21 November 2019
Deaths from terrorism in Nigeria rose to 2,040 in 2018, a 33 per cent increase. This increase follows a steady decline in deaths since 2014. Terror-related incidents increased 37 per cent, from 411 in 2017 to 562 in 2018. The increase was due to a substantial escalation of violence by Fulani extremists, whilst Boko Haram recorded a decline in deaths from terrorism.
Violence between Nigerian herders and farmers intensified in early 2018 with approximately 300,000 people fleeing their homes. The most recent escalation in violence follows increased militia attacks and implementation of new anti-grazing legislation.
In Nigeria, terrorist activity is dominated by Fulani extremists and Boko Haram. Together, they account for 78 per cent of terror-related incidents and 86 per cent of deaths from terrorism.
The Fulani extremists do not constitute a single terrorist group. Certain deaths within the ongoing conflict between pastoralists and the nomadic Fulani have been categorised as terrorism and attributed to extremist elements within the Fulani. This categorisation is reflective of terrorism used as a tactic within an ongoing conflict. Further detail is given later in the report in Appendix D. There are an estimated 14 million Fulani in Nigeria, with substantial populations also in Guinea, Senegal, Mali, and Cameroon.
In 2018, Fulani extremists were responsible for the majority of terror-related deaths in Nigeria at 1,158 fatalities. Terror-related deaths and incidents attributed to Fulani extremists increased by 261 and 308 per cent respectively from the prior year. Of 297 attacks by Fulani extremists, over 200 were armed assaults. Over 84 per cent of these armed assaults targeted civilians. However, also active and not recorded as terrorist activity are pastoralist militias who target the Fulani, increasing the likelihood of reprisals.
Boko Haram were less active in 2018 than previous years. Both terror-related deaths and incidents attributed to Boko Haram have steadily declined since peaking in 2014. In 2018, Boko Haram caused 589 deaths from terrorism, a 42 per cent decrease from the preceding year. Terror-related incidents declined by 35 per cent, from 222 in 2017 to 144 in 2018.
The two main factions of Boko Haram, ISWAP and the followers of Abubakar Shekau, are both engaged in an insurgency campaign against the Nigerian government. In addition to Nigeria, Boko Haram also operates in Cameroon, Chad and Niger.
Since 2015, a multinational task force comprised of representatives from Cameroon, Chad and Niger assisted the Nigerian government in reducing violence and regaining territory from Boko Haram.8 In April 2018, the Nigerian leader, President Muhammadu Buhari, approved a $1 billion purchase of security equipment to counter the Boko Haram insurgency. Despite these improvements, the group still threatens regional stability and development.
This is from the section on Nigeria from the Global Terrorism Index 2019 report. Afghanistan is on top of the list, followed by Iraq. The full report is available below.