Terrorist atrocities increased 15% last year with Nigeria, Egypt and Pakistan all at high risk

Over the past year the number of terrorist incidents worldwide increased by 15%, according to new analysis.

Islamic terrorism is a factor in many, but not all of the most dangerous parts of the world, according to Maplecroft’s risk analysis. The five most at risk countries are Somalia, Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan and South Sudan. Countries identified as “extreme risk” sustained 75% of last year’s fatalities.

Somalia remains the most at risk country in the world. The country’s main rebel Islamist/terrorist group, al-Shabaab, is responsible for frequent attacks on government officials and civilians. During 2010/11 there were 620 terrorist incidents which caused 1,385 fatalities, claimed Maplecroft. This figure is higher than that of the next three most at risk countries (Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan).

Pakistan is ranked as “extreme risk” as it continues to be threatened by an array of Islamist sectarian and separatist militant groups. The Baloch seperatists, for example, are an ethnic group found in Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan, one of their key beliefs is that ethnicity rather than religion constitutes identity.

Islamist terrorist groups including al-Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Taliba also maintain a presence in Pakistan but launch attacks primarily outside of its borders. The death of al-Qaeda’s leader Osama bin Laden on May 2 caused the Pakistani Taliban to launch a series of deadly reprisal attacks.

Several countries have been recently ranked as extreme risk by Maplecroft. Iran became an extreme risk country following an increase in attacks by Sunni Baloch and Kurdish separatists. Iran experienced 21 incidents, causing 120 fatalities.

Nigeria had 72 terrorist incidents in 2010/2011 which is more than double the previous year’s total making it an extreme risk. This is highly significant considering that Nigeria is one of the biggest and most developed economies in Africa. There were 137 fatalities in 2010/11.

MEND, a militant group that demands fairer distribution of Nigeria’s oil wealth and Boko Haram, a violent group that seeks to impose Shariah law in northern Nigeria, continue to pose a significant threat to the country’s security.

Egypt has moved from a medium to a high risk status. Evidence suggests that militant individuals have sought to stoke divisions in Egypt. The Army of Islam and elements linked to the Islamic State of Iraq have been implicated in attacks.

Commercial interests such as the pipeline infrastructure in Sinai have been targeted causing energy price hikes in Israel. This increase in terrorist activity is particularly noteworthy as it could signal a trend in post revolution countries in the region.

Other notable countries in the top twenty most at risk countries include Israel, Thailand, and the Philippines.

See the map below (Source: Maplecroft) for global terrorism hotspots (countries that rank highly on the terrorists hit list are green, while specific targets are identified in white).


Maplecroft terrorist risk map