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Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq top ranking of 197 countries

Maplecroft’s annual Terrorism Risk Index, which now forms part of a new mapping service tracking worldwide terrorism incidents, has identified Yemen, Somalia and Afghanistan as the countries posing the most severe risk from terrorist attacks. Localised insurgencies in the growth economies of Nigeria, the Philippines, Turkey, India and Russia, meanwhile, see them feature among 18 countries classified ‘extreme risk.’

The fifth annual Terrorism Risk Index (TRI) has been developed by risk analysis company Maplecroft to enable organisations to monitor and global terrorism risks to their operations, assets and personnel in 197 countries.

Yemen (ranked 1st), Somalia (2), Afghanistan (3), Pakistan (4), Iraq (5), DR Congo (6), Nigeria (7), Philippines (8), Colombia, (9) and Sudan (10) are named as the countries with the most risk. However, the TRI, which evaluates countries on the frequency and intensity of terrorist attacks over the previous year; historic attacks; and geographic proximity to terrorist hotspots, also identifies the important economies of Thailand (11), Kenya (12), India (13), Turkey (14) and Russia (15) among 18 countries categorised as ‘extreme risk.’

Terrorism Risk Index 2013

Extreme risk
High risk
Medium risk
Low risk
No Data
Rank Country Rating
1 Yemen Extreme
2 Somalia Extreme
3 Afghanistan Extreme
4 Pakistan Extreme
5 Iraq Extreme
Rank Country Rating
6 DR Congo Extreme
7 Nigeria Extreme
8 Philippines Extreme
9 Colombia Extreme
10 Sudan Extreme

Over the reporting period of 1 September 2011 – 31 August 2012, Maplecroft’s research shows the ten most at risk states accounted for 87% of worldwide terrorist attacks (7,765 of the 8,927 logged by Maplecroft and WITS), while also suffering 85% of the 15,219 fatalities recorded over the same period.

Maplecroft has been collating, analysing and mapping worldwide occurrences of terrorism and political violence from open sources for several years. The Maplecroft Terrorism Dashboard (MTD) builds on this work to provide a comprehensive picture of terrorism trends in every country through a proprietary GIS mapping platform that will be updated with new terrorist events regularly. The MTD will aim to fill the terrorism data vacuum left by the closure of the US government’s public service, the Worldwide Incidents Tracking System (WITS).

“Via the MTD’s sub-national GIS mapping platform, users can pinpoint risks to assets by inputting coordinates, identify global and regional terrorism trends and see comprehensive profiles of each attack,” states Maplecroft Director Anthony Skinner.  “Western business interests abroad remain a key target for many terrorist groups, depending on their orientation and objectives. Therefore, we have built in the facility for companies to integrate their own data to analyse where they are most exposed.”

Since Maplecroft undertook the last study in December 2011, (using WITS data), Yemen has moved up from 5th in the index, to overtake Somalia as the country with the most severe risks of terrorism. This is due, in part, to further deterioration in security conditions, but also some improvement in Somalia’s security. The lethality of attacks acts as a key driver of risk in Yemen – on average, it experienced 6.69 fatalities per attack, more than three times the average in Somalia (1.86), over the 2011/2012 reporting period. 

Islamist militants continue to seriously impact the security situation in Yemen and although fighters linked to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) have lost ground in the south, they still pose a serious security threat and oil and gas infrastructure remains an attractive target.

The risk posed by terrorism in Somalia, meanwhile, remains severe – the country saw 5,581 people killed as a result of terrorist attacks over the reporting period. Despite al-Shabaab, the principal armed Islamist group operating in the country, suffering serious setbacks, the group continues to carry out attacks not only in Somalia, but also in Kenya (12), which has seen an increase in risk as a result.

According to the TRI, it is not just failed and fragile states that face acute levels of risk. Two of the BRICs economies, India (13) and Russia (15), also feature in the ‘extreme risk’ category. The level of risk, nevertheless, varies by region and terrorist threats remain largely localised from Islamist, secessionist militants in Russia’s North Caucuses and Maoist Naxalites in the east and south of India.

Significant increases in risk have been seen in other important emerging economies though.  Nigeria (7) has moved into the top ten for the first time, due to increased activity of the Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram in the north of the country. The severity of this risk was highlighted by a series of attacks in Kano, northern Nigeria, on 20 January, 2012, which killed 211 people – making it the group’s deadliest attack. Security risks in the country are compounded by the resurgence of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) in Nigeria’s south, which has been responsible for a series of attacks on the oil and gas industry.

Turkey’s entry into the ‘extreme risk’ category, meanwhile, signals an escalation in the activity of separatist Kurdish militants the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), mostly in the country’s south-east. The PKK continues to demonstrate an ability to strike provincial urban centres – as reflected by a devastating car bombing in Gaziantep on 20 August which killed nine and wounded 69. The Turkish authorities also remain concerned over the potential for an increase in attacks, as the PKK’s ability to secure weapons from neighbouring Syria which continues to witness extreme violence.

Go to the Maplecroft Terrorism Dashboard. For more information and pricing details contact or call +44 (0)1225 420000.

Press enquiries:

Jason McGeown, Head of Communications
Tel: +44 (0)1225 420000

To find out more about Maplecroft’s country risk reports, briefings and election monitors