Muslim Terrorists in Thailand, increasingly effective

The number of Thai security forces, including the army, the police and full-time militiamen, has doubled here over the past two years to about 60,000 personnel, said Srisompob Jitpiromsri, a leading expert on the insurgency and the associate dean at Prince of Songkla University in Pattani.

The huge increase in security forces initially helped bring down the overall number of violent incidents as well as the death toll, which fell by 40 percent last year.But more recently analysts refer to another surge: the number of killings has risen sharply in recent months. More than 317 people have been killed so far this year, compared with 284 in the same period last year. The dead include civilians, soldiers and insurgents.

“The militants have become more efficient,” said Supaporn Panatnachee, a researcher at Deep South Watch, an organization that compiles reports of casualties from a police radio scanner and local news accounts. Since 2004, when the insurgency flared up after a period of relative dormancy, militants have learned to kill with more precision, often attacking villagers with ambushes, Ms. Supaporn said.

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