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South state of emergency stays

THAILAND: The Government on Tuesday extended a state of emergency across the restive Muslim-majority deep south, an official said, amid ongoing near-daily attacks in the insurgency-prone region.

Thursday 15 September 2011, 03:36PM

Emergency rule, which was first introduced in 2005 and covers most of the three southernmost provinces, was renewed for another three months by Cabinet, Deputy Government Spokesman Anusorn Eiamsa-ard said.

Ministers were told during a meeting that the situation in the region was improving, he said, but added the Government needed more time to assess the situation.

Around 4,800 people have been killed since rebels launched an uprising in early 2004, according to the latest figures from Deep South Watch, an independent research group that monitors the conflict in the region.

QSI International School Phuket

Rights groups say the militants are rebelling against a long history of perceived discrimination against ethnic Malay Muslims in the deep south by authorities in the Buddhist-majority nation, including alleged abuses by the Army.

However the militants keep a low profile and have not publicly stated their goals.

The Government, which came to power last month, proposed some degree of autonomy for the region during campaigning for the country’s July election, but no further policy has been announced. – AFP



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