John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update August 22-August 28

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 August 22, 2015 to August 28, 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 »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update August 15-August 21

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 August 15, 2015 to August 21, 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 »

Nigeria’s Abubakar Shekau Is Back, If He Ever Left

by John Campbell
Leader of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, speaking on video footage from the Nigerian terrorist network. (AP) Leader of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, speaking on video footage from the Nigerian terrorist network. (AP)

Boko Haram warlord and public face, Abubakar Shekau, was last heard from in March, when he pledged allegiance to the so-called Islamic State.  His silence since then led to speculation that he was dead or had been replaced. Chad’s president, Idriss Deby, recently claimed that Shekau had been replaced as Boko Haram’s leader with a figure unknown to observers. (See Africa in Transition, August 12, 2015.) Deby’s comment led to Shekau issuing an eight minute audio message in Hausa on August 16 in which he said he was still in command. The SITE Intelligence Group, Agence France-Presse, and the BBC have stated that “there is no doubt that the voice is that of Abubakar Shekau.” So, at least we know he is not dead. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update August 8-August 14

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 August 8, 2015 to August 14, 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 »

Boko Haram’s Shekau Replaced? Not So Fast

by John Campbell
Niger's President Mahamadou Issoufou, Benin's President Thomas Boni Yayi, Chad's President Idriss Deby and Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari (L-R) pose during the presentation of the communique of the Summit of Heads of State and Government of The Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, June 11, 2015. Nigeria and its neighbours agreed on Thursday to set up a joint military force to counter Boko Haram, a sign of President Muhammadu Buhari's intent to crush the Islamist militant group early in his tenure. (Courtesy Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde) Niger's President Mahamadou Issoufou, Benin's President Thomas Boni Yayi, Chad's President Idriss Deby and Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari (L-R) pose during the presentation of the communique of the Summit of Heads of State and Government of The Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, June 11, 2015. Nigeria and its neighbours agreed on Thursday to set up a joint military force to counter Boko Haram, a sign of President Muhammadu Buhari's intent to crush the Islamist militant group early in his tenure. (Courtesy Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde)

Chadian President Idriss Deby’s August 11 comments that Abubakar Shekau has been replaced by Mahamat Daoud and that the latter is open to negotiations with Nigeria’s Buhari government, has predictably stirred the Western media. (As of August 12, the story is not yet featured by the Nigerian media.) As is usual with stories about potential negotiations, Western media ties this story to hopes for freedom for the more than 200 Chibok school girls. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update July 4-July 10

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 July 4, 2015 to July 10, 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 »

More on Nigeria’s South African Mercenaries

by John Campbell
A burnt armour tank is seen abandoned along a road in Bazza town after the Nigerian military recaptured it from Boko Haram, in Adamawa state, May 10, 2015. (Courtesy Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye) A burnt armour tank is seen abandoned along a road in Bazza town after the Nigerian military recaptured it from Boko Haram, in Adamawa state, May 10, 2015. (Courtesy Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye)

After almost five years of reverses, the Nigerian federal government largely cleared Boko Haram fighters from the territories they occupied in Borno state–in about five weeks. The Nigerian government has given most of the credit to an allegedly invigorated Nigerian army. There has also been some acknowledgement of the contributions of Chadian and Nigerien forces. There has, however, been little recognition of the role of South African mercenaries, though they are likely to have been crucial to military success against Boko Haram. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update May 2-May 8

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 May 2, 2015 to May 8, 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 »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update April 25-May 1

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 April 25, 2015 to May 1, 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 »

Where is Abubakar Shekau?

by John Campbell
A still from a video of Boko Haram's elusive leader, Abubakar Shekau, October, 2014. A still from a video of Boko Haram's elusive leader, Abubakar Shekau, October, 2014.

There is increased speculation about the whereabouts of Abubakar Shekau in the Nigerian media. His last media broadcast was in early March when he pledged allegiance to the self-proclaimed Islamic State and threatened to disrupt Nigeria’s presidential and gubernatorial elections. Read more »