ATTACKS IN THAILAND’S MUSLIM SOUTH IN 2005
In January 2005 a bomb exploded in a noodle shop ay Kuay Tiew Rua Boran, Yala Province’s capital district, killing one person and wounding 49. Muslim insurgents were suspected. In February 2005, a car bomb exploded in Sungai Kolok, a town in Nara thiwat Province near the Malaysian border, killing six and injuring more than a dozen. The bomb was made with 50 kilograms of fertilizer and was considerably larger than those normally used, which led to some speculation that groups outside of Thailand such as Jemaaah Islamiyah were involved, The bomb exploded outside a busy hotel, hosting a wedding party. The military blamed Barisan Revolusi Nasional and said the attack was carried out to protest the arrests of relatives. [Source: Information in this articles is mainly from AP, Reuters and AFP reports]
In March 2005, at least 14 people, including 10 security force members, were wounded in near simultaneous bomb blasts in southern Thailand. The same month suspected Muslim insurgents bombed and shot at civilians and police officers in a heavily armored train traveling in Narathiwat Province, injuring 19 people. A 10-kilogram bomb detonated with a mobile phone exploded at a station and blew one carriage off the track. Insurgents hiding near the station then opened fire on passengers before fleeing. In April there were bomb attacks in Hat Yai, Songkhla province.
In July 2005, at least 60 insurgents plunged Yala city into darkness by destroying electrical transformers and then roamed the streets with fire bombs, explosives and guns, targeting an area with a hotel, two convenience stores and a restaurant, and the railway station. According to Thai government officials were assaulted and scores of people died and were wounded as a result of the incident.
In September 2005, a firefight broke out a Muslim tea shop in Tanyonglimo in Narathiwat that left two villagers dead and four others dead. Hundreds of villagers, who blamed government security forces for the incident, responded by pulling two Thai marines from their car when they passed and held them hostage .The next day the bound, gagged and blindfolded marines were brutally beaten to death with machetes and sticks. The military responded with an intensive manhunt and detained eight suspects and used the incidents as an excuse to crackdown on Muslims. Many villagers in Tanyonglimo taken from their homes and detained for a week.
In September 2005, two government policemen were killed by Islamic militants in Sungai Padi District in Narathiwat Province. In October six individuals were killed in political violence. In November 2005, a series of explosions knocked out electricity and rocked parts of the southern city of Narwthiwa. Martial law was declared Chana and Thepha districts in Songkhla province. Nine individuals were killed in an Islamic militant ambush in Rangae District.
Attacks in the Muslim South in Thailand in 2006
Some of the violence in the southern provinces in 2006 was directed at public school teachers. According to to the government the attacks forced the temporary closure of public schools and disrupting the educational process in those areas.
In March 2006, a blast from a bomb planted on a railroad track in southern Songkha Province killed three police. Islamic militants attacked a government building in the village of Pado in Pattani Province on March 16, 2006, resulting in the deaths of five individuals. In May 2006, three Buddhists were shot dead and 7 were injured in three separate attacked that included the killing of two sanitation workers.
In June 2006, 48 bombs were detonated on a single day in a series of attacks in Narathiwatm Pattani and Yala Provinces, killing two and wounding 24. The bombs all went off between 8:30 and and 9:00am as people headed to work One bomb went off at a government building minutes before a deputy prime minister arrived. The attack occurred just two days before the celebration for 60th year of King Bhumibol’s reign.
Three government policemen were killed in a bombing in Chana District in Songkhla Province on August 2, 2006. Two individuals were killed in bombings in Yala Province on August 31, 2006.
In September 2006, five people were killed, including a Canadian teacher, and dozens more were injured when a series of blasts from five bombs ripped through three department stores in Hat Yai in Songkhla Province. Hat Yai is the main commercial center of southern Thailand. The attack occurring just hours after the military staged a peace rally. The bombs were planted in motorbikes and detonated at the same time—9:15am. Two bombs went off in front of a pub and parking lot at one department store. A third, the most deadly one, went off at a nearby massage parlor. The forth bomb went off at a second department store. The fifth one went off in a rest room in a third department store.
Also in September 2008, 22 bombs exploded roughly simultaneously at commercial banks in Yala Province, killing two and inuring 28. The bombs, many of which were planted by women, were placed in garbage bins, newspapers stands and near seats where customers waited for service. The attack coincided with the national day of Malaysia and the founding day of Bersatu. One government soldier was killed in a bombing in the town of Narathiwat on October 22, 2006.
