Quarterly Report: Terrorism Events And Developments In The First Quarter of 2022

The first quarter of Terrorism Watch 2022 examines the latest events and developments on terror-related incidents in Southeast Asia and key incidents worldwide from January to March 2022. Extremist movements and terrorist networks are undoubtedly seeking new opportunities to see what this year has in store. Daesh’s domain is not only limited to the crumbling caliphate in Iraq and Syria or Afghanistan and Pakistan but increasingly stretches into some parts of Africa and maintains influence in Southeast Asia. Additionally, threats in Southern Philippines are mainly from Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), Dawlah Islamiyah (DI) – Maute, Hassan Group and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF). Following their resilience to survival and the emergence of a new Emir, the Focused Military Operation (FMO) will continue to ensure the terrorist networks in the Southern Philippines.

Meanwhile, in Indonesia, there were fewer terror-related incidents. However, extremist and Daesh followers actively operate in cyberspace to reach followers and sympathisers. Malaysia has recorded no arrests in the first-quarter report. The opening of Malaysian borders for tourism would require the law enforcement agencies to be vigilant and continue to work with international partners to detect terrorists.

Global Trend

The ninth edition of the Global Terrorism Index (GTI) has highlighted several key points that will help to give a glimpse of what 2022 will bring in terms of terrorism. In summary, the overall threat and death caused by terrorism fell fairly compared to previous years especially pre COVID-19 years. Significantly, GTI highlights that there was a shift in the dynamics of terrorism where it is becoming more concentrated in regions and countries suffering from political instability, such as the Sahel, Afghanistan and Myanmar. The report has supported its analysis of the shift based on the statistics showing that politically-motivated terrorism has overtaken religiously motivated terrorism over the last five years.

The decline in terrorism over the past two years coincides with the COVID-19 pandemic. The restrictions on movements, gatherings, and national borders’ closure may have contributed to the decline. The COVID-19 pandemic has also become a political propaganda tool where the opposition uses the government’s mismanagement and failure to contain the virus to undermine the government. The points regarding the shift in terrorism motivation correspond with the reality in many countries. With many countries reopening their borders, more terrorism-related development will be expected to catch media attention soon.

The Daesh affiliated groups, especially the Islamic State of the Khorasan Province (ISKP), were the deadliest terrorist group in 2021, and it is expected to achieve the same milestone in 2022.  Meanwhile, the Daesh network has shifted resources and attention to its affiliates and branches beyond Syria and Iraq to remain relevant and steadily gained momentum. In terms of terror tactics, we should expect terrorists to continue to seek out emerging technologies to enhance the lethality of their attacks.

The announcement of the new Daesh leader, Abu Al-Hassan Al-Hashemi Al-Qurashi, on 10 March 22 has encouraged other Daesh branches in the Middle East, South Asia, Africa and Southeast Asia to pledge allegiance to Daesh’s third Caliph, reinforcing unity among Daesh networks. The leader is expected to lay his new vision and directions to achieve what his predecessors envisioned Daesh.

The following are the highlights of  terrorism-related occurrences around the world:


a.         Daesh attacked the Al-Sina’a prison in the Ghuwayran area of Al-Hasakah city, Syria, from 20 to 30 January 22. The attack was meant to free its 3000 fighters, including Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTF) and child soldiers known as the Cub of Caliphate.  On 30 January 22, the Syrian Defence Forces (SDF) regained full control of the prison and the surrounding neighbourhoods. The incidents resulted in more than 400 casualties, including SDF soldiers and Daesh members. The attack was the largest attack committed by Daesh since it lost its last key Syrian territory in 2019.

b.         On 3 February 22, U.S. Special Operations Forces carried out a raid that led to the death of Daesh leader Abu Ibrahim al Hashimi Al Qurashi, @ Hajji Abdullah, in the Syrian village of Atmeh in Idlib province, Syria. The slain leader who refused to surrender detonated a suicide vest that killed himself, his wife and children. Abu Ibrahim was the third terrorist leader to die in a U.S. operation. In 2011, President Barack Obama deployed U.S. Navy SEALs to Abbottabad in northern Pakistan to capture the late Al Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden. Osama died at his compound during the raid. In 2019, President Donald Trump sent Special Forces to hunt Daesh’s first leader, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi in northern Syria.  Abu Bakr blew himself up during the operation to avoid being captured. 

c.         On 10 March 22, Daesh announced that Abu Al Hassan Al Hashimi Al Qurashi was the new leader of Daesh after confirming the death of Abu Ibrahim Al Hashimi Al Qurashi. He is the elder brother of the late Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi and was chosen by Abu Ibrahim Al Hashimi to lead Daesh. The term ‘Al-Hashimi and Al-Qurashi’ indicates that he claims to be a descendant of the prophet Muhammad, belonging to the Hashim clan of the Quraish tribe.


a.         In February, the US has set a bounty of USD 10 million for information leading to the location or identification of Sanaullah Ghafari, the leader of the Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP). Sanaullah Ghafari was responsible for approving all ISKP operations throughout Afghanistan, including the 2021 Kabul International airport suicide attack and his role in raising funds for the group.


a.         On 4 March 22, at least 63 people were killed and 196 wounded after a blast inside a Shiite mosque in Kochar Risaldar, Peshawar in Pakistan. The attack happened during the Friday prayers, aimed at the worshippers. The ISKP in Pakistan had claimed responsibility for the suicide attack.


a.         On 11 February 22, five United Nations workers were abducted by members suspected to be Al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula (AQAP) in Abyan, Yemen, after the workers completed a field mission. The group requested USD 5 million for the release of the UN workers. However, the negotiation conducted by local tribal figures failed and ended in deadlock while the UN officials and the local Yemeni authorities refused to pay ransom for their release.


a.         On 18 February 22, Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for a suicide attack in a restaurant in Beledweyne, Mogadishu. The attacks had killed 15 people, including a parliamentary election candidate and injured 30 others. The incident occurred on the eve of the first round of voting for 25 parliamentary seats in the Beledweyne constituency. The killings were allegedly aimed at disrupting the elections.

