Global Extremism in May 2016

Report

Global Extremism in May 2016

30 Jun 2016

In May, 26 countries were targeted by violent extremism, the Centre on Religion & Geopolitics' (CRG) Global Extremism Monitor has found.

Our data for May shows that the fight against violent religious extremism is global, with 22 extremist groups instigating 228 violent incidents in 26 countries. The five worst of these incidents alone, perpetrated by Islamist extremists, killed at least 424 people.

Over the past four months, the same six countries saw the highest casualty figures, again and again. Over 85 per cent of the fatalities in May occurred in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, and Nigeria.

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The Centre on Religion & Geopolitics (CRG) tracks violent religious extremism, and state responses to it, worldwide. In all, 51 countries either suffered violent extremist violence, or expended efforts to fight the threat. The wider cost of the global terror threat is seen not only in injury and death, but also in displacement and economic loss. In May, at least 1,016 civilians and 700 security personnel were killed across the globe, along with 1,875 extremists. Extremist groups also took at least 464 hostages.

In May, our data showed:

Somalia is consistently targeted by extremists

Despite little global attention, Somalia has consistently faced among the greatest threats from religious extremism. In May, at least 184 extremists were killed, and 185 security forces and civilians combined.

Al-Shabaab has been a considerable threat in Somalia for some time, and in May was the second-deadliest extremist group globally. In recent months however, ISIS has emerged as new Islamist extremist challengers in the country. The recent reduction of funds from the European Union to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) will make victory against such groups harder.

Extremist deaths tolls point to fragmentation among jihadis

Fighting between, and within, extremist groups in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Nigeria caused at least 168 deaths. According to our data, 100 of these were a result of ISIS infighting and executions of its own fighters.

May also saw clashes between ISIS in Afghanistan and the Taliban, and al-Qaeda and ISIS. In one incident, ISIS members executed an al-Qaeda commander in Syria after claiming he was plotting assassination attempts against ISIS chiefs.

Rising extremist activities in Central and South Asia

The number of extremist and counter-extremist incidents in the region rose 45 per cent, whilst the death toll from such incidents jumped 39 per cent. The number of violent extremist groups active in the region also rose from five to eight, pointing to fragmentation among extremist groups.

We recorded activity from Taliban factions, al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent, ISIS franchises, and local Islamist groups like Hizbul Mujahideen and Islami Chhatra Shibir in Bangladesh, among others. The killing of Taliban leader Mullah Mansour in a US drone strike has not diminished the group's violence.

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Read the full report of our Global Extremism Monitor findings for May 2016.