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Boko Haram, ‘Fulani Extremists’ carnage keeps Nigeria in top-three global terror list

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2017 terror deaths on the decline globally 

•Al-Shabaab overtakes Boko Haram as deadliest terrorists group in Africa

•Far-right terrorism on the rise in the West

Download the full GTI 2018 report and interactive map here: Global-Terrorism-Index-2018-1


Senator Iroegbu


Nigeria has once again emerged the third most terrorised country in the world for the fourth consecutive year, accordingto the 2018 Global Terrorism Index (GTI) report.

Though released in 2018, the report is a reflection of events in 2017 and does not factor in the state of terrorism this year.

The country occupied this position among the countries worst hit by terrorism, globally, because of the activities of Boko Haram and killer herdsmen described as ‘Fulani Extremists’ in the report.

In the latest report released on Wednesday, Iraq, a country in the Middle-East, is ranked first, a position it has held since 2014; with Afghanistan maintained its second since 2013; while Syria and Pakistan completed the top five.

Others in the top 10 countries worst hit by terrorism in 2017 are Somalia (sixth), India (seventh), Yemen (eighth), Egypt (ninth), and Philippines (10th).

Since the GTI started in 2013, Nigerian lowest ranking had been in  2014) when it was ranked fourth  (reflecting the success of 2013), after which the country  has rooted in the third position from 2015.

The GTI did however, note  a reduction in the number of deaths caused by terrorism in Nigeria in 2017, which was also a general case across the world just like the other three preceding years.

Only the Western countries witnessed a new surge of far-rights related terrorism. While analysing global trends in terrorism in 2017, GTI repoet described the reduction in deaths in Nigeria and Iraq “the most dramatic”.

According to the report, deaths from terrorism in Nigeria fell to 1,532 in 2017, a decrease of 16 per cent from the prior year.

It stated that there were 63 per cent and 34 per cent drop in deaths in the country in 2016 and 2015 respectively.

GTI report revealed that Boko Haram attacks have substantially reduced in Chad and other neighbouring countries;  with Al-Shabaa overtaking it in 2017 as the deadliest terror group in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The report also raised concern over the killings by herdsmen, saying terrorism was shifting from Nigeria’s North-east region to the country’s Middle-Belt.

GTI report stated: “When compared to the peak of terrorist deaths in 2014, the largest falls in the number of deaths occurred in Iraq, Nigeria, and Pakistan, with falls of 6,466, 5,950, and 912 deaths respectively.

“This highlights the effectiveness of the counter-insurgency operations undertaken in Nigeria and its neighbours, Cameroon, Niger, and Chad,” the report said, adding that the world has also experienced a drop in deaths from terrorism in 2017.”

“In Nigeria in 2018, there has been a dramatic increase in violence involving Fulani extremists even as deaths committed by Boko Haram are falling,” the report said.

“In 2018 alone, deaths committed by nomadic Fulani herders are estimated to be six times greater than the number committed by Boko Haram.

“In 2017, 327 terrorism deaths across Nigeria and Mali were reportedly committed by Fulani extremists, along with 2,501 additional deaths in the three years prior with the vast majority of these deaths being civilians.”

“While deaths (killings) committed by Fulani extremists decreased following the peak of 1,169 deaths in 2014, violence from the group in 2018 is expected to surpass that peak. Nearly 1,700 violent deaths have been attributed to the Fulani Ethnic Militia from January to September 2018. An estimated 89 per cent of those killed were civilians,” the report noted.

According to the report, two, out of 20 most fatal terrorist attacks, occurred in Nigeria.

One was on March 20, 2017, when assailants identified as “Fulani extremists” opened fire at a market in Zaki Ibiam, Benue State, killing 73 people.

The other was on July 25, 2017, when Boko Haram terrorists opened fire on a Frontier Exploration Services team convoy at Jibi, killing 60 people.


GTI 2018 report in summary

  • Deaths from terrorism have decreased by 27 per cent in 2017 to 18,814 globally. This is the third consecutive year of improvement.
  • The fall in global terrorism is reflected in the index: 94 countries improved this year, with 46 deteriorating  the highest number of countries to improve year on year since 2004.
  • The global economic impact of terrorism was US$52 billion in 2017; a decrease of 42per cent from the previous year.
  • Deaths in Europe fell by 75 per cent.FranceBelgium and Germany had significant improvements. However, Spaindeteriorated significantly.
  • Terrorism is still a global phenomenonwith 67 countries recording at least one death in 2017.
  • There has been an increase in farrightterrorism in North America and Western Europe, which in 2017, accounted for 59attacks and 17 deaths.
  • ISILs decline contributed to a 56 per centreduction in deaths in Iraq between 2016 and 2017. However, ISIL remains the worlds deadliest terrorist group.

According to the 2018 Global Terrorism Index (GTI) deaths from terrorism fell for the third consecutive year, after peaking in 2014. The annual Global Terrorism Index, now in its sixth year, is developed by the Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP) and provides the most comprehensive resource on global terrorist trends.

The total number of deaths fell by 27 per cent in 2017, with the largest falls occurring in Iraq and Syria. The fall in deaths was also reflected in country scores with 94 countries improving, compared to 46 that deteriorated. This is the highest number of countries to record a year on year improvement since 2004.

