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Southern Thailand and Muslim insurgents!

Interesting Article: Seven killed in S Thailand attacks by Xinhuanet / Bangkok published Monday, October 24, 2011

A recent article mentioned that at least At least seven people were killed in a series of attacks by suspected Muslim insurgents in south Thailand on Sunday. A group of gunmen, dressed as women, shot dead two rangers on a checkpoint in the main town of Narathiwat province, Thailand. Two nearby supermarkets were bombed shortly after the shooting, causing fires that took three hours to extinguish. Five bodies were retrieved from burnt buildings. Seven people were injured, the English newspaper reported. So who are these Muslim insurgents?


An ethnic separatist insurgency is taking place in Southern Thailand, predominantly in the Malay Pattani region, made up of the three southernmost provinces of Thailand; the campaign has been steadily increasing since 2004. By the end of 2010, insurgency-related violence had increased, and in March 2011, the government conceded that violence was increasing and Muslim insurgents were causing major issues in the area. The identity of the actors pushing the conflict remains mostly obscure. Many local and regional experts have implicated the region's traditional separatist groups, such as PULO, BRN and GMIP, and particularly the BRN-Coordinate (a faction of BRN) and its alleged armed wing the Ronda Kumpulan Kecil (RKK). Others suggested the violence occurred under the influence of foreign Islamist groups such as al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah, but since their modus operandi – attacking army depots and schools – is not a similar MO to other groups attacking Western targets, most view the connections as weak. Some reports suggest that a number of Pattani Muslims have received training at al-Qaeda centers in Pakistan, though many experts believe, to the contrary, that the Pattani guerrilla movements have little or nothing to do with global jihadism. Others have claimed that the insurgents have forged links with groups such as the religious-nationalist Moro Islamic Liberation Front in the Philippines and the quasi-secular Free Aceh Movement (GAM) in Indonesia. Well coordinated attacks are an al Qaeda modus operandi, and based on the latest attack, it seems that the insurgency has more things in common with the al Qaeda network than originally thought. Well coordinated attacks have been on the uptick, for example; on 22 November 2006, Wan Kadir Che Wan, leader of Bersatu, an umbrella organization for southern separatist groups, told Al Jazeera television that the Al-Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) terrorist network was helping local insurgents’ stage attacks in Thailand. On August 3, 2008, five bombs went off in the town of Songkhla injuring 2 people. The same night, two bombs also exploded in Hat Yai, but caused no casualties. On October 25th, 2011 Thailand's military said a dozen coordinated bomb attacks in the country's insurgency-plagued south killed at least three people and injured dozens. The military's Internal Security Operations Command said suspected Muslim insurgents detonated bombs at 12 spots across the southern town of Yala, including a school, shops and hotels, and that bombs had been defused by authorities at three other spots. This clearly should be a source of worry for world, because as al Qaeda-esque organizations grow, so does there coordination and level of attacks. Disruptions of these networks are a must, if we are to truly curb terrorism around the world. 

References:
AFP Bloodshed part of daily life in Thailand's Muslim south, 19 March 2008
AFP, Thailand can quash insurgency by year-end: minister, 3 February 2010
Wattana Sugunnasil, "Islam, radicalism, and violence in Southern Thailand: Berjihad di Patani and the 28 April 2004 attacks", Critical Asian Studies, 38:1 (2006), pp 119-144
"PULO and Mujahidin join forces". Patani Post. Retrieved 2011-02-19.
The Nation, Tam Yam Kung networks in Malaysia finance insurgents : PM, 21 November 2006.
The Nation, Death toll of Thursday attacks is 21 : army spokesman, 1 June 2007


 

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