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Insurgents Attack Security Patrol in Thailand’s Deep South, 2 Dead, 9 Injured

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Insurgents Attack Security Patrol in Thailand's Deep South

Insurgent gunmen launched an unexpected attack on a patrol in Narathiwat, a region in the southern part of Thailand, on Monday night. This attack resulted in the death of two defense volunteers and caused injuries to nine other service members.

The police alleged that they were unexpectedly attacked while on their way back to the base in two military vehicles, following an inspection of the construction of an arch dedicated to commemorating the holy month of Ramadan.

The trucks were targeted at Ban Belukar Hilir village 6, Tambon Batong, Narathiwat Rueso district.  Security patrol members Mr. Wittaya Puangngam, 30, and Mr. Prakong Suttanang, 48, were both killed while working as ranger volunteers.

The injured include Sgt Suradech Sangkawong, Cpt Chaiyuth Sukboo, and MSgt 1st Class Sakrapee Petchrueantong, as well as six ranger volunteers: Anan Bueraheng, Paosee Je-Te, Makosi Uma, Sama-ae Duemasi, Ardnai Sulong, and Saman Lee-ardiew.

Police blamed the ambush on insurgents. Police report that attacks have intensified in the final ten days of Ramadan.  Lt Gen Santi Sakuntanak, commander of the 4th Army Region, declared that the family of those killed are entitled to full compensation under the applicable laws.

Insurgents Attack Security Patrol in Thailand's Deep South

Security forces were still looking for the terrorists.

An intricate web of political, religious, and ethnic motives has kept the southern region of Thailand in the grip of violence for decades. Separate from the Buddhist-majority rest of Thailand, the region comprising Narathiwat, Pattani, and Yala provinces is characterized by a Muslim majority.

On numerous occasions, members of separatist groups have attacked security officers, schools, and communities in their fight for greater independence.  The Thai government’s severe military reaction and claims of human rights abuses have only made matters worse.

Economic marginalization, a dearth of opportunities, and poverty are the heart of Malay-Muslim discontent. Both the government and the insurgent groups have accused each other of being insincere, which has led to the breakdown of peace talks. The cycle of violence is unending, and distrust is rampant.

Civilian casualties continue to grow, yet the conflict’s root reasons remain unaddressed. To overcome the situation, a comprehensive approach would be required that addresses the problems of the southern population while also encouraging reconciliation and growth in the volatile region.

Violence between separatists and Thai forces has risen since 2001, reaching a crescendo in 2007. Between January 2004 and October 2021, 21,235 security events in the Deep South killed over 7,294 individuals and injured 13,550 others.

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