John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

“The Chibok Girls—Nigeria’s Side of the Story”

by John Campbell Thursday, June 19, 2014
A protester addresses the "Bring Back Our Girls" protest group as they march to the presidential villa to deliver a protest letter to Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja, calling for the release of the Nigerian schoolgirls in Chibok who were kidnapped by Islamist militant group Boko Haram, May 22, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) A protester addresses the "Bring Back Our Girls" protest group as they march to the presidential villa to deliver a protest letter to Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja, calling for the release of the Nigerian schoolgirls in Chibok who were kidnapped by Islamist militant group Boko Haram, May 22, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan and his administration have been subject to withering criticism at home and abroad over the government’s response to the Boko Haram kidnapping of some three hundred schoolgirls from Chibok.

There are ongoing demonstrations in Nigeria by women, united across ethnic and religious boundaries, calling for greater government engagement in finding and liberating them. Abroad, the episode has highlighted Nigeria’s governance challenges, including corruption and the apparent near-collapse of its military. Read more »

Nigeria: What Time Is It?

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Wednesday, June 18, 2014
People crowd on a road near Balogun market to shop, a day before Christmas in Nigeria's commercial capital Lagos, December 24, 2012. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters) People crowd on a road near Balogun market to shop, a day before Christmas in Nigeria's commercial capital Lagos, December 24, 2012. (Akintunde Akinleye/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.

Luxury watch sales are rising in Africa. Ulysse Nardin opened a shop in Abuja, as Nigeria is seen as “the force today” in that market. Yet time may be moving faster than horological devices can measure. Read more »

The Dependent South Sudan

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Tuesday, June 17, 2014
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.   (Andreea Campeanu/Courtesy Reuters) 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. (Andreea Campeanu/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Allen Grane, former intern for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Studies program. Allen is currently an officer in the Army National Guard. His interests are in Africa, conflict, and conflict resolution. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update June 5 – June 12

by John Campbell Monday, June 16, 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 June 5 to June 12, 2014. These incidents are also available here, and are included in the Nigeria Security Tracker. Read more »

Central African Republic: Chaos Could Further Radicalize the Conflict

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Friday, June 13, 2014
A Seleka fighter takes a break during a patrol as he searches with other Seleka fighters for anti-Balaka Christian militia members near the town of Lioto, June 6, 2014. (Goran Tomasevic/Courtesy Reuters) A Seleka fighter takes a break during a patrol as he searches with other Seleka fighters for anti-Balaka Christian militia members near the town of Lioto, June 6, 2014. (Goran Tomasevic/Courtesy Reuters)

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

In September 2014 twelve thousand United Nations peacekeepers are slated to phase out and replace two thousand French troops and to assimilate six thousand African Union troops in the Central African Republic (CAR). The French forces currently in the CAR intervened to halt a political and humanitarian catastrophe and prevent what many feared would amount to genocide. The situation the UN peacekeepers inherit in September will in many ways be worse. Read more »

Nigeria’s Internally Displaced Population a Humanitarian Disaster Waiting to Happen

by John Campbell Thursday, June 12, 2014
A girl cries at an internally displaced persons camp in Nigeria's central city of Jos, January 20, 2010. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters) A girl cries at an internally displaced persons camp in Nigeria's central city of Jos, January 20, 2010. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters)

In a recently published report, the Norwegian Refugee Council and its Internal Displacement Monitoring Center estimate that there are 3.3 million displaced persons in Nigeria. It says that Nigeria’s displaced population is the third largest in the world, following Syria and Colombia, and the largest in Africa. Read more »

African Wildlife Conservation and Kenya’s Wildlife Policy Act

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Wednesday, June 11, 2014
An elephant stretches during their aerial census at the Tsavo West national park within the Tsavo-Mkomazi ecosystem, southeast of Kenya's capital Nairobi, February 4, 2014. (Thomas Mukoya/Courtesy Reuters) An elephant stretches during their aerial census at the Tsavo West national park within the Tsavo-Mkomazi ecosystem, southeast of Kenya's capital Nairobi, February 4, 2014. (Thomas Mukoya/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Mrs. Joan Sikand, Esq. She has served as development coordinator of the Wildlife Foundation since its inception in 2000. She has been a member of Friends of Nairobi National Park since 1995, and served as its vice-chairwoman from 2004 to 2007. Her articles on conservation have been published in the Kenyan daily, “The People.” Read more »

Nigeria’s Churning Is About More Than Elite Politics

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Commanding officers salute during a parade for the Nigeria Army's 150th anniversary celebration in Abuja, July 6, 2013. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) Commanding officers salute during a parade for the Nigeria Army's 150th anniversary celebration in Abuja, July 6, 2013. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

This post was co-authored by John Campbell and  Jim Sanders. Jim was a career, now retired, West Africa watcher for various federal agencies. The views expressed below are their personal views.

The weekend news from Nigeria has been dominated by former central bank governor Lamido Sanusi’s elevation to emir of Kano. Kano is usually considered the second or third in the hierarchy of Nigeria’s traditional Muslim leaders. The emirate system in Nigeria does not operate according to primogeniture, so Sanusi, as a member of the family that provides the emir of Kano, was eligible for the position. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update May 29 – June 5

by John Campbell Monday, June 9, 2014
A policeman sitting at the back of a truck makes a phone call before the start of a speak-out session of "bring back our girls" rally in Lagos, June 7, 2014. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters) A policeman sitting at the back of a truck makes a phone call before the start of a speak-out session of "bring back our girls" rally in Lagos, June 7, 2014. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters)

Below is a visualization and description of some of the most significant incidents of political violence in Nigeria from May 29 to June 5, 2014. These incidents are also available here, and are included in the Nigeria Security Tracker.
Read more »

A Boko Haram Enclave in Northeastern Nigeria?

by John Campbell Friday, June 6, 2014
People from Gwoza, Borno State, displaced by the violence and unrest caused by the insurgency, are pictured at a refugee camp in Mararaba Madagali, Adamawa State, February 18, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters) People from Gwoza, Borno State, displaced by the violence and unrest caused by the insurgency, are pictured at a refugee camp in Mararaba Madagali, Adamawa State, February 18, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters)

On June 5 the Wall Street Journal reported that Boko Haram has “tightened its grip” over a 1,200 square mile area of northeastern Nigeria. For the sake of comparison, this area is about the size of the state of Rhode Island, including Narragansett Bay. Read more »