Terrorism is not always as ‘in your face’ as we sometimes think. Campaigns of violence, often mislabeled as the work of ‘insurgents’ or ‘militants’ can go on for years and even decades with little reverberation in the news, especially if the killing occurs in a faraway land or part of a country well off the beaten path.
One good example of such a paroxysm of terrorism is what has been unfolding in the southern Philippines since at least the early 1990s if not earlier. Groups like Abu Sayyaf have been quite active since that time and seem to survive periodic government efforts to eradicate them.
Another such example is the feature attack for today. One year ago an assistant village head was killed in a drive-by shooting in the southern Thai province of Pattani. The probable assailant(s) were Muslim terrorists, part of a history of attacks dating back many years: since 2004, more than 6,500 people have been killed.
The dispute is tied to the fact that Pattani is one of three southern provinces along Thailand’s border with Malaysia (the other two are Yala and Narathiwat) that are predominantly Muslim in a Buddhist nation. Rather than deal with real socioeconomic issues the central government has opted for the military solution with little effect. The violence shows no signs of ebbing.
And yet had you heard of it? Did it cross your mind when you booked your latest trip to Thailand? Probably not I’d wager. Out of sight out of mind, in other words. For more on this conflict check out my third book The Lesser Jihads.
For the record, also on this day the following terrorist attacks took place:
- 2008: three people were killed and 23 injured by a bomb blast in a market in South Delhi, India;
- 2011: an anarchist group claimed an arson attack at a Walmart in Buenavista, México City;
- 2016: unknown persons set fire to a refugee home in the German town of Erbach, injuring five
- 2016: Two Afghan soldiers with suspected Taliban links killed at least 12 of their comrades as they slept in the northern province of Kunduz; and
- 2017: Two Cameroonian soldiers were killed when a convoy of civilian vehicles hit landmines in northeast Nigeria.