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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 May 2004, 00:11 GMT 01:11 UK
Eyewitness: Thai violence aftermath
Muslims walk near Krue Se mosque in Pattani
Krue Se mosque has now become a tourist attraction
Last month more than 100 suspected Islamic militants were killed in clashes with security forces in southern Thailand. Thai journalist Supattra Vimonsuknopparat reports from the area.

The empty field in front of the Krue Se mosque, where more than 30 people were killed, is now a market, selling photographs of the attack and T-shirts with pictures of the site.

Cars were lined up along the road as tourists queued to visit the scene of one of the worst clashes in the 28 April violence.

Kolee came with his wife and sons from the neighbouring province of Yala.

"We never came here before, even though we live in Yala, just one hour from Pattani. After we heard the news we decided to visit," he said.

People from my village do not think the problem will go quietly. We feel something bad will happen again
Rommalee, Pattani province

"Nobody wanted this thing to happen, but there is nothing we can do now."

Others touring the mosque were angrier. Crowds pointed to the damage on the walls and floor, from the grenades and automatic weapons used in the shoot-out between the youths and security personnel.

Derashid Cih, one of the locals who gathered at the site within hours of the attack, said: "This mosque is ancient and well-known, not only for local people but also for people everywhere.

"People are very upset that the mosque was shot, and it will take long time for them to feel better," he said.

Forty-year-old Soe was also there that day. He said he heard gunshots even after security officials had stormed the mosque, prompting speculation that some of the men holed up inside were executed rather than killed during the fighting.

He said he felt immense sympathy for the relatives of those who lost their lives.

Football team mourned

THAI VIOLENCE
Yala: At least five police posts attacked
Songkhla: Security base targeted
Pattani: Shoot-out between police and gunmen trapped in mosque

Pattani was not the only province affected by the violence.

The suspected militants also launched a wave of attacks on security posts in Yala and Songkhla.

The village of Baan Susoh in Songkhla province seems quiet in the aftermath of the attacks.

Locals are still unwilling to speak much about the 19 members of a local football team who died during the violence.

Aryi Jaenoh, who lost his 19-year-old son Mohammad, was prepared to talk.

He said he thought his son had been told lies by bad people from outside the village.

"My son was very quiet and did not talk to me much. If I had known about it I would not have let him go and do bad things," Mr Jaenoh said.

"A few weeks before this happened he told me he wanted to go to Hat Yai to study to be a policeman, because he wanted to help the country," he said.

Mr Jaenoh said that when he went to pick up the body from Saba Yoi police post, his son's face was beautiful, even though he had been shot in the back of the head.

As Mr Jaenoh spoke, people in the tea-shop where we were talking looked up at him with sad eyes.

"All relatives and people here are hurt and grieving," he continued, his voice shaking.

Thai security forces man a checkpoint near Narathiwat, Thailand
Security is still tight in many areas of southern Thailand
"Many of the men were shot in the head. We want to see justice. I am very angry with the police because it would have been easy for them to just arrest my son."

Mr Jaenoh is now worried about the future of his other son, who is 15 years old.

"I told him to look at his brother's death as a lesson, and not do as his brother did," he said.

Solohin, a 21-year-old who lost one of his oldest school friends in the attacks, said his parents were also worried about him.

"They are very afraid now. They told me to stay away from [militancy]," he said.

"Me and my friends are afraid of going out of the village when it is dark. We feel there is no freedom."

In many areas of the south, soldiers and police are still on alert, and there are check-points into some towns and villages.

Even monks gathering to collect alms are guarded by police or plainclothes soldiers.

Residents seem paranoid and worried.

"Local people are afraid to make any strong comments about the government, as they do not want to be in trouble," said Rommalee, a Muslim from Pattani province.

"People from my village do not think the problem will go quietly. We feel something bad will happen again."




SEE ALSO
Bangkok to probe mosque clash
04 May 04 |  Asia-Pacific
Thailand boosts security in south
03 May 04 |  Asia-Pacific
UN demands Thai clashes inquiry
30 Apr 04 |  Asia-Pacific
Who was behind the Thai attacks?
30 Apr 04 |  Asia-Pacific
Profile: Thaksin Shinawatra
28 Apr 04 |  Asia-Pacific

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