Kurosamo Tuwaebuesa lay on her back, widened her eyes and held one hand up, twisted in mid-air. This, she said, is how her husband’s body looked after he died in Thailand’s notorious Inkayuth military camp.
“They said it was a natural death and not from torture,” the 34-year-old mother of three told me in late February, as we sat on a mat in her house in Pattani province. It was nearly three months after soldiers said they found her husband, Abduldayib Dolah, dead in his cell. “But one hand was black, one hand was gnarled and held up in a strange way. His eyes were popped open.”
On 4 December 2015, Dolah became yet another casualty in the insurgency that has plagued Thailand’s southernmost provinces—Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Songkhla—for more than a decade. More than 6,500 people have been killed and 12,000 wounded as separatists wage a bloody battle for an autonomous Malay-Muslim state. Bombings are extremely common, and schools, hospitals and pagodas have all been targets. Since 2004, the area—which is ethnically, linguistically and religiously distinct from the rest of Thailand—has been governed by martial law.