Boko Haram is responsible for more deaths than ISIS

2014 saw the largest ever year-on-year increase in deaths from terrorism


Amid the ongoing conversation about how to tackle ISIS, new research has revealed that Boko Haram caused more deaths in 2014 than ISIS.

Established in 2002, the Islamist extremist group is based in north-eastern Nigeria with activity also in Chad, Niger and northern Cameroon.

Led by Abubakar Shekau the group, in the words of BBC Africa’s Farouk Chothia, ‘promotes a version of Islam which makes it ‘haram’, or forbidden, for Muslims to take part in any political or social activity associated with Western society.’

The group regards Nigeria as being run by non-believers which it seeks to resist. It began a violent uprising in July 2009 when its then-leader was summarily executed, and in March 2015 it pledged allegiance to ISIS.

In 2014 Boko Haram was blamed for the kidnapping of almost 300 female students from the Government Secondary School in the town of Chibok in Borno State.

It has engaged in a series of other violent attacks including the systematic burning down of churches in the country, and targeting Christians in the country.

According to a new report by the Institute for Economics and Peace, deaths as a result of action by Boko Haram increased by 317 percent in 2014 to 6,644. ISIS was responsible for 6,073 deaths.

The data, contained within the Global Terrorism Index, found also that globally, terrorist activity increased by 80 per cent in 2014 to its highest recorded level.

2014 also saw the largest ever year-on-year increase in deaths from terrorism, rising from 18,111 in 2013 to 32,685 in 2014. The number of people who have died from terrorist activity has increased nine-fold since the year 2000.

The report finds also that five countries – Iraq, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria – accounted for 78 per cent of all terrorist related deaths.

93 countries experienced at least one terrorist incident in 2014, up from 88 in 2013 with the number of countries suffering from more than 500 deaths rising by 120 per cent.

Nigeria experienced the most substantial increase in deaths, with 7,512 fatalities from terrorist attacks in 2014, up 300 per cent.

The report also finds that between 25,000 and 30,000 foreign fighters have arrived in Syria and Iraq since 2011, 7,000 in the first six months of 2015 alone.

More worryingly still, Europe accounted for 21 per cent of all foreign fighters in 2014. Half of the foreign fighters are from neighbouring Middle East and North African countries, and an additional 4 per cent are from Turkey.

Ed Jacobs is a contributing editor at Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter

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