Remembering Victims Of Terrorism: Here Are The 10 Most Terrorized Countries In Africa According To The Global Terrorism Index 2021

Terrorism is an act of violence committed by an individual or group with the intent to further their ideology, be it political, religious, racial, or environmental. The Global Terrorism Index views it slightly differently. While political unrest is a typical scene in Africa, terrorism was scarcely heard of. However, that is changing with the rise of international affiliated terrorist organizations like ISWA, Boko Haram, Ansura, and Al-Shabaab.

According to the FBI, the activities of international terrorist organizations have been on an increase. Initially, a greater part of these terrorist activities was in Asian countries. Sadly, terrorism is now widely reported among African nations. Before we take a closer look at the African countries battling terrorism, here is what you should know about the Global Terrorism index.

Global Terrorism Index - Somalia Bomb Blast
Scene of a bomb blast near Mogadishu, Capital of Somali (Photo credit: Africa News)

The Global Terrorism Index (GTI)

The GTI is a yearly publication by the Institute of Economics and Peace. The index assesses global trends and patterns in terrorism to provide a comprehensive summary. It also ranks each nation of the world according to the terrorist activities.

Since terrorism is broad and covers many acts of violence, the GTI only considers those acts of violence that are intentional. The GTI aims to provide a framework that will help governments and policymakers to checkmate the propagation of these acts of terror in all their forms.

Global Terrorism Index
(A). Global Impact of Terrorism (Photo credit: Global Terrorism Index 2020)
Global Terrorism Impact - Legend
(B). Legend (Photo credit: Global Terrorism Index)

How Is The Global Terrorism Ranking Determined?

The Global Terrorism Database (GTD) contains more than 170,000 terrorist incidents collated from 1970 to 2019.ย  To qualify as an act of terrorism, an incident must satisfy three criteria;

  • it must not be state-sponsored,
  • it must be intentional
  • must involve some level of violence or threat.

Managing this database is the work of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START). While the Institute for Economics and Peace uses the information in the database to calculate the Global Terrorism Index Score for each country. The GTI score uses four key indicators and these are;

  • deaths from terrorism-related incidents;
  • the number of terrorism-related incidents;
  • the number of injuries arising from terrorism-related incidents and;
  • property damages associated with terrorism-related incidents.

Based on these indicators, here are the 10 most terrorized countries in Africa.

10 Most Terrorised Countries In Africa

#10. The Central African Republic (CAR)

Political instability in the Central African Republic has led to the formation of several armed groups and militias. For the most part, these armed groups control many parts of the country. Militia groups like the CPC led by former CAR president Francois Bozizรฉ and the lordโ€™s Resistance Army are opportunistic and do not operate based on an ideology. However, Boko Haram a known terrorist group has recently added to the predicament of the people of CAR.

#9. Lybia

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) now known as Daesh remains very active in Lybia, despite the joint effort of the US and the Lybia government. Although the group was reportedly squashed in 2016, the recent wave of attacks clearly shows that this report may not be true. The most recent attacks by Daesh were on June 2021, in the Fezzan Province of Southern Lybia. The group also claimed responsibility for the Benghazi car bomb that killed five people including two foreigners.

Global Terrorism Index
Dadaab Refugee Camp is one of the three refugee camps in Kenya and home to thousands of refugees fleeing Somalia and other neighboring countries (Photo credit: World Bulletin)

#8. Mozambique

The Southeastern African nation of Mozambique has been on the map lately due to the operations of three different terrorist organizations; ISIS- Mozambique, Al-Shabaab, and JNIM. These groups are responsible for different terrorist-related attacks. A few examples are the attack on Palma in March 2021 and a series of attacks in Cabo Delgado Province.

