07 July 2016
Growing discontent in Southern Thailand has led to a significant increase in the number of attacks in the region, a surge in radical online activity as well as the revival of militant groups that are thought to be defunct or dormant. These trends portend more unrest in the coming months and render the region vulnerable to exploitation by groups like ISIL/ISIS.
On the evening of 26 June 2016, a powerful car bomb exploded along a busy street at Sungai Golok (near the Thai-Malaysia border) killing four people, three of whom were Malaysians. This explosion came in the wake of an upsurge of violence in South Thailand since March 2016. Several days earlier, insurgents detonated two floating bombs near a wharf in Pattani; this new form of attack is believed to be a trial run for such devices. Throughout the month, there were three major bomb attacks that killed 12 people, among them several soldiers.
Southern Thai insurgents have also been very active on social media domains as reported in an earlier Commentary. (See Vikram Rajakumar “Insurgency in Southern Thailand: What Does ISIL’s Black Flag of Pattani Portend?”) (08 April 2016). Social media platforms have become a new front for the insurgents to win recruits and rally support for their militant campaign for autonomy. Their online propaganda efforts have clearly resonated in the real world as seen in the attacks targeted at government and security personnel and institutions.
… Vikram Rajakumar is a Senior Analyst at the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research (ICPVTR) at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
ICPVTR / Online
Last updated on 11/07/2016