In the last three years, 2,300
people have been killed by Islamic terrorists in the south, with total
casualties of over 10,000. This includes 70 non-Moslem teachers killed. The
violence is not very popular among the southern Moslems, many of whom fear the
terrorists, and their gangster allies, more than they do the notoriously tough
police. While the smuggling and drug gangs provide some employment, most
southerners see the gangsters as a menace that they have to put up with. But
since some of the gangs began backing Islamic militants (who have not made any
moves against the gangs), life has become more difficult. The attacks on the
schools is particularly unpopular down south. The bombs have killed and injured
many Moslems, and commerce has been disrupted. Some of this was on purpose, to
intimidate the many Moslems who oppose the violence. Apparently, most of the
violence is being carried out by a small number (a few hundred) activists, most
of them gangsters or students of Islamic schools. The government is being
quite restrained, and trying to persuade Moslems to inform on the terrorists.
But this would mean informing on the gangs, who are part of the community.
Retaliation is almost guaranteed. The Islamic militants are also from the area,
and under the protection of the gangs. So getting a lot of informants has been
difficult. On the plus side, the violence is restricted to a very small part of
the country, the only areas where most of the population is Moslem. If the
terrorists tried to operate outside the three Moslem provinces in the south,
they would be turned in by the majority Buddhists, who are very unhappy
with the religious nature of the murders down there.
June 18, 2007: In the south, a remote
control bomb hidden in a tree wounded 13 people at a tea shop. Two soldiers
were wounded by another bomb, as they escorted a teacher to work. Some 260
schools were closed in the south (out of 700), because of security fears. The
ones closed were in the most remote areas, and the most difficult to
June 17, 2007: In the south, two more schools
were burned, and the teenage son of a teacher was murdered. Police arrested
seven terrorist suspects, including two with prior records. Weapons and
documents were seized as well.
June 16, 2007: Some 4,000 people assembled in
the capital demonstrated against the military dictatorship. There have been
daily demonstrations, but the government discouraged the big one for today by
mobilizing over 10,000 soldiers and police. Many checkpoints were set up to
discourage attendance, and efforts were made to get a photo of everyone
attending the event.
June 15, 2007: In the south, a roadside bomb
killed seven policemen.
June 14, 2007: In the south, a remote control
bomb went off at a football match, wounding 14 policemen.
June 13, 2007: In the south, three Buddhists
were killed, and one beheaded. Two bombs went off, killing one soldier, and
wounding 14. Islamic terrorists burned down 13 schools in one district. Over a
hundred schools have been destroyed in the last three years.