Thailand: Islamic Violence Escalates


October 18, 2006: Moslem rebels in the south are becoming more aggressive. Killings are being accompanied by demands that the local police stop operating in the area. There are one or two murders a day, and many more threats. The killers either have the support of the villagers where they live, or have the locals terrorized into silence. Some of the killers, who have been arrested, were found to belong to criminal gangs, as well as Islamic radical organizations. The gangs want the police gone so they can more easily move their smuggled goods, including drugs, from Malaysia, and run other illegal operations. That will eventually put them into conflict with the Islamic radicals, who want to set up an "Islamic Republic" in the south. Such a religious dictatorship would be against most of what the gangsters are doing, but apparently the criminals don't believe that Islamic justice applies to them. The gangsters believe they are using the Islamic radicals, and vice versa. Meanwhile, some of the gangs have begun attacking small police and army camps. None have been captured yet, but there have been casualties. The new negotiations, between the government and more moderate Islamic groups in the south, have not had any effect on the groups doing all the killing.


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