Nigeria was one of the five countries where 75 percent of all terrorism related deaths occurred in 2016, the United States Government said in its 2016 Terrorism Report on Wednesday. The other countries were Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Pakistan.
Fifty-five percent of all terror attacks in 2016, however, took place in five countries not including Nigeria – Iraq, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, and the Philippines.
The report by the U.S. Department of State said Boko Haram massacred thousands of people in Nigeria in 2016, despite some gains made against the ruthless terrorists.
“Boko Haram (BH) and ISIS-West Africa continued to carry out killings, bombings, and attacks on civilian and military targets in northern Nigeria, resulting in thousands of deaths, injuries, and significant destruction of property in 2016,” the report said.
“Despite gains made by the MNJTF, much of its reported progress was merely duplication of failed efforts carried over from the end of the last dry/fighting season.
“The Nigerian military was unable to hold and re-build civilian structures and institutions in those areas it had cleared. Most of the remaining students abducted by BH in Chibok remained in captivity, although one girl was found in Borno, and the Government of Nigeria successfully negotiated the release of 21 of the kidnapping victims”.
The report is the Department of State’s annual assessment of trends and events in international terrorism that transpired from January 1 to December 31, 2016. It provides policy-related assessments, country-by-country breakdowns of foreign government counterterrorism cooperation; and contains information on state sponsors of terrorism, terrorist safe havens, foreign terrorist organizations, and the global challenge of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear terrorism.
The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism at the University of Maryland noted in its Statistic Annex that the total number of terrorist attacks in 2016 decreased by nine percent and total deaths due to terrorist attacks decreased by 13 percent, compared to 2015.
“This was largely due to fewer attacks and deaths in Afghanistan, Syria, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Yemen. Although terrorist attacks took place in 104 countries in 2016, they were heavily concentrated geographically,” the report added.
2016 Terrorist Incidents In Nigeria:
BH carried out dozens of attacks in Nigeria through suicide bombings against civilians or attacks against Nigerian military. Some of the more notable attacks included:
- On January 28, six male and female suicide bombers detonated explosives in Chibok, killing 16 people. While other attacks this year may have resulted in greater casualties, the number of bombers made this attack significant.
- On January 30, BH attacked Dalori with three female suicide bombers and dozens of conventional attackers. At least 85 people were killed.
- On February 9, two female suicide bombers detonated explosives at the Dikwa camp. At least 58 people were killed and 78 people were injured.
- On September 20, a military convoy was attacked in the town of Malam Fatori, Borno State, killing 40 people and injuring dozens.
- On October 16, a Nigerian Army battalion located in Gashagar Village, northern Borno, was attacked by BH members who overran the army position. At least 24 soldiers were reported as missing in action, and have not been reported as found. Several of the army’s vehicles were reportedly destroyed or recovered by BH.
- On December 9, two female suicide bombers detonated themselves in a market in Madagali Village, Adamawa State. Nigerian military officials reported 30 people dead and 68 people wounded. Open source news reported up to 57 people dead and 177 people wounded.
The report said the Nigerian government’s criminal justice institutions “were not significantly strengthened in 2016, although several donor countries, including the United Kingdom, continued to work closely with the Ministry of Justice to assist in prioritizing how to investigate and prosecute suspected terrorism cases”.
The report released in Washington D.C. read in part:
“While the Nigerian military had primary responsibility for combating terrorism in the northeast, several government agencies performed counterterrorism functions, including the Department of State Secur ity (DSS), the Nigerian Police Force (NPF), and the Ministry of Justice.
“Counterterrorism activities of these agencies and ministry were ostensibly coordinated by the Office of the National Security Advisor (ONSA). The level of interagency cooperation and information sharing was limited and at times hindered overall effectiveness.
“The Nigerian government participated in U.S. counterterrorism capacity-building programs under the Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) program, including the training of NPF members in explosive ordnance disposal, explosive incident countermeasures, and preventing attacks on soft targets.
“The NPF also stood up the Special Program for Embassy Augmentation and Response, which is a specialized selection and training program for local police dedicated to the security of the U.S. Embassy and other diplomatic missions throughout Abuja.
“The Nigerian government worked with the FBI to investigate specific terrorism matters, predominantly through the DSS, and provided improvised explosive device components
to the FBI for analysis at the Terrorist Device Analysis Center. ONSA, DSS, Nigerian Army, Nigerian Emergency Management Agency, and NPF explosive ordnance and post blast personnel worked with FBI special agents and special agent bomb-technicians in-country.
“The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and NPF also received crime scene training relevant to counterterrorism investigations. Border security responsibilities are shared among NPF, DSS, Customs, Immigration, and the military.
“Coordination among agencies was limited. Cooperation and information sharing in the northeast increased between Immigration and the Nigerian Army. Nigerian implementation of UN Security Council resolutions 2178 (2014) and 2199 (2015) was limited as the Buhari administration has made limited progress against corruption.
“Through the ATA program, Nigerian police, customs officials, and immigration officers also participated in interagency “Rural Border Patrol Operations” courses to build the law enforcement sector’s ability to effectively use all agencies to tackle rural border security challenges.
“The Nigerian government actively cooperated with the United States and other international partners to prevent further acts of terrorism in Nigeria against U.S. citizens, citizens of third countries, and Nigerian citizens. Nigerian law enforcement agencies cooperated with the U.S. FBI to assist with counterterrorism investigations, including disruptions, information sharing, and interviews.
“Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Nigeria is a member of the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa, a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body.
“Nigeria made limited progress towards the passage of several pieces of legislation intended to address strategic deficiencies in the country’s anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism regime.
“Although passed by the Nigerian National Assembly, the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Centre (NFIC) Bill, which seeks to provide the FIC with operational independence and autonomy, and the Proceeds of Crime Bill had not been signed into law by the end of 2016.
“The DSS is the primary investigating agency for terrorism cases, but there have been longstanding sustained concerns about its capacity to investigate terrorist financing as it does not share case information with other agencies that also have the mandate to conduct terrorist financing investigations and prosecutions, such as the EFCC. These concerns continued in 2016.
“There were no known efforts on the part of the EFCC or the Ministry of Justice to prosecute terrorist financing cases. The Government of Nigeria has the ability to freeze and confiscate terrorist assets as required by the UN Security Council (UNSC) ISIL (Da’esh) and al-Qa’ida sanctions regime.
“While there is political will to freeze assets, bureaucratic processes occasionally cause delays. The Nigerian government routinely distributes the UNSC lists of designated terrorists or terrorist entities to financial institutions”.