John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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 »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update June 20-June 26

by John Campbell Monday, June 29, 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 20, 2015 to June 26, 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 »

President Buhari to Visit the United States

by John Campbell Friday, June 26, 2015
U.S. President Barack Obama gestures next to French President Francois Hollande (2L) and other G7 summit participants and outreach delegates at a family picture event at the G7 summit at the Elmau castle in Kruen near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, June 8, 2015. (Reuters/Christian Hartmann) U.S. President Barack Obama gestures next to French President Francois Hollande (2L) and other G7 summit participants and outreach delegates at a family picture event at the G7 summit at the Elmau castle in Kruen near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, June 8, 2015. (Reuters/Christian Hartmann)

The White House announced on June 25 that President Obama will host Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari in Washington, D.C. on July 20. The White House statement notes that both presidents will be accompanied by “senior advisors,” an indication that the visit will be more substantive than ceremonial. Read more »

Nigeria’s Cupboard is Bare

by John Campbell Thursday, June 25, 2015
Villagers stand near jerrycans containing crude oil collected at the shore of the Atlantic ocean near Orobiri village, days after Royal Dutch Shell's Bonga off-shore oil spill, in Nigeria's delta state December 31, 2011. Amnesty International called into question Royal Dutch Shell's accounting in Nigeria for oil spill amounts and causes, saying the oil major was seeking to avoid compensation payments and damage to its reputation. Picture taken December 31, 2011. (Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye) Villagers stand near jerrycans containing crude oil collected at the shore of the Atlantic ocean near Orobiri village, days after Royal Dutch Shell's Bonga off-shore oil spill, in Nigeria's delta state December 31, 2011. Amnesty International called into question Royal Dutch Shell's accounting in Nigeria for oil spill amounts and causes, saying the oil major was seeking to avoid compensation payments and damage to its reputation. Picture taken December 31, 2011. (Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye)

According to the media, President Muhammadu Buhari said on June 23 that Nigeria’s treasury is “virtually empty.” In order to document this he has promised to release a report on the size of Nigeria’s revenue and debt in about four weeks. He also says that he will recover billions of dollars that have been stolen under previous administrations, and that the United States and other countries will assist Nigeria in the recovery of the stolen money. Read more »