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Thailand’s south in mourning after insurgent attack killed 15 in Yala

Maya Taylor



Thailand’s south in mourning after insurgent attack killed 15 in Yala | The Thaiger
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Thailand’s south is grappling with grief after 15 people died in an insurgent attack in the southern province of Yala on Tuesday night. Those who died were mostly defence volunteers, manning a security checkpoint in Yala – sitting ducks for the much-better organised and resourced southern insurgents.

The south, accustomed to attacks from militant groups for nearly two decades, has been left reeling from this latest brutal atrocity. It’s the third violent crime to take place in that particular village. The first took place in 2004, when a man had his throat slashed and the second was just three months ago, when the army was targeted in a bomb attack. This latest assault however, is unprecedented.

The attack has also been hardly reported in overseas media as the crisis in Thailand’s deep south appears to attract little attention from the world media.

The men stationed at these checkpoints are seen as easy targets as they have no choice but to remain and carry out their job, under-resourced and out-gunned. Now the 4th Army Chief, Lt Gen Phonsak Phunsawat is calling for security to be improved to protect these volunteers.

On Tuesday night, the checkpoint in Yala was sprayed with bullets around 11.30pm, as well as having grenades and spikes launched at it. Up to 60 people are believed to have been involved in the attack.

Lt Gen Phonsak says those behind the planning of the attack are being protected, accusing surrounding villages of helping to protect their identity. He claims there are 118 villages listed as places that are potentially providing assistance to the insurgents.

“They the insurgent attackers appear to vanish into thin air immediately after they carry out an attack. And that’s because they have hideouts right in the villages.”

One of the volunteers killed was Samsami Sama.

The Bangkok Post reports that his 40 year old widow Sarinya Chaiya recalls hearing gun shots that night and prayed that her husband was okay. A few hours later, the chief of the village came to inform her that he had been killed.

Sarinya now has to raise their 3 year old daughter alone and wonders if she should leave the violence-stricken region she has lived since marrying her husband a decade ago, to return to her hometown in Phayao, northern Thailand.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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A seasoned writer, with a degree in Creative Writing. Over ten years' experience in producing blog and magazine articles, news reports and website content.

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Roadside ambush in Pattani kills 1 and injures another




Roadside ambush in Pattani kills 1 and injures another | The Thaiger

Last night southern police reported that at 7pm a paramilitary ranger was shot dead and another injured in a roadside ambush in Sai Buri district in the Pattani province. There has been an unofficial ceasefire between the insurgent factions and government soldiers and rangers, during April and the height of the Covid-19 crisis, but that now seems to be over.

An initial investigation revealed that 2 men from the 44th Ranger Regiment – 31 year old Sitthichai Pakdiphan and 28 year old Pongchai Pongthong – were travelling on a motorcycle after going through a health screening checkpoint to buy food at a nearby village.

Roadside ambush in Pattani kills 1 and injures another | News by The Thaiger

As they neared a bridge, a group of men on the roadside opened fire at them. Sitthichai was hit in the head and the back. He died on the spot. Pongchai was shot in the right arm.

Due to the lack of information about the incident authorities have set a 500 metre premier around the crime scene for further investigation

SOURCE: Bangkok Post / Thai Rath

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First month in 16 years with no insurgency attacks in Thailand

Jack Burton



First month in 16 years with no insurgency attacks in Thailand | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nikkei Asian Review

Last month was the first in 16 years in which there were no insurgent attacks on Thai forces or civilians, either in Thailand’s restive Deep South or elsewhere. The country’s three Muslim-majority southernmost provinces of Yala, Pattani, and Narathiwat, all around Malaysia’s northern border, have been embroiled in a bloody separatist insurgency for the best part of two decades.

More than 7,000 people have been killed by violence and many more injured in fighting, which has often seen civilians targetted.

But the coronavirusoutbreak has prompted an ad-hoc ceasefire between the Thai government forces and the mainly ethnic Malay separatists. The main militant group operating in the area, Barisan Revolusi Nasional, released a statement Friday saying that the “cessation of all activities” is “to provide humanitarian access to all parties to respond to the Covid-19 epidemic.”

