Troubles in the South – January-February 2005

Almost like being there: Thammanoonvittayamoonnithi school - February 28, 2005
Dr. Has reports: Here are photos of activities at Thammanoonvittayamoonnithi School in Yala that are intended to redeem its image. This event is to reward top students.

Right: One of the top students
Below: Reporter from TV 11 Hadyai comes to interview the parents of the best student.

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


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

PM likens strong critic as bully boy - MCOT, February 28, 2005
In an unconventional move to rebut criticism, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra today exercised the Buddhist principle on tolerance to counter his strong critic, Theerayuth Boonmee, saying only that the leading academic is just a bully boy who has never read the Buddhist Scriptures...
“The reason why we must have the tolerance is that now a temple boy prefers sleeping behind the Buddhist Scriptures to reading it. Previously, he bullied the other once a year. But now he bullies several times a year...

Former Thai prime minister selected to mull ways of ending southern violence - AP, February 28, 2005
A former prime minister was appointed Monday to lead a committee charged with trying to quell violence in Thailand's largely Muslim south, as the government admitted it can not resolve the problem alone.
Anand Panyarachun was selected by Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to chair the National Reconciliation Committee, which will include about 30 representatives from government agencies, opposition parties and civic organizations, including those of minority Muslims...

THIRAYUTH’S LATEST WARNING: PM becoming more like Sarit - The Nation, February 28, 2005
Academic draws parallels between Thaksin, infamous 1960s dictator...
But Thai people, the middle class and grassroots alike, have grown fond of autocracy under Thaksin because it represents speedy decision-making, independence, individual accomplishment and material success, said Thirayuth...

Thirayuth hits out at PM - Thailand on buffet table, says the critic - Bangkok Post, February 28, 2005
Thaksin Shinawatra is taking Thailand through the most fundamental change it has seen in the last 50 years but it is one where everything, including national sovereignty, is up for sale, academic Thirayuth Boonmi said.
Social values are becoming blurred while the vested interests of people in power deepens the intrinsic problem of corruption, he said...


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

Almost like being there: Thammavittayamoonnithi School in Yala - February 25, 2005
Dr. Has reports: On February 23, 2005, Thammavittayamoonnithi School which has 7000 students had a ceremony of Lamad Hajad (above and below). The school is closely watched by the government because the principal of the school, Sapaeing Barzor, has run away and there is a 5 million baht reward for his capture. Ustaz (teachers who teach religion) have been arrested by government and two teachers have been shot and killed. Lamad [Islam’s worship of God’s kindness] Hajad is a ceremony of praying for blessings from God when being in the blackest of bad luck. This ceremony organized by the students and was participated in by teachers and parents.


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


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

Sign for peace - February 26, 2005
Above: A big sign that campaigns for Muslim people not to participate in the unrest in the South. This sign can be seen in five provinces: Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala, Songkhla and Satun.

Thai supreme commander supports gov't plans for southern unrest settlement - VNA, February 26, 2005
...General Chaisit revealed that the Thai army has already applied the zoning strategy even before the actual announcement from the government. He said the Thai army will focus on certain specific areas, and it will then expand to other areas. The problem of unrest in the south requires some time to be resolved. However, violence in many areas has been eradicated.
Following a discussion about the mass media development with Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Thursday, General Chaisit further said the officials will use news and information from the media to help them end the southern unrest...

Thai spokesman says plan to blacklist pro-rebel villages still just an idea - AP, February 24, 2005

Thai PM courting jihad in Muslim south-rights group - Reuters, February 24, 2005
Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's hardline policy on the insurgency in the Muslim far south is a recipe for attracting international Islamic militants, Human Rights Watch said on Thursday.
"The policies that the government seems to be pursuing almost seem like they are aimed at attracting jihadis," said Brad Adams of the New York-based rights group's Asia division...

Thai violence dividing neighbors - Washington Post, February 19, 2005
..."Before all the tension, I used to come here to rest," said Taveesak, 44, a tall rice merchant. Motioning to another shack, he recalled: "I would go into the corner of the room and they'd feed me snacks. We were like brothers and sisters. No more."
This Muslim hamlet has gone cold for Taveesak, who is Buddhist. At the same time, the store to which he long supplied rice, gossip and good humor is no longer welcoming to Muslims such as Samsuddin Bersa, a stocky village headman whose family for years bought provisions from Taveesak and other Buddhist shopkeepers...