#7. Egypt

The US state department issued a travel warning for its citizens intending to travel to Egypt. In the release, two specific areas were linked with terrorism; the Sinai Peninsula and the Western desert. According to the state department, these areas are prone to attacks by terrorists who often target diplomatic facilities, tourist locations, and transportation hubs. Other areas they target are markets/shopping malls, western businesses, restaurants, resorts, and local government facilities.

#6. Cameroon

Boko Haram and the Islamic State of West Africa are two terrorist organizations operating in Cameroon and other West African nations. So far, the activities of these groups are within the far northern region of the country. The attacks are often in the form of suicide attacks targeting public places. Also, Boko Haram has the notoriety of kidnapping residents in the regionโ€”both foreign nationals and non-foreigners.

Global Terrorism Index - ISIL
Global Distribution of ISIL/ISIL affiliated terror groups (Photo credit: Global Terrorism Index)

#5. Burkina Faso

In 2019, The level of terrorist-related activities in Burkina Faso rose from 86 to 593. This increase of about 590% makes Burkina Faso one of the most terrorized African countries of 2019. Known terrorist organizations within the country are; the Islamic State in Greater Sahara (ISGS), Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimin (JNIM), and the Burkina Faso branch of Ansar al-Islam.

#4. Mali

Many Al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist groups like; Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen (JNIM) and Islamic State Greater Sahara (ISGS) operate in Mali. The groups kidnap and also carry out terrorist attacks against security. Two of such attacks took place this year, one occurred in March resulting in the death of 33 Malian soldiers. Another took place in April at the UN peacekeepers camp (MINUSMA) in Mali resulting in the death of 4 peacekeepers.

#3. Democratic Republic of Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the Sub-Saharan African countries that has seen a rise in terrorist activities over the past few years. These terrorist groups have taken advantage of the conflict and political instability in the region to carry out their agenda. Most terrorist organizations operating within the DRC are affiliates of ISIL.

#2. Somalia

On 14th October 2017, Somaliaโ€™s deadliest terrorist attack occurred, claiming the lives of 300 people and injuring more. Although an attack of such scale has not been replicated since then, terrorist-related attacks are still commonplace. The most recent attack was in April where 17 people died from a bomb blast close to the capital Mogadishu. Al-Shabaab remains the most active terrorist organization in Somalia and they operate by armed assaults, suicide bombings, car bombings, and the use of improvised explosive devices.

Global Terrorism Index - Boko Haram
Boko Haram Fighters (Photo credit: The Nation)

#1. Nigeria

Boko Haram, ISWA, and Ansaru are the three major terrorist groups operating in Nigeria. Among these groups, Boko Haram is by far the most active propagating one terror activity after the other. The group carries out attacks on military bases, kidnap citizens including children for ransom as well as foreigners. Presently, the scale of these attacks is becoming more frequent.

Armed bandits are known to lay wait in bushes terrorizing and kidnapping commuters and asking for ransom. The situation has only become worse coupled with the deplorable state of security in the country. Consequently, there is increasing agitation by groups for the disintegration of the nation.


According to a Relief Web report, 96% of terrorist-related deaths occur within countries in conflict. These organizations capitalize on the weakening security system of such countries to carry out their agenda. Most conflicts are a result of unchecked socio-economic factors such as a high level of corruption, disenfranchisement, a high level of group grievances and agitations, and a weak rule of law.

August 21stย  is the International Day of Remembrance of and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism. The UN website highlights the neglect of victims the moment the terrorist attacks fade. Speaking on the occasion of this yearโ€™s celebration, the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres said,

โ€œThe United Nations is committed to a world free from terrorism. On this International Day of Remembrance of and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism, and on all days, let us stand in solidarity with all victims and survivors so we may support them in healing their trauma and bring them hope.โ€

Considering the high cost of terrorism to any nation, it is important for policymakers and world governments to understand the trend of terrorism and come up with appropriate ways to tackle it in the future. Do you agree with the ranking? Does it represent the reality in your country? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

Related Articles


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Receive our latest updates

Subscribe To Our Newsletter