In December 2006: 1) two people—a policeman and a pro-government villager—were killed when two gunmen opened fire in a crowded coffee shop in the won of Krongpinag in Yala Province; 2), two students and soldier were wounded when a bomb explode near the entrance to a secondary school in Narathiwat Province. The blast occurred as students were leaving a bus.
Attacks in the Muslim South in Thailand in 2007
In 2007, when the violence was at its peak, there were about 200 sectarian attacks a month, according to Deep South Watch. Three years later there were about half that number. In January 2007, Muslim inusurgents shot and killed three Buddhist laborers on their way to work at a rubber plantation in Songkhla Province, which up that point had not seen much violence, raising concerns the violence might be spreading. The same month one individual was killed by suspected Islamic militants in Yala Province.
In February 2007, eight people were killed and at least 50 were wounded during a series of attacks that took place as thousands were celebrating the Chinese New Year. The attacks consisted of 29 bombing in all four strife-torn provinces: Yala, Narathiwt, Pattani and Songkhla. The bombs were triggered with digital watches and went off between 7:15pm and 8:00pm. The targets were karaoke lounges, hotels, schools. gasoline stations and power stations. A government spokesman said, “The insurgents wanted to scare away Chinese businessmen from the region. That’s why they attacked on Sunday, the day that Chinese people celebrate after they pay homage to their ancestors, The insurgents do not want people of other religions to live with them.”
In March 2007, nine individuals were killed in an attack by suspect Islamic militants in southern Thailand on March 14, 2007. Three individuals were killed in an attack against a school in Songkhla Province on March 18, 2007. In May 2007, seven government soldiers were killed in a roadside bombing blamed on Islamic militants in Narathiwat Province on
On June 1, 2007, 18 people were killed on a single day in one of the worst outbursts of violence, Eleven paramilitary troops were killed by a roadside bomb at almost the same time that seven worshipers in a mosque were gun downed, The roadside bomb exploded in Bannang district of Yala Province. The attack on the mosque was blamed on Muslim insurgents. On June 15, seven government soldiers were killed in a roadside bombing in Yala Province. In December 2007, six individuals were killed in a bombing of a restaurant in Pattani Province.
Attacks in the Muslim South in Thailand in 2008
In January 2008, eight soldiers were killed in an ambush during a morning patrol in the Chanae district of Narathiwat Province. Attackers fired a barrage of bullets on a truck flipped over by a roadside bomb. There were no survivors. One soldier was beheaded. The same month two suspected militants were killed in a shootout with police after police raided a suspected militant hideout. The firefight last 20 minutes. Four militants in the house escaped.
In April 2008, suspected Muslim insurgents shot and killed five construction workers while they were entering a school in Pattani Province. In August 2008, seven small bomb exploded in the southern towns of Hat Yai and Songkla, injuring two people.
In September 2008, 22 bombs exploded roughly simultaneously at commercial banks in Yala Province, killing two and inuring 28. The bombs, many of which were planted by women, were placed in garbage bins, newspapers stands and near seats where customers waited for service. The attack coincided with the national day of Malaysia and the founding day of Bersatu.
In October 2008, three bombs detonated at a tea stall and shopping area in Narathiwat Province, killing one person and wounding at least 71. The bomb at the tea stall was placed inside a garbage bin and exploded just as a meeting of about 300 village chiefs was letting out. The two others exploded at a busy fruit market around lunch time. One bomb was planted in a car. The other in a motorcycle. In November 2008, twin blasts killed one person and wounded 70 in Narathiwat Province.
