Raid on a School in Narathiwat
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Raid on a School in Narathiwat

Yesterday, the security forces raided an Saengtham Islam Wittaya School  (แสงธรรมอิสลามวิทยา) in Bacho District in Narathiwat and detained a number of teachers. The Bangkok Post has the reasons behind the raid:
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The raid came two days after a group of suspected Muslim insurgents opened fire on the motorcade of a high-ranking civil servant in the area. No one was wounded or killed.
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…The search was launched after Narathiwat police chief Pol Col Somphong Chingduang received an intelligence report that an insurgent group will plant bombs in three motorcycles and cars and launch attacks in crowded areas in the province during the visit of Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban and ambassadors from 18 countries.
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Mr Suthep, Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya, army chief Anupong Paojinda and ambassadors on a fact-finding tour observed the launch of the development plan for the special area comprising the five southern border.
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BP: This doesn’t suggest that there was a planned attack on the visiting delegation. More likely they would have gone after a soft target nearby to get their point across.
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The Bangkok Post’s story says 60 Islamic teachers were detained, but oddly Matichon and ASTV Manager also report on the story although it as if they are reporting on a different raid (well they surely didn’t raid the school twice on the same day?)
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Both Matichon and ASTV Manager have very similar reports stating that 2:30pm around 500 members of the security forces searched the school with the GT200 device. They found trace elements [of bomb residue?] on 49 persons including 48 students and 1 teacher, who was 20 years old. They obtained details from the 48 students and let them go, but detained the teacher. Dr Pornthip (yes, that Dr Pornthip), who participated in the raid, stated that in addition to finding clothing of the Islamic teacher, who was from Cambodia, with trace elements, they also found 1  book on suicide bombing in Thai. She wouldn’t disclose any other details.
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There are a couple of issues here. First, well the reports differ on how many people were detained. BP was going to point out on the large increase of people being detained or arrested as Matichon Weekly (Edition 1521, page 8) notes from the below chart on the number of people detained under security laws:
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Provincial Prison
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May 2007
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May 2008
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Sep 2008
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Aug 2009
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Narathiwat
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55
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172
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184
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202
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Yala
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50
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114
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130
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143
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Pattani
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39
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85
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74
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83
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Songkhla
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50
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50
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40
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120
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TOTAL
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194
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421
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428
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548
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Second, normally, we don’t hear too much about such books although a few years ago there was BERJIHAD DI PATTANI (Holy Struggle for Pattani). The lack of suicide bombing is something that has distinguished the violence in the Deep South with elsewhere in the world. This is relevant as preventing a suicide bombing is much more difficult than stopping someone who wants to plant a bomb then escape.
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Third, a Cambodian?
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Fourth, the use of the GT-200 device which detects bomb residue and/or other material used in explosive devices has come under suspicion recently on the accuracy of such a device particularly as it may produce a number of false positives (ie indicate the presence of a bomb or bomb residue) and vice versa – see the Bangkok Post here and here. There are a number of other sites which have criticized the reliability of such devices although BP is not enough of a technical expert to know the reliability of criticism so venture on your own and keep an open mind.