9 people killed by roadside bomb in Thailand’s Deep South
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9 people killed by roadside bomb in Thailand’s Deep South

The Nation:

Nine villagers were killed and two others injured when insurgents detonated a roadside homemade bomb to attack their truck, police said.

The attack occurred at 5:30 pm on a village road in Padaeru village in Tambon Katong of Yaha district.

The villagers were on their way to a forest to collect forest products.

Nine were killed at the scene, police said


The victims were all Buddhists and were travelling in a pickup truck to hunt wild pigs when the bomb exploded in Yala, one of three predominantly Muslim provinces plagued by violence since a separatist rebellion resurfaced seven years ago.

Police said Tuesday’s bomb was planted in the road and detonated remotely by cellphone, destroying the truck. Roadside blasts are common in the rubber-rich region, but military and police patrols are usually the targets.

BP: This attack comes after an attack last week on an army outpost in Narathiwat killing 4 soldiers per Reuters:

Suspected Muslim separatists killed four soldiers and wounded five others on Wednesday in the bloodiest incident in several months in Thailand’s restive deep South, police said.

The attack took place shortly after nightfall when about 20 gunmen opened fire on a military base in Rangae, Narathiwat province, one of the deadliest areas in a mainly Muslim region plagued by seven years of unrest.

BP: On the attack on the army outpost, see Tony Davis of Janes in an article for Asia Times. Key excerpt:

At the political level, the attack came following a period of mounting frustration within the upper echelons of the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (National Revolutionary Front, or BRN) – the group understood by the Thai military to be the driving organizational force behind the insurgency. According to one reliable source with access to key leaders, this frustration stemmed from anger over a series of alleged extra-judicial killings by security forces. “There has been a steady build-up of concern over treatment of the population and [military] impunity,” the source said.

A further source of anger, he added, stemmed from the manner in which a unilateral ceasefire declared by the insurgents last June-July in the three Narathiwat districts of Ra-ngae, Yi-ngor and Cho Airong was essentially dismissed by the Thai military as a non-event. The ceasefire that largely halted organized attacks in the three districts was intended to demonstrate both an interest on the part of BRN and the mainly overseas-based Pattani United Liberation Organization (PULO) in holding talks with the government and to show that the insurgent leadership exercised effective command-and-control over elements on the ground.

At the same time, it is clear that military factors also played into the Ra-ngae raid. One senior Thai army intelligence official who spoke to ATol noted that the attack came following a period of military reorganization and training during the second half of last year that saw new recruits inducted into the insurgency. “Training finished in December,” he said. “They had people ready and they needed more weapons.” He added that advance planning for the operation may have began as much as six months ago.

BP: Tony has plenty of other specifics on details on the attack in the article which haven’t appeared elsewhere. The violence is not going away….

btw, on the ceasefire, see International Crisis Group’s November 2010 report entitled “Stalemate in Southern Thailand” and specifically pages 6-7 as excerpted below:

On 10 June 2010, the PMLM implemented a one-month unilateral suspension of hostilities in Cho Airong, Yi-ngo and Ra-ngae districts in Narathiwat. Ending on 10 July, this was a significant step in efforts to demonstrate command and control over the militants in an effort to push forward dialogue with the government. The government was informed in advance about the PMLM’s plan which was carried out discreetly. While Prime Minister Abhisit acknowledged that the suspension had taken place, he played it down, saying the result was “inconclusive”. During that period, local military officers were quietly instructed by their commanders to limit search and arrest operations. PMLM had limited the scope of the ceasefire to “organised attacks on the security forces and attacks on government targets”.

PMLM spokesman Kasturi Mahkota, who is also PULO’s deputy leader and foreign affairs chief, called the ceasefire “successful” as only one bombing took place in the designated zone during this period. On 18 June, a bomb attack on a police pick-up truck in Narathiwat’s Cho Airong district slightly injured a police officer. Kasturi explained that the attack was carried out by those outside PMLM’s command, saying it is “not always possible to control [everybody]”.

According to military data, there were other attacks during the ceasefire period not acknowledged by the PMLM. Crisis Group found that there were ten incidents in the three districts; three were classified as insurgency-related incidents, three normal criminal acts and four others remained inconclusive. Apart from the bombing in Cho Airong, the two other incidents classified as insurgency-related were the shooting of forest produce gatherers in Ra-ngae district on 23 June –which killed one Muslim and injured two others – and the killing of a retired police officer in Yi-ngo district on 5 July.

Given the number of attacks during the ceasefire, it is also hard to argue that there was a significant reduction of violence in comparison to other months in 2010. Cho Airong and Yi-ngo have relatively low levels of violence with only one to two shootings or bombings per month, while Ra-ngae has more frequent attacks. To date, the bloodiest month in Ra-ngae in 2010 was May, with six shootings and one bombing resulting in two killed and eight injured.

BP: Will there be further dialogue and a further, longer ceasefire? How successful will it be?

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