Attacks in the Muslim South in Thailand in Early 2009
The year 2009 was a particularly bad one for violence in Thailand’s Muslim South. On January 31, in Rue-Soh district, Narathiwat, Awae Salama, a former Islamic religion teacher who sold goods near a local mosque, was killed in a drive-by shooting on his return home from the district market. On 16 February in Waeng district, Narathiwat, five civilians, including one student, were wounded by a bomb that exploded at approximately 7am while a team of soldiers was escorting monks on their alms round. [Source: Amnesty International]
In February 2009, in Raman district, Yala, a civilian couple engaged in tapping rubber were killed and the man beheaded. The couple were shot dead on their motorcycle as they were on their way to tap rubber. The police said: “The husband was then beheaded and his head was left about 50 meters away.” The same month three rubber tappers-a Muslim woman and two Buddhist men—were hot dead in Yala Province. Two others were wounded in the ambush. The day before a 54-year-old man was killed in a drive-bu shooting. [Source: Reuters, AFP]
Also in February, A powerful roadside bomb killed three police officers, including a midranking officer, in Pattani's Nong Chik district, hours after suspected insurgents shot dead three local people. The Nation reported: “The attacker targeted the second of a two vehicle convoy of officers that was speeding through tambon Takamcha, police said. Also in Pattani, a 40yearold Muslim deputy village chief was gunned down in a driveby attack, shortly after two other men, aged 29 and 45, were shot dead in front of a school nearby. The roadside bomb, estimated to have been about 15 kilograms in weight, totally destroyed the military pickup truck and left a three- metre wide and one-metre deep crater in the road. The bomb was set off by a remote control via mobile phone by suspected insurgents who were hiding in the bush on the side of the road, police said. "This was a retaliation against the progress that the authorities have made in winning the local population over against the insurgents," said Pol MajGeneral Kreerin Intrakoew, commander of Pattani Provincial Police.[Source: The Nation, February 13, 2009]
On March 7 in Pattani, two middle-aged brothers, one an assistant village headman, were shot dead as they rode a motorcycle, after which their bodies were set ablaze and a note was left at the scene: 'This is revenge on state officials'. March 12 in Krongpenang district, Yala, Laila Paaitae Daoh, a human rights defender, was shot and killed in broad daylight, becoming the fourth member of her family (after her two brothers and husband) to be killed in the south; she is survived only by her three young children. On March 27 in Khok Pho district, Pattani, Bhuvanart Yeeji, a teacher, was shot and killed, while Solahuddin Hayeewaeji, a school manager at Muhammadeeya School, was shot and injured while meeting with other teachers. [Source: Amnesty International]
In late April 2009, nine individuals were killed by Islamic militants in the provinces of Pattani and Yala. Two border policemen were killed in a roadside bomb and gun attack In Yala Province . The policemen were on patrol when their pick-up truck was hit by a bomb hidden inside a fire extinguisher and then suspected insurgents opened fire. AP reported: “In the deadliest incident, at least six gunmen in a pickup truck stormed into a house in Yala province, opening fire on a Muslim family of five, said army spokesman Col. Parinya Chaidilok. Four people were killed. Parinya said. Two Muslim rubber plantation workers were later found dead in the compound of a nearby mosque. Thai security officials blamed Muslim insurgents bent on stirring up communal tension between Buddhists and Muslims.The incidents came ahead of the fifth anniversary of the April 28, 2004, assault on the Krue Se mosque by Thai security forces, in which 32 insurgents were killed. The mosque attack became a symbol of the heavy-handed tactics of Thai authorities. [Source: Sumeth Panpetch, Associated Press, April 28 2009]
Attacks in the Muslim South in Thailand in Mid 2009
In early June 2009, Thailand's south was hit by its deadliest week of violence of the year, with 24 people killed and more than 40 injured in one seven days period. Ten individuals were killed during an attack on at the Al-Furqan Mosque in Cho-airong (Joh-I-Rong) district in Narathawat Province on June 8, 2009. The attack was carried out by gunmen with automatic weaons. Among the dead was the imam leading prayers at the time of the attack. Many of the injured were in serious condition. At least one later died. The army blamed separatist militants but villagers said security forces were responsible.
Three individuals were killed by Islamic militants in Narathiwat Province on June 13, 2009. The same month a homemade bomb hidden in a motorcycle hidden outside a police station killed two policemen in Pattani Province and a 55-year-old female Buddhist teacher was fatally shot as she drove her motorcycle to her school in Yala Province. The policemen were killed as they removed the motorcycle from a pick-up truck. Earlier it was found abandoned on a road.
In late June 2009, a 38-year-old female Buddhist teacher was shot dead by suspected Muslim insurgents in Narathiwat Province. The victim was killed by two gunmen riding on a motorcycle, In another incident, in Yala Province, two suspected insurgents and two security officers died in a gun battle. Two other militants managed to escape even though the house they escaped to was surrounded by 200 police and soldiers.
