Audio Overview of East Asia Pacific Issues, Wednesday, 30 January 2019

APAC Assistance Operations Assistant Bhargav Reddy discusses Main Issues in East Asia

Main Issues in East Asia Pacific

Firstly in the PHILIPPINES

  • A grenade attack on a mosque in Zamboanga City on the southern island of Mindanao has killed two people and injured more than three others this morning. The attack comes after the twin blasts in a cathedral on the Jolo island which killed 21 people on Sunday.
  • Police said that they have not found credible proof to confirm if the grenade attack is connected the bomb blasts in Jolo.
  • The police have not confirmed if the attack was a retaliation, however, successive attacks on places of worship may trigger more reciprocal attacks. Clients are advised to avoid the places of worship including churches and mosques in the Mindanao region.


  • Yesterday President Rodrigo Duterte said that two suicide bombers were behind the twin blasts in Jolo on Sunday and one of them was a female bomber. Duterte confirmed that the Abu Sayyaf group was responsible for the attack. The Abu Sayyaf group has declared its allegiance to the Islamic State which claimed responsibility for the attack.
  • The police have named “Alias Kamah”, brother of a slain Abu Sayyaf leader, among the persons of interest. Ten army and marine battalions have been deployed to pursue the bombing suspects,
  • The Jolo island was put on lockdown since the attack on Sunday. Duterte visited the island after the bomb blast and he has insisted that there was no lapse in security despite the blasts.


  • Yesterday Prime Minister Prayut insisted that he will not resign, and he will remain in power until a new government is sworn in. His comments come after the resignation of four cabinet ministers who are executives of the pro-junta Palang Pracharath Party yesterday. Prayuth said that he won’t quit if he quits, who can take his place?
  • Prayut claimed that there is no law requiring him to step down as prime minister and as for the National Council for Peace and Order, he will remain its chief because the council will remain in power until a new government was established.
  • The four ministers who resigned yesterday are Industry Minister Uttama Savanayana, Commerce Minister Sontirat Sontijirawong, Science and Technology Minister Suvit Maesincee, and Prime Minister’s Office Minister Kobsak Pootrakool. Their resignation will be effective today. The four ministers said they resigned because their tasks as ministers were finished and they will now fully commit to their political activities.


  • Musician Ahmad Dhani was sentenced to 18 months in prison by South Jakarta District Court this week for hate speech after he incited people to attack supporters of former Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (Ahok) on Twitter.
  • Dhani was found guilty of violating Article 45 of the Electronic Information and Transactions He posted the tweet during the gubernatorial election campaign in March 2017, which coincided with Ahok’s blasphemy trial.
  • Ahok was released last week after serving a 2-year prison sentence after he was found guilty on blasphemy charges.


Main Issues in South Asia

Firstly in PAKISTAN

  • Yesterday nine people including three policemen were killed and 21 others were injured when attackers attempted to enter a police compound in Loralai (loral-layi) town in the southwestern province of Balochistan. Three armed suicide bombers tried to enter the police compound where about 800 candidates had assembled for enrolment into Balochistan police.
  • The police personnel on duty responded and killed two of the suicide bombers. One of the bombers detonated his suicide jacket. The other two attackers started firing indiscriminately. Baluchistan has been plagued by a separatist insurgency with frequent attacks reported against the security forces.
  • Clients are advised to employ extreme caution while traveling in Baluchistan and avoid traveling to remote areas of the province. For business missions, it is critical to take satellite telecommunication devices and appropriately qualified people who can plan and conduct the close protection you require. Planning and the intelligence required cannot be done by the members of the close protection detail.


  • Yesterday twelve Navy officers were injured in a clash with illegal sand miners at Kandakadu in Kinniya in the eastern region of Sri Lanka.
  • The Naval officers and a police team were ambushed by the illegal miners causing the clash.  Sri Lankan Navy and the police have conducted frequent raids to control illegal sand mining in the area. The mining mafia is a major concern for the local authorities. Businesses and civilians are frequently targeted for extortion by the sand mining mafia in the region.
  • Clients are advised to be aware of the mining mafia in the eastern region of Sri Lanka and employ caution while traveling to smaller towns and villages where illegal mining is reportedly rampant.


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