The Straits Times
Published on Dec 03, 2012

Trauma continues to haunts Thailand's children of war and violence


PATTANI (AFP) - Mentally scarred and afraid to set foot outside his home in Thailand's deep south, Ahmad is one of thousands of children orphaned by a war largely forgotten by the rest of the world.

After years living with the menace of bombs, shootings and curfews, many youngsters in Thailand's insurgency-wrecked deep south are exhibiting high levels of stress and trauma.

"When I do go out I stay near my home... I never go far away," Ahmad, 12, said as he chewed timidly on the collar of his football shirt.

His 15-year-old sister Sunnah said their father's murder by unknown gunmen six years ago marked the end of her childhood and left the siblings - whose names AFP has changed to protect their identity - without parents following the death of their mother in an accident. They now live with an aunt.