In July 2009, three people were shot dead by suspected Muslim insurgents in southern Thailand. In Pattani Province, a 40-year-old Buddhist man was killed in a drive-by shooting while shopping at a grocery store. Later the same day gunmen shot dead two 17-year-old Muslim boys riding motorcycles in Narathiwat Province. Their death was blamed on fighting between separatist groups. Later in the month a Buddhist rubber tapper and his wife were shot on their way to work in Pattani province's Khok Pho district. Two policemen and a soldier were then wounded as they went to the scene of the shooting. On the same day a Muslim man was killed aby drive-by attckers in motorcycles while attending his son’s wedding in Mayo district.
Attacks in the Muslim South in Thailand in Late 2009
In August 2009, one border policeman was killed and 12 other people were wounded when a powerful car bomb exploded in the town of Yala. The bomb, estimated to contain 50 kilograms of explosives, was hidden in a pickup truck and detonated near several parked police trucks, where police were having breakfast. The same month a 47-year-old chief assistant was shot dead in front of his house in Pattani Province by a group of gunmen; a 27-year-old man, also a chief ssistant, was shot in Yala Province as he drove his wife to a market; and a an elderly man was killed and 17 were wounded when a grenade was thrown by a man on a motorcycle into a group of Muslim men playing boules.. Two government soldiers were killed by Islamic militants in Narathiwat Province on August 23, 2009.
In late August 2009, a powerful car bomb ripped through a restaurant packed with government officials in Narathiwat Province, wounding at least 42 people, the army said. AFP reported: “The blast was one of the most serious for months. The 50-kilogram (110-pound) device was hidden inside a stolen Toyota pick-up truck and exploded during the busy lunch hour in the centre of Narathiwat, the main town in the province of the same name, officials said. "It's very horrible. We had intelligence that militants would mount a large-scale attack," Lieutenant General Pichet Wisaichorn, the southern region army commander, told reporters. He said that seven of the 42 people injured in the blast were in a critical condition. Most of the wounded were Buddhist government officials. [Source: AFP, August 25, 2009]
“ The timing of the attack just after the start of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan was "very interesting", said Sunai Phasuk, an analyst for Human Rights Watch in Thailand. "We are in the holy month of Ramadan and the bomb went off clearly to harm the non-Muslim population," he told AFP. "It shows the insurgents are avoiding causing collateral damage to their fellow Muslims, because they would come after the end of fasting." He said this Ramadan was "marked with violence from day one". Over the weekend, eight people, including two soldiers and three security volunteers, were killed by suspected insurgents. "It seems they use Ramadan to symbolise the cleansing of non-Malay Muslims," Sunai added.
In September 2009, gunmen shot and killed three Muslim villagers, including a 61-year-old local leader and his 35-year-old daughter and 42-year-old son-in-law. The attacked was carried out by gunmen armed with M-16 and AK-47 rifles. The victims were shot in the head and chest and ambushed after evening prayers. The same month a 37-year-old Buddhist teacher was shot dead and his body was burned in the Raman district of Yala Province. The teacher was shot three times while riding his motorcycle to class on what was an Islamic holiday.
In October 2009, three bomb attacks by suspected separatist killed two people and injured at least 42. Gunmen on motorycles fired bullets and threw a homemade bombs into a crowded restaurant around noon in Narathiwat, killing a policeman and and civilian and wounding 12 others. Less than two hours later, a bomb hidden n a car exploded outside a nearby hotel, injuring 23 people. Four individuals, including one policeman, were killed in Pattani Province on October 26, 2009.
In December 2009, two suspected insurgents on a motorcycle fired into a restaurant in Narathiwat’s main town. A remote-controlled bomb, concealed in a second motorcycle, then detonated, killing three women. Earlier five bombs had injured 14 security force members in Yala and Narathiwat Province s while Thailand’s Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva was touring the region with his Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak in a bid to end the violence.
Attacks in the Muslim South in Thailand in 2010 and 2011
In 2010, there were about 100 sectarian attacks a month, down from a peak of approximately 200 a month in 2007, according to Deep South Watch.
In January 2010, three bombs exploded in southern Thailand, killing one security officer and wounding another, while Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva was visting the region. In Yala Province a paramilitary ranger was killed by a roadside bomb. A small bomb went off about 200 meters from where Abhisit later presided over a ceremony to open a new road.
In July 2010, five government soldiers were killed by a roadside bombing in Narathiwat Province. In August 2010, suspected Islamic militants shot and killed three people, including a teacher, in separate attacks in Thailand’s southern provinces. The 30-year-old teacher—who was also a corporal in the border police—was attacked as he left a school in Si Sa Khon district of Narathiwat Province.
