A retrospective analysis of the Global Terrorism Database (GTD) was performed for the region of SSA from 1970-2020. Data were filtered using the internal database search function for all events in the following countries: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, People’s Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Rhodesia, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zaire, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Number of attacks, deaths, and injuries, as well as primary weapons types, country where attacks occurred, and primary target types, were collated and analyzed.
A total 19,320 attacks were recorded, resulting in 77,565 deaths and 52,986 injuries. Firearms were the most frequent weapons used (8,745), followed by explosives (6,031), unknown (2,615), and incendiary (1,246), with all others making up the remainder (683.) Private citizens and property were the most frequently targeted entities (8,031), followed by general government facilities (2,582), police (1,854), business (1,446), military (805), diplomatic government facilities (741), and religious figures/institution (678), with all other targets making up the remainder (3,183).
The majority of deaths from terrorism in SSA are the result of firearm attacks and explosions. Nigeria, Somalia, South Africa, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Sudan have had the largest number of attacks since 1970, and Nigeria has the largest number of people killed and injured. The health implications of terrorist attacks are often compounded by violence and pose unique challenges to governments, populations, and aid organizations. By understanding the impact and scope of terrorist activity in SSA, Counter-Terrorism Medicine (CTM) initiatives can be employed to improve health care outcomes.