John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update June 13-June 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 June 13, 2015 to June 19, 2015. This update also represents violence related to Boko Haram in Cameroon, Chad, and Niger. These incidents will be included in the Nigeria Security Tracker. Read more »

South African Comedian in the United States

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Comedian Jon Stewart greets the audience as he tapes Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" at the University of Denver in Denver, August 26, 2008. (Eric Thayer/Courtesy Reuters) Comedian Jon Stewart greets the audience as he tapes Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" at the University of Denver in Denver, August 26, 2008. (Eric Thayer/Courtesy Reuters)

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

On March 30, Comedy Central’s the Daily Show announced that 31-year old Trevor Noah will replace John Stewart as the host. As the Daily Show’s twitter handle put it: Noah is just “another guy in late night from Soweto.” The announcement of his new position has drawn a great deal of attention, both positive and negative. Read more »

Nigerian First Lady on the Campaign Trail

by John Campbell
Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan and his wife Patience arrive for a dinner with the French President and other dignitaries as part of the Summit for Peace and Security in Africa at the Elysee Palace in Paris, December 6, 2013. (Benoit Tessier/Courtesy Reuters) Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan and his wife Patience arrive for a dinner with the French President and other dignitaries as part of the Summit for Peace and Security in Africa at the Elysee Palace in Paris, December 6, 2013. (Benoit Tessier/Courtesy Reuters)

First Lady Dame Patience Jonathan has a big personality and is a powerful political figure. She holds multiple Nigerian university degrees. She has been the permanent secretary in the Bayelsa state government, usually the most senior civil service position. She was appointed by the governor who is a political ally of her husband, President Goodluck Jonathan. She has consistently advocated on behalf of more women in national life. She also acquired brief notoriety in the United States when she initially described the Chibok kidnapping as a fraud designed to embarrass her husband. Read more »

Nigerian Religious Leaders Advise Political Candidates

by John Campbell
Presidential aspirant and former Nigerian military ruler Muhammadu Buhari reacts before presenting his manifesto at All Progressives Congress (APC) party convention in Lagos, December 11, 2014. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters) Presidential aspirant and former Nigerian military ruler Muhammadu Buhari reacts before presenting his manifesto at All Progressives Congress (APC) party convention in Lagos, December 11, 2014. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Emily Mellgard. Emily is a researcher for the Tony Blair Faith Foundation working on their Religion & Geopolitics resource (religionandgeopolitics.org) in London, England, and a former research associate for the CFR Africa program. Read more »

Kano, Nigeria, Mosque Attack Likely Aimed at Governor, Emir

by John Campbell
Security and emergency agency staff investigate the Kano Central Mosque bombing scene in Kano November 29, 2014. Gunmen set off three bombs and opened fire on worshippers at the main mosque in north Nigeria's biggest city Kano on Friday, killing at least 81 people, witnesses and officials said, in an attack that bore the hallmarks of Islamist Boko Haram militants. (Stringer/ Courtesy Reuters) Security and emergency agency staff investigate the Kano Central Mosque bombing scene in Kano November 29, 2014. Gunmen set off three bombs and opened fire on worshippers at the main mosque in north Nigeria's biggest city Kano on Friday, killing at least 81 people, witnesses and officials said, in an attack that bore the hallmarks of Islamist Boko Haram militants. (Stringer/ Courtesy Reuters)

The November 28 attack on worshippers at Kano’s Central Mosque killed at least 130, according to the Nigerian media. No group has claimed responsibility, though most observers appear to think it was Boko Haram. Read more »

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 »