Terrorism Trends in Southeast Asia

The Philippines

The terrorism-related issues involving the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) are as follows:

a.         On 6 March 22, security forces arrested Nursitta Mahalli Malud, also known as Kirsita Ismael, for allegedly possessing explosives and bomb-making materials in Barangay Tulay, Jolo. Kirsita Ismael is the second wife of bomb maker, Mundi Sawadjaan. She is also in charge of his finances and the procurement of IED materials.

The terrorism-related issues involving Dawlah Islamiyah (DI) are as follows:

a.         On 15 January 22, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) killed the alleged leader of the DI-Hassan Group, Norodin Hassan, and three other members in a military operation. They were reportedly involved in the bus bombing attack on 11 Jan 22 in Cotabato. Troops had recovered M14 and M1 Garand rifles, ammunition and magazines for various firearms, analogue cellphones, solar panels, handheld radios and other subversive documents with high intelligence value.

b.         On 1 March 22, troops launched close air support on DI-Maute Group strongholds in Lanao del Sur, Mindanao. This operation was conducted to hunt DI-Maute leader Faharudin Hadji Satar @ Zacaria @ Abu Zacariah @ Omar @ Jer Mimbantas, who is believed to be the new Emir of Daesh in Southern Philippines. After the clashes between both sides, troops recovered two .50-caliber machine guns, a .30-caliber machine gun, an AK-47 assault rifle; an M16 rifle, an M14 rifle; a Garand rifle, three rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), 22 improvised explosive devices (IEDs), hundreds of assorted ammunition, several anti-personnel mines and bomb components. The operation killed seven members of DI-Maute while Zacaria managed to escape.

For the Daesh media and propaganda in the Philippines are as follows:

a.         In January 2022, a Tausug from Basilan, identified as Ibn B, released messages on Facebook calling for Muslims to take arms and unite against the enemies of religion. The account owner, believed to be a supporter of Daesh and Al Qaeda, called for the unification of Muslims against government forces operating in Mindanao.

b.         An alleged Daesh Filipino female supporter, known as Al U, urged other female followers on Facebook to covertly assist militants. Al’s account has been active since 16 November 21.


The terrorism-related issue involving the Eastern Indonesia Mujahidin (MIT) is as follows:

a.         On 4 January 22, a member of MIT, identified as Ahmad Ghazali @ Ahmad Panjang was gunned down in Parigi Moutong, Poso in Sulawesi. After the shootout, security forces confiscated a homemade bomb, a bottle containing gunpowder, a machete and other evidence. The new death has reduced MIT members to three. 

The terrorism-related issues involving the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) are as follows:

a.         On 22 January 22, the Indonesian court sentenced a JI member, Aris Sumarsano @ Zulkarnaen (58 years old), to 15 years in prison after finding him guilty of hiding information about terrorist activities involved in the 2002 Bali bombings and harbouring terrorist members. He was detained in December 2020 in Sumatera after eluding capture for 18 years. He was among the first Indonesian militants to go to Afghanistan in the 1980s for training and later became an instructor at a military academy there for seven years.

b.         On 9 March 22, Detachment 88 shot down a high-ranking member of the JI network identified as the initial SU in Sukoharjo, Central Java. He served as Amir Khidmat, where he acted as deputy for da’wah and information on the network.

The terrorism-related issue involving the Daesh is as follows:

a.         On 7 February, National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) announced since 2011, more than 2,158 Indonesian citizens joined Daesh in Iraq and Syria, while between 10,000 to 20,000 individuals had attempted to join Daesh but were arrested. Most of them were believed to have been radicalised through the internet and social media.

The terrorism-related issue involving the Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) is as follows:

a.         On 8 and 9 February 22, three suspected terrorists from the JAD group were arrested in Riau and Yogyakarta. The trio had pledged allegiance to late Daesh chief Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi and planned to conduct Amaliyah (suicide) terrorist attack on the police station. According to the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict (IPAC), more than ten suspected terrorists believed to be from the Merauke cell of Daesh and JAD were arrested in Merauke, Papua. All of them were non-Papuans and came from Sumatra and Java Island. They were targeting Papua for recruiting and militant training activity. The existence of the Merauke cell has displayed how extremist ideology spreads through social media, marriage and migration.

The Daesh media and propaganda in Indonesia are as follows:

a.         On 17 January 22, Indonesian users on Daesh-linked Telegram groups discussed potential migration routes from Indonesia to the Philippines via Malaysia. They called on potential migrants to disguise their physical appearance as religious preachers to minimise suspicion. Users shared maps showing the Philippines and Indonesian territory and suggested crossing from Borneo, Indonesia, to Sabah, Malaysia.

b.         On 2 February 22, an alleged female Daesh supporter, Ummu Azzam Hurairah, called on Indonesian jihadists, through Telegram message, to migrate to Sulawesi provinces to join MIT. Ummu Azzam, who claimed to have written the text from Syria, also urged Indonesian supporters to migrate to Syria, Iraq and the Philippines to seek martyrdom. She insisted that women should replace male combatants unwilling to join the armed jihad.

c.         On 25 February 22, An-Najiyah Media Center issued threatening posters on the murder of the Indonesian Minister of Religious Affairs Yaqut Cholil Qoumas to his statement allegedly comparing Azan to the sound of dogs barking. Jihadists and Daesh supporters continued to incite the minister’s assassination and disseminate derogatory memes about him via social media platforms.


The Eastern Coast Security Command (ESSCOM) has released a new list of five most wanted terrorists. They are Ahadin Hussein, Ellam Sajirin, Ismurah Jirah, Majdid Said and Mundi Sawadjaan. However, Mundi Sawadjaan has appeared to be the ESSCOM’s most wanted terrorist due to his involvement in the 2019 suicide bombings at the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cathedral in Jolo. Besides coordinating suicide attacks, he also facilitates the movement of FTFs, mainly Indonesians, into Sabah either through maritime routes or across the shared border between Malaysian and Indonesian Borneo. He is reportedly alive and may continue to recruit FTF for the ASG operations in the Southern Philippines.

