Boko Haram Now Considered More Deadly Than ISIS

Boko Haram, the Nigerian-based Islamist militant group, has likely followed up the attacks carried out by ISIS in Paris and Beirut with multiple bombings in its own neighborhood on Wednesday. A suicide bombing at a market in the town of Yola caused the deaths of at least 34 people; two additional suicide bombings in the city of Kano killed at least 15 people later that day. And a report published this month places into perspective the militant group's growing threat to civilians, claiming that Boko Haram causes more deaths than ISIS.

While it has not yet been confirmed that Boko Haram is responsible for the three bombings, it is widely believed the attacks were carried out by the group. Boko Haram does not always claim responsibility for individual incidents of terrorism, though, and details on past alleged attacks are often difficult to come by.

With the newest series of attacks in Nigeria, Boko Haram has taken over the title of the "most deadly terror group in the world," according to the Global Terrorism Index. The report, published by the Institute for Economics and Peace, states that while 6,073 deaths were attributed to ISIS in 2014, Boko Haram was allegedly responsible for several hundred more casualties: 6,644 deaths in total.

Boko Haram has regarded itself as an affiliate of ISIS, and group leader Abubakar Shekau pledged members' allegiance to ISIS in an audio recording released in March 2015. When grouped together, Boko Haram and ISIS caused just over half of all terrorism-related deaths around the globe in 2014. The groups continue to be considered two distinct organizations, however, by political leaders and media outlets.


The most well-known attack carried out by the Nigerian-based group is likely not a bombing, but rather the kidnapping of nearly 300 female students from a Chibok secondary school that took place in April 2014. The most deadly act of terrorism by Boko Haram is not even accounted for in the Global Terrorism Index's calculations, as the mass killings that took place in the town of Baga occurred just days into 2015. Local media reported only 100 to 150 deaths in the aftermath of the attack, but outlets including BBC News and The Guardian stated that up to 2,000 people were killed during the massacre.

The report also highlights the disturbing increase in Boko Haram's terrorist attacks over a short span of time: the number of deaths attributed to Boko Haram increased by 317 percent from 2013 to 2014. Amnesty International marked the militant group's 2015 civilian death toll at approximately 3,500 people at the start of October.