In January 2011, four government soldiers were killed in an Islamic militant attack on a militant base in Narathiwat Province. A few days later, nine individuals were killed in a bombing in Yala Province.
In July 2011, three people were shot dead near a rubber plantation in the Raman district of Yala Province. Three Muslim rubber merchants were buying rubber from local rubber farmers when gunmen in a pickup fired at the merchants with automatic weapons and stole 300,000 baht (about $10,000. It wasn’t clear whether the event was insurgent attack or a robbery. Earlier at least 10 people were injured by two explosions apparently planted by insurgents at a rubber plantation the district.
In September 2011, three bombs exploded on the Thai-Malaysian border, killing three and wounding 60. The same month The Nation and AFP reported: “A teacher was shot dead and his body set on fire in Yala. Kanit Lamnui, 38, was shot dead by unknown attackers soon after he drove out of the Ban Kameng School on his motorcycle in Yala's Raman district. On the same day five teashop customers, including a nine-year-old boy, in Narathiwat sustained severe injuries after a gunman opened fire, while a roadside bomb was defused before it could cause damage in Yala. Doromae Bukoh, 56, said eight people were at his teashop in tambon Bang Por of Muang district when a motorcycle pulled up and the passenger walked in. "He whipped out a pistol and shot at my customers one by one, prompting the others to run for their lives," he said.The gunman fled on the same motorbike.[Source: The Nation September 7, 2011]
In Yala, residents of Meeding Village in Raman district noticed some electric wires under the surface of a road and alerted the police, who removed and defused 20-kilogram bomb from the site. A police source said militants might be targeting soldiers who were scheduled to visit the village to help a disabled woman. "Had the locals not tipped off the police, the troops might have been hurt or killed," he said. Sofwan Sama, the chief of operations for the insurgency, might have been responsible, he said.
Attacks in the Muslim South in Thailand in Early 2012
In January 2012, government troops killed four suspect Islamic militants in Pattani Province. According to Deep South Watch: “Armed attackers used a 40-mm grenade launcher to fire at the operation base of the 4302 Taharn Phran (Paramilitary) Company at Baan Nam Dam, Moo 3, Pulopuyo Sub-District, Nong Chik District, Pattani Province. Three rounds of grenade were fired, but did not result in any casualty. After the attack, the commander of the 4302 Taharn Phran Company organized teams to capture the attackers by the unit's plan near Baan Kayi, Moo 1, Pulpuyo Sub-District, Nong Chik District, Pattani Province. When a suspected vehicle was found, the company commander ordered people inside the vehicle to come out. When a passenger hurriedly exited the vehicle in panic, shots were fired by the officers and 4 suspects in the vehicle were dead while another 4 were injured. The event became a controversial topic among the locals and the relatives of the victims. The vehicle was carrying civilians who were on the way to give prayers to a deceased person in another village, and only contained youths and the elderly. The incident caused the 4th Region Army commander to order the Taharn Phran Unit 4302 to move out of the operation base within 24 hours and began a fact-finding inquiry on the matter, as well as immediately provided compensation to the family of those affected. The event was a launch of the continuity of violence throughout the year. [Source: Srisompob Jitpiromsri, DeepSouthWatch, Center for Conflict Studies and Cultural Diversity (CSCD), Prince of Songkla University Pattani Campus, December 23, 2012]
In February 2012 a car bomb was detonated at an intersection in front of the Pattani Provincial Public Health Office in Mueang District, Pattani Province, causing one civilian death and injuring 14. According to Deep South Watch: “Officers investigated the scene and found that the perpetrators hid an improvised explosive device (IED) inside a bronze Isuzu Dragon Eye pickup truck and parked the truck on the road in front of the Public Health Office since 0716 hours, before escaping on the pillion seat of an accomplice's motorcycle nearby. At 0805 hours, the attackers then detonated the oxygen fuse of the bomb, weighted approximately 50 kilograms by a communication radio, causing the mentioned death and injuries.
