John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update August 2–August 8

by John Campbell Monday, August 11, 2014
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 2 to August 8, 2014. These incidents are also available here, and are included in the Nigeria Security Tracker. Read more »

South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters and the Labor Aristocracy

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Thursday, August 7, 2014
Supporters of Julius Malema's Economic Freedom Party (EFF) cheer during their party's final election rally in Pretoria, May 4, 2014. (Skyler Reid/Courtesy Reuters) Supporters of Julius Malema's Economic Freedom Party (EFF) cheer during their party's final election rally in Pretoria, May 4, 2014. (Skyler Reid/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.

In his August 5 post on Julius Malema and South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), John Campbell concludes that both may be shoved aside by a responsible, left-wing political party, expected to be created by the Metal Workers Union in time to contest the 2019 national elections. As Campbell mentions, this new party is likely to be well funded with veteran leadership. However, what he views as the Metal Workers Union’s strengths—ample funding and veteran leadership—may be the very characteristics that will make any political party it creates unattractive to those now supporting Malema and the EFF. Read more »

Nigeria’s Chibok School Girls as Suicide Bombers?

by John Campbell Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili, former minister of education and a "Bring Back Our Girls" campaigner, addresses supporters at the Unity Fountain, on the hundredth day of the abductions of more than two hundred school girls by Boko Haram, in Abuja, July 23, 2014 (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters). Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili, former minister of education and a "Bring Back Our Girls" campaigner, addresses supporters at the Unity Fountain, on the hundredth day of the abductions of more than two hundred school girls by Boko Haram, in Abuja, July 23, 2014 (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters).

It has been nearly four months since Boko Haram kidnapped up to three hundred school girls from a school in Chibok, Borno state. Thus far, there has been little public evidence that the government has located them or is about to rescue them. Nor do the offers of assistance from friendly governments such as the United States appear to have had much impact. Frustration is growing, articulated by former education minister Obiageli Ezekwesili, an animator of the #BringBackOurGirls protests in Abuja. Read more »

South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters Making a Splash

by John Campbell Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Members of Julius Malema's Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party demonstrate outside Parliament in Cape Town, June 20, 2014 (Mike Hutchings/Courtesy Reuters). Members of Julius Malema's Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party demonstrate outside Parliament in Cape Town, June 20, 2014 (Mike Hutchings/Courtesy Reuters).

Julius Malema’s political party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), won about 6 percent of the vote in the South Africa’s March national elections. This makes it South Africa’s third largest party, though it remains significantly behind the governing African National Congress (ANC), which won 62 percent of the vote, and the official opposition, the Democratic Alliance, which won 22 percent. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update July 26–August 1

by John Campbell Monday, August 4, 2014
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 26 to August 1, 2014. These incidents are also available here, and are included in the Nigeria Security Tracker. Read more »

Health Workers Pay the Ultimate Price in the West African Fight against Ebola

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Thursday, July 31, 2014
Medical staff working with Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) prepare to bring food to patients kept in an isolation area at the MSF Ebola treatment center in Kailahun, Sierra Leone, July 20, 2014 (Tommy Trenchard/Courtesy Reuters). Medical staff working with Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) prepare to bring food to patients kept in an isolation area at the MSF Ebola treatment center in Kailahun, Sierra Leone, July 20, 2014 (Tommy Trenchard/Courtesy Reuters).

This is a guest post by Mohamed Jallow, grants officer at IntraHealth International, a nonprofit organization that empowers health workers around the world to better serve their communities. A version of this post originally appeared on VITAL, IntraHealth International’s blog. Read more »

Kidnapping, Ransoms, and the Sahel

by John Campbell Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Former French hostage Daniel Larribe is welcomed by relatives as French President Francois Hollande looks on on the tarmac upon their arrival at Villacoublay military airport, near Paris, October 30, 2013 (Jacky Naegelen/Courtesy Reuters). Former French hostage Daniel Larribe is welcomed by relatives as French President Francois Hollande looks on on the tarmac upon their arrival at Villacoublay military airport, near Paris, October 30, 2013 (Jacky Naegelen/Courtesy Reuters).

Rukmini Callimachi has a chilling story on the front page of today’s New York Times, “Paying Ransoms, Europe Bankrolls Qaeda Terror.” It is a must-read. The story is based on a wide range of interviews with victims, government officials, counterterrorism experts, and thousands of pages of internal al-Qaeda documents found in Mali. Read more »

Where Is Nigeria’s Boko Haram Going?

by John Campbell Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Security personnel comb the scene of a bomb explosion at the Sabon Gari bus park in Kano, July 24, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters) Security personnel comb the scene of a bomb explosion at the Sabon Gari bus park in Kano, July 24, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters)

After a weekend of carnage in Kano and two high profile kidnappings in Cameroon—following a nearly successful attempt on the life of former chief of state Muhammadu Buhari—Boko Haram is more than ever a central preoccupation in Nigeria (and now, presumably, in Cameroon). Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update July 19 – July 25

by John Campbell Monday, July 28, 2014
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 »

Civil War within Islam in Nigeria

by John Campbell Thursday, July 24, 2014
National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) staff carry a body bag at the scene of a bombing at Alkali Road in Kaduna, July 23, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters) National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) staff carry a body bag at the scene of a bombing at Alkali Road in Kaduna, July 23, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters)

On July 23, there was an effort to murder two of Nigeria’s prominent Muslim leaders, Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi, a cleric with a large personal following, and Muhammadu Buhari, former head of state. The attempts were two separate operations, though they appear to have been timed close together, in the former northern regional capital of Kaduna. Read more »