Muslims tell tall tales about Thai army atrocities
* Suckers wanted to peddle Islamo-fascist propaganda: Gavin King to the front!
It’s a time-honored technique, hallowed by successful use by Hizballah and others. So far it always worked. Why should it be different this time?
Muslim separatists in the south of Thailand want to secede from the Buddhist north and have targeted monks and other representatives of the state. But they also claim to have been victims of government atrocities.
Udom Dhamakhani, 67, lifts himself laboriously from his wooden cot, on which he has just recited his Buddhist sutras. He straightens his saffron-colored robe and peers out through his oversized reading glasses.
Unusually for a monk’s cell, the room contains a monitor showing images from four surveillance cameras: the veranda, the door of his cell, the main temple — and a bunker. The shelter is occupied by soldiers who have turned Wat Lakmnang monastery on the outskirts of the southern Thai city of Pattani into a fortress. “It’s all because of the trouble out there,” the monk grumbles.
More than 2,400 have already died “out there,” in Songkhla, Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat provinces, in an insurgency started by Muslim rebels. They want the region in southern Thailand, which is home to 1.9 million Malay-speaking Muslims, to secede from the rest of the predominantly Buddhist country.
* Curiously, this German reporter states very clearly what the goal of the ‘Insurgency’ is. Why do others seem to have such a problem nailing it?
Dhamakhani is not just the abbot of Wat Lakmnang, but also the head of all Buddhist temples in Pattani province. Because his fellow monks have reported on the radio about the atrocities being committed by the rebels, Dhamakhani is also in danger. He has already survived three rebel attacks. He would have been dead long ago without the protection of the two dozen soldiers stationed at his monastery.
A Thai soldier provides security to participants during a Buddhist festival in Thailand’s restive Pattani province in this April 2007 file photo.
It is seven in the morning, and reports of night attacks are already crackling from the walkie-talkie on his night table. Twelve schools were burned to the ground, but this time there were no casualties. For the rebels, Buddhist temples, military barracks, public buildings and minor officials, such as local mayors and teachers, are all hated symbols of the government in Bangkok.
At 10:15 a.m., an informant reports an explosion on National Route 409 near the village of Yarang, a 15-minute drive from the monastery. Dhamakhani immediately dispatches one of his reporters.
The police have sealed off the road. An armored vehicle has arrived with a soldier wearing a bulletproof vest and steel helmet in the turret, his machine gun in position. He nervously surveys the area. The rebels often place explosives in the underbrush, designed to explode when the troops arrive. There is a gaping hole in the asphalt. The explosion hurled a Toyota van with seven soldiers inside into the ditch. One soldier was beheaded and the others were injured.
Tuwnedaniya Tuwaemaengae, 24, insists that he has nothing to do with the rebels. Although he is a chemistry student in Bangkok, he says that the Islamic revolution is currently more important to him than his studies. He organized a demonstration a few weeks ago which brought the provincial capital Pattani to a standstill. Now he is taking journalists on a tour of a village where soldiers allegedly committed atrocities against Muslims.
The villagers line up along the road to greet their visitors. The region in Narathiwat province is part of the “red zone” where the rebels collect taxes from the villagers to fund their insurgency. In the house of the local imam, villagers tell the story of an army raid and the murder of two young Muslim men. They point to two fresh grave mounds as evidence. But there is not a single bullet hole in the mosque, which villagers claim came under Thai army fire for several minutes.
Kritsada Pornwiriyaongkol, 67, sits drinking a beer in front of the empty office of Pattani’s chamber of commerce. The rebels’ influence in the province has robbed of all hope of ever being able to return to his land.
He operated a crab farm for 16 years. According to Kritsada, young men from nearby villages began loitering around his farm two years ago. Whenever he walked by, they would laugh and draw their index fingers across their throats.
Kritsada, intimidated, shut down his farm, but he doesn’t want to leave the south. “Where should I go?” he asks. “This is my home. I will stay here, even if it’s just to die.”
Today’s Jihad News from Russia:
Russia: Devout Muslims Kill 4 Policemen, But Original Target was Children’s Festival
* No doubt it was all because of Israel!
A car bomb blast outside a state cultural center killed four policemen in Ingushetia’s city of Nazran in Russia’s North Caucasus region. The 2 kilo bomb, which went off at 7:15pm on August 31, was inside a Russian Lada car parked near the cultural center where a children’s festival was to be held the next day.