What Can Be Expected In 2022

Terrorism trends and developments in times of the COVID-19 pandemic show that the year 2022 may project an apparent sharp decline in terrorist-related activities in Southern Philippines. This is due to the AFP’s ongoing Focused Military Operation (FMO) to overrun militant strongholds. The operation managed to pressure, defeat and force many militants, particularly from the BIFF and ASG, to surrender.

The new Emir of DI, Fahrudin Hadji Satar @ Abu Zacariah, may spark a new security concern in the Southern Philippines. Abu Zacaria, who is also the leader of the DI-Maute group, active in recruiting locals, mainly in Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte, to join the group. The new appointment would encourage Abu Zacaria to emulate the 2017 Marawi city siege. However, his new appointment may not be well accepted by ASG and BIFF as these groups have prospective leaders who are more credible than Abu Zacaria.

In Indonesia, the number of plots and terrorist attacks by local terrorists and militant groups has declined over the past two years. In 2021, Densus 88 arrested 370 suspected terrorists, where the percentage is higher than the 2020 arrests. However, based on the current trends, aside from targeting the police, terrorists and Daesh local supporters also aim at high profile individuals, such as the assassination threats against the minister of religious affairs. The latest development is attributed to the increasing activity of disseminating hatred through online means by Daesh local media operation. Such activity requires little expertise, mainly in editing and translating from Daesh – English propaganda version to Malay narratives and vice versa. Daesh media operation is another strategy to indoctrinate local supporters to call for a lone wolf attack during the holy month of Ramadhan.

The threat level of terrorism remained moderate, with the likelihood of an imminent attack. However, in 2021, only one case was reported involving a local woman who was deported from Syria and jailed upon her return for joining Daesh. In contrast to other countries that have refused to repatriate their nationals and have even deprived them of their citizenship, Malaysia has made a concerted effort to bring its citizens home. Repatriation of FTFs from Syria and Iraq is critical for domestic threat containment. Returning them to the country would enable the country to prosecute and dismantle their local networks. Malaysia and other countries, therefore, continue repatriating their citizens. Otherwise, their further exposure to other Daesh supporters within the camp may put them at risk of radicalization and forming networks with other Daesh followers.


Countries are beginning to cope and live with the COVID-19 pandemic. With the opening of countries’ borders, transmigration and cross-border activities are expected to resume their business. The decline in terrorism-related incidents was because of the restrictions imposed to contain the virus. Those restrictions have affected terrorists’ movement, training and meeting outside one’s country. Regionally, the Southern Philippines and several islands in Indonesia, especially Sulawesi, may become a possible destination for a terrorist to set foot.

As mentioned in the introduction, the GTI report sets the base to expect what 2022 will have in terms of terrorism. Based on the current development, terrorism will remain a serious threat in 2022. Additionally, geopolitical issues such as the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and other domestic crises have tickled the need to revisit the definition of terrorism. Lately, terrorism has become a widely used term in analysing incidents and attacks. Regardless, the current development promises that terrorism-related incidents will continue to be the primary events in 2022.

Quarterly Report: Terrorism Events And Developments In The Fourth Quarter of 2021

The fourth quarter of Terrorism Watch 2021 examines the latest events and developments on terror-related incidents in Southeast Asia and key incidents worldwide from October to December 2021. The Islamic State of the Khorasan Province (ISKP) remains the main actor in Afghanistan by attacking minority groups. Whereas in Europe, the United Kingdom and France are threatened by self-radicalised lone-actors. The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) continues to eliminate the local terrorist groups under the Dawlah Islamiyah (DI) banner, notably Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF)through its Focused Military Operation (FMO). Terrorist supporters have intensified media propaganda in the Philippines to garner Southern Philippine terrorist sympathisers. Meanwhile in Indonesia, local authority has gradually crippled Neo-Jemaah Islamiyah (Neo-JI) financial support. The group is trying to regain their strength by conducting social programmes comprising charity, education and Usrah activities aiming to cultivate the sympathy of locals by winning their hearts and minds. Meanwhile, the group has also been preparing a plot to attack during Christmas eve in Indonesia.

Global Trend

The year 2021 has passed and the world continues to struggle against COVID-19 and the advent of new varieties such as the Omicron. Similarly, terrorism is a recurring issue for which many governments are unable to find a solution since terrorism continues to be used to attain political goals. Terrorism has not abated globally, and the pandemic has really not deterred terrorists from spreading fear among the public.

The end of the year is usually significant, and the security apparatus may indeed be alerted to be more watchful. Terrorist groups such as Daesh have not shied away from carrying out assaults during the Christmas and New Year holidays. Several Daesh-affiliated websites, online magazines, and social media accounts have issued warnings and encouragement to strike on these dates. Apart from spreading the attack, the internet and social media have also been utilised to publicise their existence and recruit new members.

The coverage of Afghanistan’s security concerns, which have created a permissive atmosphere for terrorists, will not be complete at the completion of the year. The Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP) is constantly posing a serious threat to Afghanistan and its population. By intensifying attacks in the country, the ISKP continues to confront the Taliban authority. Due to a lack of personnel (estimated at 2000-3000), the group has gained traction in Afghanistan by adopting guerilla tactics in small groups. ISKP group used Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and suicide strikes on minority civilian targets, security forces and Taliban troops on a regular basis.

In addition, the lone wolf phenomenon has gained spread across Europe, particularly in the United Kingdom and France. Borderless interaction via social media is one of the major contributors to this phenomena. Individuals fall to manipulation as a result of the never-ending online propaganda and exaggerated narratives shared among closed communities. Past and contemporary events in Europe demonstrate that these sentiments have prompted immigrants to commit atrocities. The lone wolf syndrome continues to be a worldwide menace, fueling xenophobia and Islamophobia.

