Insurgency Hotbeds Increase in Thailand

February 23, 2008


Source: Fox News

Wire Service: AP,4670,ThailandUnderSiege,00.html

The tea shop is abandoned. Rubber plantations stand untended. Soldiers constantly patrol the one-lane road leading into this Muslim village.

Rae Poh was once designated a "green zone" village, one of more than 1,600 such islands of peace amid the violence that has torn Thailand's southern tip since a Muslim insurgency erupted four years ago. Then, on Jan. 14, insurgents ambushed an army patrol about a mile away, killing all eight soldiers and beheading one of them.

Now Rae Poh is a "red zone" _ one of some 320 loosely designated by the authorities as insurgent hotbeds and under virtual military siege.

Their number is up from 215 at the end of 2004, the first year of the insurgency _ a dramatic example of the failures of a government hearts-and-minds campaign to quell an uprising that has taken more than 2,900 lives.