NEW YORK - Thai separatists and militants have killed at least 2,196 civilians in their fight against government troops since 2004, a human rights group claimed Tuesday.
A 104-page report by Human Rights Watch in New York said militants are intentionally targeting Buddhist and Muslim civilians in shootings, bombings and machete attacks.
The group said by comparison, there were more than 3,000 attacks on civilians from January 2004 to July 2007, during which time there were some 500 attacks targeting various military units and a similar number of attacks targeting police.
The civilian death toll represented 89 percent of the separatist-related 2,463 deaths, the report said.
“Violence against civilians is being used by separatist militants to scare Buddhist Thais away from these provinces, keep ethnic Malay Muslims under control, and discredit the Thai authorities,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “But it is illegal and morally indefensible to deliberately target civilians in any circumstances.”
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