Thailand South:Has there been an upsurge in violence in the Deep South this year?
August 17, 2012 | 9:30 am
That helps to explain why the containment of conflicts during 2009-11 was working allowing the government to claim some success. The trust has increased between the Malays and the Thai state at the time however it has not impacted on the insurgency and the state of violence there. More attacks were targeting urban areas with car combs even though they were less frequent.
As in the previous six months, there have been heavy tolls on the civilians – nearly 421 deaths. If the past is any judge, when the military was in good terms with the government in power, the soldiers are able to prevent attacks because of the better coordination on the ground among various agencies with shared intelligence.
According to the Deep South Watch’s statistics, from January 2004-July 2012 there were 11,754 attacks, killing 5,206 and wounding 9,137 persons.
BP: Kavi doesn’t cite a source for the 421 civilian deaths in 6 months (he means 6 months, right? Just ask as his phrasing of this sentence is odd) but given the citing of Deep South Watch statistics a reader may believe it is from Deep South Watch. As someone who has closely follows Deep South Watch statistics on violence in the Deep South – BP has previously blogged on DeepSouthWatch’s statistics on the violence in the Deep South in 2007 (here), 2008 (posts here and here), 2009 (here), up until September 2010 (here), and up until March 2012 (here). BP was very surprised by the mention of 421 civilian deaths in 6 months. He doesn’t specify the 6 month period although a January-June 2012 or February-July 2012 would be reasonable to assume (or given he is talking about the Yingluck government, we can even stretch this until any 6 month block between August 2011-July 2012 then).
Below are some statistics from Deep South Watch:*
Chart 1 : Deaths : January 2009 – July 2012
NOTE: A very large chart of deaths from January 2004 – July 2012 can be found here.
BP: In the year from August 2011-July 2012, there have been 502 deaths. This is 502 total deaths and not just civilian deaths. Simply, relying on Deep South Watch statistics there were not 421 civilian deaths in the previous 6 months.
So how does 502 deaths between August 2011-July 2012 compare with under the Abhisit government? Between December 2008-May 2011, there were 1248 deaths or an average of 41.6 deaths a month. Between August 2011-July 2012 of the Yingluck government, there were 41.83 deaths per month.
There is a good question of when to count the end of the Abhisit government. We could say the end of May 2011 (the month of dissolution), the end of June 2011 (last month before the election), or the end of July 2011 (last month of caretaker responsibility). If it was the end of June 2011, there would be 41.45 deaths per month. If the end of July 2011, there would be 41 deaths per month. Regardless, we are looking at 41 or 42 deaths per month whoever was in government. The difference is negligible. Some months the violence is higher, some months it is lower, but we have remained at a fairly consistent number of deaths since 2008.
Some other statistics on the Deep South:
Chart 2 : Injuries : January 2009-July 2012
NOTE: A very large chart of injuries from January 2004 – July 2012 can be found here.
In March, you had a huge increase in the number of injuries with around 350 injuries from the March 31 Hat Yai bombings and more than 100 injuries in Yala (MCOT). Hence, these two incidents explains the increase in the number of injuries. Most of the injuries were minor, ie. smoke inhalation, and vast majority went home that day. This is not to understate what happened that day, but it is a single day and on its own, it does not yet suggest a sustained increase in violence as you can see that April-July 2012, we are back to more normal levels of injuries.
Between December 2008-May 2011 under the Abhisit government, there were 2,478 injuries or an average of 82.6 injuries a month. Between August 2011-July 2012 of the Yingluck government, there were 117 injuries per month (if you exclude March 2012, there have been 78 injuries per month).
Chart 3 : Incidents : January 2009- July 2012
NOTE: A very large chart of incidents from January 2004 – July 2012 can be found here.
BP: Despite the large injury toll, incidents were not up. This just demonstrates how much deadlier attacks are now. To paraphrase something that BP read recently, it is more efficient to plant a large car bomb and cause massive damage than to undertake daily drive-bys (i.e riding up on a motorcycle and shooting another person on a motorcycle which exposes the shooter to the risk of getting caught each time).
Between December 2008-May 2011 under the Abhisit government, there were 2,391 incidents or an average of 79.7 incidents a month. Between August 2011-July 2012 of the Yingluck government, there were 77.91 incidents per month.
CONCLUSION: There has been upsurge in violence. We had the coordinated bombings in Hat Yai on March 31, 2012 which gives up a high injury count, but most of the injuries being smoke inhalation and people were check at the hospital and released the same day, but this is a single day and smoke inhalation pales in comparison to the standard gunshot victim or someone who has been injured by shrapnel.
*The January 2004-March 2012 statistics come directly by e-mail from Ajarn Srisompob of Deep South Watch. BP has then added the April, May, June, and July 2012 monthly statistics from the Deep South Watch Web site. If there are any errors in converting the statistics into charts then those are errors by BP. Please note that there are always slight discrepancies between one set of Deep South Watch statistics and another as previous months statistics get slightly adjusted (one assumes to correct previous errors) For example, in BP’s previous post, BP stated there were 547 injuries in March 2012 (this came directly from DSW by e-mail), the monthly statistics for March 2012 on the DW Web site still list 547 injuries, but this analysis (PDF) by Deep South Watch from July 2012 states there were 572 injuries.
BP should note that the above figures are not necessarily all insurgent violence. For example, in 2004 you will see large death tolls in April and October. This was not only because the insurgents were killing more people, but the state was through the Kru Se and Tak Bai incidents. In addition, it is difficult to discern between insurgent and non-insurgent violence as the insurgents do not leave calling cards. It is estimated that around 25-30 percent of the violence is non-insurgent, but the culture of impunity and violence can also be a contributing factor to an increase in non-insurgent violence so it is not as though insurgent and non-insurgent violence is unrelated.
- Thailand checks relations with neighboring Burma ~ Headlines 16 Aug , at 10:42 PM
- Senator 'accidentally' kills secretary ~ Headlines 13 Aug , at 3:26 PM
- India-Thailand highway to be ready by 2016 ~ Headlines 13 Aug , at 2:44 PM
- Bangkok - Govt willing to wait on Constitution and unity bills, Thaksin says ~ Headlines 13 Aug , at 9:17 AM