Manila World Resorts Attack Confirms Worries of Spreading Terrorism in Southeast Asia

Photo: AP

While the battle goes on in Marawi in Southern Mindanao (Philippines) between Islamist fundamentalists and the Philippines Army, an attack on Manila World Resort in the heart of the Philippines capital confirms fears of terror acts spreading to new areas across Southeast Asia.

While the police in the Philippines talked about an isolated case of a gambler turning amok after a missed robbery. The gunman then went to his bedroom and committed suicide, by burning himself to death. The resort was closed to the public as well as the nearby located Terminal 3 at Manila International Airport. Flights from the terminal went back to normal although delays were expected this Friday.

While many elements point to a robbery case turning dramatic, the Islamic State (ISIS) claimed that the man was a “lone world soldier” who carried the attack. However, in recent months, attacks carried in Europe were also claimed by the terrorist group despite the absence of evidence of the organisation’s involvement, according to experts.

While both ISIS and the Philippines government will give their own version, last night incident- which left 53 people injured following panic within the resort- reminds of the growing threat of terror acts in Southeast Asia. Australia just warned his citizens to exert caution when travelling to the Philippines.

Most countries in Southeast Asia are now on high alerts due to the multiplication of attacks in recent months, particularly in Indonesia and in Thailand.A report from Singapore Ministry of Home Affairs over terrorism threats says that over the next two years , about 200 terrorists would be released from prisons in the region and could return to terrorism if not rehabilitated.

But the threat is everywhere in the region. As an example, Singapore newspaper the Straits Times reported this Friday in its latest edition that the Ministry of Home Affairs learned about a planned attack last year on two locations in Singapore. The newspaper believes that the two targeted entities were the Singapore Stock Exchange and one of the city’s ports.

According to Kumar Ramakrishna, head of policy studies and coordinator of the national securities study programme at S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, “the fact to single out targets shows a step further in terrorism threat in the city State”, he was quoted by the Strait Times. For the Ministry of Home Affairs, the biggest terror threat would come from radicalised individuals within the country.

(Source: Reuters and Strait Times)