Global terrorism report: Boko Haram the deadliest group

The Institute for Economics and Peace recently published its GLOBAL TERRORISM INDEX 2015, offering a comprehensive summary of key global trends and patterns in terrorism over the last 15 years with a special emphasis on 2014.

Here are some relevant highlights:

  • Terrorism remains highly concentrated with most of the activity occurring in just five countries — Iraq, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria. These countries accounted for 78 per cent of the lives lost in 2014. 
  • Nigeria witnessed the largest increase in terrorist deaths ever recorded by any country, increasing by over 300 per cent to 7,512 fatalities. Boko Haram, which operates mainly in Nigeria, has become the most deadly terrorist group in the world.
  • The majority of deaths from terrorism do not occur in the West. Excluding September 11, only 0.5 per cent of all deaths have occurred in Western countries in the last 15 years.
  • The report highlights the striking prevalence of lone wolf attacks in the West. Lone wolf attacks account for 70 per cent of all terrorist deaths in the West since 2006. Additionally, Islamic fundamentalism was not the primary driver of lone wolf attacks, with 80 per cent of deaths in the West from lone wolf attacks being attributed to a mixture of right wing extremists, nationalists, anti-government elements, other types of political extremism and supremacism.
  • Ten of the 11 countries with more than 500 deaths from terrorism also had the highest levels of refugees
    and Internally Displaced People (IDP) migration in the world.
  • 92 per cent of all terrorist attacks over the past 25 years occurred in countries where state sponsored political violence was widespread, while 88 per cent of attacks occurred in countries that were involved in violent conflicts.
  • 437,000 people are murdered each year, which is over 13 times more than the number of victims of terrorism.
  • The majority of deaths from terrorism in 2014 occurred in three countries, Syria, Iraq and Nigeria.
  • Terrorist attacks on religious targets resulted in 11 per cent fewer deaths in 2014. Whilst there are many active religious terrorist groups, attacks involving religious figures and institutions accounted for fewer deaths in 2014.
  • Lack of respect for human rights and for international organisations also correlates with terrorism. Other important correlates aside from political terror and ongoing conflict include lower respect for human rights, the existence of policies targeting religious freedoms, group grievances, political instability and lower respect for the UN or the EU.