RealNews

Muslim unrest flares in Thailand

Just as residents of southern Thailand thought the New Year had come peacefully in spite of a holiday terrorism alert, a series of coordinated terror attacks has prompted the government to impose martial law and has renewed fears of resurgent Islamic separatism in the region. On Monday, bombs killed two policemen in the city of Pattani, near the Malaysian border. The attacks followed violence over the weekend in neighboring Narathiwat Province, where arsonists attacked 20 schools and militants raided an armory, killing four soldiers and stealing more than 100 rifles. The unrest casts doubt on the efficacy of Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s drive to improve relations and integration between the country’s 10 percent Muslim minority and the nation’s Buddhist majority. The government – with unusual openness – has blamed Islamic groups for the attacks. While Bangkok has been careful to portray the militants more as bandits than separatists, some observers see the attacks as the latest sign of a latent separatism flaring up again. Full Story

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