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Patterns of Global Terrorism: 1990

Asia Overview

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The number of international terrorist incidents in Asia increased dramatically in 1990, from 56 incidents in 1989 to 96. This increase was primarily due to greater activity by Afghan agents in Pakistan and Communist guerrillas in the Philippines. The greatest threat to Americans in the region remains in the Philippines, where Communist insurgents launched attacks against U.S. facilities and killed five Americans. The greatest threat to Americans in the region remains the Philippines, where Communist insurgents launched attacks against US facilities and killed five Americans. In South Korea, radical students conducted several attacks against US facilities.

Domestic political violence including sectarian and communal violence in India, particularly in Kashmir and Punjab, and the festering insurgency in Sri Lanka were also of concern in 1990.


The number of international terrorist incidents reported in Pakistan increased sharply in 1990 because of a renewed bombing campaign by the Afghan secret police, WAD. The WAD is believed responsible for 35 of the 45 international terrorist incidents recorded in Pakistan. Dozens of people were killed and many more injured in WAD attacks. Although WAD attacks are ostensibly against Pakistan-based Afghan resistance fighters and refugees, the targeting of markets, movie theaters, train stations, and other public gathering places suggests the goal is to intimidate and undermine the Pakistani Government's willingness to host the Afghan refugees.


Sectarian and ethnic conflicts within India resulted in the deaths of several thousand civilians at the hands of terrorist groups. Sikh extremists in Punjab continued to use terrorist tactics to advance their political agenda. Nearly 5,000 civilians died in the state, mostly as a result of indiscriminate violence by Sikh extremists. Although a majority of the victims were Sikhs, machine gun attacks on crowded markets in predominantly Hindu towns and bombings of buses and trains were commonplace. Central government rule, imposed in 1987, remained in effect at year's end.

In Kashmir, separatist groups capitalized on the popular perception among the state's Muslims that New Delhi has discriminated against them politically and economically.

Separatist groups stepped up their campaign of violence, bombing schools and other public buildings. By year's end, some 2,300 people had died in Kashmir as a result of the violence. On 6 April, the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), the most prominent separatist group, kidnapped the vice chancellor of Kashmiri University, his secretary, and an official of the state-run Hindustan Machine Tools. Several days later, the three were murdered after the government refused to swap jailed militants for them. In July, the JKLF kidnapped the son of a Kashmiri government official and held him for three days.

Other Kashmiri separatist groups also conducted acts of terrorism. The Mujahidin Kashmir claimed responsibility for the 12 April bombing of a passenger train in Bombay, which injured 30 people. The Allah Tigers claimed responsibility for killing an Indian intelligence officer in early September.

The United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA), which was banned by the government in November, has conducted assassinations and extortions as part of its drive for an independent Assamese state. Other tribal-based groups employed terrorism in their separatist struggles.

The Indian Government charges that Sikh and Kashmiri extremists have received training, arms, and sanctuary from Pakistan -- charges denied by Pakistani authorities.

The ineffectiveness of local security services has hampered Indian attempts to counter domestic terrorism in areas of secessionist and communal violence. The Government of India frequently deploys paramilitary or military forces to restore basic law and order in terrorist-afflicted areas. In 1990, the government announced the creation of a paramilitary group called the National Rifles, whose task is to assist the security services in tumultuous areas like Punjab and Assam.


In November, Chukaku-ha, Japan's most active ultra-leftist group, threw two small homemade grenades over the wall of the US Consul General's home in Osaka, causing minor damage. This incident was part of a rash of relatively minor violence surrounding the enthronement ceremonies for the Emperor.

Throughout the year, ultra-leftists opposed to the imperial system carried out a series of attacks against Japanese targets. In early January, homemade rockets caused minor damage to the Tokyo residence of Prince Hitachi, the Emperor's younger brother, and struck the Kyoto Imperial Palace but caused no damage. In late January, Chukaku-ha set fires on seven trains in several prefectures; there were no injuries and only minor damage.

Ultra-leftist groups carried out approximately 40 attacks with homemade mortars and incendiary devices to protest the 12 November enthronement of Emperor Akihito. The radicals fired rockets at four Self-Defense Force facilities in Tokyo and neighboring prefectures but caused no damage or casualties. Rockets that veered off course hit several buildings in Tokyo, causing minor damage. The groups also

GE 2 EPF214 set fire to several railway lines and Shinto shrines in and around Tokyo. Before the enthronement, the Kakurokyo Hazama-ha bombed a police dormitory in Tokyo, killing one officer and injuring six others.

The Japanese Red Army (JRA) did not conduct any terrorist operations in 1990. Its leadership remains based in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon. The cases of JRA members Osamu Maruoka and Hiroshi Sensui -- arrested in 1987 and 1988, respectively -- are still under adjudication in Japan.

Radical rightwing groups carried out only one incident in 1990. A member of the minuscule Seikijuku (Righteous Spiritual School) shot and wounded the mayor of Nagasaki on 18 January.

