At African Arguments, Murray Last has written an excellent backgrounder on Nigeria’s Boko Haram movement. One important paragraph:
This widespread ‘panic’ or terror over BH’s campaign of violence has led to any major attack, anywhere in the north – whether on a bank, a police station, a government building, or simply on individuals – being attributed to the group. The perception of both BH’s ferocity and its ubiquity has therefore grown in recent weeks. The police often try to counter this by saying that in their estimation it was an act of armed robbers or hitmen hired to settle a dispute. As no one is caught, we do not know for sure who is to blame: BH does not always claim the attack – but even if they do, is the claim credible?
Over at Amb. John Campbell’s place, Payton Knopf of the US State Department looks at relations between North and South Sudan following the latter’s independence. Knopf argues that a violent present may portend an even more violent future:
With euphoria from its newly won independence still hanging over South Sudan’s capital, Juba, relations with Khartoum are already being tested by the increasingly tense situation along their shared border.
In South Kordofan, a northern state that borders the South, a stalled political process and subsequent northern military offensive against the forces of Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) leader Abdulaziz Hilou has left tens of thousands–if not hundreds of thousands–displaced. To the east, rumors abound that northern troops will launch a related campaign in Southern Blue Nile, another northern state governed by SPLM leader Malik Agar, within days. And to the west, the conflict in Darfur still simmers. North Sudan President Omar Bashir’s boasts that a peace agreement signed Thursday in Doha with one Darfur rebel faction rings hollow, as that group lacks both political legitimacy and military relevance.
The potential for an anti-Khartoum alliance among Hilou, Agar, and the only Darfur rebel movements with true military might—the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the newly reconstituted Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) of Minni Minawi and Abdulwahid al Nur–are high, which could lead to a war stretching across nearly the entire length of the days-old border between North and South Sudan.
Internally Displaced probes the political uses of history in South Sudan.
Chris Blattman raises interesting questions concerning development, the United Nations, and African manufacturing.
Rosebell Kagumire reports on Ugandan commemorations of last year’s Kampala bombings.
A Bombastic Element on the “politics of chocolate” in West Africa.
The drought in East Africa is a human and, as the Economist Intelligence Unit points out, a political tragedy. The State Department’s Dipnote details a visit to an Ethiopian refugee camp where drought victims are surging in.
Ajong Mbapndah tells us what to watch for in the upcoming Cameroonian elections.
The Christian Science Monitor’s West Africa Rising on mobile phone banking in Africa.
Check out Kim Yi Dionne’s roundup.
And last but not least, on Thursday I wrote a guest post on Somalia for Africa Is A Country, drawing out some of the implications of recent strikes and of Jeremy Scahill’s revelation that there is a significant CIA presence in Mogadishu. Thanks to Sean Jacobs for having me.