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Muslim Militants Attack Police with Grenade Launchers in Yala, Thailand



A police officer stands guard while investigators comb a checkpoint in Yala province for evidence of Monday’s grenade attack.- Photo Khaosod


YALA – Gunmen with grenade launchers and other heavy weapons attacked a police checkpoint on Monday in southern Thailand, injuring six officers, in what appeared to be the latest violence by Muslim separatists who have been fighting for more than a decade.

Police Capt Pongsak Khaonuan said about 30 insurgents surrounded a police security post and used homemade grenade launchers and other weapons to attack the checkpoint in Yala province before dawn. The gunmen retreated when police returned fire.

12 police officers were injured in the attack in what police are calling the biggest such attack in years.

Three other attacks last week resulted in the deaths of an army ranger and a policeman in the deep south provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat, the only ones with Muslim-majorities in Buddhist-dominated Thailand. About 7 000 people have been killed since the insurgency flared in 2004.

Monday’s attackers scattered nails on the road to the checkpoint to hinder any assistance for the police, puncturing the tyres of an ambulance that came to the scene.

Police said they had no specific suspects, but it followed a familiar pattern of attacks by the separatists. They said it was not necessarily linked to last week’s violence.

All wounded police were later admitted to Krong Penang hospital while security authorities alerted all road checkpoints to look and hunt for the escapees.

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