Terror groups evolving, growing via social media: expert

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 20 2015 06:08 PM | Updated as of Jun 21 2015 02:08 AM

MANILA - A terrorism expert expressed alarm over a 2014 US report saying terror attacks and deaths have risen sharply since 2013.

Professor Rommel Banlaoi of the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research said that while global efforts against terrorism have improved, terror groups have also been evolving and actively recruiting members via social media.

"Terrorist organizations are evolving, threats are evolving. Although there are tremendous efforts to counter terrorism worldwide, terrorist groups also have a way to innovate and learn from their mistakes and also learn from their victories," Banlaoi said in an interview on ANC's "Dateline Philippines" Saturday.

He said countries must implement local and international counter-measures to address the root causes of terrorism and insurgencies.

"While we are fighting the ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), the Al Qaeda has not been eliminated yet. Now we are confronting two types of terrorist organization that have the capability to wreak havoc in international community," he said.

"Crucial to the fight against terrorism is to address all underlying conditions," Banlaoi added.

The US report comes less than a week after the Armed Forces of the Philippines (US) said the Abu Sayyaf Group is coddling five international terrorists.

The State Department said there were 13,463 attacks in 95 countries in 2014 -- up by a third from 9,700 the year before -- with Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan bearing the brunt of extremist violence.

Most of the attacks were carried out by Islamic State militants, who unleashed 1,083 assaults last year as part of a deadly march across Iraq and Syria. The Taliban were the next most lethal group, with 894 attacks.

There was also a sharp rise in violence in Nigeria, where Boko Haram's Islamist militants have been spreading terror in the north. There, some 7,512 people were killed in 662 attacks. -- reports from ANC; Agence France-Presse