John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

Burundi: What Went Wrong?

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Wednesday, July 15, 2015
A protester who is against Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza and his bid for a third term shouts in Bujumbura, Burundi, June 4, 2015. (Courtesy of Reuters/Goran Tomasevic) A protester who is against Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza and his bid for a third term shouts in Bujumbura, Burundi, June 4, 2015. (Courtesy of Reuters/Goran Tomasevic)

This is a guest post by Claire Wilmot, an intern for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Program. She is a master of global affairs candidate at the University of Toronto.

Over the weekend, 170 opposition fighters were captured and thirty-one killed by Burundian armed forces in the Chibitoke region (near the borders of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo). This is the latest in a series of violent incidents following President Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid to run for a third term in office in violation of Burundi’s constitution. Last week Nkurunziza’s party, the National Council for the Defense of Democracy–Forces for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD), announced victory in the parliamentary elections, despite an opposition boycott and the UN proclamation that the vote was not free, fair, or credible. Once a post-conflict success story, Burundi now threatens to relapse into violence, raising questions about what went wrong in the peacebuilding process. Read more »

The Resurgence of Nigeria’s Boko Haram

by John Campbell Tuesday, July 14, 2015
President Muhammadu Buhari addresses members of the National Working Committee during the meeting of the All Progressives Congress (APC) party at the headquarters of the party in Abuja, Nigeria July 3, 2015. (Courtesy Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde) President Muhammadu Buhari addresses members of the National Working Committee during the meeting of the All Progressives Congress (APC) party at the headquarters of the party in Abuja, Nigeria July 3, 2015. (Courtesy Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde)

Boko Haram is back, with a vengeance. In the two weeks from June 27 to July 10, Boko Haram killed 434, according to the Nigeria Security Tracker, a project of the Council on Foreign Relations’ Africa program. Starting July 11, Boko Haram has already killed an additional thirty-five. On July 14, a report surfaced that on July 10 Boko Haram killed at least forty. Its operations appear to be expanding geographically. Not only have there been attacks in the Borno capital of Maiduguri, there has been violence in Kano, Kaduna, and Jos. It is a truism in military circles that with respect to asymmetric warfare, if a government is not winning, it is losing. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update July 4-July 10

by John Campbell Monday, July 13, 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 July 4, 2015 to July 10, 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 »

Nigeria’s President Moves to Pay Civil Service Salaries

by John Campbell Thursday, July 9, 2015
President Muhammadu Buhari addresses members of the National Working Committee during the meeting of the All progressives Congress (APC) party at the headquarters of the party in Abuja, Nigeria, July 3, 2015. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde) President Muhammadu Buhari addresses members of the National Working Committee during the meeting of the All progressives Congress (APC) party at the headquarters of the party in Abuja, Nigeria, July 3, 2015. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde)

Reflecting a drop in government revenue caused by the fall in international petroleum prices, many Nigerian federal and state civil servants have not been paid their salaries, in some cases for up to ten months. To alleviate the hardship, President Muhammadu Buhari has approved what the Nigerian media calls a three-pronged relief package. Read more »

Al-Shabaab’s Ivory Trade, Continued

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Wednesday, July 8, 2015
A Kenya Wildlife Service ranger walks past a pile of 15 tonnes of ivory confiscated from smugglers and poachers before it was burnt to mark World Wildlife Day at the Nairobi National Park, March 3, 2015. (Reuters/Thomas Mukoya) A Kenya Wildlife Service ranger walks past a pile of 15 tonnes of ivory confiscated from smugglers and poachers before it was burnt to mark World Wildlife Day at the Nairobi National Park, March 3, 2015. (Reuters/Thomas Mukoya)

This is a guest-post by Andrea Crosta, co-Founder and Executive Director of Elephant Action League (EAL).

The Elephant Action League (EAL) is appreciative of this opportunity to justify our findings on al-Shabaab’s involvement in the ivory trade and our decision to not share certain details gleaned from confidential sources due to security and confidentiality reasons. Read more »

Upsurge in Boko Haram Attacks

by John Campbell Tuesday, July 7, 2015
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) 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 »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update June 27-July 3

by John Campbell Monday, July 6, 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 June 27, 2015 to July 3, 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 »

Eritrea’s Humanitarian Crisis and Mediterranean Migration

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Thursday, July 2, 2015
A migrant sits up at the Saint Ludovic border crossing on the Mediterranean Sea between Vintimille, Italy and Menton, France, June 15, 2015. On Saturday, some 200 migrants, principally from Eritrea and Sudan, attempted to cross the border from Italy and were blocked by Italian police and French gendarmes. (Reuters/Eric Gaillard) A migrant sits up at the Saint Ludovic border crossing on the Mediterranean Sea between Vintimille, Italy and Menton, France, June 15, 2015. On Saturday, some 200 migrants, principally from Eritrea and Sudan, attempted to cross the border from Italy and were blocked by Italian police and French gendarmes. (Reuters/Eric Gaillard)

This is a guest post by Amanda Roth, a former intern for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Program. She is a recent graduate from the Columbia School of International and Public Affairs, where she studied international security policy Read more »

The Horrors Keep Coming in South Sudan

by John Campbell Wednesday, July 1, 2015
A South Sudanese girl displaced by the conflict carries a younger boy on her back as they walk through mud in a flooded camp for internally displaced people at the UNMISS base in Malakal, Upper Nile State, May 30, 2014.   (Reuters/Andreea Campeanu) A South Sudanese girl displaced by the conflict carries a younger boy on her back as they walk through mud in a flooded camp for internally displaced people at the UNMISS base in Malakal, Upper Nile State, May 30, 2014. (Reuters/Andreea Campeanu)

The United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) released a report on June 29, detailing human rights atrocities in South Sudan. The litany of abuses has now become familiar: gang rape, torture, killing, and the destruction of villages. The UN reports that the military, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), launched a major offensive in northwestern Mayom County that resulted in the displacement of over 100,000 people. Read more »

South African Democracy and the International Criminal Court

by John Campbell Tuesday, June 30, 2015
South Africa's President Jacob Zuma smiles as he is welcomed by Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir (R) upon his arrival at Khartoum airport January 31, 2015. (Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah) South Africa's President Jacob Zuma smiles as he is welcomed by Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir (R) upon his arrival at Khartoum airport January 31, 2015. (Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)

For this outsider, the parliamentary and judicial response to the Zuma administration’s failure to detain Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and turn him over to the International Criminal Court (ICC) provides a window in to the state of South African democracy. To me, it is clear that the Zuma government broke both South African and international law by not only failing to hold al-Bashir, though specifically ordered to do so by the South African judiciary, but also facilitated his clandestine departure. South African law is relevant because the South African government at the time incorporated the ICC treaty into its own legal system. Read more »