Thailand's southern provinces battered by violence

Anti-violence protesters in Narathiwat on Tuesday (Feb 4) hold a banner reading: ''The people of Bajoh have no need for violence. We are all Muslim brothers and sisters who love peace and harmony. We condemn groups who use violence against the innocent.'' [Rapee Mama/Khabar]

The unstable south, where adults and children from the civilian population are targeted by Pattani-Melayu militants. According to Deep South Watch, 62 children below the age of 15 have been killed, and 387 other injured, since the current conflict began in January 2004.

See: Body Count, Children Killed in Thailand's South

The conflict between militants and Thai military has left an impact upon the three southern provinces of Thailand: Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat. Human rights abuses from both sides are rarely mentioned by those sheltered in Bangkok's luxury.

Its no surprise, as the bourgeois and social-elites of Thailand's capital city prefers to think that the locals, whether Muslim or Buddhist, of the ThaiSouth are far too bizarre for their sensibilities. Bangkok is a city of contradiction, when rural folks are mere statistics or just reduced to irrelevance by the income gap. And what of the democrat politicians who are supposedly in power in the south? Have they been reduced to pawns, to be yanked by political lust for influence?

The recent attack left three children dead in Narathiwat. UNICEF Representative for Thailand, Bijaya Rajbhandari condemned the violence. “We are deeply concerned about the continuing violence against children in the far south of Thailand. This must stop. We call upon all parties involved to do everything to ensure that all children do not fall victim to violence.”

Islam in Thailand is not a new introduction. Minority Muslim communities in Thailand, and before that in Siam, have flourished particularly through the Islamic outreach and the migration from neighbouring countries. However, at this rate of slaughter, I have no doubt that the militants are on a crusade to subjugate the Muslims into terror-inspired submission, like bruised livestock chained to a dead kingdom of Pattani.


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