Troubles in the South – November 2006

Troubles in the South - November 2006
Troubles in the South index page

School closure order - November 27, 2006
The schools have been reopened in many areas in the deep south, but here is the initial order:
Letter from the Teachers Federation of Yala - Statement No. 1 on halt to school openings in Yala
The unrest in Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat Provinces has grown continuously and gradually become more violent. There are bombings and shootings targeted at civilians, government officials and teachers. Militants have destroyed many lives and property in the three southern border provinces.
To let authorities revise and issue practical measures to resume local people’s confidence and protect government officials and civilians, the Teachers Federation of Yala Province and academic institutions in the province agreed on November 27 to:
1. Halt school opening indefinitely, starting November 28, 2006
2. Hold make-up sessions as soon as the schools are re-opened
(signed)
Sanya Suwanpoh
President of Teachers Federation of Yala Province
November 27, 2006


Former govt kill insurgents handed over by M'sia: Sonthi - The Nation, November 27, 2006
... "Malaysia is reluctant to help us as we don't behave. Sometimes they handed over suspected militants as requested, but we killed them," Sonthi told reporters upon his departure to Malaysia...

Southern Teachers’ Association makes proposals to deal with southern unrest - Says government strategies must be more transparent - translated and summarized from Issara News Center, November 18, 2006

In the midst of the ongoing intense unrest in Thailand’s deep south, teachers and education personnel have become easy targets for attack. Southern Teachers’ Association (STA) members from the three southern border provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat held a meeting on November 12 to analyze the situation in the region. The group met at the Area 12 Educational Inspectorate Office in Yala Province and some firm conclusions arose from their discussions.

STA representatives from these provinces submitted a report to Khunying Kasama Voravarn Na Ayudhaya (the Permanent-Secretary of the Commission for Basic Education) yesterday. They also plan to submit a copy to Prime Minister Gen. Surayud Chulanont soon.

The STA report initially describes the unrest in the region. It notes that crimes have occurred on an almost daily basis since the onset of the current unrest in 2004 and that many innocent people have been killed. It goes on to mention that government officials are frequently subjected to violent ambush and that the work of both government officials and ordinary citizens is frequently sabotaged.

The report next describes an atmosphere of continual confusion in the region. It says that low-ranking government officials often doubt that the unrest is entirely caused by local separatist movements. The report suggests that high-ranking officials frequently attribute the unrest to the anger of local people as the result of years of unfair treatment, human rights infringements and warlike conditions. Thus, the report suggests that measures taken by these officials are often based on mistaken perceptions.

The report then examines the outlook of low-ranking government officials who usually believe that the unrest is mainly caused by the separatist movement known as the ‘BRN Coordinate’ (Barisan Revolusi Nasional). Local STA members are adamant that such low-rankers are correct in their estimation that the past three years’ unrest has largely been caused by the BRN. Thus, many local STA members believe that the government’s strategies for the region are completely wrong. The report admits that government security operations have helped to break up some separatist movements, but says these operations are incapable of impairing the separatists’ long-term ability to engage in low-level warfare.

The report also details the religious paranoia that is rampant in the region. It says that some local Muslims believe that Thailand’s Buddhists are acting deceitfully and only wish to be seen as acting in a fairer manner as a means to gather better intelligence data on separatist movements. It also cites the common local Muslim belief that the Buddhist establishment wish to appear more generous-minded as part of an attempt to cover up their past mistakes in the region.

Many local Muslims see the recent espousal of a more peaceful approach as a dishonest attempt to overcome the separatists rather than to actually create the necessary conditions for peace. The report also describes the belief of some Buddhists that the majority of Muslim people in the deep south are dishonest, selfish and in total agreement with the separatist cause.

The report roundly condemns the RKK (Runda Kumpulan Kecil), the BRN and their fellow travelers for causing the unrest. However, it also says that the government has been remiss in failing to collect high-grade intelligence data and so lacks a decent understanding of the causes of the unrest.

[The RKK is a loosely-knit network of small local anti-government village militias that has deliberately distanced itself from more mainstream and traditional separatist groups in the region.]

The report goes on to propose the following solutions to the unrest:

(1) The government must begin to accept that the unrest is largely caused by the BRN and constantly remind itself that the BRN is a self-proclaimed revolutionary organization. It must also realize that both black market operators and drug dealers are contributing to the problem.

(2) The government must get to know a great deal more about its enemies. It must begin to better understand the goals and strategies of the separatists in order to establish better goals and strategies of its own.

(3) And when such better-informed goals and strategies have arisen, it must also seek the right people to implement them in an efficient manner.

The report then recommends the following operational methods in the region:

(1) The assignment of as many local people as possible to run local operations.

