At least five M’sians killed in Deep South attacks


PETALING JAYA: At least five Malaysians were killed, 31 injured and one missing in several bombing incidents in southern Thailand between 2004 and 2014.

The violence in southern Thailand began in 2004 in four provinces, namely Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Songkla, by insurgents who are thought to be fighting for an independent state.

The area used to be an Islamic Sultanate until it was annexed by Thailand in the early 20th century.

One of the worst bombings that affected Malaysians was on Sept 16, 2011, where four Malaysians were killed and 18 others injured in three bomb blasts at the Charoen Khet Street, a popular entertainment spot in the Sungai Golok town.

Attacks have been made on restaurants, hotels, entertainment outlets and various other locations in the four southern provinces, where bombs have been mounted on motorcycles, in cars or placed in bags.

Other attacks include hit-and-run shootings and coordinated assaults.

Yala, Narathiwat and Pattani are the only Muslim-dominated provinces in the predominantly Buddhist country.

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Muslims in the area have complained of discrimination by the central government.

A large military presence in the region has failed to stop the violence.

Thai authorities have also claimed that Malaysia was a source of homemade bombs, which were smuggled into southern Thailand from the border and used by the militants in their attacks.

According to non-governmental organisation Deep South Watch, which monitors the situation in southern Thailand, a total of 7,294 people have died and 13,550 injured in 21,235 incidents from January 2004 to October last year as a result of the armed conflict.

Peace talks are expected to be held in Kuala Lumpur this month.

The previous ones between the Barisan Revolusi Nasional and representatives of the Thai government were held in January and March 2020.

Former Malaysian inspector-general of police Tan Sri Rahim Noor acted as the facilitator.

Rahim was appointed in August 2018 to facilitate peace talks between the Thai government and Mara Patani, an umbrella body representing the militant groups in southern Thailand.

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