NIGERIA, Iraq and Afghanistan ranked among the top terrorist-invaded countries in the year 2014, a report on terrorism by the United States Department of State has revealed.
Reeling statistics at a briefing, the Ambassador-at-Large and Coordinator for Counterterrorism, Tina Kaidanow, reported that the number of terrorist attacks in 2014 increased by 35 per cent, while total fatalities increased by 81 per cent, compared to 2013.
This, according to Kaidanow, was largely as a result of terrorist activity in Iraq, Afghanistan and Nigeria.
While more than 60 per cent of the attacks reportedly occurred in five countries, Iraq, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria, the increase in total fatalities was, partly, a result of certain exceptionally lethal attacks in 2014.
In 2014, according to the report, there were 20 attacks that killed more than 100 people, compared to two of such attacks in 2013.
Kaidanow noted that regardless counterterrorism efforts targeted at Al-Queda’s leadership and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), weak or failed governance continued to provide an enabling environment for the emergence of extremist radicalism and violence.
Boko Haram, the report quoted, is renowned for its use of brutal tactics, which include stoning, indiscriminate mass casualty attacks and systematic oppression of women and girls, including enslavement, torture and rape.
Special mention in the report was terrorist attacks in Yemen, Syria, Libya, Nigeria and Iraq.
Similarly, the report said ISIL had repressed the communities under its control and used ruthless methods of violence such as beheadings and crucifixions, adding that it specially demonstrated a particular skill in employing new media tools to display its brutality, both as a means to shock and terrorise.
“Enhanced border security measures among Western states since 9/11 have increased the difficulty for known or suspected terrorists to travel internationally; therefore, groups like Al-Queda and ISIL encourage lone actors residing in the West to carry out attacks on their behalf.
“ISIL and Al-Queda affiliates, including al-Nusrah Front, continued to use kidnapping for ransom operations, profits from the sales of looted antiquities, and other criminal activities to raise funds for operational purposes.
“Much of ISIL’s funding, unlike the resources utilised by Al-Queda and its type organisations did not come from external donations, but was internally gathered in Iraq and Syria.
“We are deeply concerned about the continued evolution of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the emergence of self-proclaimed ISIL affiliates in Libya, Egypt, Nigeria and elsewhere, and tens of thousands of foreign terrorist fighters who are exacerbating the violence in the Middle East and posing a continued threat to their home countries.
“The ongoing civil war in Syria has been a spur to many of the worldwide terrorism events we have witnessed,” the report noted.
Since the report covers 2014 calendar year, it noted that the overall flow of foreign terrorist fighter travel to Syria was estimated at more than 16,000 foreign terrorist fighters from over 90 countries as of late December – a number that exceeded any similar flow of foreign terrorist fighters traveling to other countries in the last 20 years.