According to a new report, the terrorist groups Boko Haram and Islamic State killed more people than other terrorist groups worldwide in 2014. Boko Haram now ranks as the world’s deadliest terrorist group.
The fatalities resulting from the murderous activities of both groups peaked in 2014, with Boko Haram in Nigeria outdoing its Islamic State (IS or ISIS) counterpart in Iraq and Syria by killing more people in terrorist attacks.
According to a new report titled “Global Terrorism Index” published by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), the two terrorist groups — the Nigerian Boko Haram and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria — were responsible for more than 50 percent of all global fatalities due to acts of terrorism in 2014 alone.
The activities of the two groups caused an 80 percent increase in the global number of deaths due to terrorist attacks. Specifically, the two groups were responsible for about 51 percent of all fatalities worldwide claimed as acts of terrorism and nearly 40 percent of claimed and unclaimed fatalities due to acts of terrorism.
Despite having received less attention in the West, Boko Haram has killed more people through terrorist acts than the Islamic State (IS) which it pledged allegiance to March 2015.
According to the report, the Nigerian jihadists have killed 6,644 people in terrorist attacks, a 317 percent increase compared with 2013, while IS has killed 6,073.
In 2014, Nigeria experienced a sharp 300 percent increase in terrorism deaths, including deaths caused by nomadic Fulani herdsmen who contributed 1,229 deaths in clashes with sedentary Christian communities over access to grazing land.
In comparison, al-Shabaab Islamic fighters in Somalia killed more than 1,000 civilians in terrorist attacks.
However, the report notes that ISIS killed more people in combat than Boko Haram. ISIS was responsible for at least 20,000 deaths in battlefield engagements with state and non-state opponents in 2014.
IS thus claimed the title of the deadliest militant group in 2014 in terms of battlefield killings. Taliban was ranked the deadliest militant group in 2013, but dropped in ranking to second-deadliest in terms of battlefield killings in 2014. But the group ranked after Boko Haram and ISIS as third-deadliest terrorist group in 2014, killing about 3,477 people in terrorist attacks. This is about 38 percent of all fatalities due to terrorist acts in 2014.
The report also notes that the number of deaths due to terrorism increased by 80 percent in 2014, compared with 2013. During 2014, 32,658 people were killed in terrorist acts in 67 countries compared with 18,111 in 2013. The increase in number of deaths due to terrorist attacks in 2014 is unprecedented, being nearly 10 times higher than the number of deaths in 2000, estimated at 3,329.
Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, Afghanistan, and Pakistan accounted for 78 percent of all fatalities due to terrorist attacks in 2014, while Iraq had the highest number of total fatalities — 9, 929 — caused by several groups operating in the country.
“We can see the trauma [terrorist attacks] create in the west, but think how much trauma they create in all these other countries in the world.”
The disturbing news is that the threat of terrorism is spreading worldwide with more countries — including, Yemen, Somalia, Ukraine, CAF, Southern Sudan, and Cameroon — experiencing a rise in deaths due to terrorism in 2014.
With the recent spate of terrorist attacks worldwide, including bombings and gun attacks in France, Egypt, Lebanon, and Turkey, the incidence of terrorist attacks has continued to rise worldwide in 2015. The report found that of 11 countries that had more than 500 deaths due to terrorism in 2014, 10 had the highest rates of refugees and internally displaced people. This demonstrates a relationship between terrorism and movement of populations.
The effect of terrorism on migration has been most pronounced in Boko Haram-controlled and ISIS-controlled areas, with millions crossing international borders into neighboring countries.
“There’s a strong relationship between terrorism and ongoing conflict,” said Steve Killelea, executive chairman of IEP. “What we’re seeing is people are fleeing the conflicts, and so actually tackling the conflicts and terrorism are one and the same.”
According to the Guardian, the UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees noted that 369,904 people have fled Iraq and 4.49 million have fled Syria.
The Global Terrorism Index report also attempts to quantify the economic loss due to terrorism. According to the report, damage to property, loss of lifetime income, and injuries due to terrorism in 2014 cost the world $53 billion.
But greater economic loss came from resources invested in fighting terrorism globally with an estimated $117 billion spent on national security issues linked to threats of terrorist attack.
Western countries have suffered less from the global impact of terrorism. Only about 2.6 percent of fatalities related to terrorism occurred in the West in the past 15 years. If the September 2001 attacks are excluded, it drops precipitously to 0.5 percent.
There were about 15 terrorist attacks in 2014 that surpassed the latest attacks in France in severity and number of fatalities. ISIS killed 670 people in Badush, northern Iraq during an attack on a prison. In August, the terrorists killed 500 Yazidi in Sinjar, Iraq.
Boko Haram killed 300 civilians in Gamboru Ngala, northeastern Nigerian in May 2014.
Most cases of terrorist attacks in the West — about 70 percent — since 2006 were “lone wolf” attacks. Eighty percent of deaths due to terrorist attacks in the West were due to right wing extremism rather than to Islamic fundamentalism, the report said.
[Image via Michelle Obama/Wikimedia]