The following are the highlights of  terrorism-related occurrences around the world:


a.         On 3 Oct 21, the ISKP was responsible for the bombing and shooting outside the Eid Gah Mosque in Kabul. At least five civilians were killed and four others wounded in the attack.

b.         On 8 Oct 21, ISKP claimed responsibility for the suicide attack at Gozar-e-Sayad Mosque in Kunduz, killing 50 people and more than 100 others wounded. Most of the victims were the Shiite-Hazara community. The attacker was an ethnic Uyghur from the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) terrorist group. 

c.         On 15 Oct 21, ISKP attacked Fatimiya Mosque in Kandahar, another Shiite worshipping site. The incident killed more than 60 civilians and injured 100 others.

d.         On 2 Nov 21, at least 25 people were killed and dozens of others wounded in explosions and gunfire attacks by ISKP at Sadar Mohamad Daud Khan military hospital in Kabul.

e.         On 12 Nov 21, an explosion hit a Sunni mosque in Spin Ghar in Nangarhar during Friday prayers, killing at least three people and wounding 15 others. ISKP claimed responsibility for the attack.

f.          On 13 Nov 21, the ISKP group has claimed responsibility for a minibus bomb attack in Kabul that killed a journalist and wounded four others.


a.         On 1 Nov 21, a French knifeman was shot by Paris transport police after shouting, ‘Allahu Akbar, France is ruled by Islamic State’ at Saint-Lazare train station. After wielding his knife and threatening people at Saint-Lazare station, the man was severely injured.

b.         On 9 Nov 21, a policeman survived a knife attack in the French Riviera city of Cannes. The assailant, who was believed to be an Algerian, claimed that he was acting “in the name of the Prophet”.

United Kingdom

a.         On 14 Nov 2021, a taxi carrying a passenger arrived at the main entrance of Liverpool Women’s Hospital in Liverpool, England. The IED carried by the passenger identified as Emad Al-Swealmeen, a Syrian, ignited, killing him and injuring the driver. The man arrived in the UK in 2014 seeking asylum as a refugee but was denied.

Terrorism Trends in Southeast Asia

The Philippines

The terrorism-related issues involving Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) are as follows:

a.         On 23 Nov 21,  a suspected ASG bomb expert, identified as Kalmi Mustala (42 years old) linked to the deadly blast at a Jolo church in January 2019, was arrested in a village near Zamboanga. The operation was conducted against Mustala through a warrant of arrest issued by the Sulu court for illegal possession of explosives. Mustala was also involved in kidnappings targeting foreigners, including Swiss national Lorenzo Vinciguerra and Dutchman Ewold Horn.

b.         On 8 Dec 21, two members of ASG were killed during an encounter in Patikul Sulu. They belonged to Radullan Sahiron based in Jolo and were active in Kidnap For Ransom activity.

The terrorism-related issues involving Dawlah Islamiyah (DI) are as follows:

a.         On 29 Oct 21, Dawlah Islamiyah – Hassan Group, identified as Salahuddin Hassan @ Orak died in a clash with AFP in Talayan, Maguindanao. Hassan’s wife, Jehana Mimbida, who reportedly ran the group’s finances, was killed as they tried to evade arrest. Their bodies were recovered, along with rifles and ammunition magazines. Orak was also a bomb expert and protégé for Basit Usman and Marwan of BIFF group. Both are skilled in bomb-making.

b.         Subsequently, on 4 Dec 21, AFP killed another five members of the DI-Hassan group, including its emerging emir, Asim Karinda @ Abu Azim. Asim Karinda replaced Salahuddin Hassan as the new chief of Hassan Group

For the Daesh media and propaganda in the Philippines are as follows:

a.         On 4 Oct 21, members of a chat group known as Bint T posted the videos on their timeline and urged more killings and violence against infidels. The post gained positive remarks from other Daesh supporters.

b.         Another Daesh follower with Tausug language account, Rhazna A, posted a message and celebrated the deaths of the government soldiers who fought with terrorist groups.

c.         On 19 Oct 21, a Filipino Facebook user, Ghurabiya G, was detected posting an image on Facebook of a niqabi woman proclaiming an intention to fight for the Caliphate, encouraged others to condemn democracy and expressed dangerous ways to establish a Caliphate. Ghurabiya G also posted an image of a niqabi woman engaging in physical training and a 20-second video with male voice rapping promoting jihadism.


On 16 Oct 21, a video compilation featuring former (deceased) Mujahidin Indonesia Timur (MIT) chief Ali Kalora and other members and gory footage of beheadings was circulated by MIT sympathizer known as “Inti S” on social media insisting supporters to fight. The joint operation of TNI and Polri, Operasi Madago Raya, managed to kill Ali Kalora in September 2021. The operation, scheduled to end in December 2021, will be extended to 2022. The joint-operation team vowed to hunt down the last four of the remaining MIT members. 

In November 2021, 24 individuals, including Neo-Jemaah Islamiyah (Neo-JI) members were arrested in Indonesia over links to terrorism financing. Those detained included a member of the Council of Ulama Indonesia (MUI), Ahmad Zainan-Naja and his two friends, Ahmad Farid Okbah and Anung al-Hamat. These suspects collected funds for JI via two Islamic charitable foundations, Syam Organizer and Lembaga Amil Zakat Badan Mal Abdurrahman Bin Auf (LAZ BM ABA). Fourteen of them were from the LAZ BM ABA, and the rest were from the Syam Organizer. Their arrests will help the local authority investigate militant funding activities in Indonesia. The two foundations were believed to have been used as fronts for JI and had risen by more than USD 2 million. Previously, LAZ BM ABA founders Abdurrahman bin Auf and Syam Organizer based in West Java known as Firmansyah were also apprehended, leading to other arrests. Thousands of charity boxes belonging to LAZ BM ABA were also confiscated during the raid.

On 25 Nov 21, a woman and a mother of two, Ummu Subah, was sentenced to three years and six months in prison for committing terrorism-related offences. She planned to migrate to Syria to join Daesh via Rome (stayed for four days) and Turkey (bought an apartment while waiting to travel Syria). Ummu was reported to have sold her house in Pejaten for RP 10.5 billion. The lady and her family were arrested when they returned to Indonesia to sell their remaining assets.

On 13 Dec 21, five suspected terrorists were arrested by Densus 88 in Southern Sumatera and Southern Sulawesi. Four of them were the Neo-JI members apprehended in Sumatera for allegedly plotting attacks during Christmas and New Year celebrations. Meanwhile, a JAD member was also arrested in Sulawesi for links with the church bombing incident in Makassar in March this year.

