A few days ago I posted a story from Thailand about the murder of a Buddhist monk. Now two more have been killed, evidently as part of a larger jihadist effort. Note that these “tensions between Buddhists and Muslims” seem to be coming from just one side. Killing policemen would be somewhat expected from a separatist group, but the targeting of monks as well sheds light on what the separatists hope to establish themselves, given the opportunity: a radical Muslim Sharia state would be most likely. This from AP, with thanks to Nancy Block and Susan:
Five people were killed in southern Thailand, including two Buddhist clergymen who were slashed as they collected food offerings, as tension between Buddhists and Muslims mounts in the region, police and news reports said yesterday.
Sectarian violence is rare anywhere in Thailand, and the murders of monks in recent days are the first such attacks in the Muslim-dominated south in several years. About 90 percent of Thailand’s 63 million people are Buddhists.
Four young men fatally slashed the head of a novice — 13-year-old Jedsak Nhusang — with knives in front of a temple in Yala province, while a monk accompanying him on the traditional morning alms rounds escaped unharmed, police captain Ranon Surawit said.
Ten minutes later, also in the provincial capital, four men fatally knifed Vichai Boonpan, a 65-year-old monk, in the neck. The men involved in the killings all approached the monks on motorcycles.
Shortly afterward, in the nearby community of Lamai, one monk was stabbed in the back and another punched twice, police lieutenant-colonel Mut Thopah said.
Thailand’s southernmost provinces have been tense since Jan. 4, when suspected Muslim separatists torched 21 government-run schools and raided an army camp in Narathiwat province, killing four soldiers and stealing hundreds of rifles.
Also yesterday morning, in Narathiwat province, two men on a motorcycle shot police sergeant-major Prasart Lahtheh, 57, as he was riding on his motorbike with his wife near their home. Prasart, an investigator, was hospitalized in stable condition, captain Sunan Sangsawat said.
In a third southern province, Pattani, three killings were reported Friday night.
Police sergeant Mayaki Waesamah, 33, also an investigator, was fatally shot in the head while at work, said a police officer who requested anonymity. Local television iTV reported that two villagers were slashed to death in their homes.
Mut said no suspects had been arrested in the attacks on the monks.