The African Center 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.
This is according to Lieutenant Colonel (rtd) Larry Gbevlo-Lartey, African Union Special Representative in charge of Counter-Terrorism Cooperation and also the Director of the Algiers, based African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT).
The period under review recorded 544 terrorism-related deaths out of which, 415 resulted directly from terrorist attacks, where 129 were deaths recorded during counter-terrorism operations by security forces.
The African Centre stated in a Bi-weekly publication “Africa Terrorism Bulletin,” made available to the Ghana News Agency in Accra.
The Africa Centre is to provide a fortnight assessment of terrorism and violent extremism situation and trends on the continent and 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 terrorists’ deaths occurred in the Sahel region.
It also revealed that 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 the use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), one attack involved a mixture of IEDs and SALW, and 12 cases of kidnappings were recorded.
According to the African 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.
In all, 140 people were 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.
In terms of casualties suffered by the terrorist groups, Boko Haram lost 80 members whereas Al-Shabaab lost 48 members during Counter Terrorism operations.
Another 21 persons belonging to unidentified or unaffiliated groups were also killed during counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency.
The five countries most affected by terrorism during the period are; Mali, Somalia, Niger, Burkina Faso and Nigeria.