John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "Revolution"

Nigeria’s Kidnapped Chibok School Girls and Boko Haram’s Forced Recruitment

by John Campbell
Children are seen in an internally displaced persons (IDP) camp, that was set up for Nigerians fleeing the violence committed against them by Boko Haram militants, at Wurojuli, Gombe State, September 1, 2014. (Samuel Ini/Courtesy Reuters) Children are seen in an internally displaced persons (IDP) camp, that was set up for Nigerians fleeing the violence committed against them by Boko Haram militants, at Wurojuli, Gombe State, September 1, 2014. (Samuel Ini/Courtesy Reuters)

Jacob Zenn has written a thoughtful and important article, “Boko Haram: Recruitment, Financing, and Arms Trafficking in the Lake Chad Region.” It appears in the Sentinel, a publication of the Combating Terrorism Center based at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York. Read more »

Barbarism Begets Barbarism in Nigeria

by John Campbell
Nigerian soldiers, handcuffed in pairs, leave the court premises after the opening of the General court-martial in Abuja, October 2, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) Nigerian soldiers, handcuffed in pairs, leave the court premises after the opening of the General court-martial in Abuja, October 2, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

Boko Haram is rightly notorious for its barbarism: whole-sale murder of adolescent boys in schools, the kidnapping of hundreds of girls, beheadings, throat-slittings, and stonings all captured on video for propaganda purposes. There is evidence that Boko Haram is imposing amputations and other cruel and unusual punishments allegedly mandated by Islamic law in the territories it controls. It is revolting that Boko Haram claims that through such methods it is establishing God’s kingdom on earth through justice of the poor by means of the strict application of Islamic law. Read more »

Burkina Faso’s Compaore and Surrogate Wars

by John Campbell
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) meets with Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore at the State Department in Washington, August 4, 2014. (Yuri Gripas/Courtesy Reuters) U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) meets with Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore at the State Department in Washington, August 4, 2014. (Yuri Gripas/Courtesy Reuters)

Herman J. Cohen recently wrote an article for American Foreign Policy Interests discussing Africa’s “surrogate wars.” The revolt against Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore and his departure from office under duress make this article essential reading. Read more »

Nigeria’s Boko Haram and Heavy Weapons

by John Campbell
DATE IMPORTED:January 22, 2010A soldier mans a machine gun on top of an armoured vehicle outside the central mosque as Muslims pray in Nigeria's central city of Jos, January 22, 2010. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters) DATE IMPORTED:January 22, 2010A soldier mans a machine gun on top of an armoured vehicle outside the central mosque as Muslims pray in Nigeria's central city of Jos, January 22, 2010. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters)

Boko Haram’s Abubakar Shekau Dead or Alive?

by 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)

With his gruesome videos and fierce rhetoric, Abubakar Shekau is the public face of Boko Haram, the Islamist insurrection against the Nigerian secular state centered in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states. However, there is little hard intelligence on the internal dynamics of Boko Haram’s leadership. Read more »

A Boko Haram Enclave in Northeastern Nigeria?

by John Campbell
People from Gwoza, Borno State, displaced by the violence and unrest caused by the insurgency, are pictured at a refugee camp in Mararaba Madagali, Adamawa State, February 18, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters) People from Gwoza, Borno State, displaced by the violence and unrest caused by the insurgency, are pictured at a refugee camp in Mararaba Madagali, Adamawa State, February 18, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters)

On June 5 the Wall Street Journal reported that Boko Haram has “tightened its grip” over a 1,200 square mile area of northeastern Nigeria. For the sake of comparison, this area is about the size of the state of Rhode Island, including Narragansett Bay. Read more »

The Changing Repertoire of Protest

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A soldier guards a road during an operation to disperse people protesting against the removal of fuel subsidies in Lagos 16/01/2012. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters) A soldier guards a road during an operation to disperse people protesting against the removal of fuel subsidies in Lagos 16/01/2012. (Akintunde Akinleye/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.

In his later years, American journalist Lincoln Steffens looked back with skepticism on his work. His muckraking essays in McClure’s magazine exposed government corruption, but he doubted that they contributed to enduring change. Revolutions in Mexico and the Soviet Union impressed him and seemed more effective than reform in advancing society. With respect to them he famously commented, “I have seen the future, and it works.” Read more »