As terror attacks in Africa by Islamic extremist groups intensify, the US embassy warns such attacks may soon spread to soft targets such as hotels, public events, businesses, and schools– but hasn’t Boko Haram already murdered more than 6,600 people since March?
TERROR ATTACKS IN AFRICA
Witnesses said militants armed with rocket-propelled grenades and multiple suicide bombers are responsible for at least 50 deaths in the Nigerian city of Maiduguri. These latest terror attacks in Africa were carried out byBoko Haram.
This is the first time the Islamic extremist group has targeted Maiduguri– home of Boko Haram’s uprising— in several months. Before this weekend, Nigerian government officials had previously claimed Boko Haram to be more or less under control. Technically the group has lost some ground, but it continues to successfully carry out attacks on soft targets.
Despite ISIS receiving the most attention, Boko Haram is currently the world’s most dangerous terror group, according to the Global Terrorism Index.
The group– the Islamic State’s West Africa Province– caused 6,644 deaths as of March 2015, while ISIS caused 6,073.
The country of Nigeria saw the most drastic increase of terrorism-related activity: up 300% since 2013.
During the attack on Sunday, insurgents arrived to Maiduguri riding trucks while opening fire, setting homes ablaze and throwing grenades at a major military barracks. Suicide bombers blew themselves up while soldiers failed in their attempt to counter the attack. One woman claimed to be a victim of Boko Haram moments before she blew herself up with a family nearby.
A similar attacktook place on Friday (Christmas Day) killing at least 14 in the village of Kimba.
32,658 people were killed by terrorism in 2014 compared to 18,111 in 2013: the largest increase ever recorded.
Boko Haram and ISIS were jointly responsible for 51% of all claimed global fatalities in 2014.
Boko Haram has overtaken ISIS as world’s deadliest terrorist group.
Countries suffering over 500 deaths increased by 120% to 11 countries.
78% of all deaths and 57% of all attacks occurred in just five countries: Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan and Syria.
Iraq continues to be the country most impacted by terrorism with 9,929 terrorist fatalities, the highest ever recorded in a single country.
Nigeria experienced the largest increase in terrorist activity with 7,512 deaths in 2014, an increase of over 300% since 2013.
In November 2015, two similar attacks took place on the same day in the Nigerian cities of Yola and Kano. Yola– a bustling village filled with refugees– saw 34 dead and 80 injured; while Kano saw 15 dead and 53 injured, respectively.
For many months now, Boko Haram has consistently carried out terror attacks in Africa within the Lake Chad region. These terror attacks in Africa frequently include female suicide bombers.
In October, five coordinated attacks killed at least 36. In December, a triple suicide bombing took place killing at least 27. Similar attacks have been taking place in the region essentially every week– if not daily.
The Lake Chad region– which encompasses borders between Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria– is, and has been, a common target for the Islamic extremist group. Presumably this region could be a jumping-off point for Boko Haram to gain territorial control in several neighboring countries.
Over the weekend in Mali, Ansar Dine– another group allied with al-Qaeda— reportedly killed at least 15 Tuareg rebels in two attacks taking place near the country’s border with Algeria. The event was apparently retaliation from Ansar Dine as a result of the Tuareg rebels signing a peace accord with the Mali government in late June. The attack has supposedly resulted in the release of several Mujahideen prisoners, as well as the acquisition of several vehicles and weapons.
Islamic rebel groups have held control of Mali’s northern region since 2012, but many of the terror attacks carried about by these groups in 2015 have occurred further south.
Boko Haram holds a six-year insurgency in Nigeria, one which has killed over 20,000 people in total.
Following the November hotel attack in Mali, along with additional terror attacks in Africa across neighborhoods and marketplaces in Nigeria, the US embassy has warned that “soft spot” targets may soon spread to more hotels frequented by Westerners.
The Nigerian government is worried that Boko Haram’s presence may deter companies from investing in Nigeria’s oil industry— which is crucial for the country’s economy considering oil prices are nearly at record lows.
Either way, Islamic extremists are certainly attempting to cover ground and seeking an increase of power throughout Northwestern Africa. Attacks will surely be on the rise throughout the region.
In the coming new year, such a tragic narrative may soon become too alarming for the Western world to ignore.