Thailand Islamists Continue Their Attacks Following COVID-19 Ceasefire

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Thailand Islamists Continue Their Attacks Following COVID-19 Ceasefire

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In recent days, Thai Islamists appear to have gotten an impetus and have ramped up their attacks.

On July 15th, ten people were injured in the explosion of a roadside IED.

It was activated when Thai soldiers drove past it on motorbikes.

Four civilians were injured, including two children.

The targeted soldiers were from the 42nd Ranger Task Force patrolling in the village of Bang Maruad.

Another IED also exploded earlier in the area of Mei Lan. The target of the attack was, once again, the Thai Armed Forces, who were accompanying school teachers on their way to work.

One soldier was killed in the explosion.

Based on the fact that both explosions took place in the southern province of Pattani, the National Revolutionary Front (Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN)) group, which operates in this part of the country, was accused of terrorist attacks.

Earlier this year, the militants began peace talks with the Thai government. The negotiations were interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

On April 3rd, the Islamists announced a temporary ceasefire as a result of the pandemic.

However, it is believed that the recent attacks are intended to remind the authorities of the existence of a threat from the BRN and to obtain more favorable positions before the resumption of negotiations. It is expected for negotiations to resume in August.

The Lowy Institute analyzed the temporary ceasefire announcement and said that it wasn’t all it was chalked up to be.

“In its 3 April announcement, BRN was careful to avoid using the terms “ceasefire” or “cessation of hostilities”. In their press release following the January talks with Thai authorities, BRN used the terms “Patani,” (referring to the territory of the former Sultanate of Patani, which lost its independence when the Thais annexed it in 1902), “armed conflict” and “political resolution.””

Bangkok, which wants to avoid losing what it has come to regard as its inalienable territory, uses terms such as “the southern border provinces” rather than “Patani”, and “peaceful solutions” instead of “political resolution”.

There was little activity since April 3rd, both from Thai Security Forces and BRN, but it appears that it was, in fact, really only a temporary measure and attacks are ramping up.

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