John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "Sahel"

Nigeria’s Cupboard is Bare

by John Campbell
Villagers stand near jerrycans containing crude oil collected at the shore of the Atlantic ocean near Orobiri village, days after Royal Dutch Shell's Bonga off-shore oil spill, in Nigeria's delta state December 31, 2011. Amnesty International called into question Royal Dutch Shell's accounting in Nigeria for oil spill amounts and causes, saying the oil major was seeking to avoid compensation payments and damage to its reputation. Picture taken December 31, 2011. (Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye) Villagers stand near jerrycans containing crude oil collected at the shore of the Atlantic ocean near Orobiri village, days after Royal Dutch Shell's Bonga off-shore oil spill, in Nigeria's delta state December 31, 2011. Amnesty International called into question Royal Dutch Shell's accounting in Nigeria for oil spill amounts and causes, saying the oil major was seeking to avoid compensation payments and damage to its reputation. Picture taken December 31, 2011. (Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye)

According to the media, President Muhammadu Buhari said on June 23 that Nigeria’s treasury is “virtually empty.” In order to document this he has promised to release a report on the size of Nigeria’s revenue and debt in about four weeks. He also says that he will recover billions of dollars that have been stolen under previous administrations, and that the United States and other countries will assist Nigeria in the recovery of the stolen money. Read more »

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 »

Muhammadu Buhari Moves Against Boko Haram

by John Campbell
Nigeria's President-elect Muhammadu Buhari departs after meeting with Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron at Downing Street in London, England, May 23, 2015. (Reuters/Neil Hall) Nigeria's President-elect Muhammadu Buhari departs after meeting with Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron at Downing Street in London, England, May 23, 2015. (Reuters/Neil Hall)

The Nigeria Security Tracker shows that Boko Haram activity has escalated over the past two weeks, though it is still below the levels seen before the March elections when there was widespread fighting involving government security services. Buhari has visited Niger and Chad to consult with heads of state about next moves, and he is at present at the G-7 meeting in Germany. According to the Nigerian media Boko Haram is at the top of his agenda. Read more »

United Nations: Harsh Realities and Hard Lessons

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A barefoot girl jumps over an open drain filled with rubbish at Tomping camp in Juba, South Sudan, January 10, 2014. (Andreea Campeanu/Courtesy Reuters) A barefoot girl jumps over an open drain filled with rubbish at Tomping camp in Juba, South Sudan, January 10, 2014. (Andreea Campeanu/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Alex Dick-Godfrey, program coordinator, Studies administration for the Council on Foreign Relations Studies Program.

International peacekeeping missions in Sudan and South Sudan received a lot of bad press last week from a number of different sources. Together these reports challenge a basic tenant of United States (U.S.) policy toward Africa–that peacekeeping missions, in their current form, work. 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 »

Mali’s Elections and the Issues of Kidal

by John Campbell
Soldiers from the Tuareg rebel group MNLA sit in a pickup truck in the northeastern town of Kidal February 4, 2013. (Cheick Diouara/Courtesy Reuters) Soldiers from the Tuareg rebel group MNLA sit in a pickup truck in the northeastern town of Kidal February 4, 2013. (Cheick Diouara/Courtesy Reuters)

France and the United States are leading the push for elections to proceed on schedule in Mali in late July. The urgency reflects the view that elections are crucial to ending the rift in Bamako and to restoring the legitimacy of the Malian government, which was tarnished by a military coup and a subsequent feckless interim government. But, for elections to have meaning, they must take place throughout Mali. Read more »

Tracking the Traffickers: East African Human Trafficking Networks

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Refugees are seen during a visit by UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres to the Shagarab Eritrean Refugees camp at Kassala in East Sudan January 12, 2012. (Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Courtesy Reuters) Refugees are seen during a visit by UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres to the Shagarab Eritrean Refugees camp at Kassala in East Sudan January 12, 2012. (Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Courtesy Reuters)

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

The implosion of Mali and the recent abduction of a French family in Cameroon have brought heightened attention to the culture of kidnapping and trafficking in the western Sahel. Read more »

UN Security Council Unanimously Authorizes UN Mission in Mali

by John Campbell
French soldiers speak to a Nigerian soldier on patrol in the northern city of Gao, Mali February 9, 2013. (Francois Rihouay/Courtesy Reuters). French soldiers speak to a Nigerian soldier on patrol in the northern city of Gao, Mali February 9, 2013. (Francois Rihouay/Courtesy Reuters).

On April 25, the Security Council approved a UN “peacekeeping” force of 12,600 for Mali. They asked the UN Secretary General to appoint a Special Representative for Mali, and called on member states to provide troops, police, and the necessary equipment. It also authorized the secretary general to approve cooperation between the UN mission in Mali and the UN missions in Liberia and Ivory Coast for the temporary sharing of logistical and administrative support. Read more »

Boko Haram Recruitment Strategies

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
BAUCHI, Nigeria
Members of an local Islamic group lie on the ground at a police station after their arrest in the northeastern city of Bauchi, July 25, 2009. (Ardo Hazzad/Courtesy Reuters). BAUCHI, Nigeria Members of an local Islamic group lie on the ground at a police station after their arrest in the northeastern city of Bauchi, July 25, 2009. (Ardo Hazzad/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.

April 2013 marks two and a half years since Boko Haram launched its first attack on a Bauchi prison in September 2010. Since May 2011, another group, Ansaru, which likely has close connections to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and focuses on kidnapping foreigners, has also been active in northern Nigeria. Though both groups are relatively new, there is enough information available to identify some of their recruitment methods. Read more »

French President’s Camel Eaten

by John Campbell
Camels stand in a farm in Benghazi, February 11, 2013. (Esam Al-Fetori/Courtesy Reuters) Camels stand in a farm in Benghazi, February 11, 2013. (Esam Al-Fetori/Courtesy Reuters)

You read this right. The British media, citing French sources, is having a field day with the report that the camel given to French president Francois Hollande during his February 2013 visit to Mali, has been eaten by its care-takers. According to the French media, the minister of defense broke the news to Hollande. Embarrassed, a Malian official said, “as soon as we heard of this, we quickly replaced it with a bigger and better-looking camel,” according to Reuters. Read more »