Prime Minister Surayud Chulanoud of Thailand announced that schools in southern Thailand would be closed and children relocated due to violence by Muslim groups seeking to exert control over the area. He rejected the idea of negotiation with insurgents saying it would be fruitless at this time.
Southern Thailand historically has been Muslim while over 90% of the nation is Buddhist. The issues revolve about economic opportunities and greater political autonomy for the region. The situation is not readily resolved since Thailand fears recognizing a fundamentalist group would create even greater long term problems for stability and runs the risk of causing the nation to be split. The Prime Minister insists education of children to avoid hating others is the solution. We believe education without expanding job opportunities and addressing political issues such as greater autonomy are equally as important.