Muslim Insurgents Confound Military In Thailand

August 31, 2009

Author: Thomas Fuller

Source: The New York Times

The Thai soldiers patrolling this hamlet racked by insurgent violence measure their progress modestly: two years ago, villagers closed their shutters and refused to greet them. Now most residents peer out of their wood-frame houses and offer strained smiles.

“The local people have started to open their hearts,” said Capt. Niran Chaisalih, the leader of a government paramilitary force garrisoned at the village school.

Paka Lue Song, only a 15-minute drive from the provincial capital of Pattani, is ground zero for Thailand’s “surge” of troops into its troubled southern provinces, where ethnic Malay Muslims are battling for autonomy from Thailand’s Buddhist majority.