Violence In South Thailand Reaches New Level

The long simmering conflict in southern Thailand took another turn with the introduction of car bombing to the area. Muslims in the southern provinces of Thailand have been engaged in active violence during the past few years in order to compel the government to adhere to demands for policial, economic, an social changes. Up to this point, the Muslim insurgents have resorted to ambushes, kidnapping and use of mines to get across their demands. However, over the weekend, unprecedented use of car bombs in Pattani and Yala left three people dead and many injured. Authorities beleive the use of car bombs represents a dramatic new turn in insurgent tactics.

The commander of the task force dealing with separatist attacks, Tawatchai Samutsakhon, responded to the car bombs by claiming they reflect his success in crushng the militants which has forced them to turn to car bombings. One of the bombings took place at the CS Pattani hotel which is frequented by government officials. Crown Prince Maha Vajialongkorn sent a basket of fruit to one of the victims. There probably is need for instituting reforms that will address concerns of Muslims in the south and a basket of fruit certainly will not be sufficient.