(2) Such operations should take place in ALL districts and the authorities must persevere with these operations until they have completely run their course.

(3) The law of the land must be applied strictly with no favoritism towards certain groups.

(4) The public must be provided with transparent information on all such operations.

(5) The government must continue to deploy security forces in the three provinces to protect innocent people and ensure fair treatment for all groups in local society.

The report also details the education problems of the region:

(1) Teachers and other educational personnel work in a constant state of worry about their own security.

(2) Schools and educational units are likely to face personnel shortages in the near future.

(3) Most schools and educational units manage their budgets inefficiently.

(4) There are no basic educational policies to help foster greater long-term security for both the nation and for local schools.

(5) The local system of educational management makes no allowances for changing social circumstances.

The report also details the causes of breakdowns in local educational provision:

(1) Proactive political and military operations by the BRN.

(2) No consistency in the government’s goals and strategies. This ensures that all operations in the region are constantly beset by confusion and a lack of transparency.

(3) The Ministry of Education has not yet established any special policy for the security of teachers and educational personnel in the region.

(4) There is regulatory body to ensure that the local educational system lives up to the goals and strategies espoused by the Ministry of Education.

The report then concludes with a set of proposed solutions:

(1) There must be a sustained and serious effort to provide security guards for teachers and education personnel.

(2) Vacant teaching and administrative positions must be quickly replaced by temporary teachers and government workers.

(3) A firm eye must be kept on the budget management of education zones and schools, to ensure they make the best use of their budgets.

(4) New educational policies must be created, that will help to foster greater security for both the nation and its educational units in the region.

(5) Some kind of administrative center should be set up for the three provinces, to ensure that their educational systems are capable of meeting the challenge of the social changes that will be necessary to create peace in the region.


Leaflets from the deep south - November 25, 2006
These are leaflets from the Southern Border Provinces Peace-building Command. They read: Attacking teachers is against religion. Teachers are respectable, honorable and dutiful, willing to instruct your children. Let us give teachers moral support and protection for a better future of our children. Let us give teachers moral support and protection, otherwise our children will be left uneducated. We should collaborate with government authorities who sincerely help us. Please inform military authorities of any information or hints you receive. You might contact the Civil Department of the Southern Border Provinces Peace-Building Command, Sirindhorn Campus in Amphur Yarang of Pattani Province. Call 1341, 1881 or 0-7326-2572, or www.southpeace.go.th.


Headlines
Komchadluek, November 24, 2006 - 300 people surround Amphur Thanto - bash car - Parade the dead body to protest! Accuse that [government] officers are the killer - Cabinet sets up 'special economic zone'

Manager, November 24, 2006 - Who burn our school? Student see the condition of Ban Bajoh School, Thambon Bajoh , Amphur Bannang Sata after the insurgent burned it. Recently, more than 30 schools have closed because of safety fears.

Krungtepturakit, November 24, 2006 - Carry the dead body: People in Amphur Thanto, Yala parade the dead body of Mr. Maroyee Karoh who was shot dead . His body was taken to the Kubo [Islamic cemetery]. On the way there were many sounds of mysterious gunfire and almost a situation of turmoil, but finally the officers can control the situation.


(Photo: Dr. Has for 2Bangkok.com)

Opening a school - November 20, 2006
Dr. Has reports: On November 20, Ban Luemu school, Amphur Krongpinang, Yala reopened again after 2 weeks after being when insurgents called and threatened to kill teachers. The sheriff of Krongpinang District came to visit and talked to teachers and students.


(Photo: Dr. Has for 2Bangkok.com)


'Bangkok not interested in peace' - Aljazeera.net, November 21, 2006
The leader of an umbrella group of separatists in south Thailand says the government is not interested in peace...
Violence in the south

Manager, November 21, 2006 - The southern victim: A Muslim guy shot by the insurgents in the south was sent to hospital in Narathiwat late Saturday night. The unrest in the three southern border provinces has killed more than 1600 people since January 2004.
Komchadluek, November 21, 2006 - Bomb the market: The police officers investigate a motorcycle with a bomb parked in front of Kenting market building in the area of Sungaikolok municipality, Narathiwat. The bomb was set off with a mobile phone bomb. This caused two people to die and 15 injured.


