John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "Terrorism"

Alex Perry on Nigeria’s Boko Haram

by John Campbell
The Hunt for Boko Haram: Investigating the Terror Tearing Nigeria Apart, by Alex Perry The Hunt for Boko Haram: Investigating the Terror Tearing Nigeria Apart, by Alex Perry

With its violence, its ritualized executions, its mixture of the utterly archaic with AK-47s and YouTube videos, its behavior modeling based on a nineteenth century interpretation of an obscure medieval Islamic theologian—Boko Haram is hard for us to get our minds around. Read more »

Is Nigeria’s Boko Haram Becoming Territorial?

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

Unlike other radical Islamist groups, such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Nigeria’s Boko Haram has not yet moved to establish a territorial state, nor to provide government services. That may be changing.

The Wall Street Journal and the BBC are reporting that Boko Haram has taken over the strategic town of Damboa, the capital of the Damboa local government area in Borno state, and has raised its black flag over the house of the traditional ruler and in nearby villages. The BBC reports that Boko Haram has established check points around the town and is levying a fee for vehicles to pass. That would imply that it is seeking sources of revenue beyond kidnapping, extortion, or bank robberies. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update July 12 – July 18

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 11 to July 18, 2014. These incidents are also available here, and are included in the Nigeria Security Tracker. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update July 5 – July 11

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 5 to July 11, 2014. These incidents are also available here, and are included in the Nigeria Security Tracker. Read more »

Nigeria: Kidnapping and Escape of Women and Girls

by John Campbell
Campaigners attend a speak-out session for the "Bring Back Our Girls" campaign in the rain near Nigeria's Lagos Marina, July 5, 2014. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters) Campaigners attend a speak-out session for the "Bring Back Our Girls" campaign in the rain near Nigeria's Lagos Marina, July 5, 2014. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters)

Western attention continues to focus on the kidnapping of up to three hundred school girls from the Chibok Secondary School in April. Boko Haram has claimed responsibility. There has been an international outcry and offers of assistance from Western countries. The United States offered surveillance aircraft and unmanned drones. Nevertheless, the girls have not been located, much less rescued. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update June 28 – July 4

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 28 to July 4, 2014. These incidents are also available here, and are included in the Nigeria Security Tracker.
Read more »

Abuja Bomb Blast and Nigerian Security

by John Campbell
The scene of a bombing at the Emab business center is pictured filled with wreckages of burnt cars at the business district in Abuja, June 26, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) The scene of a bombing at the Emab business center is pictured filled with wreckages of burnt cars at the business district in Abuja, June 26, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

On June 25, there was a bomb blast at a shopping center in Wuse 2 in downtown Abuja. According to the police, twenty-one persons were killed. While no group has claimed responsibility, the Nigerian media (and everybody else) points to Boko Haram, the Islamist insurrection, as the most likely perpetrator. 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 »

Soccer: African Islamism and the “Beautiful Game”

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Players from Heegan (blue shirt) compete against players from Gaaddidka (red shirt) during the first soccer match of the Somalia Premier League at the Banadir stadium in Mogadishu, November 8, 2013. (Omar Faruk/Courtesy Reuters) Players from Heegan (blue shirt) compete against players from Gaaddidka (red shirt) during the first soccer match of the Somalia Premier League at the Banadir stadium in Mogadishu, November 8, 2013. (Omar Faruk/Courtesy Reuters)

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

When al Shabaab, the violent Islamist group in Somalia, took control of the capital city Mogadishu, it actively destroyed buildings and overt displays of Western institutions and influences. This included outlawing soccer. The group destroyed cinemas and viewing centers in Mogadishu during the 2010 World Cup to stop residents from watching the matches. Their first successful international attack was the twin explosions in Uganda’s capital Kampala at viewing stations during the tournament. 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 »