Saturday, March 19, 2016 1:10 pm
Members of the University of Ibadan, UI, community were awestruck recently when the Commandant, National Defence College, NDC, Abuja, Rear Admiral Samuel Ilesanmi Alade rolled out statistics of the havoc of terrorists in the world, especially in Nigeria. The event was the annual distinguished public lecture titled, “Terrorism and Insurgency in Nigeria: Strategic Leadership Training in Perspective” organized by the Department of Political Science of the premier university.
Alade, in his introduction, disclosed that since the dawn of modern history, states have battled with groups that resort to extreme violence to pursue their political, social, ideological and religious goals, adding that such extreme application of violence has come largely from terrorist and insurgent groups.
According to him, this emerging trend has further blurred the traditional distinction often made between terrorism and insurgency. Particularly exemplifying this worrisome trend are the activities of the Al-Shabaab in Somalia, Boko Haram in Nigeria, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria ( ISIS ) in Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan. “These groups increasingly adopt kidnappings, bombing, assassinations, and gun attacks against civilians and military targets. In 2014 alone, a total of 133,463 terrorist attacks were recorded worldwide, resulting in more than 32,700 deaths and over 34,700 injuries. Additionally, more than 9,400 people were kidnapped or taken hostage. Majority of these attacks took place in Afghanistan, India, Iraq and Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia and Syria. The threats of insurgency and terrorism have become more complex, with terrorist groups forging alliances and linkages around the world”, he said.
Alade disclosed that a worldwide ISIS terrorist group in the Middle East, headed by Abu Bakar al-Baghadi which conducts violent attacks in Lebanon, Iraq and Syria controls assets worth US$2billion, making it the richest terrorist group in the world. “With an estimated fighting force of between 20,000 and 30,000, the group generates fund from looting of banks, imposition of levies and sale of oil or stolen artefacts. Its campaign of terror involves bombings, armed assault, beheading and deliberate destruction of cultural heritage. Its violent attacks have led to the death of citizens, destruction of properties and demolition of cultural heritages in countries like Lebanon, Iraq and Syria. For example, about 24,015 civilians were killed or injured in Iraq in 2014 by ISIS . ISIS has also established footholds in countries such as Egypt and Libya: a dangerous development that complicates the terrorism landscape in Africa”, he added.
In Africa, according to him, the Al-Shabaab, a terrorist group that has been operating in Somalia since 2002 emerged as the radical youth wing of the Islamic Court Union (ICU) that took over most of Southern Somalia in 2006, adding that since then, the group has undertaken a violent insurgency using guerrilla warfare and terrorist tactics against targets in Southern and central Somalia.
He said, “The group has equally launched transnational attacks in Kenya and Uganda. Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the twin suicide bombings in Kampala in Uganda on July 11 2010, Al—Shabaab attacked the West Gate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, resulting in the death of 67 persons and injuring of over 175. A similar attack by the group in April 2015 on Garissa University College in Northeast Kenya resulted in the death of 147 people and 79 injured”.