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

Maya Taylor

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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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Insurgency

Pattani villager shot and killed while walking home

Caitlin Ashworth

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Pattani villager shot and killed while walking home | The Thaiger
PHOTO: MGR Online

A 26 year old villager was shot and killed while walking along a street to his home in Pattani’s Sai Buri district, an area plagued with violence related to the religious separatist insurgency in Thailand’s “deep south.” Police say the man’s body was found lying on the road, but did not give any additional details about the case.

The Thai Cabinet recently extended the State of Emergency order in Pattani along Yala and Narathiwat, provinces that both border Malaysia, for another 3 months. Not to be confused with the Emergency Decree imposed by the prime minister to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic, the order in the South allows officials to track down and arrest insurgents, according to government deputy spokesperson Ratchada Thanadirek.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Insurgency

Southern insurgency State of Emergency order extended another 3 months

Caitlin Ashworth

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Southern insurgency State of Emergency order extended another 3 months | The Thaiger
FILE PHOTO

With ongoing violence related to the religious separatist insurgency in the South, the State of Emergency in the Southern provinces Narathiwat, Yala and Pattani has been extended by the Cabinet for another 3 months, from December 20 to March 19.

While the ethnic and religious conflict dates back to 1948, the 3 provinces bordering Malaysia have been plagued with violence since the early 2000s with drug cartels, oil smuggling networks and even pirate raids.

In recent months, a number of rangers, police and locals in the South have been killed or injured from ambush shootings and roadside bombs.

The order, not to be confused with the nationwide Emergency Decree imposed by the prime minister to combat Covid-19, allows officials to track down and arrest insurgents, according to government deputy spokesperson Ratchada Thanadirek.

Only a few districts are excluded from the emergency order: Srisakhon, Su-Ngai Kolok and Sukirin in Narathiwat as well as Maikaen and Maelan in Pattani and Betong in Yala.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Insurgency

Narathiwat villager shot and killed, suspected insurgent camp found nearby

Caitlin Ashworth

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Narathiwat villager shot and killed, suspected insurgent camp found nearby | The Thaiger
PHOTO: National News Bureau of Thailand

After a villager was shot and killed while he was hunting wild pigs, a military and police task force searched the area in the Southern province Narathiwat’s Si Sakhon district and found a deserted camp on Bilo mountain that they suspect was used by insurgents.

55 year old Sophon Thasuk went up to the mountain to go hunting with a group of friends. They separated, but after a series of gunshots were heard, the friends gathered at their agreed meeting spot. When Sophon didn’t return, the men reported the incident to Ranger Task Force 49.

After 3 hours of searching, rangers found Sophon’s body. He had multiple gunshot wounds. Rangers suspect the villager was killed by insurgents.

A couple days later, a search was led by a combined police and military unit. Officers found an empty campsite with 13 tents. They also found 3 spent AK47 rifle cartridges and a pipe bomb, a type of improvised explosive device known as an IED, along with several survival kits.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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