(Photo: Dr. Has for 2Bangkok.com)

Arson in the south - November 17, 2006
Dr. Has reports: On November 17 the assailants burned the house of Mr. Arbus, a petty officer, at Ban Luemu, Amphur Krongpinang, Yala. The fire damaged his car and house.
More on Troubles in the South


(Photo: Dr. Has for 2Bangkok.com)

Almost like being there: Happenings in the deep south

Mr. John reports: On November 16, Gen Surayud Chulanont, P.M., and his team visited the Thai Buddhist people who moved from Ban Sunti 1 and Sunti 2, Amphur Bannangstar ,Yala to stay at Wat Nirotsungkaram, Amphur Muang, Yala. This is because of the unrest in the south is more violent and Thai Buddhists are victims more than before

The P.M. took the leaflet that he got from people and showed it to reporters. The leaflet assaults government policy on the three southern provinces and the failure of solving southern problems created by the old government. 


[Editorial cartoon from the southern separatists - November 20, 2006 (By the way, 2Bangkok obtained the cartoon on November 13.)]


(Photo: Mr. John for 2Bangkok.com)


(Photo: Mr. John for 2Bangkok.com)


(Photo: Mr. John for 2Bangkok.com)
Left: After more violence near the southern border, secondary school children moved with their families from Ban Sunti 1 and Sunti 2, Amphur Bannangstar, Yala. They stay in monk's quarters and use it as a temporary classroom. All the children have the same opinion that they prefer to stay in the temple rather than their homes.
Right: The room of Parkview Hotel, Amphur Muang, Yala has a sign telling the direction for people who want to "Lamad." The arrow points to the direction of Mecca in Saudi Arabia for Muslim guests.

(Photo: Mr. John for 2Bangkok.com)

Tea shop bombing

Krungtepturakit, November 18, 2006
The officers investigate the bombing at the ancient coffee shop in Narathiwat yesterday morning. Ten minutes after the bomb exploded, another bomb exploded and damaged a car and caused many injured and death.

Matichon, November 18, 2006
Tumble down: the officers investigate damage at an ancient coffee shop in Narathiwat after the assailants bombed it two times on November 17 while there were many people sitting in the shop. This caused 1 death and 22 injuries.
Editorial cartoon from the southern separatists - November 20, 2006


Lessons to be learned from the recent expansion of "no-go areas" for government officials - Lack of any real strategy? - Failure of mass media to assist government initiatives? - translated and summarized from Issara News Centre, November 7, 2006
On November 5, over 300 women and children rallied in Bajoh Commune in Bannang Sata District in Yala Province. The anti-government protestors called for the removal of all armed forces personnel from the commune with a promise to stop their protest if this condition was met.
On November 3 (preceding the protest), Ismai Sama, a resident of Bajoh Commune, was fatally shot by gunmen dressed as soldiers. Ismai’s son is a known member of a Runda Kumpulan Kecil (RKK) insurgent group. Just before he was murdered, Ismai was invited to an interview by local government officials keen to learn about the movements of local insurgent groups.
Thus, Ismai’s death has become the rallying point with which southern separatists can encourage the people of Bajoh to protest against the government. The separatists and their sympathizers are claiming that Ismai was killed by armed forces personnel.
The local RKK group in have recently attacked soldiers and burned four schools in Bajoh Commune. After each attack, the group has encouraged women and children to blockade roads and prevent the entry of security forces into their villages. The protestors have vowed that government officials will not be allowed in again until all security forces have been removed from the commune.
This kind of incident has happened once before, in Narathiwat Province’s Sungai Padi District.
This strategy is likely to be used again in any villages and communes where the separatists and their sympathizers are in almost complete control. Women and children will be in the vanguard of these protests, while many of their men folk will be in concealment and ready to attack the army forces if their "human shield" strategy fails.
There are two districts in Yala--Raman and Bannang Sata--that are already almost completely controlled by separatists. Commune and village headmen in these districts are too scared to fully cooperate with the government. Indeed, the government continues to have very little understanding of the people who live in these districts. Since 2004, over 1,000 Muslim and Buddhist people and 100 government officials and armed forces personnel have been killed in these two districts.
The government’s efforts to involve local people in helping to solve the unrest have always failed, while the separatists are continually attempting to expand their power in the region.
The government should devise a special plan to regain control in areas where the insurgents presently enjoy considerable control over the local population with Raman and Bannang Sata Districts receiving the most urgent attention.


(Photo: Mr. John for 2Bangkok.com)

Almost like being there: Bombing auto showrooms in the deep south


(Photo: Mr. John for 2Bangkok.com)

Mr. John reports: November 9 - The officers investigated the place that the assailants bombed in Yala. The target of the bombs are showrooms with many brand cars and motorcycles and they want to shake the economy again after the August 31 bombings of 22 places.


(Photo: Dr. Has for 2Bangkok.com)


(Photo: Dr. Has for 2Bangkok.com)

Dr. Has reports: Today (November 9) between 11:58 and 12:30, bombs exploded in 8 spots in municipal of Yala causing 9 to be injured. It started at the Nissan showroom, and continued through the Honda showroom, Isuzu showroom, Mazda showroom, Ford showroom, Chevrolet showroom, Numhuajan motorcycle shop, Saengjaroen motorcycle shop. In the photos [two above and two below] are the damage of Mazda showroom and Numhuajan motorcycle shop.


