Bali, the Philippines, India, Chechnya, etc.
Death toll tops 1,000 in Thailand's restive south
17 Nov 2005 11:25:35 GMT
BANGKOK, Nov 17 (Reuters) - Separatist violence has killed more than 1,000 people in Thailand's Muslim south and the number of dead in the second half of this year almost doubled from the first half, police figures showed on Thursday.
By Wednesday, 1,016 people had been killed in the three provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat and four districts of nearby Songkhla province since violence erupted on Jan. 4 last year, a Reuters calculation based on a police record showed.
Of the total, 511 people were killed between Jan. 1 and Nov. 16 this year, according to a police record read to Reuters by telephone.
The monthly toll in the first five months of 2005 varied between 34 and 38, but jumped to between 53 and 67 from June to October. The record showed 38 people had been killed so far in November.
One of the most brutal attacks on civilians occurred early on Wednesday morning, when assailants killed nine members of one family, including an 8-month-old baby, shooting some of them at point-blank range.
A senior policeman in the region said the violence had intensified since June as separatists wanted to achieve their goal of seizing power this year in the region, an independent sultanate until formally annexed by Bangkok a century ago.
"There are doing everything they can to destroy state power," he said.
Despite the presence of 30,000 troops and police in the region, shootings, bombings and arson attacks on civilian and military targets take place every day.
The predominantly Buddhist government has blamed local mafias, drug dealers and Islamic religious teachers for encouraging Muslim students and youths to wreak havoc, but it has failed to arrest any leading organiser of the violence.