Thailand: Terror Versus Terror

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July 17, 2007: The military has quietly abandoned attempts to solve the Islamic terrorism problem in the south with negotiation and other non-violent methods. No one would negotiate, and the terrorists (backed by some of the powerful criminal gangs in the region) were killing any Moslems who tried to cooperate. The military is now using the traditional methods, which have worked in the past, but are now considered barbaric in many parts of the world. Police and troops have rounded up several hundred suspects and used torture and execution to get leads on who is behind the terror campaign. In the last three years, about 2,400 have died in the south, most of them civilians, and the majority of them non-Moslems, whom the terrorists want to drive from the area. The other dead civilians were Moslems who tried to cooperate with police to get the terrorists arrested and prosecuted. The new police tactics are illegal under Thai law, and the government is trying to get a new law passed that will legalize some of the "emergency" measures. This bothers a lot of Thais, because the military is now running the country as a dictatorship until new elections can be held, and there is some suspicion that the generals want to stay in charge for longer than they said they would. Opposition to military rule is growing. But at the same time, violent police measures are tolerated in the south, because the terror attacks against civilians continues. Terrorists who are identified, one way or another, are being sent through the judicial system, if only to convince people that the real culprits have been brought to justice.

July 16, 2007: Near the border with Malaysia, Islamic terrorists blocked the main road into the province in 30 places, with felled trees or spikes tossed on the road. It took several hundred police about three hours to clear all the obstacles. At least one group of terrorists is making more attacks on transportation, without much effect, instead of murdering civilians.

 

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