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Violence in southern Thailand

Updated: Thu, 8 Aug 2013

Introduction

Muslim separatists seeking autonomy in Thailand’s south have stepped up their attacks since early 2004, killing thousands and injuring many more, but military operations and peace moves have so far failed to end the violence.

The militants claim Bangkok discriminates against Thailand's Muslim ethnic Malay minority, which is concentrated in the south.

The separatist struggle began in the late 1960s but eased with political and economic reforms in the 1980s.

When violence flared again in 2004, the government of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra responded with force, imposing an emergency decree to boost its powers in the region and cracking down hard on suspected insurgents.

Thaksin was ousted in a coup in 2006 led by Thailand's first Muslim army chief, initially raising hopes that tensions in the south would ease. But a peace drive by the army-appointed government met with little response.

A breakthrough in peace talks came in February 2013 when the government, led by Thaksin's younger sister Yingluck, signed a peace deal with one of the rebel groups. It was the first time the government had given any of the groups formal recognition. However, the deal has not brought an end to the violence.

Muslim separatists seeking autonomy in Thailand’s south have stepped up their attacks since early 2004, killing thousands and injuring many more, but military operations and peace moves have so far failed to end the violence.

The militants claim Bangkok discriminates against Thailand's Muslim ethnic Malay minority, which is concentrated in the south.

The separatist struggle began in the late 1960s but eased with political and economic reforms in the 1980s.

When violence flared again in 2004, the government of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra responded with force, imposing an emergency decree to boost its powers in the region and cracking down hard on suspected insurgents.

Thaksin was ousted in a coup in 2006 led by Thailand's first Muslim army chief, initially raising hopes that tensions in the south would ease. But a peace drive by the army-appointed government met with little response.

A breakthrough in peace talks came in February 2013 when the government, led by Thaksin's younger sister Yingluck, signed a peace deal with one of the rebel groups. It was the first time the government had given any of the groups formal recognition. However, the deal has not brought an end to the violence.