John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "Religion"

Ten Books for Approaching Religious Conflict in Nigeria

by John Campbell
A newspaper front page reporting the death of Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe lies on a street in Calabar, Cross River State, southeast Nigeria, March 23, 2013. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) A newspaper front page reporting the death of Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe lies on a street in Calabar, Cross River State, southeast Nigeria, March 23, 2013. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

The Tony Blair Faith Foundation has just published Emily Mellgard’s “Must Reads on Religious Conflict in Nigeria.” Read more »

Boko Haram: A Different Perspective

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Burnt-out cars are seen at the scene of a blast in Abuja, June 25, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) Burnt-out cars are seen at the scene of a blast in Abuja, June 25, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/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 »

South Africa: Missions, Transformation, and the Legacy of Apartheid

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Anglican altar server Akin Ajayi, eleven, waits in the church as people attend a special Sunday morning service dedicated to Nelson Mandela at St. George's Cathedral in Cape Town, December 8, 2013. (Mark Wessels/Courtesy Reuters) Anglican altar server Akin Ajayi, eleven, waits in the church as people attend a special Sunday morning service dedicated to Nelson Mandela at St. George's Cathedral in Cape Town, December 8, 2013. (Mark Wessels/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.

Tom and Dorothy Linthicum spoke at Christ Church in Old Town, Alexandria, Virginia last Sunday about their experiences in South Africa. They recently returned from a year of teaching, preaching, and listening in Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa, at the College of the Transfiguration, the only residential Anglican seminary in southern Africa. 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 »

Youth in Nigeria’s Boko Haram

by John Campbell
Boys recite verses from the Koran at an Almajiri Islamic school in Maiduguri, May 24, 2014. (Joe Penney/Courtesy Reuters) Boys recite verses from the Koran at an Almajiri Islamic school in Maiduguri, May 24, 2014. (Joe Penney/Courtesy Reuters)

For a movement that is destabilizing Nigeria, “the giant of Africa,” we have remarkably few hard facts about Boko Haram.

Some of the questions that we don’t have answers to—or at least, that there is no consensus about—include:

 

  • How many operatives does it have?
  • Where does its funding come from?
  • How much popular support does it have?
  • What is its leadership structure?
  • What kind of assistance does it receive from outside Nigeria?
  • Why do people join?
  • Read more »

Central African Republic: Chaos Could Further Radicalize the Conflict

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A Seleka fighter takes a break during a patrol as he searches with other Seleka fighters for anti-Balaka Christian militia members near the town of Lioto, June 6, 2014. (Goran Tomasevic/Courtesy Reuters) A Seleka fighter takes a break during a patrol as he searches with other Seleka fighters for anti-Balaka Christian militia members near the town of Lioto, June 6, 2014. (Goran Tomasevic/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Emily Mellgard, research associate for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Studies program.

In September 2014 twelve thousand United Nations peacekeepers are slated to phase out and replace two thousand French troops and to assimilate six thousand African Union troops in the Central African Republic (CAR). The French forces currently in the CAR intervened to halt a political and humanitarian catastrophe and prevent what many feared would amount to genocide. The situation the UN peacekeepers inherit in September will in many ways be worse. Read more »

Kidnapped Girls Galvanize Nigerian Public

by John Campbell
Mothers of kidnapped school girls react during a meeting with the Borno State governor in Chibok, Maiduguri, Borno State, April 22, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters) Mothers of kidnapped school girls react during a meeting with the Borno State governor in Chibok, Maiduguri, Borno State, April 22, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters)

The kidnapping of more than two hundred schools girls, and the security services’ inability to find and free them, appears to have engaged Nigerian opinion nationwide, far more so than any other atrocity associated with the “Boko Haram” insurgency. Read more »

The Central African Republic: Where Elections Could Do More Harm Than Good

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
(L-R) Archbishop of Bangui Dieudonne Nzapalainga; Bangas Nicolas, a minister in the evangelical church; and imam Oumar Kobine Layama, representative of the Muslim community in Bangui attend during a meeting between religious representatives, Bangui residents and African and French peacekeeping forces, in Bangui, February 10, 2014. (Luc Gnago/Courtesy Reuters) (L-R) Archbishop of Bangui Dieudonne Nzapalainga; Bangas Nicolas, a minister in the evangelical church; and imam Oumar Kobine Layama, representative of the Muslim community in Bangui attend during a meeting between religious representatives, Bangui residents and African and French peacekeeping forces, in Bangui, February 10, 2014. (Luc Gnago/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Emily Mellgard, research associate for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Studies program.

Elections are often seen as progress toward democracy in Africa. Elections confer legitimacy on governments, especially abroad. However, in some conflicts, conducting elections credible enough to confer legitimacy is an unrealistic goal. Instead there are “election-like-events.” These may even exacerbate internal cleavages within a society. Rushing into elections in the Central African Republic will not resolve the breakdown of order there and could make it worse. Read more »

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 »

Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Under Fire and the Ghost of Biafra

by John Campbell
Nigeria's Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala attends a session at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, January 26, 2012. (Christian Hartmann/Courtesy Reuters) Nigeria's Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala attends a session at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, January 26, 2012. (Christian Hartmann/Courtesy Reuters)

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the minister of finance in Goodluck Jonathan’s government, is widely respected by the international economic community. A veteran of the World Bank, she served as finance minister in Olusegun Obasnajo’s second administration (2003-2007) and successfully negotiated Paris Club debt relief. Read more »