Attack on Southern Thailand Village Post Injures 18

By Nasueroh
2015.07.31
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150731-TH-post-620 Forensic police inspect a village defense post in Pulae village, in southern Thailand’s Yala province, after it was attacked by suspected insurgents in a pre-dawn raid, July 31, 2015.
BenarNews

Shortly after suspected insurgents attacked a village protection post in southern Thailand on Friday, injuring 18 people, six of them seriously, a regional army commander called for shoring up the base’s defenses against further attacks.

Lt. Gen. Prakarn Cholayuth, commander of the 4th Army Region, which encompasses the restive Deep South, said he was calling a meeting between military officials, police and villagers to figure out how to do this.

Prakarn said he also ordered the all-volunteer village protection units in the affected tambon (cluster of villages) to review emergency operating procedures and work to develop and install a warning system.

The attack, which took place around 1 a.m. (local time) in Pulae village, in Yala province’s Yaha district, targeted the post defending Tambon Baroh.

At least 15 insurgents were involved in the early morning raid, according to a witness in the village, but Agence France-Presse quoted a provincial police commander as saying that as many as 30 to 40 people attacked the post.

The insurgents used M-79 grenades and fired at the volunteer force, Police Maj. Gen. Tanongsak Wangsupha, the superintendent of Yala police, told reporters.

“We found out that the building was shot at with M-79s and assault rifles, riddling the building, followed by arson, which did more damage. They also destroyed several surveillance cameras as well,” Tanongsak said.

No injuries were reported among the insurgents, but an assistant village headman was among the 18 volunteers who were wounded. The six seriously injured were listed in stable condition at a hospital in Yala town, officials said.

After attacking the post and engaging in a shootout with the volunteers, the militants made off with seven guns, Col. Pramote Prom-in, spokesman for the forward office of the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) Region 4, told reporters.

The attack was well-planned, authorities said. When the rebels fled, they laid spikes across the road and cut down trees in its path to block it, officials said.

Possible motives

The government arms such all-volunteers units, which are scattered across the Deep South and whose ranks comprise civilians who live in local tambons. The volunteer defense forces help the Thai military fend off separatist insurgents in the predominantly Muslim region.

Since 2004, more than 6,000 people have died in violence related to the insurgency.

“The rebels want to re-assert their power as now villagers are co-operating with state authorities,” the police superintendent said, according to AFP.

Another police officer, who asked not to be named, told BenarNews that a local rebel commander, Hubaidilah Rommueli, was believed to have led the raid.

Separately, a resident of Pulae village said that insurgents may have carried out the attack to avenge the January killing of a comrade.

The dead insurgent, Sadu-ee Stapo, had been betrayed by a friend of his in the local village protection force, who had allegedly given up Sadu-ee to the authorities, the villager said.
Security forces shot Sadu-ee dead on Jan. 30.

“I believe the assailants were exacting revenge for death of Sadu-ee Stapo, an insurgent leader in Tambon Baroh, whom his close friend lured to be killed by the securities force,” the villager told BenarNews.

Recent violence

Friday’s attack followed some deadly incidents carried out by suspected insurgents across the Deep South since near the end of Ramadan in July.

Last Saturday, a Buddhist monk and a policeman were killed in a bombing in Pattani province, which injured another monk, two other officers and three civilians.

On July 16, in Narathiwat province, two soldiers were shot dead and then their bodies were burned.

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