Arson Damages 36 Buildings in Southern Muslim Region

March 19, 2004

Source: International Herald Tribune

On March 19, 2004 the International Herald Tribune ran a Reuters article that reported, "Arsonists set fire to 36 buildings, mostly deserted health clinics and police stations, in a rampage across Thailand's Muslim south that may reflect anger over a missing lawyer, government officials said Friday. No injuries were reported. Interior Minister Bhokin Balakula said the attacks were carried out overnight in the provinces of Pattani, Songkhla and Yala, where violence erupted in January when an army camp was raided and guns were stolen. More than 20 state schools were also set on fire that night, probably as a diversion for the army camp raid, in which four soldiers were killed. That led some officials to believe that separatism was erupting again in a region where a low-level independence war was fought in the 1970s and 1980s. The government, however, blames militants, drug- and arms-smuggling rings and political disputes."