John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

‘Bling’ and the Nigerian Political Class

by John Campbell Friday, September 16, 2016
A Nigerian man looks at a vehicle by German car maker Porsche in Lagos, March 14, 2012. (Reuters/Monica Mark) A Nigerian man looks at a vehicle by German car maker Porsche in Lagos, March 14, 2012. (Reuters/Monica Mark)

Nigeria is famous for the delight in display taken by the governing class and the rich. Hence, native dress for women and men is made of rich fabrics and bedecked with jewelry, residences often have gold-plated taps, and, at one point, the Hummer appeared to be the vehicle of choice. Read more »

Elephants in Greater Danger Than Previously Thought

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Thursday, September 15, 2016
A bird flies over a family of elephants walking in the Amboseli National Park, southeast of Kenya's capital Nairobi, April 25, 2016. (Reuters/Thomas Mukoya) A bird flies over a family of elephants walking in the Amboseli National Park, southeast of Kenya's capital Nairobi, April 25, 2016. (Reuters/Thomas Mukoya)

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

On August 31, The Great Elephant Census announced  disturbing news: the African savannah elephant population is  approximately 350,000, down from about 470,000, The study showed a 30 percent decline in the population between 2007 and 2014. This represents an 8 percent annual decrease in savannah elephant numbers, largely due to poaching. Read more »

The American University of Nigeria and the Adamawa Peace Initiative

by John Campbell Wednesday, September 14, 2016
A woman, who was freed by the Nigerian army from Boko Haram militants in the Sambisa forest, feeds her child at the Malkohi camp for internally displaced people in Yola, Nigeria, May 3, 2015.  (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde) A woman, who was freed by the Nigerian army from Boko Haram militants in the Sambisa forest, feeds her child at the Malkohi camp for internally displaced people in Yola, Nigeria, May 3, 2015. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde)

The following text is the entirety of John Campbell’s speech delivered at Winning the Peace in Northeast Nigeria, hosted by the Congressional Nigerian Caucus and the American University of Nigeria, Yola, in Washington, D.C., September 12, 2016. Read more »

Protesting Power: Ethnic Demonstrations Continue in Ethiopia

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Tuesday, September 13, 2016
A policeman attempts to control protesters chanting slogans during a demonstration over what they say is unfair distribution of wealth in the country at Meskel Square in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, August 6, 2016. (Reuters/Tiksa Negeri) A policeman attempts to control protesters chanting slogans during a demonstration over what they say is unfair distribution of wealth in the country at Meskel Square in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, August 6, 2016. (Reuters/Tiksa Negeri)

This is a guest post by Zara Riaz, a research specialist in the Politics Department at Princeton University.

In the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia stands out among neighbors for its political and economic stability. Recent protests and escalating violence, however, expose Ethiopia’s longstanding political tensions and pose a serious threat to the government’s ability to maintain its strong hold. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker Weekly Update: September 3 – September 9

by John Campbell Monday, September 12, 2016
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 September 3, 2016 to September 9, 2016. 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 Boko Haram: Now, They are Killing Each Other

by John Campbell Friday, September 9, 2016
A Boko Haram flag flies in Damasak, Nigeria March 24, 2015. (Reuters/Joe Penney) A Boko Haram flag flies in Damasak, Nigeria March 24, 2015. (Reuters/Joe Penney)

Agence France Press (AFP) is carrying a report of fighting between the Boko Haram factions led respectively by Abubakar Shekau and Abu Musab al-Barnawi. The fighting took place in villages near Lake Chad: Yewle, Arafa, and Zuwa. The number killed appears to have ranged from three to “several” to “unspecified.” Nevertheless, the report has an unusual degree of specificity that lends it credibility, though the Nigerian military declined to comment when contacted by AFP. Based on eye-witness reports, the al-Barnawi faction seems to have been the aggressor. Read more »

“Desire for Theocracy”

by John Campbell Thursday, September 8, 2016
People gather at the mosque located outside the palace of the emir of Zazzau to watch the Durbar parade in Zaria, Kaduna state, Nigeria, September 26, 2015. (Reuters/Stringer) People gather at the mosque located outside the palace of the emir of Zazzau to watch the Durbar parade in Zaria, Kaduna state, Nigeria, September 26, 2015. (Reuters/Stringer)

Emma Green has published in The Atlantic her interview with Shadi Hamid, author of Islamic Exceptionalism. Her interview amounts to a riff of his book’s arguments. His focus is on why Muslims, especially in Europe, would turn to violent extremism. It has insights that are also applicable to jihadi movements in Africa, such as Boko Haram. Read more »

Murder and Rape in South Africa

by John Campbell Wednesday, September 7, 2016
Police duck bricks thrown during a protest by students over planned increases in tuition fees at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, October 23, 2015. (Reuters/Sydney Seshibedi) Police duck bricks thrown during a protest by students over planned increases in tuition fees at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, October 23, 2015. (Reuters/Sydney Seshibedi)

South Africa’s minister of police reports that the country’s murder rate increased by 4.9 percent from March 2015 to March 2016. That is more than fifty people killed every day. Official statistics show 142.2 sexual offences per day in the same time period, a slight reduction that likely is due to under reporting. South Africa’s population is estimated at approximately fifty-three million. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker Weekly Update: August 27 – September 2

by John Campbell Tuesday, September 6, 2016
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 27, 2016 to September 2, 2016. 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 »

Credibility and the Nigerian Military

by John Campbell Thursday, September 1, 2016
DATE IMPORTED:August 31, 2016Major General  Lucky Irabor, commander of "Operation Lafiya Dole", the counter insurgency operation in the northeast, attends an interview with Reuters in Maiduguri, Borno, Nigeria, August 30, 2016. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde) DATE IMPORTED:August 31, 2016Major General Lucky Irabor, commander of "Operation Lafiya Dole", the counter insurgency operation in the northeast, attends an interview with Reuters in Maiduguri, Borno, Nigeria, August 30, 2016. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde)

During the second half of August, the Nigerian military announced numerous successes in the fight against Boko Haram, the militant, jihadist movement that seeks to overthrow the Nigerian state. On August 30, the commander of the fight against Boko Haram, Lucky Irabor, announced that the military will root the group out from its remaining locations within weeks. Previously, Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman, an army spokesman, said that Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau had been “fatally injured” during an air raid. The same day, the chief of air staff, Air Vice-Marshal Sadiq Abubakar, said that the air force killed over three-hundred Boko Haram militants during night airstrikes on August 19. Read more »