Subdued in Nigeria, Boko Haram shifts attacks to neighboring countries
Premium Times | The Global Terrorism Index (GTI) report for 2022 contains some good news for Nigeria: Boko Haram attacks appear to have decreased in the country, as the group is now focused on attacks in neighboring West African countries.
According to the research, Nigeria has dropped to sixth place internationally among nations that have been heavily struck by terrorism in 2021. It had been in third place for more than three years before this.
In 2021, Afghanistan will be at the top of the list of countries most affected by terrorism, followed by Iraq and Somalia.
Burkina Faso and Syria are in fourth and fifth place, respectively.
Boko Haram is a terrorist organization that operates in Nigeria.
For more than a decade, Boko Haram has waged an armed insurgency against Nigeria, particularly in the country's northeast area, resulting in the deaths of thousands of people.
Boko Haram was responsible for only 69 deaths in Nigeria in 2021, according to a GTI study released on Wednesday, down 77% from the previous year.
The report stated, "This is the group's lowest number of deaths in a decade."
According to the report, total terrorism deaths in Nigeria fell to 448 in 2021, the lowest number since 2011.
However, between 2020 and 2021, the number of terrorist assaults surged by 49%, according to the analysis.
"ISWA claimed responsibility for 36% of the attacks, Boko Haram for 8%, and the remaining 44% were not assigned to any group," it added.
The decrease of Boko Haram was ascribed to attacks by a rival terror organization, Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA), as well as counter-terrorism measures by the Nigerian government and foreign armed troops, according to the report.
"Boko Haram's impact in Nigeria has been considerably damaged by ISWA attacks, as well as counter-terrorism measures by the Nigerian government and international armed troops.
"As a result of these external pressures, Boko Haram attacks in neighboring countries have increased, particularly in Cameroon, which saw 37 attacks and 58 deaths in 2021."
For the second year in a row, Cameroon had more Boko Haram attacks than Nigeria, according to the research.
According to the research, the death of Boko Haram's commander, Abubakar Shekau, had a huge impact on the organization.
"A variety of causes have contributed to Boko Haram's fall, the most notable of which is the death of the group's leader, Abubakar Shekau, who committed himself by detonating an explosives vest during a clash with ISWA in May 2021.
"Following the death of their leader, Shekau's followers were forced to choose between continuing Shekau's beliefs or joining ISWA. According to the article, "as many as 18 former Boko Haram commanders have joined ISWA since Shekau's death."
Despite surpassing Boko Haram in terms of terror attacks, "the lethality of ISWA strikes has continued to fall from 10 deaths per attack in 2018 to nearly three deaths per attack in 2021," according to the research.
"In Nigeria's bloodiest attack of 2021, gunmen killed around 30 troops at an army facility in the Borno region, according to ISWA.
"In 2021, ISWA's major target remains military personnel, with the military accounting for over half of all attacks and 45 percent of all casualties attributable to the group.
"Despite the fact that the number of people killed is reducing, ISWA continues to intensify civilian attacks, from 11 in 2020 to 19 in 2021."