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Patterns of Global Terrorism: 1992
Incidents of international terrorism in Asia continued to decline from 48 in 1991 to 13 in 1992. This decrease was primarily a result of the improving political climate in the Philippines. Acts of international terrorism in Thailand, Malaysia, Japan, and South Korea have been infrequent when compared to the level of attacks in many Latin American and European countries. North Korea remains on the list of nations that sponsor terrorism but appears disinclined to pursue a terrorist agenda. As witnessed during the Gulf war, Middle Eastern state sponsors of terrorism--particularly Iran, Iraq, and Libya--may consider Asia an increasingly attractive region as other areas, particularly Europe, intensify their security efforts.
Internal violence and terrorism by Sikh and Kashmiri separatists in India and Tamil insurgents in Sri Lanka continued in 1992, resulting in death and injury to thousands of civilians and potentially placing Americans at risk as targets of opportunity, convenience, or mischance.
Afghanistan Although widespread violence occurred throughout Afghanistan in 1992, there was only one act of international terrorism there, directed at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). In April a Red Cross employee from Iceland en route to the ICRC field post at Sheikhabad was shot in the back. The assailant was captured and claimed that he had been directed by his ``mullah'' to kill non-Muslims. In late November, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's Islamic opposition party, Hezb-i-Islami, threatened to execute ex-Soviet POWs held by the Hezb-i-Islami and to attack Russian citizens, claiming that Moscow was continuing to interfere in Afghanistan.
The Governments of Algeria, Egypt, and Tunisia have repeatedly claimed that members of Islamic opposition groups received training in Afghanistan while fighting with mujahedin, and may continue to receive some support. These governments claim that these fundamentalists are now using their acquired skills to undertake terrorist attacks in their own countries.
India The level of internal violence and terrorism continued at a high rate throughout 1992, as Kashmiri, Punjabi, and Assamese separatists conducted attacks as part of their ongoing efforts to win independence for their states.
Jammu and Kashmir and the Punjab are the two areas hardest hit by terrorist violence. More than 4,000 civilians are believed to have died in 1992 as a result of the violence in these two areas. Kashmiri and Sikh militants carried out repeated attacks against civilian targets, such as buses, trains, and marketplaces. In one of the deadliest attacks, a bomb exploded on a bus in Jammu in September, killing 11 passengers. In addition, these militants kidnapped and attacked security officials and their families. Some 3,500 militants and security officials also have been killed. There are credible reports of support by the Government of Pakistan for Kashmiri militants and some reports of support for Sikh separatists.
In Assam, the Bodo Security Force (BSF) stepped up its violent campaign, and the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) resorted to kidnappings and extortion. The ULFA threatened a French multinational corporation, demanding either $1.7 million or the company's departure.
In addition to numerous incidents of domestic terrorism, three attacks in India in 1992 involved foreign nationals:
-- On 31 March an unidentified assailant threw a grenade while inside a British Broadcasting Corporation office. There was some damage to the office, but no injuries.
-- On 23 April a bomb exploded in a New Delhi hotel, injuring 13 foreign tourists. No claim was made by any group for the attack.
-- On 5 May two assailants attempted to assassinate a Kuwaiti diplomat in New Delhi.
Indian security captured two top Sikh leaders in July, including the notorious Manjit Singh, alias Lal Singh, allegedly involved in the 1985 downing of an Air India 747 that killed 329 people. Lal Singh was wanted also in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada for his role in supporting Sikh terrorism overseas.
Japan Japan's largest indigenous radical leftist organization, the 3,500-man Chukaku-ha (Middle-Core Faction), carried out low-level attacks throughout 1992. The group's operations were designed to win publicity for its policy positions and, generally, not to cause casualties. Chukaku-ha is opposed to the imperial system and Japan's more active foreign policy in Asia, especially Tokyo's deployment of military forces overseas.
Chukaku-ha was particularly active in September and October, when it carried out a series of rocket attacks and bombings to protest the dispatch of Japanese peacekeeping troops to Cambodia and to declare its opposition to the Emperor's visit to China in late October. The group's attacks included the firing of improvised rockets at the home of Defense Agency Director General Miyashita. Chukaku-ha also claimed responsibility for explosions near the house of Japanese parliamentarian Takashi Inoue, the Chairman of the Upper House Steering Committee. The committee had approved a law allowing Japanese Self-Defense Forces to be deployed overseas. There were no injuries and only minor damage in these incidents.
Regarding rightwing terrorism, on 8 January an incendiary device was discovered outside an apartment on the US Embassy housing compound in Tokyo. President Bush was visiting Tokyo at the time of the incident. The vociferously anti-American extremist group Issuikai (One Water Society) may have been responsible. It had branded Bush a ``war criminal,'' and, in December 1991, threatened to attack the US Embassy. On 25 August, another rightwing group set fire to a truck outside Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa's official residence.
