Thailand: July 18, 2004

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The Moslem separatist violence in Thailand continues, with two members of the   ISOC (Internal Security Operations Command) were shot in the south while investigating Moslem separatists. There have been attacks against other government officials, especially teachers. As a result, 5,000 school teachers and other government officials in the Moslem areas of southern Thailand have demanded more protection, or transfers to other, safer, parts of the country. So far this year, over 300 have died from the violence in the Moslem south, most of them government officials or non-Moslem Thais. At the same time, a government amnesty has caused nearly 250, mostly young men, to turn themselves in to the police. These men will under go six weeks of re-education and be released. But the Thai police have been unable to find any of the hard core separatists who are making the lethal attacks and trying to drive out the non-Moslem minority from the south. The unrest is based on centuries old disputes between the Moslems of this region and the Buddhist Thais to the north, and the more recent popularity of Islamic radicalism and groups like al Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiah. 

 

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