John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "Religion"

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 »

Christian Martyrs in Nigeria

by John Campbell
Crowds fill Abubakar Gumi central market after authorities relaxed a 24 hour curfew in the northern Nigerian city of Kaduna, June 24, 2012. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters) Crowds fill Abubakar Gumi central market after authorities relaxed a 24 hour curfew in the northern Nigerian city of Kaduna, June 24, 2012. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters)

Citing church representatives, BosNewsLife is carrying the story that Islamists killed five people outside Jos in central Nigeria after they declared their Christian faith. Two other Christians were hurt in the attack. The victims were congregants of the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN), a fundamentalist denomination that claims two million adherents and is based in Jos. Read more »

The Different Faces of Boko Haram

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Burnt houses and ashes are pictured in the aftermath of what Nigerian authorities said was heavy fighting between security forces and Islamist militants in Baga, a fishing town on the shores of Lake Chad, adjacent to the Chadian border, April 21, 2013. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters) Burnt houses and ashes are pictured in the aftermath of what Nigerian authorities said was heavy fighting between security forces and Islamist militants in Baga, a fishing town on the shores of Lake Chad, adjacent to the Chadian border, April 21, 2013. (Stringer/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.

This August, Nigeria’s Sun News conducted an interview with Nasir Isiaku, who said he was a member of an “Islamic movement” called “Shiite,” which sent members to train in Iran before he joined a Boko Haram cell in Kaduna. Isiaku said he fought Christians and “drank his victims’ blood” so their ghosts would not appear in his dreams. Read more »

Ansaru: Who Are They And Where Are They From?

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Evidence is displayed during a hearing for suspected members of al Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb (AQIM) at a military court in Tunis June 9, 2012. (Zoubeir Souissi/Courtesy Reuters) Evidence is displayed during a hearing for suspected members of al Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb (AQIM) at a military court in Tunis June 9, 2012. (Zoubeir Souissi/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 for the West Point CTC Sentinel.

Ansaru is not a grassroots organization like Boko Haram, the more prominent Islamist militant group in Nigeria. Nonetheless, Ansaru has been more of a threat to Western interests than Boko Haram. Recent evidence also shows that the two groups may be merging. Read more »

Media Reports on Security Service Violence in Northern Nigeria

by John Campbell
Soldiers stand during a parade in Baga village on the outskirts of Maiduguri, in the north-eastern state of Borno May 13, 2013. (Tim Cocks/Courtesy Reuters) Soldiers stand during a parade in Baga village on the outskirts of Maiduguri, in the north-eastern state of Borno May 13, 2013. (Tim Cocks/Courtesy Reuters)

Outside observers have largely been dependent on Nigerian military statements for news about the operation of the state of emergency and Abuja’s struggle with the Islamist insurgencies lumped under the moniker of “Boko Haram.” There is little media presence in Borno, Yobe, or Adamawa, and cell phone service was largely suspended. Predictably the military is saying that its campaign is successful and that civilian casualties are few or non-existent. Read more »

Secularism and Diversity in Sudan

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir (2nd R) meets officials from the Government of South Sudan (GOSS) near his South Sudan counterpart Salva Kiir (C) upon his arrival at the Juba Airport in South Sudan April 12, 2013. (Andreea Campeanu/Courtesy Reuters) Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir (2nd R) meets officials from the Government of South Sudan (GOSS) near his South Sudan counterpart Salva Kiir (C) upon his arrival at the Juba Airport in South Sudan April 12, 2013. (Andreea Campeanu/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Tiffany Lynch, a senior policy analyst at the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. The views expressed are her own and may or may not reflect the views of the Commission.  Read more »

Religious Roots of Boko Haram

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Children recite verses from the Koran outside a Koranic school in Bichi village, on the outskirt of Nigeria's northern city of Kano July 25, 2012. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuteres) Children recite verses from the Koran outside a Koranic school in Bichi village, on the outskirt of Nigeria's northern city of Kano July 25, 2012. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuteres)

This is a guest post by Jacob Zenn, a research analyst at The Jamestown Foundation, and Atta Barkindo, a Ph.D. candidate, SOAS, University of London.

Since launching an insurgency in northern Nigeria in September 2010, Boko Haram leader Abu Shekau and his spokesmen have issued more than thirty statements to the Nigerian press and recorded a number of videos to claim attacks. In Shekau’s and other Boko Haram leaders’ pre-2010 sermons, the languages they use are Hausa and Arabic, not English. Shekau goes so far as to claim that the English language in northern Nigeria destroyed the traditional Arabic language education system for the region’s Muslims. We have reviewed Boko Haram sermons from before 2010, and our conclusions below are directly based on our interpretation of them in their original languages. We believe a study of these sermons is an important source for understanding the evolving Islamic insurgency in northern Nigeria that has been mostly overlooked, in part because their languages make them inaccessible to most Western observers. Read more »

Beyond Boko Haram: Nigeria’s History of Violence

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
People pray near the graves of victims of a suicide bomb attack during a memorial service at St. Theresa's Church in Madalla, on the outskirts of Nigeria's capital Abuja, December 23, 2012. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) People pray near the graves of victims of a suicide bomb attack during a memorial service at St. Theresa's Church in Madalla, on the outskirts of Nigeria's capital Abuja, December 23, 2012. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Tiffany Lynch, a senior policy analyst at the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. The views expressed are her own and may or may not reflect the views of the Commission.

For almost two years, stories about violence in Nigeria have focused almost exclusively on Boko Haram’s attacks on churches and Christians; police stations and other government buildings; schools and politicians; and Muslim critics. Forgotten is Nigeria’s longer and more deadly history of religiously-related violence. Too much analysis of Boko Haram fails to take into account how Nigeria’s history of Muslim-Christian violence directly contributes to the Boko Haram phenomenon. Read more »