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Boko Haram Surpasses ISIS as World’s Deadliest Terrorist Group

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Report defies public perception in wake of Paris attacks, highlights Africa’s woes

In the wake of recent terrorist attacks believed to be the work of the Islamic State group—Paris, Beirut, the Russian airliner and Ankara—one might believe ISIS is the deadliest terror group since al Qaeda.

Not so, says a new report that keeps track of terrorism’s effects worldwide. The number-one spot can now be claimed by a group that has wreaked havoc in parts of Africa, even as their deadly attacks are eclipsed in news reports by assaults against European targets.

Boko Haram, which was the prime suspect in an explosion in Yola, Nigeria, this week, which killed 32 and wounded 80, was responsible for 6,664 deaths in 2014. ISIS comes in second at 6,073.

The figures were released in a report Tuesday by the Institute of Economics and Peace at the University of Maryland, according to Newsweek. The institute’s Global Terrorism Report calculated that

  • 32,658 people were killed by terrorism in 2014 compared to 18,111 in 2013: the largest increase ever recorded
  • 78 percent of all deaths and 57 percent 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 more than  300 percent since 2013

Though the reported figures show a sort of competition between ISIS and Boko Haram, the two groups share a similar vision. Boko Haram, whose name is usually translated as Western Education Is Forbidden, changed its name recently to the Islamic State’s West Africa Province. It wants to establish a caliphate in Africa, whose subjects would live under Islamic law.

Together, Boko Haram and ISIL were responsible for 51 perent of all terrorist fatalities in 2014.

 

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