ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Some movement in troubled southern ThailandBy David Swartzemtruber
In Asean there are three countries with separatist “hot spots”- the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand. The Thai separatist insurgency is long-standing, but flared up again in 2004.
About 4,800 persons, mostly civilians, have been killed and thousands injured in the southern provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat, plus parts of neighbouring Songkhla. The provinces border Malaysia and there is a cross-border movement of terrorists from Malaysia into southern Thailand in addition to those homegrown.
Most victims have been Muslims but there has been a particular focus on killing Thai teachers and school officials, who are usually Buddhist. Thai schools have also been bombed and torched. An Amnesty International report, entitled "They Took Nothing but his Life," condemned the actions as terrorist acts to instill fear.
News reports today indicate that leaders of the Pattani United Liberation Organization (Pulo) living in Europe, plan to turn themselves into “authorities.” The report comes from Chaiyong Maneerungsakul, a member of the Advisory Council for Peace Building in the Southern Border Provinces.
This news is welcome but the killing continues. Four soldiers were killed and three others seriously wounded when they came under an armed attack in front of Lamo Nok School in Narathiwat's Ruso district on Wednesday, according to reports. A number of students were also injured, police said.
In Pattani's Nong Chik district on Wednesday morning, police said. Khampong Ngok-ngam, 45, was shot two times in the head with a pistol by an attacker at the market of Paka Jino village in tambon Don Rak. Assailants also set fire to 29 closed-circuit television cameras in front of Talupo health station and a mosque at Bae Ro Rajang in Muang district of Pattani. An end to the violence can’t come soon enough.
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