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Explaining the Lethality of Boko Haram’s Terrorist Attacks in Nigeria, 2009–2014: A Hierarchical Bayesian Approach

  • André Python
  • Janine Illian
  • Charlotte Jones-Todd
  • Marta Blangiardo
Conference paper
Part of the Springer Proceedings in Mathematics & Statistics book series (PROMS, volume 194)

Abstract

Since 2009, Nigeria has been the scene of numerous deadly terrorist attacks perpetrated by the terrorist group Boko Haram. In response to this threat, stakeholders in the fight against terrorism have deployed various counterterrorism policies, the costs of which could be reduced through efficient preventive measures. Statistical models able to integrate complex spatial dependence structures have not yet been applied, despite their potential for providing guidance to assess characteristics of terrorist attacks. In an effort to address this shortcoming, we use a flexible approach that represents a Gaussian Markov random field through stochastic partial differential equation and model the fine-scale spatial patterns of the lethality of terrorism perpetrated by Boko Haram in Nigeria from 2009 to 2014. Our results suggest that the lethality of terrorist attacks is contagious in space and attacks are more likely to be lethal at higher altitudes and far from large cities.

Keywords

Bayesian hierarchical model Boko Haram GMRF Terrorism SPDE 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • André Python
    • 1
  • Janine Illian
    • 1
  • Charlotte Jones-Todd
    • 1
  • Marta Blangiardo
    • 2
  1. 1.University of St-AndrewsSt-AndrewsUK
  2. 2.Imperial College LondonLondonUK

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