• Cameroon
    Cameroon Presidential Succession Looms Large in Solving Country's Political Crises
    The eventual succession to Paul Biya, Cameroon's president since 1982, will likely prove a critical moment for Cameroon and its overlapping political and security crises.
  • Nigeria
    Nigeria Security Tracker Weekly Update: October 2–8
    This update represents violence in Nigeria and related to Boko Haram in Cameroon, Chad, and Niger from October 2 to October 8, 2021.
  • Nigeria
    Boko Haram Capture of Military Equipment Fuels Lake Chad Insurgency
    Boko Haram's capture of materiel from government forces in the Lake Chad region bolsters the jihadi insurgency's lethality, posing a grave risk to civilians, peacekeepers, and other military personnel.
  • Boko Haram
    Boko Haram Defections Spike in Nigeria and Cameroon
    A wave of defections from Boko Haram are not necessarily an indication of progress in the fight against jihadis in the Lake Chad Basin.
  • Nigeria
    Nigeria Security Tracker Weekly Update: July 24–30
    This update represents violence in Nigeria and related to Boko Haram in Cameroon, Chad, and Niger from July 24 to July 30, 2021.
  • Nigeria
    Measuring Boko Haram's Impact on State Security Services
    Asch Harwood, a former research associate with the Council on Foreign Relations' Africa program, is the creator of the Nigeria Security Tracker and the founder of Red Hook Media Lab.  The Nigerian state security apparatus has a long history of human rights violations. Most recently, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a notorious Nigerian police unit, made international headlines for its brutality and a wave of massive protests calling for its disbandment—which were then quashed by security services in a horrifying massacre of peaceful protestors. In many instances, the military’s response to Boko Haram has been similarly heavy-handed and indiscriminate. Abuses have been well-documented by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and even the State Department. A former colleague of mine gained access in 2017 to a prison holding suspected Boko Haram operatives, where he confirmed the abhorrent conditions and presence of significant numbers of women and children. Nevertheless, members of the military and police have also been victims of Boko Haram in their own right. The impact of the Boko Haram conflict on security services has been far-reaching, but in this analysis, the focus is on the geographic heart of the conflict—Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa states in Nigeria, the Lac region in Chad, Diffa in Niger, and Extreme-Nord in Cameroon.     Since 2012, the Nigeria Security Tracker (NST) has documented roughly 3,384 state security service deaths in the Boko Haram conflict. The epicenter of the violence is Borno State, which accounts for nearly 70 percent of all security personnel deaths in the NST dataset. Though the militaries of Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria cooperate under the guise of the African Union-authorized Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), the NST does not distinguish the nationality of security personnel victims, only the approximate geographic location.   The deadliest years for security services overall have been 2018, 2019, and 2020, with 2019 the deadliest at an estimated 719 security personnel killed. This represents a shift from the height of the conflict in 2014-2015, when security personnel deaths were relatively low compared to the astronomical number of Boko Haram and civilian deaths, as can be seen in the chart below.   Since 2014, at least, Boko Haram has split into factions which sometimes cooperate. New factions are especially hostile to the police and the security services. In response to high casualty rates, the military and security services have withdrawn into highly fortified encampments. Their death rates have declined, but the jihadi factions are able to move about the countryside almost at will.   In 2019 and 2020, security personnel deaths jumped in Chad’s Lac region. In one incident in Bohoma in 2020, over ninety Chadian troops were killed. But Nigeria, and Borno State in particular, still remain the geographic center of the conflict. The borders in northeastern Nigeria, and particularly around Lake Chad, are porous, facilitating both Boko Haram and MNJTF’s regular movement across them. While these numbers appear to bring a sense of precision to the conflict, important to remember is that the NST relies on open-source reporting of casualties, which is subject to a number of biases in the context of the Boko Haram conflict. For one, many incidents take place in remote areas. As a result, estimates come from the military or Boko Haram themselves, both of which have incentives to downplay the number of deaths on their respective sides while overstating enemy casualties. Nevertheless, they provide a sense of the shape and trajectory of the conflict. The data shows that Boko Haram is far from defeated, and that the decline in military and security-service casualties are likely the result of their withdrawal from much of the countryside.
  • Nigeria
    Ambiguous Reporting Emerges From the Nigeria-Cameroon Border
    The Voice of America now has a presence in Maiduguri, providing welcome firsthand reporting on the Boko Haram insurgency. A recent report describes the gradual resumption of cross-border economic activity with Cameroon in the far northeastern sliver of Nigeria that borders on Cameroon and Chad. Specifically, the cattle market in Kolofata has reopened, with ranchers coming from across Africa. In another border town, Amchide, purveyors of small consumer goods crossing into Cameroon from Nigeria have reappeared. Local people are saying that security has improved because of the large number of soldiers that are now present. (It is not clear whether the soldiers are Nigerian, Cameroonian, or both.) However, a local employee of Human Rights Watch, a highly credible non-governmental organization, is also warning that the security in the region is too uncertain for those internally displaced to return to their homes. Boko Haram activity continues—the group conducted an attack in Kolofata only a few days after the reopening of the cattle market. Generalization is always risky. For now, however, the experience in Kolofata and Amchide indicates that once a modicum of security is achieved, economic activity bounces back. But security appears to be achieved only by large troop deployments. And, even if the area is more secure now than in the past, Boko Haram continues to be able to operate.
