Suspected insurgents ignite fires in southern Thailand

Photo courtesy of Bangkok Post

Suspected insurgents ignited fires overnight at various locations in Pattani, Yala, and Narathiwat in southern Thailand, according to police reports.

In Pattani, four separate convenience stores located in Mueang, Yaring, Yarang, and Khok Pho districts experienced arson. Additionally, car tyres were set on fire at three sites, two in Khok Pho and another in Panare.

Pattani’s Mueang district police chief, Police Colonel Jeffrey Saimankun, led his officers to investigate a 7-Eleven store in the Puyud subdistrict following reports of an arson attack around 1am. It took firefighters about an hour to extinguish the fire.

Store employees recounted to the police how three armed men stormed the store, fired gunshots into the sky, and threatened to kill them unless they vacated the premises. Fearing for their lives, the staff fled, and the gunmen proceeded to douse the counter with petrol and set it ablaze before making their escape on a motorcycle. Three cartridges and a bullet were retrieved from the scene by the authorities.

Shortly after, an unspecified number of perpetrators carried out arson attacks at other sites in Pattani, including a convenience store in Tambon Bang Poo of Yaring, another store in Makrud subdistrict of Khok Pho and car tyres on Na Pradu-Sai Khao Road and another road between Sai Buri and Panare.

To prevent further attacks, combined teams of police, soldiers, and local officials established road checkpoints in several areas to inspect suspected vehicles. An insider reported that insurgents wreaked havoc in multiple locations across 12 districts of the three southern border provinces.

Yala province

In Yala province, seven locations were targeted for arson. A furniture shop in the Bannang Sata district, a power pole in the Raman district, and a telephone signal pole in the Yaha district were set alight early morning. Car tyres were burned, and metal spikes were scattered over several roads. Meanwhile, in Narathiwat, car tyres were set ablaze in the Bacho district.

According to Pol. Col. Ekwarit Chobchuphon, spokesperson for the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) Region 4 Forward Command, more than 30 locations across Narathiwat, Pattani, and Yala have been subjected to the insurgents’ havoc.

One fatality was reported at a newly established petrol station in Pattani, identified as a Myanmar woman working at a convenience store within the petrol station’s compound in Pattani’s Mayo district, reported Bangkok Post.

The spokesperson indicated that the authorities believe these attacks aimed to incite unrest as a commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Tak Bai tragedy, which aligns with the 11 cycles of the Islamic calendar during Ramadan. The insurgents’ intention was reportedly to destabilise the local economy, erode public confidence in security forces, and disrupt the holy month of Ramadan, observed from March 11 to April 9 this year.

Crime NewsSouth Thailand NewsThailand News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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