Overall, countries in the East Asia and Pacific region continued to weaken the ability of terrorist groups to operate and constrain the activities of large terrorist organizations such as Jemaah Islamiya (JI), Jemaah Anshorut Tauhid (JAT), and the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG). Ongoing concerns remained, however, notably in Indonesia, where terrorist attacks on police continued, and in the southern Philippines, where improvised explosive device (IED) attacks occurred on several occasions in Mindanao and rogue elements of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) conducted a violent three-week siege of Zamboanga City that killed dozens of Philippine Security Force members and displaced thousands. The tri-border region of the Sulu Sea remained an area of concern for cross-border weapons smuggling and kidnapping for ransom.
The Philippine government moved closer to a peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) by signing three of the four annexes to the 2012 Peace Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB), but terrorist incidents such as bombings and raids were more frequent in 2013 than in the years preceding the signing.
The trend of violent extremists focusing on domestic targets continued in Indonesia, with numerous attacks on police, including a series of separate high-profile attacks in which four Indonesia law enforcement officials were killed and seven were wounded. Indonesia also experienced its first suicide bombing in two years when a motorcycle-riding bomber targeted a police facility in Poso, Central Sulawesi. Challenges presented by overcrowded prisons and weaknesses in correctional facility management and security were highlighted when inmates, including convicted terrorists, escaped in a series of prison breaks.
Malaysia continued its legal reform efforts in 2013, bringing charges under the new Security Offenses (Special Measures) Act of 2012 (SOSMA). Malaysia arrested former al-Qa'ida operative Yazid Sufaat, who was the first to be charged under SOSMA. In Thailand, two Iranians behind a failed 2012 plot, in which explosives were accidentally set off that allegedly were targeting Israeli diplomats in Bangkok, were convicted.
Australia maintained its position as a regional leader in the fight against terrorism and worked to strengthen the Asia-Pacific region's counterterrorism capacity through a range of bilateral and regional initiatives in organizations such as ASEAN, the ASEAN Regional Forum, and the Pacific Island Forum. The Japanese government continued to participate in international counterterrorism efforts at multilateral, regional, and bilateral levels through the ASEAN-Japan Counterterrorism meeting and the Japan-China Counterterrorism Consultations.