Papua New Guinea

The Free Papua Movement (OPM) kidnapped an American missionary, a New Zealand missionary, three Filipinos, and a Papua New Guinean near the Indonesian-Papua New Guinean border in November. The OPM, which has been fighting for the independence of Irian Jaya since it was annexed by Indonesia in 1961, demanded that talks be arranged with officials of the Papua New Guinean Government. The captives were released in good condition after 12 days.


In the Philippines, the New People's Army (NPA), the military wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), continued to target US personnel and installations as part of its campaign against US military bases:

-- In January, a bomb exploded outside the United States Information Service (USIS) office in Davao, causing minor damage.

-- In late February, the NPA killed an American geologist, his Filipino wife, and his father-in-law in an ambush in Bohol Province. The father-in-law, a prominent local official, is believed to have been the target of this attack.

-- In early March, a US rancher in southern Luzon was slain by the NPA for refusing to pay Communist taxes.

-- The NPA was responsible for the slaying of two US airmen near Clark Airbase on 13 May and may have been responsible for the assassination of a Marine sergeant on 4 May.

-- On 18 May, two rifle grenades were fired at the USIS office in Manila; one exploded, causing minor damage.

-- A US Peace Corps volunteer (PCV) was kidnapped and held by the NPA on Negros Island from mid-June until 2 August,

GE 3 EPF214 when he was released unharmed. The volunteer's disappearance was not made known until two weeks after his abduction. By that time, the US Government had already decided to withdraw all PCVs from the Philippines because of the NPA threat. A Japanese aid worker, also kidnapped by the NPA, was released 2 August.

-- Small-arms fire caused minor damage to the USIS building in Davao on 2 July.

-- Communists bombed the Voice of America transmitter tower in Concepcion (Tarlac) on 17 September, causing limited damage.

-- An American businessman was reportedly kidnapped by the NPA on 19 October in the northern Province of Cagayan. No claim of responsibility or demands were received, and he was still missing at the end of the year.

-- Two rifle grenades were fired at the US Embassy on 10 November, but caused no damage or injuries.

The Aquino administration continues to press its international campaign against supporters of the Communists. The Philippines successfully lobbied the Dutch Government to reject CPP founder Jose Maria Sison's application for political asylum. Manila also continues to publicize the diversion of funds by the Communists' National Democratic Front to the CPP/NPA.

In April, the government arrested NPA Deputy Chief of Staff Antonio Cabardo upon his return from Hong Kong; Cabardo was involved in an international scheme to launder counterfeit money. In June and again in October, the government raided NPA safehouses in Manila and arrested additional members of the NPA leadership.

Manila has issued public statements condemning domestic terrorism and maintains a reward program for information leading to the arrest of key figures in the CPP/NPA apparatus in the Philippines and abroad. A verdict was expected in early 1991 in the trial of two NPA assassins accused of murdering US Army Col. James Rowe in April 1989. Reynaldo Bernardo, a senior official of the Alex Boncayao Brigade -- the Communists' premier assassination squad in Manila -- was arrested in early November. Bernardo is a suspect in the Rowe slaying and may be tried for that crime.

Dissident military officers were responsible for a bombing campaign against both Philippine and foreign businesses in Manila in August and September. The bombings, which caused no fatalities, apparently were designed to demonstrate President Aquino's inability to maintain law and order. The government has offered rewards for the capture of rebel military leaders, some of whom are accused of complicity in random bombing attacks. Several dissident military officers were captured in 1990.

The Government of the Philippines continues to be a willing participant in programs of bilateral cooperation with, and training in, the United States on counterterrorist issues.

South Korea

In 1990, there was a handful of relatively minor attacks against US interests by radical students other dissidents. In February, approximately 100 youths attempted to attack the residence of the head of the American Cultural Center in Kwangju. On 12 June, about 300 students attacked the US Cultural Center in Kwangju with firebombs; there were no injuries or damage. In August, radicals threw more than 50 firebombs at the rear door of a US Army office in Seoul, causing minor damage. On 18 October, 11 students attacked the US Embassy with firebombs and small explosive devices but caused no injuries or property damage.

In April, South Korean President Roh granted a special amnesty to Kim Hyun-Hui, the 28-year-old North Korean agent convicted of planting a bomb on a Korean Airlines flight in November 1987. Kim received the death penalty for the attack, in which 115 were killed, but she was pardoned because she confessed her crime and admitted to acting on behalf of North Korea. At her trial, Kim asserted that she had been told the bombing was directly ordered by Kim Chong-Il, son of North Korean President Kim Il-song.

North Korea

North Korea is not known to have sponsored a terrorist attack since members of its intelligence service planted a bomb on a South Korean airliner in 1987. However, it continues to provide safehaven to a small group of Japanese Red Army (JRA) members who hijacked a JAL airliner to North Korea in 1970. North Korea has provided some support to the New People's Army in the Philippines. It has not renounced the use of terrorism.

[End of Document]

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