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Research at St Andrews

Explaining the lethality of boko haram’s terrorist attacks in nigeria, 2009–2014: a hierarchical Bayesian approach

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


André Python, Janine Illian, Charlotte Jones-Todd, Marta Blangiardo

School/Research organisations


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.



Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBayesian statistics in action
Subtitle of host publicationBAYSM 2016, Florence, Italy, June 19-21
EditorsR Argiento, E Lanzarone, I Antoniano Villalobos, A Mattei
Place of PublicationCham
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9783319540832
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event3rd Bayesian Young Statisticians Meeting, BAYSM 2016 - Florence, Italy
Duration: 19 Jun 201621 Jun 2016

Publication series

NameSpringer Proceedings in Mathematics & Statistics
ISSN (Print)2194-1009


Conference3rd Bayesian Young Statisticians Meeting, BAYSM 2016

    Research areas

  • Bayesian hierarchical model, Boko Haram, GMRF, SPDE, Terrorism

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