All train services to the three trouble-plagued southernmost provinces have been cancelled after insurgents boarded a train and killed four people on Saturday.
The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) has suspended services to Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat provinces from today. Trains to these destinations from Bangkok will now make Songkhla’s Hat Yai district their final stop.
SRT executives said they will meet security officials to find ways to ensure such a tragedy does not happen again, before resuming services to the three provinces.
Sutep Suwanachatri, chairman of the SRT labour union in Hat Yai, yesterday called on the government to provide better protection on trains.
”Similar attacks have occurred many times in the past. We want the government to come up with better security,” he said.
Insurgents wearing military fatigues attacked a Sungai Kolok-Yala train on Saturday.
They shot at SRT employees, including railway police, when the train reached Narathiwat’s Rangae district. Four people were killed.
One injured railway policeman, Pol Snr Sgt-Maj Chananan Pongdong, remained hospitalised in Narathiwat yesterday.
He suffered serious bullet wounds, but was out of danger, doctors said.
The militants, believed to be members of the Runda Kumpulan Kecil (RKK) group, fled after the attack. One of the attackers was believed to have been wounded. Police yesterday found traces of blood near the railway tracks.
Then today from DPA we have a headline “Gunbattle in Thailand’s deep South leaves seven dead” although it turns out to be suspected terrorists/insurgents:
A fierce jungle gunbattle Monday between Thai forces and suspected separatists left seven insurgents dead and four security personnel wounded in the southern province of Yala, police said.
A joint patrol of more than 20 police and soldiers was ambushed on a road in the Bannang Sata district, 780 kilometres south of Bangkok, sparking a five-minute gunbattle, said Bannang Sata police Colonel Sompien Todsomya.
After the attackers fled, government forces pursued and found one insurgent dead about 100 metres from the road, he said.
A second clash occurred in the jungle, leaving two insurgents dead, the colonel added.
The government troops pursued the insurgents again, leading to a third shootout in the jungle that claimed another four suspected separatists and left four soldiers and police wounded, Sompien said.
BP: AP states there were 100 security officials in on the raid. It is good to see such raids are carried out in large numbers, no doubt helped by the boost in the numbers, as in the past the security officials were often just sitting ducks as they were for terrorists/insurgents. This enables the authorities to engage instead of just retreating.