Car Bomb Attack in Yala in March 2012 Kills 14 Injures 340
In March 2012, fourteen people were killed and 340 were injured when car bombs were detonated in Yala City. AP reported; “ Suspected Muslim insurgents staged the most deadly coordinated attacks in years in Thailand’s restive south with car bombs that targeted Saturday shoppers and a high-rise hotel frequented by foreign tourists. A first batch of explosives planted inside a parked pickup truck ripped through an area of restaurants and shops in a busy area of Yala city, a main commercial hub of Thailand’s restive southern provinces, said district police chief Col. Kritsada Kaewchandee. About 20 minutes later, just as onlookers gathered at the blast site, a second car bomb exploded, causing the majority of casualties. Eleven people were killed and 110 wounded by the blasts. [Source: Sumeth Panpetch, Associated Press, April 1, 2012++]
“This is the worst attack in the past few years,” said Col. Pramote Promin, deputy spokesman of a regional security agency. “The suspected insurgents were targeting people’s lives. They [chose] a bustling commercial area, so they wanted to harm people.” Most attacks are small-scale bombings or drive-by shootings that target soldiers, police and symbols of authority, but suspected insurgents also have staged large attacks in commercial areas. A blast also occurred Saturday at a high-rise hotel in the city of Hat Yai, in the nearby province of Songkhla. Officials initially had attributed that blast to a gas leak, saying it was unrelated to the attacks blamed on insurgents. But after inspecting the hotel’s underground parking lot, authorities found a severely damaged sedan and a hole created by the explosion’s impact. ++
The midday explosion at the 405-room Lee Gardens Plaza Hotel, where throngs of Malaysian and Singaporean tourists spend their weekends, killed three people and caused about 230 injuries, mostly from smoke inhalation, said police Lt. Puwadon Wiriyawarangkun. Regional police chief Lt. Gen. Jakthip Chaijinda said the Hat Yai incident “is likely related to what happened in Yala and might have been plotted by the same group of insurgents.”++
Police said the blast that occurred at the underground level of the hotel ripped the building’s cooking gas pipeline, causing a fire that sent smoke spiraling into the upper floors and trapping many people in their rooms until rescuers came. One of the fatalities was identified as a Malaysian tourist. A McDonald’s restaurant on the hotel’s ground floor appeared to have suffered heavy damage from the blast. The hotel also was targeted in 2006, when four people, including a Canadian man, were killed by six bombs that had been planted on Hat Yai’s main street. ++
According to to Deep South Watch: Attackers detonated a car bomb in Yala Province near the intersection between Jongrak Road and Ruammit Road (in front of the Rung Rueang Boiled Rice Restaurant), causing damage to many rows of building. The force of the explosion caused secondary explosion of a van fueled by compressed natural gas (CNG). When officials came to assist at the scene, attackers then detonated the explosive planted on a car in front of a 7-Eleven store near the entrance to Park View Hotel. The explosion caused 10 deaths and 127 persons injured. On the same day at approximately 1300 hours at Hat Yai District, Songkla Province, while local residents and tourists were shopping at Lee Garden Plaza shopping center, a violent explosion occurred and smoke blew out from the basement, which served as the shopping mall's parking lot. Local people and tourists ran to save their own lives in a state of panic, and a large number of people were trapped inside the mall. Officials had to quickly extinguish the fire and save those who were trapped inside. When the fire was under control and officials came to investigate the scene, a sedan was found to be ripped in 2 pieces by the force of the explosion. The blast also created a hole of approximately 2 meters in width on the floor of the parking area, and caused damage to hundreds of cars parked nearby. Officials made a conclusion that the explosion was caused by attackers who planted a car bomb at the mall, as the attack had similar characteristics to the attack in Yala Province. The event results in 5 deaths and 354 persons injured, including ordinary citizens and Malaysian tourists. [Source: Srisompob Jitpiromsri, DeepSouthWatch, Center for Conflict Studies and Cultural Diversity (CSCD), Prince of Songkla University Pattani Campus, December 23, 2012]
Deep South Watch reported: The two attacks events caused the total number of casualties for the month of March 2012 to be the highest monthly casualty since the conflict began in 2004. Earlier in the month four soldiers were killed by suspected Islamic militants in Nararthiwat Province and ten individuals were killed in explosions in Yala Province.