For the Daesh media and propaganda in Indonesia are as follows:

a.         On 11 Oct 21, a Facebook user, Af K, posted a tutorial video of assembling a homemade stun button in English. The video with one minute 50 seconds duration featured a diagram of the structure and materials, including batteries, an on/off switch, a high voltage converter and a spark gap. Another Facebook user, Jus P, shared a video on how to turn a pen into a small pistol.

b.         ‘Amy A’, a local Facebook user, has disseminated at least 76 posts, mostly text and a few videos and images, including those taken from other pro-Daesh, calling on ‘brethren’ in Indonesia to prove their commitment to perform jihad. Amy also urged others to leave their comfort zones and hasten their movement on the real battlefield. Amy additionally displayed military outfits and weapons and promoted a video of jihadi physical training published by “Milisi Tauhid,” a pro-Daesh media group that aggressively campaigned for violent jihad.

c.         In November 2021, Voice of Hind, a Daesh online magazine has inspired Indonesian jihadists to target Hindus in the country and elsewhere. Soon after this release, Indonesian Daesh supporters spread the promotional images of publications and incited others to destroy statues in a Hindu majority island.

d.         An Indonesian Instagram user and a Daesh supporter campaigned for an island in Indonesia to become a Daesh province and labelled it a city in Central Java as ‘Mujahid’ territory. Another Daesh supporter under the username, AI M, distributed a one minute video promoting a Daesh Madura province.


Terrorism threat level in the country remains moderate. There were no terrorism-related issues reported in the last quarter of the year. However, Malaysia’s law enforcement agencies remain vigilant and prepared to overpower any forms of terrorist activities.

What Can Be Expected In 2022

The FMO has significantly affected terrorist networks in Mindanao with the killings of terrorist high profile members notably their leaders and commanders. The deaths of their leaders might degrade the morale of other remnants to surrender due to the movement limitation caused by the ongoing clashes with AFP. There is also a possibility that they might retaliate sporadically to avenge the death of their leaders, refuse to surrender and continue their struggle. The ongoing pressure from AFP has also limited the presence of FTF in the Southern Philippines. There were presences of FTFs reported in the southern Philippines. However, the continuous success of the AFP managed to break the local terrorist groups’ international networks.

Daesh’s social media activities are significant as the internet paved the way for Daesh’s success in Syria and Iraq before this. The emergence of social media activity, especially by Daesh supporters indicates that the Philippines Daesh supporters are attempting to imitate the modus operandi. However, the limited internet and mobile network coverage in the Southern Philippines may hamper Daesh’s attempt to reach its supporters via social media platforms.

The continuous arrest of terrorism-related cases in 2020 and 2021 clearly showcase Indonesia’s tireless effort to eliminate terrorism domestically. The fourth quarter of this report sees that the fundraising activities have been strongly linked to JI or Neo-JI groups. The Indonesian government detected organisations such as the Syam Organizer and Lembaga Amil Zakat Badan Mal Abdurrahman Bin Auf, which operated under such disguise to support terror groups’ agenda. The fund would undeniably be channelled to groups’ terror activities, particularly in paramilitary training, weapons, dakwah activities and sending their new recruits to conflict zones.

The Daesh’s propaganda videos and posting on social media platforms shows those Daesh supporters in Indonesia lingers to imitate a Daesh siege similar to Marawi City, Southern Phillipines. The attempt to imitate such siege could only be materialised when the country has been destabilised. Daesh’s propagation to destroy Hindu statues in the country indicates their attempt to destabilise the religious harmony in the country. The current development in Indonesia and Philippines has alerted the law enforcement agencies to be vigilant for the re-emergence of Daesh’s social media propagation.

Even though the last quarter of the year looks favourable to Malaysia because no terror-related incidents occurred, the country’s law enforcement agencies should always be vigilant. The current situation in Afghanistan gives actors such as the ISKP a platform to replicate Daesh’s achievements in Syria and Iraq. As is usual, terrorist groups use cyberspace and social media to manipulate and promote their ideology. On the other hand, a lone-actor attack is possible since it is the only tool Daesh has to stay relevant globally.


The threat of terrorism is imminent. The fall of Daesh’s Caliphate has ushered in a new era of terrorism in the region, particularly with the rise of, ISKP, a Deash-affiliated group, in Afghanistan. Given that the group has already established a stronghold in Afghanistan, this might be used to recruit other extremists or terrorists groups to carry out jihad in the country based on the ideological narrative of ‘The Rise of Imam Mahdi’. Terrorist organisations such as the Daesh continue to further their goals. Daesh may quickly become involved in crisis in Afghanistan, Africa, and other Middle Eastern nations. As a result of this situation, sympathisers from Southeast Asia will be persuaded to support their cause in those conflict zones, perhaps duplicating similar inherent risks in their own countries. Terrorists and extremists can use the borderless digital age, which is facilitated by permeable sea and land borders and technological advancements, to recruit locals to their cause. Despite addressing the fundamental causes of terrorism, Preventing/Countering Violent Extremism (PCVE) and Counter-Terrorism (CT) methods must be constantly reviewed and harnessed since terrorism is a constantly evolving threat.

Quarterly Report: Terrorism Events And Developments In The Third Quarter of 2021

The third quarter of Terrorism Watch 2021 examines the latest events and developments on terror-related incidents in Southeast Asia and key incidents worldwide from July through September 2021. The Taliban’s swift takeover of Afghanistan may allow global Islamist terrorist groups, particularly Al Qaeda, to flourish once more. According to recent events, Daesh and Al Qaeda may compete in terms of recruiting new adherents, getting financial backing, and spreading propaganda. In the Southern Philippines, the Focused Military Operation (FMO) has been successful in thwarting terrorist activities conducted by Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), Dawlah Islamiyah (DI) and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), resulting in the continued capture and surrender of their members to the authorities. Likewise, more than 50 people have been arrested in Indonesia for ties to Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) and Mujahidin Indonesia Timur (MIT). Some of them are suspected of planning strikes for 17 August 2021, Indonesia’s Independence Day. In August 2021, the Royal Malaysian Police (RMP) captured 12 Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) members in Beaufort, Sabah, and killed another two members of the group.  They planned to kidnap two oil palm plantation owners in Sandakan and Sukau for ransom to fund the ASG – Sulu base at Sulu, Southern Philippines.

