Report: 82 terrorist attacks hit West Africa in March

The African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT) has revealed that the continent recorded 82 terrorist attacks across the region between March 16 and March 31, 2019.

The period under review recorded 544 terrorism related deaths out of which, 415 resulted directly from terrorist attacks, whereas 129 were deaths recorded during counter-terrorism operations by security forces.

The ACSRT stated in a Bi-weekly publication ‘Africa Terrorism Bulletin,’ of the African Union Commission which provide fortnight assessment of terrorism and violent extremism situations and trends on the continent and also provide African Union member states up-to-date information on terrorism incidents and its related activities.

According to the report, the Sahel region recorded 57 out of 82 incidents of terrorist attacks, 79 per cent of civilian, 62 per cent of military and 66 per cent of terrorist deaths occurred while 62 per cent (344) of those who died across the continent were civilians, whereas terrorists were 27 per cent (149). Military/security forces accounted for 11 per cent (61).

In 54 out of the 82 attacks, the terrorists used Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW), 15 attacks involved use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), one attack involved mixture of IEDs and SALW, and 12 cases of kidnappings were recorded.

According to the centre, five kidnappings occurred in the Soum province of Burkina Faso, three in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon, two in Nigeria and one in Mali with 140 people taken hostage, five killed, 106 released, and 29 remained in hostage.

The report revealed that 57 of the attacks targeted civilians, 16 targeted security forces, seven targeted government institutions/officials, and two targeted international organisations including five countries most affected by terrorism during the period were Mali, Somalia, Niger, Burkina Faso and Nigeria.

Countries of the Sahel region in West Africa recorded a total death of 400 out of the 544 representing 74 per cent of the terrorism related deaths for the period, out of the number, 264 were civilians, 98 terrorists, and 38 security personnel.

The report said the daring nature of the attacks, in spite of counter-terrorism efforts by the security forces, was an indication of viability and capability of terrorist groups to continue to operate. –GNA

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