Thai Police Blame Rebels for 5 Killings Over the Weekend

BenarNews Staff
160328-TH-military-deaths-620.jpg Police investigate the shooting scene in Pattani’s Yarang District where two intelligence soldiers were killed, March 27, 2016.

Muslim insurgents fighting for a separate state in Thailand’s Deep South shot and killed two military intelligence officers, a local village leader and two civilians over the weekend amid a resurgence of violence since the beginning of March, police said Monday.

The escalation of rebel attacks came as reports said the personal details of thousands of foreign nationals living in southern Thailand were briefly leaked online in an apparent data breach during a website test for police.

On Saturday, civilians Duroning Sama, 51, and Abdulashi Salae, 36, were shot dead in a rubber plantation in Yala’s Muang district, according to a government security official who believed the two were targeted because they were believed to be government informants.

On Sunday, Tosa Benyunus, 53, a deputy village headman in Pattani’s Mayo district, was gunned down at his residence by a four men in motorcycles, Police Col. Jiradesh Dao-ngern-trakul said.

“We believe it is the work of insurgents” he said.

Intelligence officers killed

Following the incidents, two military intelligence officers were shot dead in Kaotoom Village in Pattani’s Yarang district.

Pvt. Addaha Jedad and Pvt. Panawan Tesanarak were killed as they were riding through Kaotoom village, according to Pattani Provincial Police Bureau commander Maj. Gen. Tanongsak Wangsupa.

The officers were attached to the Sirindhorn military base and Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) Region 4, the Thai military command with responsibility for the Deep South.

Tanongsak also said he believed insurgents were behind the killings, which came about two weeks after insurgents briefly took over a local hospital – the Cho-irong hospital in Narathiwat province – while mounting an attack on a nearby military installation.

The hospital seizure was part of rebel attacks on the 56th anniversary of the founding of Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN), the largest and most powerful insurgent group.

6,000 have died since 2004

Since 2004 at least 6,000 people have died in the separatist war in Thailand’s predominantly Muslim and Malay-speaking southern border region.

Ongoing efforts by Thailand’s military-controlled government to persuade the rebel groups to resume formal peace talks for the first time since December 2013 have met with little success.

Experts and residents are anticipating more violence following the weekend killings.

“The increasing killings of civilians lately, for whatever reasons, are an indicator that the violence is highly likely to escalate,” said professor Srisompob Jitpiromsri, director of Deep South Watch, a local NGO that monitors the conflict and serves as a platform for discussing ways to end it. “This also indicates that there could be more serious incidents,” he told BenarNews.

Srisompob said that government attempts to quell tense situation through development projects seemed to work out as they are more broadly embraced by locals but there are some residents who he felt did not trust the authorities.

“There are more development projects and the officials have opportunities to meet locals,” he said. “But villagers are divided – with one group starting to gain the trust of the government and another which don’t trust the government and stayed away from joining any projects,” Srisompob said.

A native of Pattani, who identified himself as just Doloh, said the latest killings heralded a new round of a bloody campaigns by the insurgents.


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