Global Trend

As Daesh’s influence in Iraq and Syria has waned, attention has switched to other countries of the world, most notably Afghanistan. The Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP) has positioned itself as the Iraq and Syrian equivalent of Daesh. The re-emergence of Taliban control in Afghanistan posed a threat to ISKP’s efforts. The Taliban’s dominance of Afghanistan has generated a new security issue and dynamic throughout the region of Southern Asia.

The first sign of antagonism between these actors came on 26 August 2021, when ISKP carried out twin bombings at Kabul airport, killing more than 180 people. In Southeast Asia, pro-Daesh groups continue to engage in violent activities in order to preserve their legitimacy and relevance. The Taliban’s control of Afghanistan since 15 August 2021 following the US troops’ withdrawal is expected to cause these security implications as follows:

  • Afghanistan could once again become a hotbed for terrorism.
  • Taliban will be providing sanctuary for militant and terrorist groups especially Al Qaeda and its affiliates.
  • An increase in threats or attacks by Al Qaeda and affiliates against western interests in order to continue their global jihad aspiration.
  • There will be a rise in clashes between Taliban and ISKP in order to gain legitimacy among radical and extremist groups globally.

While terrorism continues to pose significant threats to other parts of the world, the continuous efforts of the Southeast Asian security forces managed to weaken some of the prominent groups in the region. The following are the highlights of other notable terrorism-related occurrences around the world:

  • On 2 July 2021, an Al Shabab suicide bomber exploded himself near a cafe close to the well-known Juba Hotel and the headquarters of Somali intelligence agency in Mogadishu, Somalia. The attack killed 10 people and wounded dozens. Al Shabab took responsibility that it had targeted intelligence, police and military forces to avenge the terror campaigns against them in Somalia. Meanwhile, on 10 July 2021, Al Shabaab also orchestrated a VBIED attack targeting a government convoy in Mogadishu, Somalia which killed nine people and injured 10 others. The group wanted to overthrow the government and impose its strict interpretation of Islamic Sharia Law through violence.
  • On 19 July 2021, a suicide bomber killed at least 35 people and wounded 60 others in a crowded market in the Sadr City, Baghdad in Iraq. Daesh claimed responsibility for the attack on Telegram.
  • On 22 July 2021, a video produced by the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) has shown hundreds of Boko Haram members pledging allegiance to ISWAP and Daesh. The video emerged a few weeks after the leader of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau was reportedly died. Boko Haram is led by its new chief, Bakura Modu @ Sahaba. There are fears that ISWAP is attempting to gain control over the entire insurgency, leading to more violence against locals mainly in the northern part of Nigeria.
  • On 12 July 2021, a 41 year old male was deported from Doha, Qatar and arrested by the Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) in Sri Lanka for propagating the LTTE and supporting attempts to revive the LTTE since 2019.
  • On 17 August 2021, two women identified as Mizha Siddeque and Shofa Harris were arrested in Kannur, Kerala in India in connection with Daesh Kerala Module case. Both have been accused of supporting, propagating Daesh ideology and recruiting new members over social media platforms such as Telegram, Hoop Messenger and Instagram.
  • On 15 August 2021, the Taliban freed more than 5000 prisoners, including Al Qaeda and Daesh inmates from Bagram airbase and Pul-e-Charki prison in Kabul, Afghanistan. Consequently, the Taliban executed the former chief of ISKP, Mawlawi Zia ul-Haq. Afghan security forces arrested Ziya ul-Haq in an operation in May 2020. The new ISKP chief is Shahab Al-Muhajir. The execution of Zia ul-Haq showed the group’s hatred towards Daesh because ISKP had killed Taliban members in Nangarhar, Afghanistan.
  • On 20 August 2021, a horrifying execution video of Badghis police chief, General Mullah Achakzai by the Taliban was circulated on the internet. The general was a well-known name in Afghanistan who has fought against the Taliban and other terrorist networks in Afghanistan. The killing displayed the Taliban’s retribution against its enemies, notably the former Afghanistan army and police, whom they perceived as their competitors in the race for legitimacy in Afghanistan.
  • On 26 August 2021, Daesh’s Amaq News Agency revealed on its Telegram channel that the ISKP has claimed responsibility on the twin suicide attacks and gun shots at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. The attacks killed 182 people including 13 US troops and injured hundred others. The motives behind the attacks could be the anti-US or anti-western sentiment or an attempt to cause friction between the US and Taliban on the very last days of US military withdrawal from Afghanistan.
  • On 3rd September 2021, a man attacked and wounded at least six people with a knife at the Countdown Market, Auckland in New Zealand. The perpetrator was Ahamed Aathil Mohamed Samsudeen (32 years old), a Sri Lankan national who was under police surveillance and a Daesh supporter. The attacker was shot dead by the police. Ahamed Aathil came to the attention of the police in 2016 after he expressed sympathy and comments advocating violent extremism.

Terrorism Trends in Southeast Asia

The Philippines

The terrorism-related issues involving Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) are as follows:

  • On 10 July 2021, two suspected members of ASG identified as Taupik Galbun @ Pa Wahid, and Saik Galbun @ Pa Tanda, were arrested in Taguig, Manila. Taupik is a member of ASG of the group of the late Basilan-based Isnilon Hapilon and Bakal Hapilon. Saik has a warrant of arrest for the crime of kidnapping and serious illegal detention. Both were suspected to be involved in KFR activities in Southern Philippines.
  • On 30 July 2021, a non-uniformed employee of the Philippine National Police (PNP),  Masckur Adoh Patarasa, was arrested in Barangay Asturias in Jolo, Sulu for supporting ASG and Dawlah Islamiyah (DI). Masckur is also a brother-in-law of the late ASG leader Isnilon Hapilon and had joined ASG in 2001 under the leadership of Khadaffy Janjalani, in Basilan before shifting to ASG senior leader Radullan Sahiron in Sulu.
  • On 9 August 2021, nine ASG members surrendered to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Indanan, Sulu. Some of them involved in previous KFR activities including the Sipadan kidnappings in 2000. Those who yielded will undergo long-term rehabilitation and enrol in livelihood programs.

