John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

Unprecedented Rhino Poaching in 2015

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Friday, May 15, 2015
A ranger walks behind a pair of black rhinoceros at the Imire Rhino and Wildlife Conservation Park near Marondera, east of the capital Harare, September 22, 2014. (Philimon Bulawayo/Courtesy Reuters) A ranger walks behind a pair of black rhinoceros at the Imire Rhino and Wildlife Conservation Park near Marondera, east of the capital Harare, September 22, 2014. (Philimon Bulawayo/Courtesy Reuters)

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

This year rhino poaching has increased significantly in South Africa and Namibia, part of a worsening trend. Since 2007 there has been a 10,000 percent increase in poaching in South Africa alone. An average of twelve rhinos were poached in South Africa between 2000 and 2007 per year; that number ballooned to 1,255 in 2014. Read more »

Sudan’s Recent Elections and Daunting Future

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Thursday, May 14, 2015
Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir (C) casts his ballot during elections in the capital Khartoum April 13, 2015. (Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Courtesy Reuters) Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir (C) casts his ballot during elections in the capital Khartoum April 13, 2015. (Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Aala Abdelgadir, research associate for the Council on Foreign Relation’s Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative.

Last month, Sudan held national elections, and Omar al-Bashir secured another presidential term. Though expected, many commentators are focused on the illegitimacy of al-Bashir’s victory. The election’s results are indeed disappointing, but the real challenge facing Sudan is its uncertain future. The country is struggling with an economic crisis, ethnic conflict, and political gridlock. These must be the focus of politicians and analysts alike if Sudan is ever to regain stability. Read more »

More on Nigeria’s South African Mercenaries

by John Campbell Wednesday, May 13, 2015
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 Monday, May 11, 2015
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 »

Kenya’s Al-Shabaab Problem

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Friday, May 8, 2015
A man participates in a protest against the gunmen attack at the Garissa University, at the Eastleigh neighborhood in Kenya's capital Nairobi, April 8, 2015. (Thomas Mukoya/Courtesy Reuters) A man participates in a protest against the gunmen attack at the Garissa University, at the Eastleigh neighborhood in Kenya's capital Nairobi, April 8, 2015. (Thomas Mukoya/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Aala Abdelgadir, research associate for the Council on Foreign Relation’s Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative.

On October 16, 2011, the Kenyan army, in an ostensibly joint operation with the Somalian and Ethiopian militaries, crossed the border into Somalia and attacked the insurgent group al-Shabaab. In response to the October 16 offensive, al-Shabaab launched an attack in Kenya on October 24, 2011. The attack killed one person. Read more »

Boko Haram’s Sex Slaves?

by John Campbell Thursday, May 7, 2015
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 »

It Is Time for President Obama to Visit Nigeria

by John Campbell Wednesday, May 6, 2015
U.S. President Barack Obama is seen in a mirror behind members of the Nigerian delegation as he meets with Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan (not seen) in New York September 23, 2013. (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters) U.S. President Barack Obama is seen in a mirror behind members of the Nigerian delegation as he meets with Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan (not seen) in New York September 23, 2013. (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters)

Up to now, President Barack Obama has never visited Nigeria. That has been appropriate given the country’s history of rigged elections and the government’s refusal to investigate credible reports of human rights abuses by the security services in the struggle with Boko Haram. The Obama administration did engage with the Jonathan administration, with meetings between the two presidents in Washington and New York, and visits by Secretary of State John Kerry to Abuja. Read more »

For Nigerian Girls Boko Haram Is Not the Only Threat

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Tuesday, May 5, 2015
A girl displaced as a result of Boko Haram attack in the northeast region of Nigeria, rests her head on a desk at Maikohi secondary school camp for internally displaced persons (IDP) in Yola, Adamawa, January 13, 2015. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) A girl displaced as a result of Boko Haram attack in the northeast region of Nigeria, rests her head on a desk at Maikohi secondary school camp for internally displaced persons (IDP) in Yola, Adamawa, January 13, 2015. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Latanya Mapp Frett, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Global, the international arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update April 25-May 1

by John Campbell Monday, May 4, 2015
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 »

African Leaders Silent on Boat People

by John Campbell Friday, May 1, 2015
Shadows from migrants are cast on a makeshift shelter with the written word "Refugee" in Calais, France, April 30, 2015. (Pascal Rossignol/Courtesy Reuters) Shadows from migrants are cast on a makeshift shelter with the written word "Refugee" in Calais, France, April 30, 2015. (Pascal Rossignol/Courtesy Reuters)

Adam Nossiter has published a thought-provoking article in the April 29, 2015, New York Times. He comments on the silence of African leaders regarding the deaths of scores of African boat people who were trying to cross the Mediterranean in search of a better life. While it is true that many of the Mediterranean boat people are from Syria, Afghanistan, and other parts of the world, the majority are African. Read more »