LAGOS, Nigeria - A new report says Nigeria's Boko Haram Islamic insurgents have become the world's deadliest extremist group, edging out the Islamic State group to which it is affiliated.
The Global Terrorism Index says deaths attributed to Boko Haram increased by 317 percent in 2014 to 6,644 compared to 6,073 blamed on Islamic State. Boko Haram pledged allegiance to IS in March and calls itself that group's West Africa Province.
The two are responsible for 51 percent of deaths by terror worldwide, according to the report published by the New York City-based Institute for Economics and Peace.
Amnesty International has blamed Nigeria's military for the deaths in detention of another 8,000 civilians.
The new report says nearly all terrorist attacks have occurred in countries where political violence by governments is widespread.
Boko Haram was believed to have been wiped out in northeastern Nigeria in 2009, an area that has been a hotbed of tension for a country that is about half Muslim and half Christian. Instead, they have grown with a vengeance, killing an estimated 20,000 in their 6-year-old uprising, in addition to displacing some 2.3 million people in an area that crosses several international borders.
Analysts say Nigeria's military is too thin to hold ground and that as it takes one area, the extremists slip into another in the vast arid spaces dotted by forests in the northeast.
Forces from Chad and Nigeria drove Boko Haram out of a self-proclaimed Islamic caliphate earlier this year, as former President Goodluck Jonathan faced elections. Jonathan lost, in part because of his failure to curb the insurgency.
President Muhammadu Buhari, a former military dictator, was elected and has promised to break the back of the insurgency by year's end, but Boko Haram persists with deadly raids on remote villages and urban suicide bombings that have killed more than 2,000 people this year alone.
Nigeria has also been plagued by rampant corruption and government inefficiency. As if to underscore the point, Nigeria's leader ordered the arrest of the former president's national security adviser for allegedly stealing billions of dollars meant to buy weapons to fight Boko Haram.
"Thousands of needless Nigerian deaths would have been avoided" if the money had been properly spent, Femi Adesina, an adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari, said in a statement Tuesday night.
The order follows an interim report by a presidential committee that uncovered fraudulent and fictitious arms contracts amounting to $5.4 billion, Adesina said. The committee is investigating arms procurement since 2007 as part of the fight against endemic corruption that Buhari has waged since taking office in May. Buhari has also ordered the arrest of other former high-ranking officials linked to the scandal, said Adesina.
Sambo Dasuki, a key adviser to former President Goodluck Jonathan from 2011, is accused of awarding "phantom contracts" to buy 12 helicopters, four fighter jets and munitions worth $2.9 billion that never were supplied. Buhari fired him in July.
Meanwhile, a night-time suicide bombing on Tuesday blamed on Boko Haram extremists killed 32 people and wounded 80 Tuesday at a truck stop in northeastern Nigeria, an emergency official said.
Tuesday night's blast breaks a three-week hiatus in bombings after a string of suicide attacks culminated in twin explosions in mosques in two northeastern cities that killed 42 people and wounded more than 100 on Oct. 23.
One of the mosques attacked was in Yola, capital of Adamawa state, where the insurgents struck again. It was the third suicide bombing in as many months in a city overflowing with refugees from Boko Haram's campaign.
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