While the deep South burns, the government fiddles. While this has arguably been true for several decades, events of the past couple of weeks have been as horrifically distressing as they have been instructive. A new and indefensible round of butchery has left many dead, and puts the lives of all ordinary people at risk. It also shows the danger of taking government eyes off the country’s most obvious and dangerous security threat.
The latest and in some ways saddest tale to emerge from the southernmost provinces began Feb 3. Several men armed with military assault rifles opened fire on five members of a family returning from Monday night prayers at a mosque in Palukasamoh village, Bacho district of Narathiwat province. The family apparently believed the target of the ambush was Jehmu Maman, 40, the father. In fact, he was not shot or pursued when he took flight. The armed men murdered the family’s three young boys — Muyahed, 11, Bahari, 9, and Eleyas, 6. Their mother, Padeelaeh, was shot in the hand, perhaps accidentally.
All signs at the killing field indicated the children were specifically targeted. Each was shot in the chest. In the days since, authorities have made no known progress in identifying the gunmen. Police immediately blamed insurgents as the likely killers. A police investigator, however, believes "a personal conflict’’ is involved. In an interview with this newspaper, Mr Jehmu said he had no idea who murdered his children.
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