Terrorism in Nigeria

Nigeria’s sudden increase in terrorist activity is largely due to the rise of Boko Haram, which means ‘Western Education is Forbidden’. This organisation has quickly become one of the most deadly terrorist groups in the world, averaging close to eight deaths per attack. Most terrorist attacks occur in the northeast of the country, where Boko Haram is based.

Nigeria ranks 4th of 162 countries on the 2014 Global Terrorism Index. The nature of terrorism in Nigeria is dramatically different from Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, which rank first, second and third respectively. The tactics used by Nigerian terrorist groups are more closely related to gang crime and violence than bombings or suicide attacks. Armed assault caused 85% of Nigeria’s terrorism deaths in 2013, as opposed to just 5% for bombings and explosions.

Kidnappings are another common tactic. In 2013, Boko Haram kidnapped police officers, members of the military as well as women and children. The kidnapping of over 200 Chibok schoolgirls in early 2014 gained international media attention. The group recently announced the girls would become slaves and wives for the organisation.

Apart from Boko Haram, six other terrorist groups were responsible for attacks in 2013. Three of these groups are Islamist and the other groups are separatists or oppositional groups.

To find out more, including a case study on Boko Haram, download the Global Terrorism Index Report and explore the interactive Global Terrorism Index map


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