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Bomb attack highlights worsening Thai violence

No religions immune from deteriorating security situation

People place candles in front of parliament building in Bangkok while praying for peace in the south (File photo) People place candles in front of parliament building in Bangkok while praying for peace in the south (File photo)
  • Panithan Kitsakul, Bangkok
  • Thailand
  • January 20, 2011
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Violence in Thailand’s restive southern provinces continued today when two roadside bombs exploded, one in Pattani and the other in Yala. No injuries were reported although the bombs were detonated while soldiers or police were passing.

A day earlier, dozens of armed suspected rebels attacked a military camp in Narathiwat province, killing at least four soldiers and injuring several more, local media reported. The same day two security personnel were injured by a bomb blast outside a teashop in another part of the province.

The ongoing violence is not confined to Buddhists and Muslims in the deep south. The tiny Catholic community in the region is also caught up and, according to one local priest, Catholics have to take enhanced precautions while violent incidents keep breaking out.

Salesian Father Suksan Chaopaknam who looks after six Catholic churches and chapels in the three southernmost provinces, noted that one teacher was killed on Jan. 16 - Teachers Day in Thailand.

“We increase the alert and are more careful in travelling. We try to avoid travel in the morning and evening at the same time when government officers travel to work or back home, as insurgents mostly target government officers: in particular teachers, soldier and police,” he said.

Sister Meena Adulkasem, director of the Church-run Charoensri Suksa school in Pattani, said “during these two months, four parents of our students were killed. Our school supported their funerals and provided the scholarship to those students.”

The nun said Catholics, being a tiny community, cannot do much about the violence. “We are not clear why people are killed. We can’t demand for justice. If we take any action without clear information, we may become victims too. Our teachers and nuns can only be careful when they travel and limit their travelling.”

TH12946.1637
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