Monday, September 6, 2010

Increased violence in Thailand's south blamed on Ramadan

Thai Muslim women gather for a prayer outside a mosque in the southern province of Pattani during the month of Ramadan late August 24, 2010

BANGKOK, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) -- Four locals were injured and at least 10 motorcycles were damaged when a 5-kg Improvised Explosive Device (IED) hidden in a motorcycle went off in a market in the southern province of Pattani on Sunday morning.

According to the initial investigation by police, army and Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) officers, the bomb hidden in a motorcycle parked in the parking lot opposite from a market in Khok Pho district was detonated by a mobile phone while around 1, 000 local people were shopping.

The motorcycle was believably stolen but further examination is currently carried out. Police blamed the attack on southern insurgents.

During the past six years since the violence renewed in the region in 2004. Almost 8,000 insurgent attacks have taken place in the southernmost provinces -- Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat, which once were part of Sultanate of Pattani State. The majority of people there is Malay Muslims.

During Ramadan or Muslim month of fasting, which begins Aug. 11 and ends Sept. 10 this year, violence in the region always flares up.

Thai police officers survey the site of a motorcycle bomb outside a hospital in southern Thailand's Pattani province, south of Bangkok September 5, 2010

[Aug.30.10] Pattani, Thailand - A car bomb early Monday wounded two village defence volunteers in Thailand's restive Muslim-majority south in the latest of a spate of attacks that an army officer blamed on the holy month of Ramadan.

The car bomb by suspected separatist insurgents in Narathiwat province wounded the two defence volunteers during the early hours in Janah district, local police said.

In two separate attacks on Sunday, also in Narathiwat province, two people were killed and a third wounded, Captain Adul Sripetch with the Southern Central Peace Keeper Command told the German Press Agency dpa.

One villager was killed in an ambush, while a 2-year-old boy was killed when the pickup truck he was travelling in with his parents was shot at from a passing vehicle. The boy's father was also wounded in the attack, Abul said.

Thai security forces inspect the bodies of two Buddhists in Pattani province, south of BangkokAugust 29, 2010. Suspected separatist militants shot dead the two Buddhists, police said

In neighboring Yala province a university teacher was shot dead by suspected militants Sunday while riding a motorcycle. Also Sunday in Yala, one person was wounded when a grenade was thrown into the night market.

The spate of attacks is due to Ramadan, the Islamic Holy month of fasting, Adul said.
'The incidents in this period, Ramadan, increase each year as the militants try to create more and more violence,' he said.

More than 4,000 people have died in the violence in Thailand's deep South, comprising Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala provinces, since January 2004 when separatists raided an army depot killing four soldiers and making off with 300 weapons.

The insurgents, an amorphous group of Muslim militants fighting for greater autonomy or independence from the predominantly Buddhist state, avenge any show of force by the authorities.

Teachers and other government employees have been among the main targets of insurgent hit squads.

The region's 2 million people are 80 percent Muslim while the rest of Thailand is overwhelmingly Buddhist.

Monsters & Critics

No comments: