Conflict continues to be the primary driver of terrorist activity for the countries most impacted by terrorism, according to the 2020 Global Terrorism Index.
Five of the ten countries are classified as being in a state of war: Afghanistan, Nigeria, Syria, Somalia and Yemen. The remaining five were involved in minor conflicts.
Other specific drivers of terrorism among these ten countries include prolonged insurgencies in Afghanistan, Nigeria and Somalia, exacerbated tensions between splinter terror groups and national governments in Yemen, and the shifting activity of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Iraq and Syria.
10. The philippines
terrorism deaths in the philippines declined for the second consecutive year in 2019, to 284 deaths. terror-related incidents also decreased by 18 per cent from 424 in 2018 to 348 in 2019. despite a slight reduction in terrorist activity, the philippines remains the only southeast asian country to be ranked in the ten countries most impacted by terrorism. the communist new people’s army (npa) turned into the most active terrorist organisation in the philippines and became responsible over 35 per cent of deaths and 38 per cent of terror-related incidents in 2019, at 98 and 132 respectively.
9. Democratic republic of the congo
The democratic republic of the congo (drc) recorded a resurgence of terrorist activity in 2019 after a fall in deaths the previous year. deaths from terrorism increased by 36 per cent to 559 deaths in 2019, compared to 410 in 2018. terror-related activities also rose from 135 in 2018 to 213 in 2019, rating a 58 per cent increase. this hike in terrorist activity was driven by renewed action from the allied democratic forces (adf) and community militias known as mayi mayi groups, as well as the emergence of four new militias.
Deaths from terrorism in Yemen rose to 555 in 2019, a 31 per cent increase from 2018. Yemen also experienced a 67 per cent increase in total terrorist attacks, driven primarily by an increase in violence by Ansar Allah. Ansar Allah was the deadliest terror group in Yemen for the fourth consecutive year, accounting for 75 per cent of deaths from terrorism. However, Al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) also remains in active conflict in the region.
In 2019, terrorism deaths in Somalia fell to their lowest level since 2013, declining by 11.9 per cent to 569 deaths when compared to the prior year. Terror-related incidents also fell by 16 per cent to 239 reported attacks in 2019. Al-Shabaab was responsible for 88 per cent of all deaths in 2019, which resulted in 503 fatalities. Jabha East Africa was the only other active terror group in Somalia, claiming responsibility for 12 deaths in 2019. The group pledged allegiance to ISIL in 2016 and since then has launched small-scale attacks causing 63 fatalities.
Following the de-escalation of conflict in Syria, deaths from terrorism decreased by 44 per cent to 517 in 2019. Despite this decline in deaths from terrorism, terror-related incidents increased by 36 per cent in 2019. This increase in terrorist activity was primarily driven by an increase in attacks by the three deadliest groups in Syria: ISIL, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS). Collectively, these three groups accounted for 74 per cent of terror-related deaths in 2019. However, ISIL remained the deadliest terrorist group in Syria for the sixth consecutive year.
Nigeria is the third country most impacted by terrorism. Yet, total deaths from terrorism in Nigeria fell to 1,245 in 2019, a 39 per cent decrease from the prior year. Terror-related incidents also fell by 27 per cent, marking the lowest level of terrorist violence in Nigeria since 2011. Boko Haram, Nigeria’s deadliest terrorist group, recorded an increase in terrorist activity mainly targeted at civilians by 25 per cent from the prior year. Additionally, Fulani extremists were responsible for 26 per cent of terror-related deaths in Nigeria at 325 fatalities.
Iraq maintained its position as the second most impacted country by terrorism. However, the country recorded a reduction in terror-related deaths for the third consecutive year in 2019, with less than a thousand deaths recorded for the first time since the US invasion in 2003. The number of deaths from terrorism decreased from 1,054 in 2018 to 564 in 2019, a 46 per cent decrease. However, terrorist activity in Iraq continues to be dominated by ISIL, with the group accounting for 66 per cent of all deaths in 2019
Despite a decline in terrorist deaths from 2018 to 2019, Afghanistan remains the country most impacted by terrorism for the second consecutive year. Afghanistan accounted for 41 per cent of deaths from terrorism globally, with the Taliban being responsible for 87 per cent of these fatalities. During 2019, deaths from terrorism declined by 22 per cent, falling to 5,725. While this reduction provides some optimism, it is the second highest number of deaths recorded from terrorism in Afghanistan since the 2001 US-led invasion. The Taliban remains the most active terrorist group in Afghanistan, however, the Khorasan Chapter of the Islamic State, the ISIL-affiliate active in Afghanistan, was the second deadliest terror group in the country.