By James Tasamba
KIGALI, Rwanda (AA) - Burkina Faso is the most affected by terrorism on the African continent and the second most-affected worldwide in 2022, according to the latest global terrorism report that was released Tuesday.
The Global Terrorism Index (GTI) 2023, a report published by the Australia-based global Institute for Economics and Peace, showed that the Sahel region of sub-Saharan Africa is now the epicenter of terrorism, accounting for more deaths from terrorism in 2022 than South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa combined.
Across the Sahel, 22,074 people died in 6,408 terror attacks between 2007 and 2022, it said.
In Burkina Faso, 8,564 victims were registered, putting the country in the second position in the world for the most-affected countries, behind Afghanistan.
Terror attacks in the Sahel region increased by more than 2,000% in the past 15 years, it said.
Somalia, Mali and Syria ranked third, fourth and fifth, respectively. Others in the ranking are Pakistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Burma and Niger.
“Of particular concern are two countries, Burkina Faso and Mali, which accounted for 73% of terrorism deaths in the Sahel in 2022 and 52% of all deaths from terrorism in sub-Saharan Africa,” it said.
Most attacks are attributed to unknown insurgents although Daesh and the Al-Qaeda and Daesh/ISIS affiliate -- Support Group for Islam and Muslims (JNIM) operate in the two countries, according to the report.
The report, however, showed that terror attacks around the world reduced in 2022 for the first time since 2019 -- from 5,463 to 3,955 compared to 2021. And with it, the number of fatalities fell by almost 9% -- from 7,328 to 6,701 deaths.
In Burkina Faso, 1,135 deaths were recorded, representing a 50% increase with attacks targeting mainly civilians.
A large-scale attack in the Seytenga commune, a town 15 kilometers (27 miles) from the border with Niger where 116 civilians were killed, was considered the fourth deadliest attack in the world in 2022.
Burkina Faso has been battling an insurgency that has spread from neighboring Mali in the past decade.
The political situation in the Sahel compounds the terrorism challenge, with six coup attempts since 2021, of which four were successful, said the report.
Addressing the UN Security Council Tuesday, African nations urged the world to pay attention to terrorism threats on the continent, particularly in the Sahel region.
“Though terrorism is a global threat, the situation in Africa remains more critical,” Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi told the Council. Mozambique holds the Security Council chair for March.