Characteristics of attacks vary across the countries
Terrorist attacks in Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand account for 87.8 percent of terrorist activity in the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), according to researchers at the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START). Sixty-three percent of these attacks occurred in the Philippines.
In the article, "Terrorism in Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand, 1970 to 2008," START researchers examine three countries in ASEAN, a geo-political and economic organization of 12 countries that seeks to foster economic growth, advance social and cultural development, and facilitate cooperative efforts to protect the peace and stability of the region.
START Director Gary LaFree and researchers Erin Miller and Sue-Ming Yang used data compiled from the Global Terrorism Database to identify characteristics of 4,352 terrorist attacks in Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand from 1970 to 2008. The researchers identified five provinces that account for 38 percent of terrorist attacks across the three countries: Aceh (Indonesia), Metropolitan Manila (the Philippines), and Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala (Thailand).
Four perpetrator organizations are primarily responsible for terrorist attacks in the Philippines, with more than 60 percent of all attacks committed by MILF, NPA, ASG and MNLF. Terrorism in the Philippines has been a considerable threat since the late 1970s, with an average of more than 80 attacks annually since 2000. The highest numbers of fatalities were attributed to attacks against military targets, followed by private citizens and property, businesses, government and police. Private citizens and property and religious figures and institutions are the primary targets for terrorist attacks in Indonesia, according to the data.
However, terrorist activity in Indonesia has declined dramatically since the 2002 suicide bombings in a Bali night club. In Thailand, private citizens and property are more likely to fall victim to terrorist attacks than businesses, government or transportation. The data also shows that a large surge in terrorist activity occurred in Thailand between 2004 and 2008, after a relatively long period that saw only sporadic occurrences.
The article appears in the current issue of Security and Peace (S+F Sicherheit und Frieden), which can be found here.