Violence in insurgency-hit Southern Thailand registered an upward trend in 2022, according to an article written by Zachary Abuza, a noted expert on terrorism and insurgency in Southeast Asia for BenarNews, reported The Diplomat.
On April 14, attacks took place simultaneously in six places in the Narathiwat, Pattani, and Yala provinces of Southern Thailand, on the last day of Ramadan.
The attacks were the latest sign of how the conflict might expand, if not dealt with in time. While the attacks did not lead to any human causalities, they brought to a shattering end, the ceasefire agreement that the insurgent group and the Thai government had agreed for the entire Ramadan period, according to The Diplomat.
The campaign leading up to the May 14 election saw a wide range of issues discussed. The perennial issues of insurgency and separatism - and the challenges they pose to law and order - are of critical importance to the people in Southern Thailand.
This is especially true in light of the fact that since its re-igniting in 2004, the conflict in Southern Thailand has claimed more than 7,000 lives and injured an estimated 13,500 people.
As per The Diplomat, while political leaders and interlocutors often deny it, the problem has an ethnic dimension as well. The majority of Malay Muslims of Southern Thailand, Thai Buddhists, and other Thai ethnic groups rarely interact socially due to several inter-societal and inter-community differences.
Malay Muslims find it challenging to assimilate into the political and religious culture of the Thai state, and Islamic beliefs and practices diverge from the state's focus on "nation, religion (i.e. Buddhism), and king."
For the Thai authorities, the Muslim-Malay community has been somewhat impenetrable in a fragile law and order situation - a deadly mix that has worsened the conflict and held back the region's economic development. (ANI)