Sunday, September 2, 2012

Boko Haram killed 590, carried out 136 attacks in 2011

Former UN deputy sec. gen Asha-Rose Migiro (3rd l) and Nig.
foreign minister, Gbenga Ashiru, lay wreath UN building bombed
in 2011 in Abuja (c) GlobalPost
The Boko Haram insurgent group killed 590 people last year, the United States Department of State Country Reports on Terrorism 2011 has said.  It carried out 136 attacks.
The report released in Washington on Tuesday night said the group was more vicious last year than 2010.
At a briefing to release the report, Coordinator, Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism Daniel Benjamin said Africa experienced 978 terrorist attacks with Nigeria alone accounting for about 20 per cent.
Benjamin said there was 11.5 per cent increase in terrorism attacks on the continent when compared with 2010.
He said: “Africa experienced 978 attacks in 2011, an 11.5 percent increase over the previous year. And this is attributable in large part to the more aggressive attack tempo of the Nigerian-based terrorist group Boko Haram, which conducted 136 attacks in 2011, up from 31 the previous year.”
The report noted that:
• Muslim majority countries bore the greatest number of attacks involving 10 or more deaths, with Afghanistan sustaining the highest number (47), followed by Iraq (44), Pakistan (37), Somalia (28), and Nigeria (12).
• Afghans also suffered the largest number of fatalities overall with 3,245 deaths, followed by Iraqis (2,958), Pakistanis (2,038), Somalis (1,013), and Nigerians (590).
• Over 10,000 terrorist attacks occurred in 2011, affecting nearly 45,000 victims in 70 countries and resulting in over 12,500 deaths. The total number of worldwide attacks in 2011, however, dropped by almost 12 percent from 2010 and nearly 29 percent from 2007. Although the 2011 numbers represent five-year lows, they also underscore the human toll and geographic reach of terrorism.
Mother of a victim of the Madalla bomb blast last December
weeping      (c) Punch newspaper
• The Near East and South Asia continued to experience the most attacks, incurring just over 75 per cent of the 2011 total. In addition, Africa and the Western Hemisphere experienced five-year highs in the number of attacks, exhibiting the constant evolution of the terrorist threat.
• Africa experienced 978 attacks in 2011, an 11.5 per cent increase over 2010. This is attributable in large part to the more aggressive attack tempo of the Nigeria-based terrorist group Boko Haram, which conducted 136 attacks in 2011—up from 31 in 2010.
• Attacks in Europe and Eurasia fell 20 percent from 703 in 2010 to 561 in 2011. The greatest decline occurred in Russia where terrorist attacks were down from 396 in 2010 to 238 in 2011. In contrast, Turkey experienced a spike in terrorist attacks, rising from 40 in 2010 to 91 in 2011. Together, Russia and Turkey suffered almost 70 percent of all 2011 terrorism-related deaths in Europe and Eurasia.

Benjamin said: “We have been working to address the issue of insecurity in northern Nigeria. And this is a top priority for the Department. We’re concerned about Boko Haram’s activities. We’ve been engaging with the Nigerian Government in particular at the highest levels to move them towards greater engagement with communities that are vulnerable to extremist violence by addressing the underlying political and socioeconomic problems in the North.
“As you know, we don’t comment on the designation process. It is a laborious process. It has to be able to stand up in court, takes a long time, and I don’t want to preview any designations or non-designations beyond that. I will point out, though, that we have designated, under Executive Order 13224, three leaders of Boko Haram. We did that back on June 21st. And this allows us to focus on those individuals who are most responsible for violence, for threats against the U.S. and its citizens. And I think that we – that was the right move to take at the time. And if there is more on that designation, you’ll certainly hear about it.”
He said despite the death of key global terrorist figures, there is still cause to worry.
Benjamin said: “There’s no question that there is cause for concern. I would not say that we are less safe now than we were several years ago, because the al-Qaida core was the most capable part of the organization by quite a lot, and was capable, obviously, of carrying out catastrophic attacks on a scale that none of the affiliates have been able to match. So it’s a complex calculus, but I – so I wouldn’t say that it is more dangerous out there than it was.
“What I would say is that we are very concerned about the growth of the affiliates. We are working closely with partner nations around the world. In the case of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, which is I think everyone agrees is the most dangerous of the affiliates.”

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