John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update November 1-November 7

by John Campbell Monday, November 10, 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 November 1 to November 7, 2014. These incidents will be included in the Nigeria Security Tracker.
Read more »

Nigeria’s Boko Haram Moving Toward Governance?

by John Campbell Friday, November 7, 2014
Internally displaced persons (IDP) camp, set up for Nigerians fleeing the violence committed against them by Boko Haram militants, at Wurojuli, Gombe State, September 1, 2014. Internally displaced persons (IDP) camp, set up for Nigerians fleeing the violence committed against them by Boko Haram militants, at Wurojuli, Gombe State, September 1, 2014.

The Nigerian media is reporting that Boko Haram is firmly in control of Mubi, a strategically important town in Adamawa state. Apparently based on telephone contact with city residents and a few interviews with those who have fled, the media is presenting a Boko Haram effort to return the city to normal, albeit run according to Islamic law. Read more »

Nigeria’s Boko Haram Attacks a French Facility

by John Campbell Thursday, November 6, 2014
A logo is seen at a Lafarge concrete production plant in Pantin, outside Paris, April 7, 2014. (Christian Hartmann/Courtesy Reuters) A logo is seen at a Lafarge concrete production plant in Pantin, outside Paris, April 7, 2014. (Christian Hartmann/Courtesy Reuters)

Boko Haram has launched expanded operations in Gombe state, with numerous killings and burnings. Several media outlets report that among Boko Haram’s targets was a Lafarge cement facility in the town of Ashaka. Lafarge is a French owned cement, concrete, and aggregate business that operates around the world. Lafarge has operated its facility in Ashaka since 1979. Read more »

Barbarism Begets Barbarism in Nigeria

by John Campbell Wednesday, November 5, 2014
Nigerian soldiers, handcuffed in pairs, leave the court premises after the opening of the General court-martial in Abuja, October 2, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) Nigerian soldiers, handcuffed in pairs, leave the court premises after the opening of the General court-martial in Abuja, October 2, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

Boko Haram is rightly notorious for its barbarism: whole-sale murder of adolescent boys in schools, the kidnapping of hundreds of girls, beheadings, throat-slittings, and stonings all captured on video for propaganda purposes. There is evidence that Boko Haram is imposing amputations and other cruel and unusual punishments allegedly mandated by Islamic law in the territories it controls. It is revolting that Boko Haram claims that through such methods it is establishing God’s kingdom on earth through justice of the poor by means of the strict application of Islamic law. Read more »

Burkina Faso’s Compaore and Surrogate Wars

by John Campbell Tuesday, November 4, 2014
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 »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update October 25-October 31

by John Campbell Monday, November 3, 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 October 25 to October 31, 2014. These incidents will be included in the Nigeria Security Tracker.
Read more »

Maybe Better News on Ebola?

by John Campbell Friday, October 31, 2014
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 »

Nigeria President Goodluck Jonathan Runs for Re-Election

by John Campbell Thursday, October 30, 2014
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan speaks to the media on the situation in Chibok and the success of the World Economic Forum in Abuja May 9, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan speaks to the media on the situation in Chibok and the success of the World Economic Forum in Abuja May 9, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

Nigeria Turns to Russia, Czech Republic, and Belarus for Military Training and Materiel

by John Campbell Wednesday, October 29, 2014
A member of the military special forces sits on an armoured vehicle near Kramatorsk, September 4, 2014. (Gleb Garanich/Courtesy Reuters) A member of the military special forces sits on an armoured vehicle near Kramatorsk, September 4, 2014. (Gleb Garanich/Courtesy Reuters)

The Vanguard, a Nigerian daily, carried a report on September 28, confirmed by the Ministry of Defense, that 1,200 Nigerian soldiers, police, and Department of State Services (DSS) are being trained by Russian special forces. The Vanguard says that Abuja has turned to Moscow following an “alleged snub or nonchalant attitude of the United States and the United Kingdom toward Nigeria in her fight against Boko Haram terrorists.” Read more »

Rhino Passing

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Tuesday, October 28, 2014
A Southern White Rhino named Bella walks with her one-day-old baby at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary in Nakasongola, north of Uganda's capital Kampala, April 3, 2014. (Edward Echwalu/Courtesy Reuters) A Southern White Rhino named Bella walks with her one-day-old baby at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary in Nakasongola, north of Uganda's capital Kampala, April 3, 2014. (Edward Echwalu/Courtesy Reuters)

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

On October 17, Suni, a northern white rhino, was found dead in his enclosure at Old Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. Suni who died of natural causes was one of only two breeding males left of his subspecies. He was born in the Czech Republic, and at thirty-four he was the youngest male northern white rhino. Read more »