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Nigeria Records Reduction In Deaths Caused By Terrorists In 2019 – Report

A Global Terrorism Index report produced by the Institute for Economics & Peace says Nigeria has recorded a reduction in deaths caused by terrorists.

The report which measures the impact of terrorism on countries across the world however ranked Nigeria the third most terrorised country in the world.

According to the report, only Afghanistan and Nigeria recorded over 1,000 deaths “and both countries had significant reductions in the number of people killed in 2019”.

The report revealed that Nigeria recorded the second-largest reduction in deaths from terrorism in 2019, with the number falling from 2,043 to 1,245, a 39.1 per cent reduction, which was mainly due to a fall in terrorism deaths attributed to Fulani extremists.

It stated that, despite the overall fall in the impact of terrorism across the world, it remains a significant and serious problem in many countries.

“There were 63 countries in 2019 that recorded at least one death from a terrorist attack and 17 countries that recorded over 100 deaths from terrorism,” the report said.

“By contrast, in 2015 there were six countries that recorded over a thousand deaths from terrorism.”

The largest fall in the impact of terrorism occurred in Afghanistan, which recorded 1,654 fewer deaths from terrorism in 2018, a 22.4 per cent decrease from the prior year.

“However, Afghanistan remains the country most impacted by terrorism, after overtaking Iraq in 2018.

It explained that the reduction in deaths caused by terrorists in Nigeria occurred despite a small increase in deaths attributed to Boko Haram, which has been the most active terrorist group in the country over the past decade.

Deaths from terrorism in Nigeria are now 83 per cent lower than at their peak in 2014, the report said.

The report said the Islamist group Boko Haram, formally known as Jama’tu Ahlis
Sunna Lidda’awati Wal-Jihad, recorded a surge in terrorist activity in 2019, following a period of steady decline.

“Boko Haram ranked as the second deadliest terrorist group in 2019 and remains the deadliest in sub-Saharan Africa. Since its rise in 2009, Boko Haram has been responsible for thousands of deaths throughout the Lake Chad Basin region of West Africa,” it said.

The Salafi-jihadi insurgency has led to over 37,500 combat-related deaths and over 19,000 deaths from terrorism since 2011, mainly in Nigeria.

“Originally formed in Northeast Nigeria bordering the Lake Chad region, the terror group has spread into Chad, Cameroon and Niger.”

The global terrorism report added that the largest splinter group is the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), which has claimed responsibility for a number of brutal attacks targeting civilians and military personnel in 2019.

“ Owing to data collection restrictions, attacks by both Boko Haram and ISWAP are
attributed to Boko Haram in the GTD,” it said.

“Of the 1,068 deaths attributed to Boko Haram in 2019, 69 per cent occurred in Nigeria, while the remainder occurred in Cameron, Niger and Chad at 20, seven and four per cent, respectively. Compared to previous years, the proportion of terrorism deaths recorded in Nigeria fell, while significant increases were recorded in Cameroon and Niger, highlighting the increased reach of the organisation into neighbouring countries.”

According to the report, in Cameroon, deaths attributed to Boko Haram increased
threefold in 2019. The majority of terrorism deaths in Cameroon resulted from attacks on civilians and military targets at 50 and 48 per cent, respectively.

The group’s deadliest attack occurred in Cameroon when several hundred assailants, armed with rocket launchers, attacked military positions in Darak, Extreme-North.

Over 101 deaths were recorded, including at least 37 soldiers and civilians. While Niger recorded a 176 per cent increase in terrorism deaths attributed to Boko Haram in 2019.

The majority of attacks occurred in the Lake Chad Basin Region in Niger. However,
attacks were also recorded in the western regions of Tillaberi and Niamey, where Boko Haram had not previously conducted attacks.

The Multinational Joint Task Forces (MNJTF), struggled to reclaim territory from Boko Haram in 2019 and the group maintained limited safe havens in parts of northeast Nigeria and on islands in Lake Chad, where they prevented the reestablishment of state administration, service delivery and humanitarian relief.

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Murtala Abdullahi

Abdullahi Murtala is a researcher and reporter. His expertise is in conflict reporting, climate and environmental justice, and charting the security trends in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region. He founded the Goro Initiative and contributes to dialogues, publications and think-tanks that report on climate change and human security. He tweets via @murtalaibin

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