Attacks in Thailand’s Muslim South in Late 2012
On July 25, 2012 an unknown number of attackers bombed the Thai police's teachers protection details from the Tha Thong Police Station, resulting in the death of 5 officers and 1 officer injured. The 6 police officers were patrolling the route and providing security to teachers on the Samoh-Upoh road on a Mazda pick-up truck. Upon arrival at the scene, the attackers then ignited the explosive, causing the police pick-up truck to skid off the road. An unknown number of attackers then ambushed the police officers with assault weapons, causing police casualties. [Source: Srisompob Jitpiromsri, DeepSouthWatch, Center for Conflict Studies and Cultural Diversity (CSCD), Prince of Songkla University Pattani Campus, December 23, 2012==]
On July 28, 2012, approximately 15 attackers used three pick-up trucks and assault rifles to fire on the 2nd Operation Team, Ror.15321 Company, 25th Pattani Task Force (Cho Ko Pattani), resulting in the death of 4 soldiers at the scene and 2 soldiers injured. Before the attack, the patrol unit sent 6 soldiers on 3 motorcycles to oversee peace and order near the Baan Mayo market, Moo 1, Mayo Sub-District, Mayo District, Pattani Province. After the mission was complete, the soldiers then traveled back to the operation base. Upon arrival at the scene, approximately 15 attackers used 3 pick-up trucks to approach the soldiers' motorcycle, one truck each. The attackers on the back of the trucks, approximately 4-6 persons each, then fired the assault rifle on the first two motorcycles, causing the soldiers to fall. The attackers sitting in the two pick-up trucks then stepped off the vehicle to shoot the soldiers at point-blank range, resulting in 4 soldiers dead at the scene. The attackers also stole 4 M16 (A4) rifles and field uniforms. The third motorcycle which followed the other two motorcycles was also fired by the attackers at the back of the pick-up truck, causing the bike to fell to the side and the two remaining soldiers then took cover. The attackers then stepped off the truck to shoot the soldiers again, but the soldiers returned fire, causing the attackers to escape in the pick-up trucks and drove away by heading towards Mayo District, Pattani Province The entire event was recorded on the officials' close-circuit television (CCTV) system, making national headline and also became widely publicized in the international media. ==
On July 31, 2012, an unknown number of attackers planted a bomb behind the C.S. Pattani Hotel. The explosion caused slight injury to 5 civilians. Investigation showed that the bomb was an IED hidden in a cooking gas cylinder weighted 15 kilograms, trigged by a communication radio hidden in a blue Isuzu D-Max pick-up truck with a forged license plate, which was stolen on 25 June of the same year. The attackers parked the truck behind the hotel, next to a power transformer. The force of the explosion damaged the transformer and caused a small fire in the Hotel's kitchen. The event nonetheless made headline news, as C.S. Pattani was known to the public as a common ground for seminars and meetings in the Deep South. ==
In the middle of the night of August 31, 2012, attackers bombed the inside of the Super Department Store in Yala Province, causing a fire. The fire originated from the depot at the back of the shopping mall and spread quickly to other sections of the building adjacent to civilian residential buildings. On the same day, at approximately 0500 hours, perpetrators stirred up the situation by planting the flag of Malaysia and suspicious objects with messages denouncing state officials at different spots in the 3 deep south provinces and in 4 districts of Songkla Province, i.e. at 96 spots in Narathiwat, 40 spots in Yala, 142 spots in Pattani and 18 spots in Songkla. The simultaneous disturbances in the Deep South in the mentioned areas were considered to be a large and wide-reaching simultaneous operation. Although there was no fatality, the disturbance made August 2012 to be the month with more than 300 events of unrest, making it the month with the highest frequency of unrest events during the previous 9 years, from January 2004 onwards. ==
On September 21, 2012 in Saiburi District, Pattani Province, approximately 3-4 attackers drove a Toyota Hilux Vigo pick-up truck and fired assault rifle on Kamolporn Gold Shop, but there was no casualty. Afterwards, while officials were inspecting the scene, an explosion occurred causing 6 deaths and injuring 44 persons. Before the event, the attackers distributed flyers to the locals and demanded that businesses were to be closed on Friday under threat of harm. As a consequence, business and shop owners in Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat Provinces and in 4 districts of Songkla Province shut down their business on the following 3-4 Fridays in September/October until the Hari Raya Eid al-Adha weekend, indicating that the southern insurgents could conduct both military and political operations and deeply influence the situation in the deep south. The mentioned events also caused the situation of unrest in 2012 to be more violent and intense, particularly when compared to the previous year (2011). ==
Situation in Thailand’s Muslim South in the Early 2010s
The violence in the Muslim south had decreased somewhat in recent years, but a burst of activity at the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013 suggested that the terrorists have regrouped and rearmed. And waht was perhaps the worse news is that schools, teachers and children were more in middle of the violence more than ver before, plus Muslims were being killed to almost the same degree as Buddhists.
