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Security forces kill two suspected insurgents in Thailand’s south

Maya Taylor

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Security forces kill two suspected insurgents in Thailand’s south | The Thaiger

Two men suspected of being Islamic insurgents have been shot dead by security forces in Pattani, southern Thailand. The two militants were believed to be members of the National Revolutionary Front,

Thai PBS World reports that officials received a tip-off that the men were hiding out at a property in Khlong Tan Yong. The house was surrounded by the military and police, with local religious leaders assisting to persuade the men to give themselves up.

It’s understood the house remained surrounded for three hours but both men refused to surrender, instead shooting at security forces.

Officials returned fire, with the exchange of gunfire continuing until they entered the property and found both men dead and in possession of two handguns. The men’s fingerprints have been taken and are being processed in order to identify them and determine if they’ve been involved in any other violent incidents.

Speaking to the media, the owner of the house claimed both men had asked for permission to remain there overnight. She claims she cooperated as she feared they would harm her family if she didn’t help.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Thailand

Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military

Maya Taylor

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Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook

Facebook has confirmed the removal of 185 accounts run by the Thai military and allegedly involved in information-influencing. The social media giant says the accounts were deleted for engaging in what it calls, “coordinated inauthentic behaviour”. In total, 77 accounts, 72 pages, and 18 groups have been removed from the platform, in addition to 18 Instagram accounts. It’s the first time Facebook has taken such action against accounts linked to the Thai government.

The accounts were associated with the Thai military and were targeting people in the southern provinces, Facebook said its regular report on coordinated inauthentic behavior. The south of the country has been the scene of decades-long conflict, with insurgent groups in the majority-Muslim, Malay-speaking region calling for independence. To date, around 7,000 people have died in the ongoing struggle.

Facebook says the deleted accounts were most active last year and used both fake and real accounts to manage pages and groups, both openly military pages and pages that hid their links to the military. Some of the fake profiles pretended to be people from the southern provinces.

The report mentioned a post by the now-removed account named “comprehending the operation” in Thai. The page posted the logo for Amnesty International Thailand and wrote “The NGO never cares about ordinary citizens because they have no role in society. Normal people are not famous. Any case is not big news. They are not worth the investment of foreigners so they will not do anything to help. This is why we don’t see anything from the NGO.”

Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military | News by The Thaiger

Image overlay translates to “The NGO never cares about ordinary citizens because they have no role nor money.”

On another now-removed account, named “truth about my home Pattani” in Thai, a post said “Muslim leader declares southern border is a peace zone. The southern separatists started a movement by spreading the idea that Thailand is under control by different believers so that people would come and fight for their religion. This was declared that the action clearly violates Islam faith.”

Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military | News by The Thaiger

Image overlay translates to “Southern border is not Jihad zone.”

When contacted by Reuters, the military had no comment on the removal of the Facebook accounts, with a spokesman saying the organisation does not comment outside of official press conferences.

The head of Cybersecurity Policy at Facebook, Nathaniel Gleicher, has confirmed the reasons behind the platform’s decision.

“This is the first time that we’ve attributed one of our takedowns to links to the Thai military. We found clear links between this operation and the Internal Security Operations Command. We can see that all of these accounts and groups are tied together as part of this operation.”

He adds that the accounts had spent around US$350 on advertising on both Facebook and Instagram. One or more of the pages had about 700,000 followers and at least one of the groups had 100,000 members. Gleicher says the accounts were removed because of their misleading behaviour and not because of the content being posted. The content included support for the military and the monarchy, with allegations of violence and criticism of insurgent groups in the south.

It’s not the first time accounts linked to the Thai military have been removed by a social media platform. In October, Twitter removed 926 accounts it says had links to the army and posted pro-military and pro-government content. The Thai army has denied any involvement with the accounts in question. In November, Twitter also suspended an account posting pro-monarchy content that was found to have links to the palace and to thousands of other accounts posting similar content.

To read the February 2021 Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior Report, click HERE.

SOURCES: Reuters| Facebook

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Insurgency

Surge of violence over the weekend in Thailand’s deep south

Caitlin Ashworth

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Surge of violence over the weekend in Thailand’s deep south | The Thaiger
FILE PHOTO

Multiple shootings and attacks on rangers and police officers were reported over the weekend in Narathiwat, a province in Thailand’s deep south bordering Malaysia that has been plagued with violence for years due to the religious separatist insurgency. In one recent report, the Bangkok Post said the attacks are part of a “fresh wave of southern violence.”

Last night, a gunman fired shots at the Bacho police station. No officers were injured. Bullets from the gun hit a power pole, signboard and a parked car outside the station. Officers investigating the scene found round 20 spent cartridges of M16 and 9mm ammunition by a nearby home.

The Bacho police chief Dulyaman Yaena suspects the shooting is related to an incident from over the weekend where a grenade exploded at a police residence in the Rueso district. The explosion damaged 3 vehicles. No one was injured.

In another incident over the weekend, 2 rangers were injured in a bomb explosion while riding in a pickup truck in the Rangae district. Rangers called to the scene to investigate found pieces of an improvised explosive device, or IED, made from a 25 kilogram gas cylinder. The rangers were sent to Rangae Hospital.

A police checkpoint between Narathiwat and Pattani was ambushed on Saturday. Assailants fired 20 shots at police. No one was injured.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Insurgency

5 police officers injured in suspected insurgent bomb explosion

Caitlin Ashworth

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5 police officers injured in suspected insurgent bomb explosion | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nation Thailand

5 police officers were injured in a bomb explosion in Narathiwat, a predominantly Muslim province bordering Malaysia that has been plagued with violence related to the religious separatist insurgency.

Officers were on their way to investigate a fire at a cell tower in the Si Sakhon district when a bomb planted under the road exploded, injuring 5 officers and damaging their pickup truck. The officers were sent to the Si Sakhon Hospital and are now in stable condition.

The Explosive Ordnance Disposal team investigated the site. They say the bomb was planted under the road and wired to a 25 kilogram liquefied petroleum gas cylinder. Narathiwat deputy police chief Suthon Sukwiset says he suspects the bomb was ignited using a radio signal.

“The bombing could be a coordinated attack on officials planned by an unknown group of insurgents… Earlier that morning, an unknown suspect had set fire to a cell tower using motorcycle’s tyres as fuel, probably in an attempt to lure officials into the bomb trap.”

Threats were made to Buddhists and soldiers in the area and 2 cell phone towers for True and Dtac were set on fire before the explosion yesterday morning. A cloth banner was hung from a bridge in the Si Sakhon district which read “Buddhist Thais are not allowed to hunt in this area for Muslims to make their living.” In another threat, “Soldiers get out” was spray painted on the road between Si Sakhon and Chanae districts.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand | Bangkok Post

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