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DEEP SOUTH
Attacks will become deadlier, says expertProfessor predicts more coordinated raids to discredit security forces

Security forces in the deep South will face stronger, more vigorous attacks by militants, although their frequency could be lower, an academic studying trends in the insurgency predicted yesterday.

Pointing to the statistics of recent months, Assistant Professor Srisompob Jitpiromsri said the trend suggested that the insurgents would continue to show force through more coordinated, simultaneous attacks.

Officials have said these simultaneous attacks, such as the recent bombings of 22 bank branches in Yala, were aimed more at discrediting the state security apparatus than destroying targets.

An academic at the Prince of Songkhla University in Pattani, Srisompob has been monitoring the violence in the predominantly Muslim-Malay three southernmost provinces since it flared up again in January, 2004.

He said last week that the insurgency had claimed 1,730 lives and left 2,513 people injured through the end of last month. The victims include government officials, insurgents and innocent bystanders.

Srisompob’s statistics cover Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat provinces and the two Malay-speaking districts in neighbouring Songkhla province. Of the 5,460 insurgency-related incidents, only 318 took place in the two districts in Songkhla, he said.

More than 2,087 incidents were close-range, assassination-style shootings, usually with handguns. The victims were mostly security officials and suspected informants.

The population of the deep South is about 1.8 million.

The government spent more than Bt20 billion last year on measures to beef up security in the region, including setting up a force of village defence volunteers. However, these volunteers appear to be poorly trained and equipped, Srisompob said.

Officials dispatched to the region had to undergo a two-week orientation on local customs, but had no counter-insurgency training, he noted.

Taken from: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/2006/09/11/national/national_30013266.php

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Filed under: cut and paste from somewhere else, Security

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