In Southern Thailand, a three-hour siege of a house ended with an explosion of gunfire that killed two insurgents and wounded one ranger, in Pattani on Thursday.
In Pattani, a government force of 50 surrounded a two-storey house at approximately 6:30 a.m., following a tip-off that two suspected insurgents were hiding there.
The operation was led by Colonel Thaweeporn Khanathong of the 43rd Ranger Special Forces. Those inside the house were asked to leave. A family ran out of the house quickly.
The family said two men were still hiding inside the house. They were armed with a variety of military weapons.
Using a loudspeaker, the rangers attempted to convince the men to surrender. They were also urged to lay down their weapons by local leaders.
As a religious leader spoke to them around 10 am, two men jumped out of a window and started shooting at the soldiers, trying to escape. The soldiers returned fire.
In the aftermath of the gunfire, the two men lay dead on the ground, their AK-47 rifles near their bodies and spent cartridges scattered around them. One ranger sustained a minor injury.
Insurgency groups in southern Thailand
Marwan Meetho, who was wanted on three arrest warrants in Thailand, was identified as one of the dead suspects. He was wanted for the bombing of a pickup truck on Sept 22, 2017, that killed four rangers, and the fatal shooting of a man on April 5, 2016.
Colonel Thawee said the first approach they tried was a soft one, focusing on talks and bringing in the village and Islamic leaders to tell the two men to surrender. But that approach failed, and the suspects opened fire.
Authorities investigated the records of the two slain suspects and their ties to insurgency groups in southern Thailand.
Insurgency in Southern Thailand is a conflict centred in the disputed border region between Thailand and Malaysia. There has been discontent in the region since the turn of the century.
Furthermore, the insurgency, which began as an ethnic separatist movement in 2004, has since been taken over by hard-line jihadists and has pitted them against the Thai-speaking Buddhist minority, also local Muslims who have a moderate approach or who support the Thai government.