The terrorism-related issues involving Dawlah Islamiyah (DI) are as follows:

  • On 2 July 2021, a suspected terrorist believed to be from the DI-Hassan faction, Muslimin Kulas Tagal, was killed in a clash with the army in Barangay Salman, Ampatuan in Maguindanao. This heavy skirmish lasted for 30 minutes and several weapons belonged to the group were seized.
  • From 15 to 24 August 2021, AFP encountered around 30 members of DI-Maute, led by Abu Bakar/Abu Zacaria in Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte in Southern Mindanao. The clashes forced more than 2000 villagers to evacuate to safer ground in Lanao del Norte. The fighting started in Madalum, Lanao del Sur after the locals reported the presence of the terrorist group in their vicinity.

For BIFF, there were 11 suspected members of BIFF group including a subleader known as Mulawin from Karialan faction yielded to the AFP in Barangay Kuloy, Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao on 14 August 2021. Until now, it is believed that more than 100 members of the BIFF and its sub-groups have surrendered since January 2021.

Overall, local terrorist groups continue to play a key role in undermining security in the southern Philippines. Based on their sporadic atrocities and continued IED, KFR-related activities, there is a higher likelihood that local terrorist groups will pursue more hostile endeavours. The groups also appear to be relying on their inter-group alliances and support networks in areas outside of their traditional strongholds.

Besides, due to the continued military pressure, the execution of Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, and the implementation of Preventing/Countering Violent Extremism (PCVE), more than 100 terrorists have surrendered to the Philippines security forces.  The PCVE programmes are also part of the local community efforts to persuade terrorists and their supporters to reintegrate into society. The Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (PAMANA) – Resilient Communities Conflict Affected Communities, Local Social Integration Program for the ASG, and the Tugon Project for BIFF are among the PCVE projects. These coordinated initiatives will effectively address the serious concerns that communities have about development, governance, and security, as well as assist terrorists to turn over a new leaf.


In early August 2021, a medical doctor identified as Dr Agung Rahmadi was sentenced to three years jail by Central Jakarta Court District for allegedly joining Daesh in Syria. According to the man, he travelled to Syria in 2015 to help Muslims who he believed being oppressed and discriminated against. He used to be the follower of JI in Bekasi and later, pledged allegiance to Daesh.

From 11 to 17 July 2021, three members of Mujahidin Eastern Indonesia (MIT) were killed in two raids in Palu and Poso, Sulawesi. More significantly, on 18 September 2021, the MADAGO RAYA operation, a joint military and police effort killed Ali Kalora, the most wanted terrorist and leader of the MIT in Sulawesi Island. He took over the leadership of MIT after security forces killed its previous head, Santoso @ Abu Wardah in 2016. The death of Ali Kalora might pressure the remaining four members of MIT who are still on the run. There is a high possibility that they would continue to fight security forces.

In August 2021, Densus 88 apprehended 53 suspected terrorists in several regions of Indonesia. Of all, 50 were JI members, while the remaining three were members of the JAD terror group. The Covid-19 pandemic did not halt terrorist groups’ activity. They use pandemic issues as a trigger point to motivate their groups to continue terrorism-related offences.

On 10 September 2021, a senior JI member, Abu Rusydan, was arrested in Bekasi for allegedly being involved in the fundraising scheme, notably by participating in Dawlah Syuro Neo- JI. He was arrested in 2004 for giving aid to a Bali Bombing 2002 bomber, Muchlas and participated in the paramilitary training in Afghanistan in the 1990s. His arrest signified potential retaliation by Neo-JI sympathizers and his followers against the Indonesian authority.

Despite the aggressive counter terrorism campaign, Daesh linked groups in Indonesia like the JAD and affiliates potentially continue their modus operandi and plot attacks against local authority or places of worship. They now operate independently with little coordination from their central leadership. For JI or Neo-JI, they are rebuilding the strength by collecting more funds through charity boxes, oil plantation business and crimes, and recruiting new followers and militant training. However, due to the ongoing arrest of their members and leadership, the group’s plan may seem at stake.

The movement of terrorist groups in Indonesia is also influenced by developments at the global and regional levels. Taliban’s victory may indeed revitalise terrorist groups in Indonesia, especially pro-Al Qaeda groups such as JI. Other extremist movements also rejoiced in the glory and shared the Taliban’s success strategy across social media. However, this latest outcome has not favoured Daesh affiliates, notably JAD, where the group has accused the Taliban as an apostate for having ties with the US and China.


On 19 July 2021, a Singaporean businessman, Mohamed Kazali Salleh (50 years old) was charged in court for providing financial support to a Daesh militant for terror-related activities. He was accused of lending a total of S$1,000 to Wan Mohd Aquil Wan Zainal Abidin @ Akel Zainal, a Malaysian Daesh militant  based Syria. The transaction took place prior to the terrorist’s death in March 2019. Mohamed Kazali was arrested by the Royal Malaysia Police (RMP) in December 2018 and deported to Singapore on 7 Jan 19. He was also issued with an Order of Detention under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for supporting Daesh. The involvement of Mohamed Kazali shows that there are individuals who does not participate in an active terrorism activities but expresses sympathy by providing financial aid. Mohamed Kazali’s random act of kindness reveals that there could be many sympathizers willing sacrifice a portion of their salary for terror causes.


On 18 August 2021, there were 12 ASG members arrested in Pulau Timbang, Sandakan. Subsequently, on 20 August 2021, two ASG members were shot dead by the RMP in Bornhill Palm Oil in Sandakan. The group’s kidnapping plan was revealed by an ASG sub-leader Sansibar Bencio who was arrested with seven other ASG members at Taman Sri Arjuna, Beaufort, on 8 May 2021. They planned to abduct two oil palm plantation owners residing in Sandakan and Sukau for ransom to fund the ASG – Sulu base at Sulu, Southern Philippines.

