Throughout the history, there have been some exceptionally evil people who always sought to use means of extreme terror for their good. But more often then not, the word terrorism is narrowed around the post 90’s acts of violence directed at common people as a means of coercing political vendetta. This simply is mere tip of a long, horrendous history which is full of some insane megalomaniacs who would ruthlessly destroy anyone who were even slightly against them. They terrorized people by getting those against them kidnapped, brutally interrogated and then killed for political intimidation. Here is a list of 10 of the biggest terrorists to have ever lived, terrorizing an entire era of people.
10. Umer Patek
He was the mastermind behind the 2002 Bali bombing that saw more than 200 people dead. Previously he was involved in the attacks on churches in Jakarta which killed 19 people on Christmas eve in the year 2000. He had been involved with the militant group Jemaah Islamiya which has links to Al-Qaeda and Taliban. With a huge bounty of one million dollar placed on his head, he had been evading capture until January 25, 2011 when he was arrested in Abbotabad of Pakistan. He was then prosecuted and found guilty of charges upon him, and was sentenced to 20 years of jail.
Death toll: 230+
9. Timothy McVeigh
Unlike most of the modern day terrorist who are more often then not an Islam extremist, Timothy McVeigh was an American domestic terrorist who detonated a massive truck bomb in front of the Federal Building in Oklahoma in April 19, 1995. Cited as the deadliest act of terrorism in America prior to 9/11 attacks, 168 people were killed and more than 600 were injured in the Oklahoma City Bombing. McVeigh, a gulf war veteran, claimed the bombings to be revenge for the Waco Seige that saw 76 men, women and children dead, exactly 2 years prior to the bombings. Amid the evidences that traced back to him, he was arrested and convicted to death. He was executed by poison injection on June 21, 2001.
Death Toll: 168
8. Zaki Ur Rehman Lakvi
He is the notorious leader of terrorist outfit Lashkar-E-Taiba and controls the various terrorist operations in Kashmir. He is the kingpin behind multiple terror attacks in India, with the Indian officials claiming that he oversaw the 2006 bombing of Mumbai rail network in which more than 200 people were killed and over 700 were injured. But it does not end there. Officials also claim that he was one of the major planners behind the despicable attacks in Mumbai on November, 2008. The attack saw 164 people massacred, and at least 308 people injured. Even though he remains within the reach of Pakistani officials, all efforts from India to have him handed over have failed so far.
Death toll: 360+
7. Augusto Pinochet
Even after his death in 2006, the Chilean dictator leaves behind a dark legacy of extreme repression, bloody coup and a reign of terror that made the entire Chilean population live in constant fear in the years he remained in power. According to the government report that was based on testimonies from more than 30,000 people, his government killed more than 3100 people and brutally tortured around 30000 more. About two-thirds of these incidents happened alone in the year 1973 led the bloody coup under his militia rule.
Death toll: 3197+
6. Idi Amin
He seized power by overthrowing the then Ugandan rule in 1971 and became the self proclaimed “President for life”. Notorious for his unpredictable mood swings, his rule was an absolute reign of terror. The exact number of people killed during Amin regime cannot be exacted but it is no less than 80,000 and the International Commission of Jurists put it around 500,000. He rule in Uganda became a synonym for barbarity. Anyone who opposed him was ruthlessly killed, anyone who would be at the receiving end of one of his mood swings would be killed, and it is also rumored that he would sometimes eat the people who died by his hands, or feed them to this pet crocodiles.
Death toll: 500,000+
5. Kim Jung-il
Apart from being a much feared communist ruler who could not have cared any lesser about the plight of his people, the North Korean leader was also suspected of organizing two major terrorist attacks on South Korea. Most of his political opponents and a huge number of civilians were jailed to the infamous Gulags where they would have to do forced labour, starve and finally die. This contrasts to Mao Zedung’s rule in China, which did lead to the death of millions due to famine, murder and forced labour, but also lead the much needed industrial and cultural revolutions in China.Kim jung-il’s misplaced priorities led to one of worst famines in human history, with around 500,000 to 10,00,000 people dying of starvation.
Death toll: 500,000+
4. Pol Pot
In the name of abolishing all the modernism and establishing an agragian utopia, Pol Pot, who headed the Khmer Rouge, led an extremely brutal and inhuman 4 year genocide in Cambodia from 1975 to 1979. When the Khmer Rouge captured Phnom Penh in 1957 after a 5 year civil war, Pol Pot started a bloody campaign abolishing former government officials , monks, muslims, western-educated intellectuals, university students and teachers and pretty much anyone who was not meant to be in this utopia. This unbelievable act of cruelty saw around 1.5 million Cambodians wiped out at a time when the entire population of Cambodia was about 8 million.
Death toll: 1,500,000+
3. Osama Bin Laden
The infamous founder of Islamist militant organization Al-Qaeda. Both Laden and the Al-Qaeda are taken synonymous with the September 11 attacks. Osama Bin Laden masterminded the attacks that shook the entire world in 2001 and saw almost 3000 people killed. Although 9/11 remains the biggest act of terror he unleashed through Al-Qaeda, he had also been behind a series of bombings in the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar Es Salaam. More than 220 people lost there lives and over 4000 were injured in the bombings. The main reason Laden sits this high on the list is because the US and NATO led a massive man-hunt with a bounty of 25 million dollar in his head. The US navy seal finally pinpointed his safe house in Abbotabad in 2011, and he was killed in action on May 2nd that very year.
Death toll: 3200+
The infamous Nazi leader who was convinced it was the Jews who made the loose and bear the entire brunt of World War 1. So what did he do next? Once he rose into power, he brought about the holocaust that saw six millions Jews killed by Nazi troops. And it was not just the Jews who suffered such inhumane cruelty. Pretty much anyone the Nazis and Hitler did not like met a violent end. Hitler and his Nazi troops killed a total of 11 million people, because they were Jews, or they followed different religions, or even because they did not find them likable.
Death toll: 11,000,000
1. Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin subsequently rose to power when Lenin died in 1924. Even though he allied with US and Britain in World War 2, he was an extremely paranoid man who made sure each and any of his political enemies and suspected opponents did not see the light of the day for too long. During his reign from 1929 to 1953, Soviet Union did see a transformation from a peasant country into an industrial and military power, but his entire rule was full of terror, with millions of his own citizens dying in the brutal reign. His sent millions of people to the gulags where they were made to do forced labor in pathetic inhumane conditions. About 14 to 20 million individuals are estimated to have died in gulag camps of extreme labor and starvation during the Great Purge of 1930s.
Death toll: 14,000,000+
The entire human history is marred with countless acts of terrorism that brought about unspeakable horror. Common people have been deliberately targeted time and again for political influence, or more often than not, for an unjust cause. And it doesn’t end with these people, the likes of Mao Zedong, Saddam Hussein, Benito Mussolini, and the kingpins behind the infamous London and Madrid bombings, they all had either an insatiable thirst of power or a bigoted political vendetta to settle. As long as such derogatory criminals will keep on having an impact on the society, the days of a moral, just and peaceful Utopian society will keep on being an unattainable dream.
Pawan is a budding programmer who loves to write about anything he finds interesting. He is a huge fan of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and loves reading spy novels in his leisure time.