John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

Tracking the Traffickers: The Need for Better Data

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Tuesday, November 18, 2014
An adult male elephant looks up at a helicopter in a remote area of South Sudan, whose location cannot be disclosed due to issues of accelerating poaching, June 3, 2013. (Hereward Holland/Courtesy Reuters) An adult male elephant looks up at a helicopter in a remote area of South Sudan, whose location cannot be disclosed due to issues of accelerating poaching, June 3, 2013. (Hereward Holland/Courtesy Reuters)

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

In early 2014, an organization known as Elephants Without Borders began a project known as the Great Elephant Census. It is a massive undertaking that requires the coordination of many African governments, NGOs, and even USAID. The project will take place in twenty-two countries, ranging from Kenya to South Africa, that together represent over 95 percent of African savannah elephant territory. By the end of the survey 46 scientists will have logged over 18,000 flight hours in order to survey the elephant populations by air. The projects findings will be published in 2015. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update November 8-November 14

by John Campbell Monday, November 17, 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 8 to November 14, 2014. These incidents will be included in the Nigeria Security Tracker.
Read more »

South Africa’s Rugby to be Transformed?

by John Campbell Friday, November 14, 2014
South Africa's Patrick Lambie (C) keeps the ball during their rugby union international test match against Ireland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, November 8, 2014. (Cathal McNaughton/Courtesy Reuters) South Africa's Patrick Lambie (C) keeps the ball during their rugby union international test match against Ireland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, November 8, 2014. (Cathal McNaughton/Courtesy Reuters)

Across the racial rainbow, South Africans love sports. They excel in individual sports, such as golf, but also team sports. Since the end of apartheid, the Springboks, South Africa’s national rugby team, has twice won the Rugby World Cup (it is tied with New Zealand and Australia for the most titles). South African rugby is among the best in the world. South Africa’s football (soccer) team has won the African Cup of nations, and South Africa has hosted the FIFA World Cup. Bafana Bafana, the national team is usually regarded as one of the best in Africa. Read more »

How Can U.S. Intel Training Help Fight Boko Haram?

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Thursday, November 13, 2014
U.S. President Barack Obama meets with Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan (L) in New York, September 23, 2013. (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters) U.S. President Barack Obama meets with Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan (L) in New York, September 23, 2013. (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters)

Jesse Sloman is a research associate at the Council on Foreign Relations and a reserve officer in the Marine Corps. He served on active duty from 2009 to 2013. The views expressed here are his own. Read more »

Nigeria’s Kidnapped Chibok School Girls and Boko Haram’s Forced Recruitment

by John Campbell Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Children are seen in an internally displaced persons (IDP) camp, that was set up for Nigerians fleeing the violence committed against them by Boko Haram militants, at Wurojuli, Gombe State, September 1, 2014. (Samuel Ini/Courtesy Reuters) Children are seen in an internally displaced persons (IDP) camp, that was set up for Nigerians fleeing the violence committed against them by Boko Haram militants, at Wurojuli, Gombe State, September 1, 2014. (Samuel Ini/Courtesy Reuters)

Jacob Zenn has written a thoughtful and important article, “Boko Haram: Recruitment, Financing, and Arms Trafficking in the Lake Chad Region.” It appears in the Sentinel, a publication of the Combating Terrorism Center based at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York. Read more »

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 »