However, whilst the GTI finds that the global impact from terrorism is on the decline, it also shows that terrorism is still widespread, and even getting worse in some regions:

  • Five countries (AfghanistanIraqNigeriaSomalia and Syria) recorded more than 1,000 deaths, while 19 countries recorded more than 100 deaths.
  • Somalia and Egypt recorded the largest increases in the number of deaths from terrorism in 2017 – one attack in Somaliakilled 587 people and another in Egyptkilled 311 people.
  • Deaths from terrorism increased by 93 per cent in Somalia from 2016 to 2017.
  • 67 countries recorded more than one death while 98 countries recorded at least one attack.
  • Angola and Spain had the largest deteriorations in score in the GTI as a result of a single attack in Angola and multiple attacks in Spain.
  • Myanmar and The Philippines recorded a record numbers of terrorism deaths in 2017 with 166 deaths and 50 deaths respectively.
  • Afghanistan recorded the highest number of terrorism deaths in 2017, replacing Iraq.

Steve Killelea, Executive Chairman of IEP, explains the findings: IEPs research finds that conflict and state terror are the principal causes of terrorism – of the 10 countries most impacted by terrorism*, all were involved in at least one violent conflict and eight were involved in a major war with at least 1,000 battle deaths. These ten countries accounted for 84 per cent of all deaths from terrorism in 2017. When combined with countries with high levels of political terror, the number jumps to over 99 per cent. Political terror involves extra-judicial killings, torture and imprisonment without trial.

In North America and Western Europe, the threat of far-right political terrorism is on the rise. In the four years between 2013 and 2017, there were 66 deaths and 127 attacks caused in Western Europe and North America by far-right groups and individuals. In 2013, there were no deaths, compared to 17 in 2017. The majority of attacks were carried out by lone actors with far-right, white nationalist, or anti-Muslim beliefs.

The two countries with the most significant falls in terrorism are Iraq and Syria with deaths falling by 5,500 and 1,000 respectively. The large falls in the number of deaths in Iraq and Syria is mainly the result of ISIL’s continuing decline. The number of deaths from terrorist attacks attributed to ISIL fell by 52 per cent in 2017. There was a corresponding decrease in the lethality of attacks, highlighting the weakening capacity of the organisation. Despite its reduced capacity ISIL remained the deadliest terrorist group globally in 2017. ISIL has now lost most of its territory and nearly all of its revenue with the reduced capabilities being reflected in the diminishing rate of deaths per attack. Preliminary data suggests this trajectory will continue into 2018.

In 2017, the Taliban switched focus from attacks on civilians, towards attacks on the police and military personnel. The Taliban killed 2,419 police and military personnel in 2017, up from the 1,782 in the prior year. The number of attacks also increased from 369 to 386 in 2017.

Although the number of deaths from terrorism has fallen considerably over the last three years, new threats continue to emerge. Islamist terrorist organisations have proven to be highly resilient and fluid, splintering and forming new groups and alliances at a rapid rate. Of the 169 terrorist groups responsible for at least one death in 2017, 42 were new groups or groups that had not caused any deaths in the three previous years. In 2017, the most active new group were Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham in Syria, which was responsible for 177 deaths.

Western Europe recorded a marked fall of 52 per cent in terrorism with FranceGermany and Belgium all recording a significant fall in death from terrorism. In 2017, the number of deaths fell to 81 from 168 in the previous year. This trend has continued into 2018 with only eight deaths being recorded to October 2018.

Steve Killelea explains: The marked improvements in Europe can be attributed to a number of reasons. ISIL has lost much of its attractiveness due to its military defeats and weakened capabilities to mount attacks inEuropeIncreases in counter-terrorism funding, combined with better surveillance techniques,have also contributed to the steep reduction of deaths in Europe from terrorism. However, interestingly, although deaths from terrorism inEurope have decreased, the number of terrorist incidents increased in this period. Thishighlights that ISIL is losing its ability to plan and coordinate larger scale terrorist attacks, as a result of lessened capabilities and increased counterterrorism measures.

Alongside the fall in terrorism, the global economic impact of terrorism has also fallen, decreasing by 42 per cent to US$52 billion in 2017. Deaths accounted for 72 per cent of the economic impact of terrorism, with the remainder stemming from GDP losses, property destruction, and non-fatal injuries. However, the true economic impact of terrorism is likely to be much higher as these figures do not account for the indirect impacts on business, investment and the costs associated with security agencies in countering terrorism.


10 countries most impacted by terrorism, ranked by number of deaths

1) Afghanistan 2) Iraq 3) Nigeria 4) Somalia 5) Syria 6) Pakistan 7) Egypt 8) Congo 9) Central African Republic 10) India

Global Terrorism Index (GTI) 
The GTI by the Institute for Economics & Peace provides a comprehensive summary of the key global trends and patterns in terrorism over the last 17 years. The report ranks 163 countries (99.6 per cent of the world’s population) according to how impacted they are by terrorism. The indicators include the number of terrorist incidents, fatalities, injuries and property damage.

Global Terrorism Database 
The GTI uses data from the Global Terrorism Database (GTD) datasets on terrorism by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), a Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence led by the University of Maryland. It provides the most comprehensive resource on global terrorist trends.

Institute for Economics & Peace 
The Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP) is the world’s leading think tank dedicated to developing metrics to analyse peace and to quantify its economic value. It does this by developing global and national indices, including the annual Global Peace Index, calculating the economic cost of violence and understanding positive peace.


Credits | IEP, Cision PRN, PT



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