Muslim Insurgents Fighting in Thailand

During the past year there has been ever increasing fighting between the Muslims living in southern Thailand and the majority Buddhist population. Trains have been blown up, teachers killed, and police attacked by Muslim insurgent groups. In a recent episode, security forces killed three Muslim boys, aged 13 and 14, and wounded three more. A security official said, “When security forces were working to extinguish a fire, the teenagers ran towards them and tried to attack the security forces.” According to security forces, none of the Muslim boys were armed. Police have been conducting search operations in villages of the mainly Muslim southern area of Thailand.

Southern Thailand is daily sinking into a civil war between Muslims, who constitute about 10% of Thailand’s population, and the Buddhist majority. Muslim complaints center around discrimination, lack of funding, and failure to respect their religion. So far the government’s response has been to resort to military force. As is the case in Iraq, reliance upon military force alone only exacerbates problems.