divided by civil war. It began working alongside two thousand French soldiers already on the ground and is integrating African Union troops into what will be a twelve thousand strong peacekeeping mission. Read more »

Delaying President Kenyatta’s Justice

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta smiles as he appears before the International Criminal Court in The Hague October 8, 2014. (Peter Dejong/Pool/Courtesy Reuters) Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta smiles as he appears before the International Criminal Court in The Hague October 8, 2014. (Peter Dejong/Pool/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Cheryl Strauss Einhorn, a journalist and adjunct professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

Last week, two “firsts” occurred in Africa: Read more »

Ebola Threatens ‘Africa Rising’ and Strains Relations Across the Continent: A Look at the Southern Africa Example

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A boy stands near posters displaying a government message against Ebola at Duwala market in Monrovia August 17, 2014. (2Tango/Courtesy Reuters) A boy stands near posters displaying a government message against Ebola at Duwala market in Monrovia August 17, 2014. (2Tango/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Brooks Marmon, Accountability Architect at the Accountability Lab.  Brooks was previously based in the Lab’s Liberia office and recently completely an extended assignment in Zimbabwe and South Africa. Read more »

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 »

Africa on the UN Security Council

by John Campbell
The United Nations Security Council votes on a resolution on the sidelines of the 69th United Nations General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York September 24, 2014. (Adrees Latif/Courtesy Reuters) The United Nations Security Council votes on a resolution on the sidelines of the 69th United Nations General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York September 24, 2014. (Adrees Latif/Courtesy Reuters)

First, a primer. The UN Security Council consists of fifteen members. Five are permanent and have the power to veto all resolutions. These member states are China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In addition, there are ten non-permanent members that are elected for two-year terms by the UN membership in the General Assembly. Read more »

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 »

Negotiations to Free Nigeria’s Kidnapped Chibok School Girls

by John Campbell
Rachel Daniel, 35, holds up a picture of her abducted daughter Rose Daniel, 17, as her son Bukar, 7, sits beside her at her home in Maiduguri May 21, 2014. Rose was abducted along with more than 200 of her classmates on April 14 by Boko Haram militants from a secondary school in Chibok, Borno state. (Joe Penney/Courtesy Reuters) Rachel Daniel, 35, holds up a picture of her abducted daughter Rose Daniel, 17, as her son Bukar, 7, sits beside her at her home in Maiduguri May 21, 2014. Rose was abducted along with more than 200 of her classmates on April 14 by Boko Haram militants from a secondary school in Chibok, Borno state. (Joe Penney/Courtesy Reuters)

The Nation is carrying credible reports of negotiations between the Jonathan administration and Boko Haram that would swap the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls for nineteen Boko Haram “commanders.”  The negotiations will resume after the Eid-el-Kabir holiday, October 4. The sticking point appears to be that Boko Harm wants to release thirty girls — fifteen Christians, fifteen Muslims – to test Abuja’s commitment while the government is insisting that all of the girls be released at once. Read more »

Is the International Response to Ebola Enough?

by John Campbell
Health workers wearing protective clothing prepare to carry an abandoned dead body presenting with Ebola symptoms at Duwala market in Monrovia August 17, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters) Health workers wearing protective clothing prepare to carry an abandoned dead body presenting with Ebola symptoms at Duwala market in Monrovia August 17, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters)

The Centers for Disease Control has modeled the possible spread of Ebola in Sierra Leone and Liberia. (It did not address Ebola in Guinea.) Based on its computer models, it concludes that the range of victims is between 550,000 and 1,400,000, not taking into account the international Ebola relief efforts. The CDC’s worst-case scenario posts 21,000 cases of Ebola by September 30 and 1,400,000 cases by January 20, 2015. Its best case scenario has the epidemic nearing its end by the same month. The New York Times quotes CDC director Dr. Thomas R. Frieden as saying that the situation was improving because of the arrival of international assistance: “My gut feeling is the actions we’re taking now are going to make that worst-case scenario not come to pass. But it is important to understand that it could happen.” 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) 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 »