Conflict & Justice

Bloody anniversary in Thailand's south


Thai hospital workers aid a man bloodied amidst a series of explosions in Yala, Thailand, on October 25, 2011. Suspected Muslim insurgents set off more than a dozen co-ordinated explosions that killed at least one civilian and two rebels, a local official said. The explosions are the latest in a series of increasingly brazen attacks by shadowy rebels in the Muslim-majority Thai south, which has been plagued by more than eight years of conflict claiming more than 4,800 lives.



Just a month after bombs ripped through a Thai town known for its red-light joints, suspected Islamic insurgents unleashed an even bigger wave of bombs that injured 50 and killed at least three.

A staggering 10 coordinated blasts lit up hotels, shops, restaurants, a market and other targets in the city of Yala, according to the Bangkok Post. The outlet AFP reports a total of 15 blasts and a sweeping electrical blackout.

The attacks just so happen to coincide with the seventh anniversary of a harsh crackdown against Muslims protesting near a police station. That incident -- in which men were bound, kicked and tossed in the back of sweltering trucks -- ended in more than 80 deaths. Footage of the beatings has circulated on video discs in the Muslim-majority south and is watched over and over on YouTube.

Nearly 5,000 have died in this separatist guerilla insurgency to restore an Islamic sultanate, overrun more than a century ago by Thailand, then Siam. Attacks in recent months -- such as the strikes targeting Malaysian men hopping the border for red-light nightlife -- have become more daring. They've also demonstrated greater precision and coordination.

And as Global Post explained in a recent special report "Buddhists in Arms," the region's emaining Buddhists are growing paranoid, hunkering down and manning all-Buddhist militias.

Still, with attention diverted to the country's worst flooding in 50 years, most Thais won't pay much attention to this bombing spree. But both officials and the public at large run the risk of ignoring an insurgency growing more brazen and more sophisticated in its attacks.