CAR-BOMB AFTERMATH: No foreign involvement: PM - The Nation, February 19, 2005
...The unprecedented car-bomb attack on Thursday night, which Thaksin was loath to accept as such and described as “a bomb in a car, not a car bomb”, killed six people and injured 40 others just hours after the prime minister announced collective punishment for villages suspected of sympathising with militants...

Thailand on edge after unprecedented car bomb in restive south - AFP, February 18, 2005
...Thaksin said it was unlikely that foreign terrorist elements were involved in the attack but admitted it was aimed at putting pressure on his administration.
"The perpetrators were the offspring of those (suspected separatist militants) with outstanding arrest warrants and their aim was to put pressure on the government," he told reporters in Bangkok.
Narathiwat governor Pracha Taerat said the pickup was laden with about 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of explosives and was detonated outside the Marina Hotel in an area crowded with open-air beer bars.
He said the scale of the explosion and the methods used by the assailants marked a worrying new twist in the violence.
"We did not expect this kind of car bomb. It is unprecedented in Thailand," the governor said in a televised interview late Thursday...


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

Almost like being there: Yala mobile supermarket - February 21, 2005
Dr. Has explains: These are caravans of mobile supermarkets which have been seen in Yala and others nearby provinces. These cars will buy vegetables, dry and fresh fishes, and savories to sell in the villages. In the past, these cars will go to the morning market at 4am and some would go to buy fish at the fish bridge in Pattani. But nowadays there are less cars and they go to the market at 5:30am. They buy fish from the morning market instead because they are afraid of the unrest. The customers do not dare to go to market, but wait for these cars to sell food and things in front of their houses.


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

"Govt to settle southern woes soonest possible", says PM - TNA, February 17, 2005
[Above is the original headline. It has since been edited to: 'PM warns southern villages to cooperate or face funding cut']
..."Areas in the green zone will receive the most development funds from the government due to their most cooperation with the state officials, followed by those in the yellow zone, while those in the red zone will not get any development funding from the government at all until they turn to behave well", he disclosed...

Yala: Almost like being there - new market - February 15, 2005
New Yala market open every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at the main intersection. This is an attempt to stimulate the economy of Yala which has been stagnant since the violence last year. Almost the customers are students who come from other provinces. When the current term of universities end, many businesses will be affected.
The sign (right) reads: Here, coming soon - a market for people - open every Friday, Saturday, and Sundays.

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


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


(Photo: Dr. Has for 2Bangkok.com)
PM refuses to comment on arrest warrants against two politicians - TNA, February 15, 2005
...The recent reports claimed that police at the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) would issue arrest warrants against the two unidentified national politicians for being behind the unrest in the country's three southern border provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat...

Caught! - January 26, 2005
Thailand's most-wanted Muslim separatist arrested in Malaysia: PM - AFP, January 26, 2005
Thailand's most-wanted man, an alleged Muslim separatist, has been arrested in neighbouring Malaysia and the kingdom will seek to extradite him, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said.
Authorities have alleged Doramae Kuteh, also known as Chae Kumae Kuteh, was the mastermind behind a January 4, 2004 arms depot raid that reignited unrest in Thailand's Muslim-majority south that has left at least 570 people dead...


Also: More Wanted posters

Senator Harn's book about the South - January 17, 2005
Wisarut reports: Senator Harn Leenanone from Satun has made a Thai translation available of a book written in Bahasa by Dr. Wan Kadir (Alias Fadir Jeman, or Mahadi Daud, the Chairman of Bersartu and the head of Patani Melayu Forum) in June 1997. The book explains the long term plan, since 1993, of PULO to brainwash Muslim students to create the armed forces for Patani state. The details (in Thai) of Senator Harn's book can be seen here and here.

Southern insurgency nearly over, says PM - TNA, January 4, 2005
Violence continued in Thailand's southern border region today with the shooting of an assistant village headman, but Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra insisted to his cabinet that the insurgency had nearly died down...


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)

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