John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "United States"

Restrained South African Reaction to the Murder of Pierre Korkie

by John Campbell
A police trooper gestures as suspected al-Qaeda militants arrive in an armoured vehicle at the state security court in Sanaa, December 2, 2014. (Khaled Abdullah/Courtesy Reuters) A police trooper gestures as suspected al-Qaeda militants arrive in an armoured vehicle at the state security court in Sanaa, December 2, 2014. (Khaled Abdullah/Courtesy Reuters)

Pierre Korkie was a South African teacher working in Yemen, where his wife, Yolande, did hospital relief work. They were kidnapped by al-Qaeda operatives in May 2013. Yolande Korkie was released without ransom payment in January 2014. Pierre Korkie, however, was held for a $3 million ransom. On December 5, he was murdered by his kidnappers during the course of the failed U.S. effort to free American journalist Luke Somers, who was also killed. Read more »

Gulu and Detroit: Bicycles to the Rescue

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A gold miner uses a bicycle to transport a sack of sandy soil from a small scale mine in Bugiri, 348 km (216 miles) east of Kampala, Uganda's capital February 5, 2013. (Edward Echwalu/Courtesy Reuters) A gold miner uses a bicycle to transport a sack of sandy soil from a small scale mine in Bugiri, 348 km (216 miles) east of Kampala, Uganda's capital February 5, 2013. (Edward Echwalu/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 »

The U.S. Government Will Not Pay Ransom

by John Campbell
A Chinese hostage, who was recently released by militant group Boko Haram, hugs a man upon his arrival at the Nsimalen International Airport in Yaounde in this October 11, 2014 still image taken from video. (Reuter TV/ Courtesy Reuters) A Chinese hostage, who was recently released by militant group Boko Haram, hugs a man upon his arrival at the Nsimalen International Airport in Yaounde in this October 11, 2014 still image taken from video. (Reuter TV/ Courtesy Reuters)

ISIS and other Middle Eastern groups are notorious for kidnapping. However, for radical Islamist groups in the Sahel and northern Nigeria, ransom is also an important source of funding. In Nigeria, and probably elsewhere, most of the victims are indigenous. Families of kidnapping victims routinely pay to secure the release of loved ones. Read more »

How Can U.S. Intel Training Help Fight Boko Haram?

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
U.S. President Barack Obama meets with Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan (L) in New York, September 23, 2013. (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters) U.S. President Barack Obama meets with Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan (L) in New York, September 23, 2013. (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters)

Jesse Sloman is a research associate at the Council on Foreign Relations and a reserve officer in the Marine Corps. He served on active duty from 2009 to 2013. The views expressed here are his own. 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 »

Maybe Better News on Ebola?

by John Campbell
A billboard with a message about Ebola is seen on a street in Conakry, Guinea October 26, 2014. (Michelle Nichols/Courtesy Reuters) A billboard with a message about Ebola is seen on a street in Conakry, Guinea October 26, 2014. (Michelle Nichols/Courtesy Reuters)

The New York Times and other media are reporting a drop in Ebola infection rates and empty beds in the emergency field hospitals set up by the U.S. military in Monrovia. While there is Ebola all along the border between Liberia and Ivory Coast, Abidjan has not reported any cases. The World Health Organization has stated that Nigeria and Senegal are Ebola free. Perhaps even more important, no new Nigerian cases have been announced since the WHO’s declaration. Especially in Liberia, a public communications campaign on Ebola has taken off. Read more »

African Immigrants to the United States

by John Campbell
Yama Sumo (R), a former refugee from civil war in Liberia, sits by her sidewalk vegetable stand outside a housing project in the Park Hill section of Staten Island in New York City, September 20, 2007. (Mike Segar/Courtesy Reuters) Yama Sumo (R), a former refugee from civil war in Liberia, sits by her sidewalk vegetable stand outside a housing project in the Park Hill section of Staten Island in New York City, September 20, 2007. (Mike Segar/Courtesy Reuters)

I have written before about New York’s City’s African-born population. Here, I want to call attention to the current wave of African immigration to the United States. Read more »

Pathetic International Response to Ebola Thus Far

by John Campbell
Supplies, including 100 tons of emergency medical aid, are seen before being loaded on to a 747 aircraft at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport September 20, 2014. (Carlo Allegri /Courtesy Reuters) Supplies, including 100 tons of emergency medical aid, are seen before being loaded on to a 747 aircraft at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport September 20, 2014. (Carlo Allegri /Courtesy Reuters)

Ebola is not showing the international community at its best. Even as Ebola panic seems to be spreading internationally, with possible new cases in Macedonia and the Czech Republic and Ebola deaths in Spain and the United States. Drew Hinshaw and Betsy McKay in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) provide a run-down of which countries are doing what. It is discouraging. Read more »

De Beers Diamond Moves Sales Army from London to Botswana

by John Campbell
A worker at the Botswana Diamond Valuing Company displays a rough diamond during the sorting process at the purpose-built centre in the capital Gaborone, August 26, 2004. (Juda Ngwenya/Courtesy Reuters) A worker at the Botswana Diamond Valuing Company displays a rough diamond during the sorting process at the purpose-built centre in the capital Gaborone, August 26, 2004. (Juda Ngwenya/Courtesy Reuters)

For the past century or so, big mining corporations have pursued their operations in Africa, but their senior management, marketing, and sales have been in Europe or North America. That is changing.

The government of Botswana and De Beers Group, the diamond company, agreed in 2011 that the latter would sort, value, and sell diamonds produced by the company Debswana, a joint 50/50 business venture between Botswana and De Beers that accounts for a third of Botswana’s GDP. For its part De Beers agreed to transfer its London based rough diamond sales to Botswana. The move involves the transfer of professionals, equipment and technology from London to Botswana’s capital, Gaborone. In November 2013, De Beers started diamond sales in Gaborone in a state-of-the-art facility. Batswana, nationals of Botswana, are about 50 percent of the de Beers’ employees in the sales division. Read more »

Is the International Response to Ebola Enough?

by John Campbell
Health workers wearing protective clothing prepare to carry an abandoned dead body presenting with Ebola symptoms at Duwala market in Monrovia August 17, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters) Health workers wearing protective clothing prepare to carry an abandoned dead body presenting with Ebola symptoms at Duwala market in Monrovia August 17, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters)

The Centers for Disease Control has modeled the possible spread of Ebola in Sierra Leone and Liberia. (It did not address Ebola in Guinea.) Based on its computer models, it concludes that the range of victims is between 550,000 and 1,400,000, not taking into account the international Ebola relief efforts. The CDC’s worst-case scenario posts 21,000 cases of Ebola by September 30 and 1,400,000 cases by January 20, 2015. Its best case scenario has the epidemic nearing its end by the same month. The New York Times quotes CDC director Dr. Thomas R. Frieden as saying that the situation was improving because of the arrival of international assistance: “My gut feeling is the actions we’re taking now are going to make that worst-case scenario not come to pass. But it is important to understand that it could happen.” Read more »