The Japanese Red Army (JRA) remained dormant in 1992. In March an Italian court sentenced in absentia JRA member Junzo Okudaira to life imprisonment for the 14 April 1988 bombing of the USO Club in Naples. An American servicewoman and four Italians were killed in that attack. The court cleared JRA leader Fusako Shigenobu of charges related to the bombing. On 10 November the Tokyo High Court upheld the conviction of JRA member Hiroshi Sensui on charges of illegally obtaining a counterfeit passport. He is imprisoned in Japan.
Pakistan Since the fall of the Najibullah regime in Kabul in the spring of 1992, the level of violent incidents in Pakistan related to Afghan activities has dropped markedly. Assassinations and disappearances of Afghans, however, including personnel employed by US Agency for International Development-funded programs and US private organizations, continued to occur in the North-West Frontier Province in 1992:
-- On 9 January an Afghan working for the UN's Operation Salam mine awareness program was shot and killed outside his home in Peshawar.
-- On 14 June a Japanese engineer working for the United Nations was killed in Peshawar.
There were numerous domestic terrorist incidents in Pakistan throughout 1992, mostly bombings.
The Government of Pakistan acknowledges that it continues to give moral, political, and diplomatic support to Kashmiri militants but denies allegations of other assistance. However, there were credible reports in 1992 of official Pakistani support for Kashmiri militants who undertake acts of terrorism in Indian-controlled Kashmir, as well as some reports of support to Sikh militants engaged in terrorism in Indian Punjab.
Philippines There were no terrorist attacks by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its military wing, the New People's Army (NPA), against US interests in 1992. In September, Manila legalized the CPP, which over the past several years had carried out assassinations of both US and Philippine officials.
Moreover, American hostages held by the Communists were freed during the year. In late June, the NPA unconditionally released Arvey Drown, who was abducted in Cagayan Province in October 1990. The NPA previously had demanded a government cease-fire in the province as a precondition for the release of Drown.
After his inauguration in June, President Ramos took a series of steps to end the Philippine Communists' 23-year-old insurrection. The government legalized the CPP, repealed the antisubversive act--which made membership in the CPP a crime--and released ranking imprisoned Communists, including Romulo Kintanar, the chief of the NPA. Ongoing trials of NPA detainees were also suspended. At year's end, government efforts to reconcile with the Communists were continuing.
Some Communists, however, continued to threaten American interests. In November, Felipe Marcial, an official of the Communists' National Democratic Front, said that American military personnel remaining in the Philippines after 31 December would be treated as ``occupation troops'' and targeted by ``revolutionary forces.''
Dissident Communists also posed a threat to foreign interests in the Philippines. The Red Scorpion Group (RSG)--a gang composed of some former New People's Army members and criminal elements--kidnapped American businessman Michael Barnes in Manila on 17 January. The group demanded a $20 million ransom. On 18 March, Barnes was rescued when Philippine police launched multiple raids on the RSG's safehouses. In November, RSG leader Alfredo de Leon publicly threatened to bomb embassies in Manila.
In the southern Philippines, American missionary Augustine Fraszczack was kidnapped in October on Basilan Island and freed in late December. Two other American missionaries were kidnapped and subsequently freed in March. The motives for these kidnappings remain uncertain. While there are many criminal bands operating in this area of the Philippines, the separatist Muslim Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) also remains active. The MNLF denied involvement in these kidnappings.
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka continues to be the scene of widespread violence. The separatist group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) continued to conduct terrorist acts throughout 1992. Its campaign included targeting civilians, government figures, and public utilities. The LTTE also continued to massacre hundreds of Sinhalese and Muslim villagers in the north and east to drive them from what it calls the Tamil Homeland.
In November an LTTE suicide guerrilla assassinated Sri Lanka's Navy commander by riding his motorcycle close to the officer's car and blowing it up with a powerful bomb.
The Sri Lankan Government has been unable to respond to India's request that it extradite LTTE leader V. Prabhakaran, accused of ordering the May 1991 assassination of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Prabhakaran remains at large. However, Sri Lankan officials continued to cooperate with Indian requests for assistance in the investigation. Two senior LTTE officials were indicted by India for their involvement in the assassination.
Thailand Two serious attacks occurred in Thailand in 1992: -- On 13 August a bomb blast at the Hat Yai railway station in southern Thailand killed three people and wounded over 70 others. Although an unsigned letter bearing the logo of the separatist Pattani United Liberation Organization (PULO) was found on the scene, the group denied involvement and blamed a dissident faction for the attack. Some observers claim the attack was aimed at an antimilitary politician, who spoke at the site later the same day.
-- On 18 October a bomb exploded on the compound of the Burmese Embassy in Bangkok. The bomb, containing a half pound of TNT, caused minimal property damage and no injuries. Although Burmese student dissidents may have been responsible--the Burmese Embassy in Bangkok was bombed by dissidents in July and October 1990--some Thai politicians suggested the attack may have been an attempt by regime opponents to embarrass the government.