Somalia overtakes Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Colombia to Become World’s Terror Capital [US is #33]



Somalia is now more at risk from terrorist attacks than Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Colombia according to a global ranking assessing the frequency and intensity of terrorist incidents in 196 countries. Sixteen countries are rated as ‘extreme risk’ with Somalia (1), Pakistan (2), Iraq (3), Afghanistan (4), Palestinian Occupied Territory (5), Colombia (6), Thailand (7), Philippines (8), Yemen (9) and Russia (10) at the bottom of the ranking.

The Terrorism Risk Index (TRI) is developed by global risks advisory firm, Maplecroft, to enable organisations to identify and monitor terrorism risks to human security and international assets. The index uses data from June 2009 to June 2010 to assess the frequency of terrorist incidents and the intensity of attacks, which includes the number of victims per attack and the chances of mass casualties occurring. It also includes a historical component assessing the number of attacks between 2007 and 2009 and looks at whether a country is at risk from a long-standing militant group operating there.

Somalia dropped from 4 to 1 in this year’s index. It experienced 556 terrorist incidents, killing a total of 1,437 people and wounding 3,408 between June 2009 and June 2010. It has the highest number of deaths from terrorism per population and surpassed Iraq and Afghanistan in the number of fatalities per terrorist attack. The principal threat in Somalia comes from the Islamist al Shabaab, which has claimed responsibility for several deadly suicide bombings, including one in February 2009, which killed eleven Burundian soldiers on an AU peacekeeping mission. In a recent and worrying change of tactics, the group carried out its first major international attack in July 2010, when it bombed the Ugandan capital, Kampala, killing at least 74 people.

Terrorism Risk Index

Yemen has dropped 13 places in the ranking and into the ‘extreme risk category for the first time. The country has seen a very significant increase in the number of terrorist incidents on its own soil with a total of 109 attacks between June 2009 and June 2010. Yemen’s primary source of terrorism is al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which is causing growing alarm among Western intelligence services as the group plots more attacks abroad. In October 2010 it was behind the printer cartridge bombs hidden on cargo planes on route to the US from Yemen. The packages were designed to go off in mid-air, but were intercepted in the UK and Dubai.

The largest fall in rankings belongs to Greece, which dropped from 57 to 24 to overtake Spain (27) and become the European country most at risk from terrorist attacks. Between June 2009 and June 2010, the country experienced 180 attacks – more than took place in Yemen. Recently, small left-wing groups have re-emerged, attacking a range of targets. Attacks tend to be non-fatal, but they can be highly disruptive as was seen in early November 2010, when a series of parcel bombs were addressed to embassies in Athens as well as European leaders and institutions.

“For business, assessing exposures to terrorism is becoming increasingly necessary,” said Maplecroft CEO, Professor Alyson Warhurst. “Business assets are vulnerable in certain high risk countries. For example, recent months have seen attacks on oil and gas workers in the Niger Delta, mining operations in Chhattisgarh, India and the failed attempt to conceal devices in the freight of cargo planes flying out of Yemen. The Terrorist Risk Index, along with our global sub national mapping of terrorist incidents, provides organisations with helpful tools in the evaluation of these risks.”

None of the major Western economies fall within the high or ‘extreme risk’ bracket  –  USA (33), France (44) and United Kingdom (46) all remain in the ‘medium risk’ category, whilst Canada (67) and Germany (70) are rated as ‘low risk.’

The Terrorism Risk Index will form one of the central components of Maplecroft’s Political Risk Atlas 2011, which includes 41 indices and interactive maps, plus detailed scorecards for 196 countries assessing long-term structural and short-term dynamic political risks worldwide.


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