Unless you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t had access to a newspaper, the Internet or a television set in years, you’re well aware that wars are raging around the world and that certain areas on our planet are as dangerous as they’ve ever been. You can’t tune in to the media nowadays without hearing of another bombing, abduction or beheading happening somewhere. Whether it be religion-based or a matter of politics, civil unrest is at an all-time high in several nations and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. Terrorist organizations and certain political parties stop at nothing, massacring countless innocent human beings to achieve their goals at any cost and regardless of the consequences.
Once-prosperous countries are now in shambles and are a shell of their former selves; riddled with poverty, famine and destruction. The people of these affected areas are too afraid to leave their homes, risking kidnap, torture and rape just to make it to a grocery store. Nevertheless, humanitarian aid workers and journalists infiltrate these places, hoping to make change and report on the catastrophes taking place before their eyes for the rest of the world to see. Below, we’ve compiled a round-up of the ten most dangerous countries on Earth.
Kenya borders Somalia, which is currently being ravaged by Islamic extremist group Al-Shabaab. As a result of their geographic proximity, tourism to the country has been steadily on the decline since a Somali terrorist attack on Kenya’s upscale Westgate shopping mall left 70 people dead in 2013. Along the Somalian border, a string of bombings and grenade attacks have occurred, killing dozens of civilians. Al-Shabaab is angered by the presence of Kenyan troops in Somalia and has vowed to continue its attack on Kenya’s churches, nightclubs and bus stations until they withdraw them.
Egypt is an example of an extremely unstable political climate. Ruled for decades under the military dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian people rose up in 2011 and ousted him from office after 18 violent months of protests. Later, a president was democratically elected only to ignite further unrest in the country and be replaced by the nation’s powerful military. Today, Egypt still cannot find its political identity and violent attacks are still prevalent, making it a dangerous place to live, let alone visit.
After harboring international fugitive Osama Bin Laden for years, Pakistan has erupted into serious sectarian violence and religious extremism. There are so many terror groups operating in the country and vying for power that it’s hard to keep track of them. The most prominent ones are Lashkar-E-Tayiba, Harkat-Ul-Mujahideen and the Tehrik-I-Taliban and they are ruthless. While the nation may not be labeled the most dangerous, the severity of attacks are the worst, according to a recent policy statement on international security From 2007 to 2013 alone, the number of violent incidents taking place due to the terrorist groups operating in Pakistan was sitting at a staggering 13,198.
After ruling Libya for over 40 years and being accused by its people of imposing a dictatorship, Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown by rebels and killed in 2011 following months of protests. Since then, various revolutionaries and groups have shown resistance to the government and have violently interfered with Libya’s attempt to regain political stability, kidnapping its interim Prime Minister as well as several diplomats in the country. The fighting was so bad at one point that commercial aircraft were prohibited from flying over Libya. The danger within the nation continues today as the Libya Operations Room group, its main militant party, tries to exert power.
Political unrest began in Syria in 2011 and resulted in protests against the country’s president at the time, Bashar Al-Assad. The president’s military then began to violently lash out at its civilians, creating a civil war overrun by several different religious extremist groups. Minority Alawites and Christians within Syria have been targeted by die-hard Islamist group ISIS and as of 2014 the death toll in the country has hit 190,000. More than 6.5 million Syrians have been displaced, 3 million more have fled and those left have been dealing with poverty and famine. Syria also claims the title as the country that has committed the most war crimes within a three-year span.
Yemen lacks a stable government, which has led to a variety of humanitarian crises within the country. In 2012, a transition political party succeeded the reign of President Ali Abdullah Saleh and things have worsened from there. The Northern and Southern parts of the country have turned against one another, with numerous extremist groups trying to claim control of each territory. The problems within Yemen are endless, including abuse of power and the legally sanctioned discrimination of women. Nearly half the population are lacking sufficient food, which has led to an outbreak of petty crime and theft in addition to the problems Yemen is already facing.
While most people have heard of the Taliban, Afghanistan’s ruling party, many are unfamiliar with the Northern Alliance – a political group who is vehemently against the Taliban ruling their country. The two are at war and civilian attacks within the country have only increased since foreign troops left Afghanistan at the end of 2014. Over 4,600 Afghan soldiers were killed last year, the most since the war began after the September 11th attacks on the United States in 2001. Shockingly, the number of civilians killed was greater than the number of troops, sitting at 4,800.
Affiliated with Afghanistan’s Al-Qaeda, Somalian militant group Al-Shabaab has been trying to take over Somalia, aiming to overthrow the interim Transitional Federal Government that the country had instated to bring about stability. The country is the third most violent place on the planet, with kidnappings, bombings and attacks on civilians happening every day. The nation suffers from extreme famine and piracy, and Al-Shabaab funds its operations by killing elephants and their owners in order to sell ivory tusks.
Nigeria has faced the age old Christian vs. Muslim battle for years, but the fight was stepped up in 2014 when an Islamic militant group operating in the country, Boko Haram, kidnapped 276 schoolgirls in an effort to overtake the Nigerian government. The terrorist group constantly targets schools, as it is displeased with any form of Western influence in how young Nigerians are taught. Civil unrest is at an all-time high, with countries such as Benin, Chad, Cameroon and Niger having joined Nigeria in trying to expel Boko Haram altogether.
Since the US military’s withdrawal from Iraq, tensions between the country’s Sunni and Shia Muslim populations have risen in an attempt to overthrow the Shia-led government. Since December 2013, the rise of ISIS in the nation has formed a bloody and regional war involving Iraq, Syria and even Iran. Danger within the country is at an all-time high, with thousands of terrorist attacks happening every year. There is no end in sight, with ISIS battling various sectarian groups until death to hold power over the country – allowing Iraq to hold the title of the most dangerous place in the world. Beyond the regional fight, ISIS has declared war on Western nations as well – holding hundreds of foreigners hostage and threatening beheadings unless foreign governments give in to whatever the group wants at the time.