Two Malaysian terror suspects were charged on 30 August 2021 at the United States Naval Station in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for charges linked to deadly bombings in Indonesia more than 19 years ago. Mohammed Nazir Lep and Mohammed Farik Amin have been detained in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba since 2006, together with Indonesian Encep Nurjaman, also known as Hambali, who is said to be the mastermind of the bombings. The trio was arrested in Thailand by the CIA in 2003 and had undergone militant training in Afghanistan with Al Qaeda. All three were charged with conspiracy, attempted murder, murder, intentionally causing serious bodily injury, terrorism, destruction of property, and attacking civilians and civilian objects. However, the charges have been delayed due to translation and interpretation problems. As the international media once touted Hambali as the “Osama bin Laden of Southeast Asia”, he is still influential and capable of attracting support from the new generations of JI. Also, being the senior member of JI, Hambali’s release will be something that is much-awaited by its members.

On 13 September 2021, the Japanese Embassy in Kuala Lumpur had warned Japanese citizens in Malaysia over possible terrorist threats in Southeast Asia. They had issued an advisory to all of its citizens in Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Myanmar to stay away from religious facilities and other crowded areas. The warning was purportedly based on a statement by an East Asia Mujahideen militant, Abu Hamza al-Malizi, which was reportedly came from an unverified source. The Daesh supporter allegedly encouraged followers and sympathizers to stage attacks in the region. Despite the fact that the present threat level is “moderate,” there is no hint of a terrorist threat or lone wolf plot in the country when the COVID-19 overshadows the rest. Such baseless claims could welcome unwanted tension and panic not only for a specific nationality but the entire public in general. 

On 23 September 2021, a Malaysian militant, identified as Ahmad Mustakim Abdul Hamid (34 years old), was sentenced to 15 years in jail by a Somali military court in Mogadishu for conspiring with Al-Shabaab. He had reportedly entered Somalia in 2009 assisted and fought alongside the group in Mogadishu and Dhusamared. Malaysians who joined and supported terrorist groups overseas still raised a concern due to the risk they may pose to the foreign land and their homeland

What Can Be Expected

Terrorist groups are thriving mainly in Africa and South Asia. It is known that there are several factors that several factors lead to the ongoing terrorist activity, which includes competition for local resources, poor governance and also the weak governments to deliver services and provide economic opportunities to their population, especially in the interior areas. Thus, giving a chance to militant groups to take charge in the affected areas. 

In Southeast Asia, the risk of terrorism remains moderate due to the ongoing counter terrorism campaign and PCVE efforts, which has taken to another level. More and more terrorist members were annihilated and apprehended whilst their terror plots were also thwarted by local enforcement.

However, the recent development in Afghanistan might still cause concern after the Taliban victory due to the expectation of the return of its affiliates, mainly Al Qaeda and its global jihad agenda. Some local homegrown groups or extreme movements would be inspired by the victory of the Taliban’s take over Afghanistan and maintaining their ambition to establish an Islamic country based on Islamic Law. Despite the Taliban being under the spotlight, pro-Daesh groups remain the ones to watch, notably for the increased threat of ISKP in Afghanistan. The group will likely to increase their recruiting activity targeting FTF to regain strength and continue their media operation.


In summary, due to the changing trends of extremism and terrorism, the efforts to deal with these two aspects need to be explored more to keep pace with the changes. Collective political will is required to implement the various measures to counter terrorism. Existing cooperation among nations has to be harnessed and taken to greater levels.

Quarterly Report: Terrorism Events And Developments In The Second Quarter Of 2021

The second quarter of Terrorism Watch 2021 examines the latest events and developments on terror-related incidents in Southeast Asia and key incidents worldwide from April through June 2021. Military operations in Iraq and Syria continue to sustain pressure against Daesh’s presence. A shell of its former self, Daesh struggles to live up to its once-formidable reputation. Since their last lethal twin suicide attack in Baghdad in January, Daesh has been unsuccessful in launching any meaningful attacks. In the Southern Philippines, government efforts in aggressively pursuing terrorist groups show no sign of waning. The number of militant members surrendering to the authorities is encouraging. The stimulus package offered by the Philippine government has been effective in incentivising them to come forward and submit themselves and abandon a life of violence. Meanwhile, in Indonesia, the Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) group attempted to expand their modus operandi in Papua. They have also planned to attack churches and police stations in the province. For the past three months, the Malaysian security forces have arrested eight Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) members in Beaufort, Sabah in May 2021. The investigation has revealed all the ASG members were seeking refuge in Sabah since March this year due to the Philippine military operation in Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, Southern Philippines.   

Quarterly Report: Terrorism Events And Developments In The First Quarter Of 2021

This report examines the latest events and developments on terror-related incidents in Southeast Asia and key incidents worldwide from January through March 2021. Military forces in Iraq and Syria continue to engage in offensives against Daesh and Al-Qaeda (AQ), but Daesh shows no sign of waiving and demonstrates operational lethality through a renewed twin suicide attack in Baghdad. Meanwhile, in the Southern Philippines, government efforts in pursuing terrorist groups are still in full force. Militant members are continuously surrendering to the authorities as Philippine security forces continue to target them in a concerted counterterrorism effort. The latest attack in Makassar which occurred on Palm Sunday, bore the hallmarks of a Jamaah Anshorut Daulah (JAD) attack. This latest attack demonstrated JAD’s operational lethality and group resilience despite sustained counterterrorism pressure against them, indicating that they remain a persistent threat in the near future.   

Quarterly Report: Analysis On Terrorism Trends and Developments During The Covid-19 Global Pandemic

This report examines the latest events and developments on terror-related incidents that occurred across the globe between October and December 2020. Military actions in Iraq and Syria have reduced the impact of Daesh-related terrorism around the world. Participating governments continue to target prominent violent groups such as Daesh, Taliban and AQ. The COVID-19 health crisis has led to a decline in violence and remain at low levels. Lockdowns in Indonesia have caused pro-Daesh militants to suffer from income loss. Other groups such as Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) and East Indonesia Mujahideen (MIT) remain resilient. Meanwhile, the Philippines security forces continue to target militant groups in the Southern Philippines. Groups like Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) have lost ground, but they are still able to evolve and relaunch themselves.