Boko Haram: 37, 000 Killed In 7 Years – CFR

A new data by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) has pegged the number of those killed because of the Boko Haram crisis at 37, 530 from 2011 to June 2018.


In the new compilation of data based on an analysis of publicly available data from CFR’s Nigeria Security Tracker (NST) and the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), an independent nongovernmental organization based at the University of Sussex, United Kingdom, noted that the deaths were from 3, 346 incidents.

Though the report observed that the ACLED tend to lean towards casualty than the NST which has higher estimates, it states that “both identify the same progression: the conflict, beginning in 2012, escalated quickly and peaked in 2014–2015. Levels of violence declined in 2016, following a major Nigerian military campaign to recover Boko Haram–occupied territory launched in late 2014 that continued through the following year. Troops from Cameroon, Chad, and Niger, as well as some mercenaries, played a major role in this campaign.”

The report further noted that “Since 2016, totals have reverted to levels seen before the 2014–2015 surge. In the first half of 2018, deaths related to the conflict appeared to be keeping pace with the previous two years.”

The Nigerian military, the CFR says, “have indiscriminately killed young men on the mere suspicion of being affiliated with the group. Many others have died after being detained in mass incarcerations.”

According to the two data sets, “civilians have borne roughly 45 percent of conflict-related deaths. ACLED attributed 15,107 deaths to violence against civilians. The NST documented 15,953 civilian deaths, attributed to both military and Boko Haram attacks.”


One significant observation of the report is that the terrorist sect continues to shift tactics with suicide missions now relatively high.

“After relatively low levels of suicide attacks through 2014, the number jumped in 2015 to 114 attacks, or just over two suicide bombings a week.

“In the first half of 2018, there were thirty suicide bombings in northeast Nigeria, killing 297 people, signaling that such attacks have continued with some regularity.

“Boko Haram’s use of suicide bombers perhaps copies a tactic used by Islamist jihadis in the Middle East and elsewhere.

“Its reliance on this tactic reflects the overall decline in its direct confrontation with the army and security services, after Nigerian forces drove Boko Haram out of much of its territory, and its current strategy of attacking soft targets. One faction appears to still be focused on military targets.”


The report warns that though Boko Haram has lost much of its territory, its defeat was far from near.

“Over the past seven years, Boko Haram has demonstrated flexibility and remains a formidable threat to the Nigerian state despite losing much of its territory. Though the group is undoubtedly less powerful than it was in 2015, there is no sign that the government will defeat it in the foreseeable future.”


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