Military intelligence officers say the Pattani United Liberation Organization and the New Pattani United Liberation Organization have cooperated in a series of terrorist attacks in Thailand. The Thai authorities claim that their assaults were designed to attract funding from OPEC Muslims.
Founded in 1968, the Pattani United Liberation Organization seeks to separate Thailand's predominately Muslim southern provinces from the rest of the country and to establish an Islamic state. Southern resistance to Thai rule has a long history, but PULO itself did not emerge as a leading Islamic terrorist group until the 1970s.
The Pattani United Liberation Organization has fought along side several other jihadist groups. Their Islamic assault on Thailand was quite severe in the 1970s. It began to fade in the 1980s, and was nearly gone by the mid-1990s. It has since reemerged. Starting in 2001, a plethora of bombings and shootings terrorized Thailand's southern provinces. More than 800 people were killed in the name of Allah and Islam. In July 2005, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra reserved emergency powers to help combat the rise of the Muslim menace.
PULO's most common tactics are drive-by shootings and bombings. Their attacks focus on public buildings, such as schools and police stations, and also on public officials. All schools in Pattani were closed in November, 2006 because of numerous brutal killings of Buddhist teachers.
The most serious incident of the recent revolt occurred in October of 2004, when protests broke out after six Muslim men were arrested for providing the terrorists with weapons. This current religious revival of terrorism in Thailand now includes arson and more sophisticated bombings. Coordinated attacks are increasingly common as well.
Aliases: Patani United Liberation Organization, Pattani United Liberation Organisation, Patani United Liberation Army (PULA)