Study: Terrorism-related deaths in PH more than doubled in 2013
- While the use of bombs and other explosives are more common in other countries, terrorist activities in the Philippines involve armed assaults and assassinations.
- Cotabato City in Mindanao recorded the most number of terrorist activities.
- The study said that military force eliminated only 7 percent of terrorist cases.
MANILA, Philippines – Nearly 300 people died due to terrorist activities in 2013, making it one of the countries worst affected by terrorism, a think tank said in a report.
Out of 162 countries, the Philippines ranked 9th in the Institute for Economics and Peace’s Global Terrorism Index for 2013. The report said that that there were 292 recorded deaths and 444 injuries of the 499 incidents in the Philippines in the past year. The number of fatalities more than doubled from the 122 recorded in 2012. The study said The number of terrorist cases in 2012 also grew by almost twice as much in 2013.
Most of the seven known groups that carried out a terrorist attack in the past year was made by the New People’s Army of the Communist Party of the Philippines, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Abu Sayyaf Group. However, 30 percent of the deaths from terrorism in 2013 was carried out by the NPA.
“Terrorism in the Philippines is intrinsically tied with nationalist and separatist claims by people living in provinces in southern Philippines,” the report said.
“Armed assault represented nearly half of all fatalities, followed by assassinations, which constituted a quarter of all fatalities. This differs from many other parts of the world where use of explosives and bombings are more common,” the report said.
“The use of these tactics and targets demonstrates that many of the terrorist groups in the Philippines are seeking to directly change the political system,” it also said.
The research also noted that 56 percent of attempts of assassinations were successful in the Philippines. There were 103 people killed by assassinations in 2013, or five times higher than in 2012.
Only the Abu Sayyaf is involved in suicide bombing.
The research also said that 34 percent of deaths from terrorist attacks were targeting the government, business leaders, private citizens and police representing between 10 and 17 percent of deaths.
The city with the highest number of terrorist attacks was Cotabato City in Central Mindanao with 11 separate attacks that killed 11 people. Most of the attacks are blamed to the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), the breakaway group of the MILF. The Philippine government is currently working on a peace pact with the MILF, to which the BIFF had been resisting.
Eighty-three percent of the 81 provinces in the Philippines had at least one terrorist attack in the past year.
Deaths worldwide up by 60 percent
The rest of the countries in the top 10 with most terrorist activities were Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria, Syria, India, Somalia, Yemen and Thailand.
Deaths from terrorist activity worldwide increased to 61 percent in 2013. There were 17,958 deaths in 2013 from 11,133 in 2012.
“Over the same period, the number of countries that experienced more than 50 deaths rose from 15 to 24. This highlights that not only is the intensity of terrorism increasing, its breadth is increasing as well,” the report said.
However, 80 percent of the deaths lost to terrorist activities in 2013 happened only in five countries — Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria and Syria. Fifty-five other countries recorded one or more deaths from terrorist activity.
Iraq topped the list, with 35 percent of all deaths from terrorism globally.
The study also said that majority of the deaths from terrorist attacks, 66 percent are claimed by four terrorist organizations: Islamic State, Boko Haram, the Taliban and al-Qaeda and its affiliates.
But the research also noted that approximately 50 percent of terrorist attacks claim no lives.
The worst terror attack in 2013 was in Nigeria in September. There were 142 deaths after the members of Boko Haram dressed in military uniforms set up illegal checkpoints and shot civilians.
Being poor not the main reason why people turn into terrorism
Poverty has little thing to do with terrorism, the report said.
“Importantly, poverty and many other economic factors have little explanatory power on the onset of terrorism. This includes several broader development factors such as mean years of schooling and life expectancy. This underpins the fact that weak political systems, a lack of political legitimacy and the presence of state-sponsored violence are more influential for explaining the rise of terrorist organisations than the broader economic environment,” it said.
Military force could also not be used to solve terrorism as only 7 percent were only eliminated by such.
“The two most successful strategies for ending terrorist groups since the late 1960s have been either policing or the initiation of a political process. These strategies were the main reason for the ending of over 80 per cent of terrorist organizations that ceased operation. Only ten per cent of terrorist groups could be said to have achieved their goals and only seven per cent were eliminated by full military engagement,” the report said.