On Thursday morning, three armed Islamic militants were killed by soldiers after they tried to breach the perimeter of a Koran study centre on the grounds of a mosque in Thailand’s deep south.
At approximately 5:30 am, soldiers arriving in two armoured vehicles surrounded the Koran learning centre at the Khok Khet mosque in Songkhla, a spokesperson of the Internal Security Operations Command told reporters.
The military action was carried out by the soldiers based on information that three Muslim separatist militants named on several arrest warrants were hiding there.
The suspects were persuaded to surrender by local officials, Islamic leaders, and relatives. This did not happen.
The spokesperson said that three armed men ran out of the study centre and opened fire on soldiers of the security forces. In response to this, the soldiers opened fire and all three men were killed. The three men had two rifles as well as a handgun with them.
Sattha Awae, Surin Kaseng, and Adinan Doloh were identified as the three Islamic militants.
Soldiers and civilians killed the deep south
The military spokesperson said the three Islamic men had evaded previous attempts to capture them for several alleged crimes in the districts of Na Thawi, Chana, Saba Yoi and Thepha in Songkla.
No one has claimed responsibility for the bombs, as is common in Thailand’s deep south. BRN, known as Barisan Revolusi Nasional, is the main rebel group in the area.
Separatist insurgents have killed 7,300 people since 2004 in Thailand’s predominantly Malay provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat, according to the Deep South Watch group which monitors the violence.
Several rebel Islamic militant groups have called for independence for these Malaysian provinces, which were part of a sultanate called Patani that Thailand annexed in 1909 as part of a pact with the British Empire.
The Thai government has resumed peace talks with the main insurgent group after a two-year break caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.