SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: August 04, 2019

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Fatoni University

Region & Country:Southeastern Asia | Thailand

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On August 4, 2019, suspected militants detonated a bomb near the entrance of Fatoni University, a private Islamic university in Pattani province, causing damage to campus property.

The attack was reportedly carried out at roughly 12:45 AM. According to alleged video evidence, as many as ten men tied up a security guard stationed by the entrance before detonating an explosive device they rigged to an ATM. Within hours, two similar attacks were carried out in Pattani province, also at Islamic schools. No injuries were reported and authorities have not publicly identified the perpetrators as of this report.

Media sources suggest that the attacks were part of a string of apparently politically-motivated bombings that occurred in various locations in Thailand, including in Bangkok, around the summit of the Association of Southeast Nations (ASEAN). For years, violent attacks linked to separatist movements in southern Thailand have targeted schools and other symbols of the Thai government.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about a violent, targeted attack on a higher education institution. In addition to the potential for loss of life and injuries, such attacks target the core values of higher education, including academic freedom, institutional autonomy, and the free exchange of ideas. State authorities have a responsibility to safeguard these values by taking all reasonable steps to ensure the security of higher education communities and their members, including a responsibility to deter future attacks by investigating incidents and making every effort to hold perpetrators accountable, consistent with internationally recognized standards.