Thursday, May 3, 2007

Bangkok Post/Thai News Agency: In the South, the Terror Goes on

Extremists have burnt 166 schools

Bangkok Post

Yala (TNA) - Insurgents have burned 166 southern schools since the separatist rebellion flared again in January, 2004, according to a senior education ministry official.

Pradit Rasitanon, director of the Inspector-General's Office of the Ministry of Education, said on Wednesday that between Jan 4, 2004 and Monday (April 30), 166 schools in the three southern provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat and some parts of nearby Songkhla province were burned.

Narathiwat saw the biggest number of arson attacks, with 68 schools targeted. In Pattani and Yala, 56 and 40 schools, respectively, were set on fire during the past three years. Two schools in Songkhla were targeted during that period, he said.

Mr Pradit, who supervises Yala province, said most arsons were carried out during the nighttime.

Since the latest school break beginning March 16, there were 32 schools burned in the region, 16 of them in Pattani, seven each in Yala and Narathiwat and two in Songkhla, he said.

In contrast to the manner of the violence previously carried out, he noted that the most of the latest attacks took place in the daytime.

He said the Inspector-General's Office in Yala is coordinating with agencies concerned to help the schools that were attacked.

Some schools may have to use tents as temporary classrooms, he said, adding that the Office of the Basic Education Commission would later provide budget for new buildings.

Office of the Basic Education Commission secretary-general Kasama Varawan Na Ayutthaya had proposed recommendations on security measures to the prime minister for consideration, he said.

The senior education official's recommendations were expected to be brought to the Cabinet meeting to assign to the agencies concerned, from ministry to department level, regarding revised security measures, he said.

On a daily basis, we have murders and beheadings, more than 2000 people have been killed. In two and half years, there have been 166 school arsons in the South.

In any other country in the world, except maybe places in sub-Saharan Africa, there would be outrage from the public about this type of violence without justice. No western democracy would stand by and allow this to continue.

The Thai military is incompetent. They are worthless. The only thing that the generals seem capable of doing is lining their own pockets.

One has to wonder what exactly does the Thai military prepare for. Coups? They certainly don't train for counter-insurgency. They don't train for terrorism. They don't even train for defense of the civilian population.

I'm not saying that the Thai military should go in guns a blazing Iraq style. But at a minimum, the military should be protecting innocent civilians. Why weren't soldiers posted at every school in the district? 166 schools? That is outrageous. Not only do school children have to fear for their lives from terrorists, but now they have no schools as well.

Army backing for limited amnesty Reports of rebel rift seen as an opportunity

Bangkok Post Reporters

The Fourth Army is considering offering a limited amnesty in a bid to undermine the southern insurgency movement, which is said to be showing signs of division. Fourth Army deputy commander Kasikorn Khirisri said amnesty was being considered only for those wanted on insurgency charges.

''Punishment should be waived for insurgents on the condition that they do not face other criminal charges,'' Maj-Gen Kasikorn said.

Those granted amnesty would be expected to help the state fight the insurgency by educating the public and help keep them from being lured into the rebel cause, he said.

Now, instead of protecting the population, it wants to reward the terrorists with amnesty for being terrorists. I wonder what all those people sitting in jail for petty non-violent crimes think of terrorists getting off for their ourageous acts.

In the minds of the Thai generals, crime does pay, which isn't shocking, because they have made crime pay for themselves for such a long time.

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