In October this year, an 11-year old boy was killed along with his father when militants shot at them. They were in a pickup truck, driving in Thailand’s province, Yala. This is not the first assault on children.
Since 2004, over 50 children have perished in this senseless display of terrorism. Some may call it an attempt at liberation, while others rationalize the carnage as justified, the execution of “military informants” in a berserk crusade to purge their society.
Recently another child in Narathiwat piled the body count. A 11-year-old girl, Infani Samo, was killed early on a Tuesday morning when gunmen armed with M16 and AK47 assault rifles sprayed bullets into a tea house. Four adults also perished in the hellish ambush.
The three south provinces have felt a powerful and chaotic surge of violence since January 2004. Overall, more than 5,000 people have lost their lives in the mayhem, many of the victims were Muslims.
The militants have proven that they seek to build the momentum of terror, pushing authorities into desperation and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation into redundancy. ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) offers no real solution, while Malaysia, being the bordering country, makes promises to facilitate some peace initiatives, but all seem to be futile. Unicef called for an immediate halt to violence – such tokenism does not help the situation.
Some human rights activists and “know-it-all” politicians have complained about the lack of progress of the Thai government – easier said than done, as there was no progress in the previous government for the south.
A group of Thai Muslims in Bangkok’s Naradhiwat slum expressed their disgust and sadness at the deaths and violence. One man, in his late-20s, said that the Muslim militants in the far south do not have the support of the Muslim nor the Buddhist population. I asked him about the state of mind of the militants and their association with Islam.
“This is not Jihad, they attack, they kill (those) who don’t support them”
he said, unable to contain his anger.
The discussion halted briefly, we felt his wave the outrage, but we were all in agreement: The festering violence against civilians could only mean that militants have lost in touch with reality and merely want to see the continued torment and deaths of the people they claim to be supporting; for the sheer pleasure of subduing society into terrorized obedience.
Rage swells in me, like fire.