  • Nigeria
    Nigeria Security Tracker Weekly Update: March 20–26
    Below is a visualization and description of some of the most significant incidents of political violence in Nigeria from March 20 to March 26, 2021. This update also represents violence related to Boko Haram in Cameroon, Chad, and Niger. These incidents are included in the Nigeria Security Tracker.     March 20: Three were killed in election-related violence in Ekiti East, Ekiti. March 20: Gunmen killed a police inspector during an attack on a police station in Isiala Mbano, Imo. March 20: Boko Haram killed two Cameroonian soldiers and lost "several" (estimated at ten) militants in Ngala, Borno. March 21: Herdsmen killed three in Ukwuani, Edo. March 21: Cultists killed four in Ibeju/Lekki, Lagos. March 22: Gunmen killed three police officers in Ohafia, Abia. March 22: Bandits killed one in Jema'a Local Government Area (LGA) and three in Igabi LGA in Kaduna. March 23: Nigerian troops and police officers killed sixteen members of the Indigenous People of Biafra's Eastern Security Network in Aba, Abia. March 23: Gunmen killed twelve in Takum, Taraba. March 24: Nigerian troops killed two bandits in Chikun, Kaduna. March 24: Kidnappers abducted four in Kuje, Federal Capital Territory. March 24: Bandits killed three in Illela, Sokoto. March 24: Bandits killed two civilians and troops retaliated, killing two bandits in Katsina-Ala, Benue. March 24: Bandits killed one soldier and twenty vigilantes in Mariga, Niger State. March 24: Bandits killed two in Kaura-Namode, Zamfara. March 25: Bandits killed eight in Birnin-Gwari LGA and one in Giwa LGA in Kaduna. March 25: Kidnappers abducted three from airport quarters in Barkin Ladi, Plateau. March 25: Communal violence led to fifteen deaths in Ohaukwu, Ebonyi. March 26: Kidnappers abducted eight in Kachia, Kaduna. March 26: Nigerian troops killed forty-eight Boko Haram militants in Chibok, Borno.
  • Nigeria
    Nigeria Security Tracker Weekly Update: January 2–8
    Below is a visualization and description of some of the most significant incidents of political violence in Nigeria from January 2 to January 8, 2021. This update also represents violence related to Boko Haram in Cameroon, Chad, and Niger. These incidents are included in the Nigeria Security Tracker.   January 2: Bandits killed nineteen in Giwa, Kaduna. January 2: Gunmen killed three and kidnapped two in Ibarapa, Oyo. January 2: Robbers killed two civilians and police officers killed two robbers in Ughelli, Delta. January 2: Military airstrikes killed "several" Boko Haram militants at two separate locations (estimated at twenty total) in Bama, Borno. January 2: Boko Haram kidnapped fifty in Konduga, Borno. January 3: Boko Haram killed six soldiers and one civilian in Chibok, Borno. January 3: Bandits killed nine in Birnin-Gwari, Kaduna. January 4: Bandits kidnapped eleven in Birnin-Gwari, Kaduna. January 4: Suspected herdsmen kidnapped four in Aniocha South, Delta. January 4: Nigerian troops killed "several" bandits in Birnin-Gwari, Giwa, Igabi, and Chikun LGAs in Kaduna (estimated at twenty total). January 5: Gunmen killed one and kidnapped twenty in Toto, Nassarawa. January 5: Boko Haram attacked Askira/Uba, Borno but were repelled by military airstrikes that killed "several" (estimated at ten) militants. January 5: Bandits kidnapped five in Rafi, Niger State. January 5: Pirates killed two in Bonny, Rivers. January 6: Bandits killed four in Chikun, Kaduna. January 6: Amotekun killed three civilians in Ibarapa, Oyo. January 6: Boko Haram killed commuters (no number given, estimated at ten) in Nganzai, Borno. January 6: Military airstrikes killed "several" (estimated at ten) Boko Haram militants in Damboa, Borno. January 8: Soldiers killed five civilians during a clash in Baruten, Kwara. January 8: Bandits kidnapped seven children in Maru, Zamfara. January 8: A Boko Haram suicide bomber killed herself and thirteen others in Mayo Tsanaga, Cameroon. January 8: Gunmen attacked a police station and killed three police officers in Ezza South, Ebonyi.