London: The 2022 Global Terrorism Index (GTI) has revealed that despite an increase in attacks, the impact of terrorism continues to decline.
In 2021, deaths from terrorism fell by 1.2% to 7,142, while attacks rose by 17%, highlighting that terrorism is becoming less lethal.
Two thirds of countries recorded no attacks or deaths from terrorism – the best result since 2007 – while 86 countries recorded an improvement on their GTI score.
The number of deaths has remained approximately the same for the last four years.
The Index highlights that terrorism remains a serious threat, with Sub-Saharan Africa accounting for 48% of total global deaths from terrorism.
Four of the ten countries with the largest increases in deaths from terrorism were also in sub-Saharan Africa: Niger, Mali, the DRC and Burkina Faso.
Following military defeats in Syria and Iraq, IS shifted its attention to the Sahel, with deaths from terrorism rising ten times in the region since 2007.
The Sahel has become the new epicentre of terrorism.
Terrorism in the region is compounded by high population growth, lack of adequate water and food, climate change and weak governments.
Adding to the complexity, many criminal organisations are representing themselves as Islamic insurgencies.
"Terrorism is becoming more centred in conflict zones, underpinned by weak governments and political instability, while in Europe and the US politically motivated terrorism has overtaken religiously motivated attacks. As conflict in the Ukraine dominates global attention it is crucial that the global fight against terrorism is not sidelined. Terrorist activity in the Sahel is increasing substantially, and is driven by Islamic militias," Steve Killelea, Founder & Executive Chairman of international think tank the Institute of Economics and Peace (IEP), said in a press release on Wednesday.
"The decline of terrorism in the West coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic. Restrictions on freedom of movement, travel and the immediate threat to personal health may explain some of the fall. Once the emergency measures are removed there is the possibility of an uptick in terrorism activity," he added.
The annual Global Terrorism Index, now in its ninth year, is developed by IEP and provides the most comprehensive resource on global terrorism trends.
The GTI uses a number of factors to calculate its score, including the number of incidences, fatalities, injuries and hostages, and combines it with conflict and socio-economic data to provide a holistic picture of terrorism.