John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "women"

Elections: U.S. Prestige Takes a Hit in Africa

by John Campbell
Katie Hartman, a correspondent for Seriously.TV, poses outside Hofstra University, the site of the September 26 first presidential debate between U.S. Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, in Hempstead, New York, U.S., September 26, 2016. (Reuters/Shannon Stapleton)

The U.S. image in Africa has been based on more than trade and aid. Africans admire and seek to emulate U.S. rule of law and institutions of governance largely free of corruption. They seek to emulate American elections that are credible and accepted by winners and losers. U.S. ethnic and religious pluralism has long been admired. So, too, has been the American tradition of at least some civility in politics. With the ambiguous exception of Liberia, the United States was not a colonial power and public opinion (if not government policy) was generally hostile to colonialism. The success of American democracy and governance made U.S. criticism of “big man” and other sleazy governments credible to Africans. Read more »

Nigeria’s Buhari Administration, the Chibok Girls, and the ICRC

by John Campbell
Some of the twenty-one Chibok schoolgirls released by Boko Haram look on during their visit to meet President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja, Nigeria, October 19, 2016. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde)

The release of twenty-one Chibok school girls kidnapped by Boko Haram almost three years ago has produced national rejoicing, led by the Anglican primate and a Roman Catholic cardinal. It has also been a popular boost for the Buhari administration, in the midst of an economic recession, ongoing Boko Haram attacks, ethnic conflict in the middle belt, and insurgency in the Niger Delta. The media reports that the freed girls look “emaciated” and that perhaps nineteen were accompanied by babies. Of the still missing girls, it is not known how many are still alive, willing, and capable of being released. One of the released girls says that shortly after their capture, they were separated into two groups – those who would convert and become wives, and those who would not convert and become slaves. Of those otherwise able to return, some of them may choose to stay with Boko Haram. Read more »

Popular support of Nigeria’s Boko Haram

by John Campbell
Undated picture released May 18, 2016 by Nigeria army of rescued Chibok schoolgirl and her baby in Maiduguri, Nigeria. She was kidnapped by Boko Haram from her school in Chibok more than two years ago. (Reuters/ Nigeria Military Handout )

How much popular support Boko Haram enjoys in northern Nigeria is a “riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” After all, in the war between Boko Haram and the Nigerian security forces some 20,000 people have died, and up to 2.5 million are internally displaced or are refugees. (All such numbers are at best estimates.) Yet the fact that Boko Haram has persisted since 2009, carries out operations, and continues to hold the high-profile Chibok school girls in captivity indicates an infrastructure and some degree of popular support. Read more »

Violence against Women in Ghana: Unsafe in the Second Safest Country in Africa

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Migrants from Ghana wave flags during Pope Francis' Angelus prayer, in the day of the Migrants' Jubilee in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican, January 17, 2016. (Reuters/Tony Gentile)

Breanna Wilkerson is an intern for the Council on Foreign Relations. She graduated from Spelman College with a degree in Women’s Studies and is the founder of GlobeMed at Spelman. Read more »

South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius Sentenced to Six Years Imprisonment

by John Campbell
Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius leaves the court after his sentence hearing at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, South Africa, July 6, 2016. (Reuters/Marco Longari/Pool)

The tragedy-as-soap-opera starring Paralympian Oscar Pistorius is over. Or, maybe not. Pistorius, a Paralympian gold medalist who also competed in non-disabled events, was a major media celebrity and hero in sports mad South Africa. In 2013, he killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, by shooting her through a closed bathroom door. He maintains that he thought she was an intruder. Read more »

Nigeria’s Female Suicide Bombers

by John Campbell
A security officer scans a woman entering a health clinic at Minawao refugee camp in Minawao, Cameroon, March 15, 2016. (Reuters/Joe Penney)

Boko Haram’s suicide bomber female recruits are objects of fascination and horror. The New York Times, citing the Long War Journal, says that Boko Haram has used at least 105 women and girls for suicide attacks since June 2014. In addition, UNICEF reports that Boko Haram has used an increased number of child suicide bombers; 75 percent of these children are young girls. As a tactic, suicide bombing is remarkably successful, killing hundreds and undermining popular confidence in the Nigerian government’s ability to provide security in areas liberated from Boko Haram. Read more »

Upsurge in Boko Haram Attacks

by John Campbell
People walk along a road as they flee, in Maiduguri in Borno State, Nigeria May 14, 2015. At least six civilians and six members of a youth vigilante group were killed in an attack by Boko Haram militants on Nigeria's northeastern city Maiduguri, two military sources said on May 14, 2015. (Reuters/Stringer)

There has been a significant upsurge in attacks in Nigeria attributed to Boko Haram. At least 200 were killed over the July 4 weekend, which is in the midst of Ramadan. Read more »

Response Needed to Northern Nigeria’s Humanitarian Disaster

by John Campbell
Baby Lurky, whose family was displaced as a result of Boko Haram attacks in the northeast region of Nigeria, sleeps in the shade at a camp for internally displaced people (IDP) in Yola, Adamawa State, January 14, 2015. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

In the May 19 New York Times Adam Nossiter reports on the conditions of women and girls newly freed from Boko Haram captivity. He reports that they are among some 15,000 internally displaced persons (IDP) at a camp in Dalori, Borno, outside of the state capital, Maiduguri. Read more »

Boko Haram’s Sex Slaves?

by John Campbell
A girl who was freed by the Nigerian army from Boko Haram militants in the Sambisa forest looks on at the Malkohi camp for internally displaced people in Yola, Nigeria, May 3, 2015 (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters). A girl who was freed by the Nigerian army from Boko Haram militants in the Sambisa forest looks on at the Malkohi camp for internally displaced people in Yola, Nigeria, May 3, 2015 (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters).

Boko Haram has kidnapped hundreds, perhaps thousands of young women, of whom the Chibok school girls are only the most well-known. Now, many of these girls are being rescued by the Nigerian army after having been abandoned by retreating Boko Haram operatives. Read more »

Buhari’s Strategy for Stopping Boko Haram

by John Campbell
Nigeria's former military ruler and All Progressives Congress presidential aspirant Muhammadu Buhari attends the inauguration ceremony of Osun state governor Rauf Aregbesola in Osogbo. November 27, 2014. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters)

On the one-year anniversary of the Boko Haram kidnapping of more than 200 school girls from Chibok, President-elect Muhammadu Buhari, in a New York Times op-ed, concisely laid out his approach to defeating Boko Haram. His op-ed is remarkable for its candor, realism, and its recognition of his government’s need to address the social and economic drivers of support for Boko Haram. Read more »