The group says that the ceasefire was to remain as long as the BRN was not attacked by the Thai government, according to documents shared by Human Rights Watch. (NOTE: 3 suspected insurgents were killed in a firefight with Thai forces on Thursday after a raid on their house in Pattani. All three were wanted criminals.)

The BRN also criticised the Thai government for continuing house searches, arbitrary arrests and DNA collection.

“We call upon the Royal Thai Government to reciprocate and prioritise Covid-19 prevention over war at this time.”

First month in 16 years with no insurgency attacks in Thailand | News by The Thaiger

Peace talks between the BRN and the Thai Government have made slow progress in recent months but have been derailed by the coronavirus outbreak. In March, the two sides met in Kuala Lumpur for face-to-face meetings, 6 years after the BRN’s last dialogue with the Thai government. The talks were described as “constructive” and focused on reducing levels of violence.

Unfortunately, the outbreak of Covid-19 in Thailand has meant the government placing its priorities elsewhere, as lockdown measures were enacted to curtail the virus’ spread.

Sources within the Thai army tell the Thai Enquirer that right now the army and the Ministry of Public Health are focused on containing the virus in the South, which is the site of the largest outbreak outside of Bangkok.

“The insurgency and peace talks can wait until after we have this under control.”

SOURCE: Thai Enquirer

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3 suspected insurgents killed in Pattani

Jack Burton



3 suspected insurgents killed in Pattani | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Police visit a colleague who was injured in a shootout with suspected insurgents as he receives treatment at a hospital in Pattani - Benar News

Authorities shot and killed 3 suspected insurgents on Thursday in Pattani province in Thailand’s deep South, long the home of a bloody separatist insurgency. Security forces believe the men were planning to mount an attack during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

The shootings are the first act of violence since Malaysia’s Barisan Revolusi Nasional, or National Revolutionary Front rebels declared in early April they were was ceasing “all activities” on humanitarian grounds because of the Covid-19 pandemic. But the group warned it would resume operations if Thai government forces attacked its fighters.

Piyapong Wongchan, Pattani’s chief of police, says the raid took place before dusk a village in Nong Chik district, as residents of Thailand’s mainly Muslim Deep South were preparing to break their fast at the end of the seventh day of the holy month.

“Prior to the shootout, we received intelligence that a group of insurgents took a break in the area [before] they planned to exploit Ramadan to launch an attack. This morning informants found suspicious strangers hiding in an unregistered house.”

The raid turned violent as joint security forces surrounded a house in Pakaruesong village.

“As officials were circling the house and calling them out, the perpetrators opened fire.”

Piyapong says the 3 men in the house were killed and one police officer was injured in the shootout. He says arrest warrants had already been posted for all 3 men for their alleged involvement in other crimes.

Investigators say one of the men, Yusof Mometoh, participated in an August 2016 bombing in southern Thailand outside of the Deep South, one of several bombings over two days that killed four and injured more than 30 people. Most of the attacks targetted southern tourist hotspots including Phuket and Hua Hin.

Matamesee Sa-e, the second slain suspect, has been charged with looting a gold shop last year, and the third, Abdul Yasi Pakya, has been charged for his role in the bombing of a Big C superstore in Pattani in 2017. BenarNews could not contact their survivors on Thursday.

An army spokesman say authorities have been put on alert to safeguard the region from possible bombings.

“Though Ramadan is a holy month for doing good deeds, we found perpetrators who were trying to mount attacks.”

More than 7,000 people have died in the Deep South since the insurgency reignited in January 2004. The region encompasses the Malay-speaking provinces of Pattani, Narathiwat and Yala, as well as four districts in neighboring Songkhla.

In a YouTube posting on Thursday, a BRN spokesman blamed the government for taking advantage of the Covid-19 shutdown across the region to launch the raid.

“The BRN condemns the Thai government for this inhumanity and we hope that all people are looking forward to managing their villages against the outbreaks and the abusive regime.”

SOURCES: Chiang Rai Times | BenarNews

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