Terrorism in Africa - A Quantitative Analysis


  • Adriana Lins De Albuquerque

Publish date: 2017-02-02

Report number: FOI-R--4398--SE

Pages: 56

Written in: English


  • Africa
  • terrorism
  • Daesh
  • Islamic State
  • al-Qaeda


In the last two years, reports of Africa becoming the new frontier for terrorism in general, and Islamic terrorism in particular, has become more frequent. This report seeks to analyse to what extent such concerns are warranted. Terrorist attacks have become more common on the continent, particularly in the last two years for which we have data, 2014 and 2015. It is also clear that certain parts of the continent and particular countries are more frequent locations of terrorist attacks than others, suggesting that this is more of a local rather than continental problem. Actors known to have an Islamist affiliation committed a minority of the total number of terrorist attacks in Africa from 1997-2010. But the number of attacks perpetrated by this category of actors has been steadily increasing during the 2011-2015 period. Organizations known to be associated with al-Qaeda and Daesh have been perpetrating increasingly more attacks starting in 2003. Indeed, roughly 90 per cent of attacks attributed organizations known to have an Islamist affiliation also had a known affiliation with Daesh and al-Qaeda. Yet, the majority of attacks perpetrated by al-Qaeda- and Daesh-associated organizations were committed by no more than a handful of individual organizations. These include Boko Haram, al-Shabaab, Tripoli Province of the Islamic State and the Sinai Province of the Islamic State. An important findings of this this study, therefore, is that terrorism in Africa is a problem associated with the activity of a select number of specific organisations and the armed conflicts they are involved in.