IS threat high in PH–study
The jihadi movement led by the Islamic State (IS) group is seen as posing a sustained threat to Southeast Asia, and the risk remains “high” in the Philippines, according to global professional services company Aon.
Aon has released its 2018 Risk Maps covering political risk and terrorism and political violence in conjunction with Continuum Economics and The Risk Advisory Group.
Despite the absence of a spectacular attack by IS in Southeast Asia in 2017, the movement and its affiliates are seen as posing a sustained threat as it has “provided a unifying framework for groups in the region, binding them together into a more coherent and capable force,” the report said.
The report said Singapore could be a “prized target,” noting propaganda specifically aimed at the city-state in 2017.
‘More severe’ threat
The country risk level for Singapore remains “low” a year after it was raised from “negligible,” but a terrorism peril is still in place, particularly from attacks mounted by lone actors, the report said.
The terrorism threat is seen as “more severe” in the Philippines, where overall country score remained “high” in 2018, a year after it was raised from “medium.”
The assessment comes after Islamist extremists laid siege on Marawi for five months last year, prompting President Duterte to place all of Mindanao under martial law.
The Marawi attack indicated that IS-linked factions are regrouping in southern Philippines and there is jihadist capability to mount attacks from there across Southeast Asia, the report said.
Dan Bould, Asia regional director for crisis management at Aon, said: “In 2018, we expect a continued increase in terrorist activity within Asia. While the global reach of IS appears to have peaked, they will continue to agitate for attacks in areas where they have traction, notably in the Philippines and to a lesser degree in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore.”
“Recently we have seen IS producing more directed and relevant propaganda content aimed at Asia-based militants and affiliates. Their messages aim to inspire and motivate individuals to mount attacks using crude and improvised weapons. The shift in modus operandi toward lone-wolf attacks utilizing everyday objects highlights an evolving peril that organizations must address. The property damage sustained in such an attack is historically minor, while the effect on operations and business interruption may well be substantial,” he said.
Globally, IS mounted terrorist attacks in 29 countries on five continents in 2017, the same number of countries as in 2016 and up from 19 countries in 2015.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.