Deep South Watch
Center for the Study of Conflict and Cultural Diversity, PSU, Pattani Campus
From January 2004 through March 2009, there have been some 8,810 violent incidents in the provinces of Pattani, Yala, and Narathiwat, and 4 districts in Songkhla province. Violence has decreased since June 2007, when the army began large-scale operations by sending more than 60,000 troops to round up suspected insurgents, and by spending approximately 109 billion baht on security and development matters.
It appears that this effort to marginalize the insurgent movement has been relatively successful. Since June 2007, violent incidents have dropped from 200 per month to just slightly more than 100 per month.
By November 2007, incidents had dropped to fewer than 100 per month, a trend that continued until early 2009.
In 2009, the number of incidents has gradually increased. Through March, incidents have risen to more than 100 per month, suggesting the persistence of sustained violence in Thailand’s southern provinces.
During the period from January 2004 through March 2009, there have been 3,418 deaths and 5,624 injuries resulting from violent incidents. Of those killed, 54.69 percent have been Muslims, while 41.87 percent have been Buddhists.
Civilians have been the primary people killed (1,564 cases), followed by soldiers (215 cases), policemen (200 cases), village headmen and assistants (189 cases), and village defense volunteers (170 cases).
The primary method of attacks continues to be drive-by shootings on roads and highways, followed by bombings.
The violence in the region will no doubt persist through 2009. Insurgents have shown no effort to reduce violent attacks. Meanwhile, the continued political turmoil in Bangkok shows no sign of being resolved anytime soon. As long as Thai governments are preoccupied with maintaining political office, they will be distracted from putting forth a genuine effort to improving the situation in the southern border provinces.