- - Can the Canadian model offer a solution for southern Thailand?
- - Running out of ideas in the South
- Southern militants have scant desire to negotiate
- Thailand should just accept that South is different
- Malaysian PM's visit to show up lack of deep South action
- Najib may have some answers to deep South problems
- Still a long battle ahead in the quest for peace in the South
- Too many cooks spoiling the broth
- Seeing things from a different perspective
- Peace in the South demands historical recognition
- New ideas necessary to resolve deep South crisis
- Massacre probe must provide answers
- Money goes to waste in the deep South
- A long way to go before peace is possible in the South
- Patani Malay separatists at a crossroads
- Anupong's remarks may add fuel to the fire in the South
- Military alone cannot solve problems in the deep South
- Anupong's remarks may add fuel to the fire in the South
- Let's not allow mosque attack to derail peace bid
- South policy still lacks understanding
- Hard line lingers on the deep South
- Malays strive to keep alive the spirit of the kris
- Different approach needed in the deep South
- No one wants to live under colonial rule
- When will we really understand the South?
- Abhisit right to put the South on the agenda
- Can the Democrats stand up to the Army tactics in the South
- How long can we ignore the deep South?
- No time for complacency in the South
- The South is a long way from Bangkok
- Unofficial talks may fan the flames of insurgency
- Is Chavalit fostering false hope in the deep South?
- Analysis :Ceasefire in south is just too good to be true
- Pornthip means well, but she misunderstands the south
- Army's abuses come home to roost in South
- Deep south insurgency puts strain on thai-malay relations
- In the South, the media, too, must think outside the box
- Lessons from the southern insurgency not learned
- Insurgents make it clear there is no neutral ground
- BANGKOKIAN: Odd silence on south
- Political rumblings in the deep South
- No progress in checking unrest
- Hope for the southern poor
- Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
- 'Pushing people towards the insurgents'
- Analysis :Premier has wasted opportunity in South
- Crisis in south rooted in ethnic Malay identity
- Bombs 'like those in Bangkok'
- Schools aim to rise from ashes
- Harsh realities mar peace efforts in South
- Scars of Krue Se bloodbath refuse to go away
- Off-the-wall comments, suggestions have not helped
- Anti-terror effort needs closer cooperation: Nitya
- Old separatists still dream of a free patani
- Mahathir: Talk with exiled South leaders
- Military to enforce ban on public gatherings
- Rewards dropped for the arrest of militants - South to get 3,000 more troops after violence escalates
- Pulo alleges targeted killings
- 'Talks vital to restore peace in the South'
- No end in sight to violence in south - PREMIER'S FIRST BORDER TOUR: Surayud apologises for govt's abuses in South
- Government reaches out to the South
- The long road to peace in the deep South
- Just a local affair or prelude to terrorism?
- Insurgency 'has crossed a new threshold'
- South an elusive 'spider's web' for generals
- Southeast Asia the second front of global terror?
- Sonthi makes a needed overture in the South
- Southern blasts clear way for army plans
- Soldier killed by bomb in Narathiwat
- Volunteer shot dead in South
- Force alone won't win battle with insurgents
- Six dead in series of bombings, shootings in Yala, Narathiwat
- South militants number 3,000
- Army chief 'welcome in restive South'
- Push for Sondhi to boost his role
- Bombs, bullets kill 3 on weekend
- Bombings spark a scramble for excuses
- Don't make us your scapegoat: Malaysia
- Lull ends in savage wave of 44 blasts
- Admin body urged for South
- What chance of reconciliation in the South?
- More arrests in teachers' assault case
- Troubled school gets 20 teachers
- Letter from KUCHING REUPAH
- South militancy has been years in making
- More held over brutal beating of 2 teachers
- Army 'must respond quicker'
- 3 arrests over hostage taking
- Hopelessly adrift in the stormy south
- HOSTAGE TAKING: Army's image takes beating
- Juling's vision of peace
- RESTIVE SOUTH: 100 schools to shut for a week

Shattered by horrific events

Published on April 29, 2006 - On the second anniversary of the bloody Krue Se Mosque incident, a community in Songkhla voices their disappointment and bitterness

Trying to come to terms with the tragic event two years ago today when 19 of their young men were gunned down, residents of this remote district in Songkhla province express sorrow, bitterness and disappointment over the lack of moral support at a time when they need it most.

Shattered by a chain of horrific events that ended in the death of at least 106 young men at the hands of government security forces, residents say they feel outsiders have largely disregarded the incident and that few care to understand - mostly they are just indifferent.

"District officials come by every now and then and people from the National Reconciliation Commis-sion (NRC) came to collect some information. That's all," said Udom Maepromi whose son, Maruding, was gunned down in questionable circumstances that eyewitnesses said could have been avoided.

Most of the men were believed to have been shot at close range - execution style.

The 19 young men, who formed a local soccer team for this district, were part of a network of more than 100 militants who carried out attacks against 10 police outposts across Pattani, Yala and Songkhla provinces on April 28, 2004.

For reasons still yet to be fully understood, these young men had armed themselves with not much more than knives and machetes and launched simultaneous attacks against heavily armed police. Outnumbered and outgunned, most were shot. A few escaped. At least 106 eventually died. Not wanting to see that their children had fallen in vain most, if not all, were buried as martyrs, in accordance with Islamic tradition.

Much of the spotlight on that day was focused on the historic Krue Se Mosque where 32 insurgents retreated after attacking local police outposts.

The seven hour stand-off ended when General Pallop Pinmanee, the most senior Army commander on the scene, ordered an all out assault on the mosque for fear that the militants, who were using loud speakers, would succeeded in arousing local villagers to attack the security forces.

What caused these young men to charge into a certain death remains a mystery for both local residents and state agencies. But when the dust settled, it became apparent that they went there to die. They wanted to be heard and gave up their lives willingly in pursuit of this objective.

But the pain and sorrow was clearly visibly in the faces of the relatives of the 19 yesterday. They gathered at the village cemetery to bid farewell, again, to their loved ones whom Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra had conveniently dismissed as a bunch of "drug-crazed teenagers" caught up in some fanatical teachings.

Thaksin never explained how well over 100 supposedly doped-up young men had woken before dawn, prayed, meditated, sipped holy water and smeared themselves with holy oil - all common practices in Southeast Asia's Islamic folklore - and then launched simultaneous attacks in the three provinces.

It has been a very lonely two years, said the local kamnan, Manat Wani, who yesterday organised a pot-luck raffle for the local community in order to make themselves feel as normal as possible. Life goes on, he added.

In what was another attempt at normalcy, local young men have formed a new soccer club. They, too, attended yesterday's events to commemorate the tragedy.

But two years later officials and analysts continue to debate just why these young men marched willingly to a certain death.

An organisational manual, "Ber Jihad di Patani" (The Liberation of Pattani), found on several bodies of the militants does provide some clues. The booklet was essentially to motivate the militants and called on them to rise up against the Thai state and liberate the Malay region from the "foreign occupiers".

Experts said it contained no theology - and yet some government officials went as far as calling it "the new Koran".

Paisal Rattana
The Nation
Saba Yoi

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