(Photo: Dr. Has for 2Bangkok.com)


(Photo: Dr. Has for 2Bangkok.com)


More violence in the south
Matichon, November 8, 2006
Burning again:  The common room and kitchen of Ban Tabingtingisamakki, Thambon Talingchan, Amphur Bannangstar, Yala was burnt by the assailants. This is the fifth school that was damaged in the past 3 days--at 02:30 a.m. on November 7.

Komchadluek, November 8, 2006
Burn recurrent: The state of the common room and kitchen of Ban Tabingtingisamakki, Thambon Talingchan, Amphur Bannangstar, Yala after the assailant burnt for fifth school. Sad student and a soldiers look on the scene on November 7.

School attacks
Above: Komchadluek, November 5, 2006 - No school to study: The students of Ban Banglang school, Thambon Bajor, Amphur Bannangstar checked the damage at their school after it was burnt at the same time as other four schools on November 4.



Above: Krungthep Turakit, November 5, 2006 - Burn and threaten: A soldier reads graffiti on the ruined wall of Ban Banglang school building, Thambon Bajor, Amphur Bannangstar, Yala that was written by the terrorists when they burned four schools.

Photos from the south

Komchadluek - Still turmoil: Officers investigate the ice tub a tea shop at No. 71/6 Rangaemakka, Amphur Muang, Narathiwat that was bombed by assailants on October 31 and caused 6 to be injured.

Krungtepturkit - Burn Pornor: The students of Pornor Rasamipakdi Ban Kubangpaze, Amphur Yarang, Pattani, sadly look at the remains of an Alkuraarn bible and textbook after 8 school lodgings were burned. The school opening has to be postponed.


Third Region Army chief says troops can enter Bangkok in two hours - translated and summarized from Thai Rath, October 26, 2006
Army chief Gen. Sonthi Boonyaratglin, as head of the Council for National Security (CNS), and Defense Permanent Secretary Gen. Winai Phattiyakul, as secretary general for the CNS, recently met with Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont to discuss national security. Rumor has it that Third Army Region chief Lt. en. Chiradet Kocharat ordered his troops in Nakhon Sawan Province to enter Bangkok in a bid to cope with possible rallies by some movements, following a rumor that former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s supporters will gather to welcome his rumored upcoming return. The Third Army commander denied the rumor. However, he said that his troops can enter Bangkok in two hours. He said if Bangkok needs troops, the First Army Region and the Special Warfare Command have sufficient troops.
Anti-government movement spreads rumor to maintain Thaksin’s popularity in the northeast - translated and summarized from Phujatkan, October 27, 2006
The anti-government movement recently sent an open letter to government offices in northeastern provinces, trying to mislead the public into believing that the coup d’etat was staged because the plan to assassinate Thaksin Shinawatra failed. The movement slandered the government by saying that the government is shameless continuing projects initiated by the Thaksin administration.
Thaksin supporters keep trying to mislead the public and civil servants in northeastern Thailand.
An open but confidential letter, by “Southern People,” was recently spread at government offices in northeastern provinces. There is a message telling readers to spread the letter at the end of the letter.
The letter says,
“1. Do you know who wants former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra killed?
2. If not, ask people in Huaykwang, Bangkok.
3. The assassination plan failed and a coup d’etat was staged, by the same person mentioned in number 1.
4. The coup was staged to overthrow the Thaksin system. So, how on earth they are so shameless continuing projects by the Thaksin administration?
The thumps-up given to trouble makers and money suckers led by The Skinhead, The White Beard, The Cruel Face and The Udorn Guy.
There are 192 countries in the world. Two of which are underdeveloped –Myanmar and Thailand.
We’re really sorry for underdeveloped people.”
In addition to the letter, there is a sheet of paper with the picture of some people said to bring troubles to Thailand.
The people include Anan Panyarachun, Abhisit Vejjajiva, Gen. Prem Tinsulanonda, Suthep Tuaksuban, Gen. Surayud Chulanont, Khunying Jaruvan Maintaka, Klanarong Chantik, Gen. Sonthi Boonyaratglin, Kaewsan Atipoh, Dr. Prawate Wasi, Sondhi Limthongkul, Mj. Gen. Chamlong Srimuang and Suriyasai Katasila.
The biggest image in the paper is also the picture of Thaksin Shinawatra. There is a message saying, “PM Thaksin, people will not forget you. We will wait for you.”
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