A 2019 report from the Global Terrorism Index, GTI, revealed that the attacks by herdsmen killed more Nigerians in 2018 than the number of deaths caused by the Boko Haram in the country.
The GTI report has ranked Nigeria, for the fifth consecutive time, since 2015, as the third country with the worst impact of terrorism in the world.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan has overtaken Iraq to become number one on the list, while the latter fell to second place.
Syria, Pakistan, Somalia and India respectively occupy the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh place in the GTI report, while Yemen, the Philippines and the Democratic Republic of the Congo occupy the eighth, ninth and tenth place.
According to the report, incidents related to terrorism in Nigeria increased by 37 percent, from 411 in 2017 to 562 in 2018, and even deaths from terrorism in the country increased to 2,040 in 2018, an increase of 33 percent.
“The increase was due to a substantial escalation of violence by ‘Fulani’ extremists, whilst Boko Haram recorded a decline in deaths from terrorism,” the report said.
A concern was raised in the 2018 GTI report over the killings by herders. The report had warned that terrorism was shifting from Nigeria’s North-East region to the country’s Middle-Belt.
“Violence between Nigerian herders and farmers intensified in early 2018 with approximately 300,000 people fleeing their homes. The most recent escalation in violence follows increased militia attacks and implementation of new anti-grazing legislation.
“In 2018, Fulani extremists were responsible for the majority of terror-related deaths in Nigeria at 1,158 fatalities. Terror-related deaths and incidents attributed to Fulani extremists increased by 261 and 308 per cent respectively from the prior year. Of 297 attacks by Fulani extremists, over 200 were armed assaults. Over 84 per cent of these armed assaults targeted civilians.
“However, also active and not recorded as terrorist activity are pastoralist militias who target the Fulani, increasing the likelihood of reprisals,” the report said.
The deadliest terrorist incident in Nigeria in 2018, according to the report, occurred on May 5 when assailants attacked Gwaska, Kaduna.
The report said 58 people were killed in the attack, which it said was attributed to ‘Fulani extremists’.
The GTI report attributed the decline in Boko Haram attacks to a multinational task force fighting the terrorist group.
The GTI, which is in its seventh edition, is produced annually by the Institute for Economics & Peace, an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank with offices in Sydney, New York, and Mexico City.