THOUGH the number of worldwide terror attacks fell to 10,283 last year, down from 11,641 in 2010 and the lowest since 2005, it has increased in Nigeria with the incessant bombings by Boko Haram, the United States’ State Department has said in a report.
According to the document, two other countries that have witnessed increase are Kenya and Somalia due to the attacks by a weakened Al Shabab.
Boko Haram has been blamed for the deaths of more than 1,000 people since mid-2009. A 2009 military assault that left some 800 people dead put down an uprising by the group, but it re-emerged more than a year later with increasingly sophisticated attacks.
The U.S. State Department, in the report, cited the May 2011 killing of Osama bin Laden and other top al- Qaeda members killed last year including Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, and Anwar al-Awlaki, who was the head of Yemen’s Al Qaeda affiliate and had ties to the underwear bomber plot in 2010 as responsible for the drop in attacks.
“The loss of bin Laden and these other key operatives puts the network on a path of decline that will be difficult to reverse,” the report stated.
But Ambassador Dan Benjamin, the State Department’s coordinator for counter-terrorism, warned that for all the good news about the core of al Qaeda being weakened, affiliates of the group, particularly in Yemen and in Africa, continue to pose a real risk.
Benjamin also noted that the Arab spring and other countries in transition could leave important allies like Egypt and Iraq vulnerable to terror groups.
“Inspiring as the moment may be, we are not blind to the attendant perils. Terrorists could still cause significant disruptions for states undergoing very challenging democratic transitions. Affiliates of the group, and violent extremist ideology and rhetoric continue to spread in some parts of the world,” said Benjamin.