Robert Horn wrote in Time magazine, “Successive Thai governments have tried several approaches to ending the violence, but for the most part they have relied heavily on the use of force. Even if security forces capture all those who took part in a specific battle, thousands of others are planning new attacks. “You can kill all the insurgents, but if you don’t change your nation-state construct, you will never resolve this,’’ Don Pathan, a Yala-based independent analyst told TIME. Thailand’s national power structure is highly centralized. Bangkok imposes policies for governors and security officials who are mostly Buddhist to rule over the Muslim majority. Local language, history, culture and identity are disrespected. [Source: Robert Horn, Time magazine, February 17, 2012 /+/]
“While there has been some recognition of that, those who govern Thailand are still at odds over what approach to take. The result has been inconsistent, half-hearted and ultimately ineffective policies. Conversely, the militants are highly decentralized, which presents a different set of problems. Traditional separatist groups that have been around for decades and are willing to negotiate with the government have almost no control over the younger more militant juwae, who have shown little willingness to engage in talks. While the people of the south may be tired of violence, civil-society peace movements don’t yet have the strength to make a difference. “They are not enough at this point,’’ Srisompob said. /+/
School Killing in Late 2012 and Early 2013 in the Muslim South
In December 2012, The Economist reported: “men armed with assault rifles burst into the canteen of Ban Ba Ngo school in the southern Thai province of Pattani and shot dead two teachers. The next day the teachers’ unions shut down all 1,300 state-run schools in the three provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat, and in four districts of neighbouring Songkhla, in protest. [Source: The Economist , January 19, 2013=]
“The two December killings came amid a concerted assault on all schools and teachers in the area. On October 31st a school caretaker and his 11-year-old son were shot dead; on November 22nd the headmistress of Ban Tha Kam Cham school was killed while driving home; a week later part of a school was burned to the ground. Children have also been wounded in bomb attacks. The Thai army, which has about 60,000 soldiers in the four provinces, all heavily armed, has been unable to stem the violence. =
Just as they were starting reopen there were more attacks. In January 2013, a teacher was shot dead in the canteen of Ban Tanyong school by insurgents in Narathiwat's Bacho district . The Bangkok Post reported: “The Educational Service Office, which oversees the district, said 21 out of 27 schools, including Ban Tanyong, closed their classroom doors following the death of Chonlathee Charoenchol, a 51-year-old Muslim teacher, who was shot in front of his colleagues and students in the school's canteen. The killers also made off with his bronze Nissan sedan. Killing a Muslim teacher is rare in the deep South. Reports said both teachers and students in the southern province have lost all morale and have no confidence in the security measures provided for them. "The Education Ministry will decide if it wants border police to fill in as teachers in the South, but the army is ready to help upon request," a government official said. [Source: Bangkok Post, January 24, 2013]
Also in January 2013, Two men riding on a motorcycle attacked a pickup truck carrying seven students to Rueso Kindergarten school in Narathiwat's Rueso district and killed the driver in full view of the horrified students The Bangkok Post reported: “The driver was named as Pannawat Tohfai, aged 38. He was hit three times, in the head and upper body, with bullets from an 11mm calibre handgun and died on the spot. Mayeeda Lameng, a 45-year-old villager who witnessed the attack, told investigators that the man riding pillion on the motorcycle opened fire at the pickup truck's driver. Mr Mayeeda said the shooting happened in full view of the seven students, who were seated in the back of the vehicle. All the children were safe, but in shock. The attack occurred a day after more than 700 teachers in the deep South took an oath not to abandon their students in the restive border region at a ceremony in Narathiwat to mark Teachers' Day. Police blamed insurgents.[Source: Bangkok Post, January 17, 2013]
Other Attacks in Early 2013 in the Muslim South
In January 2013 in “Pattani province, three employees of a tambon administration organistion (TAO) were wounded, one of them seriously, in an attack on a garbage truck and its crew in Khok Pho district. Pol Lt-Col Chamlong Suwarat, the Napradu police chief, said the incident occurred about 10am while the garbage truck operated by Makrut TAO was travelling along the Napradu-Naket road through Ban Yang Daeng in tambon Napradu, heading for a garbage dump. Two men caught up on a motorcycle and opened fire at the truck with handguns. The driver lost control and the truck rammed into a tree and into a roadside ditch. Somchok Madmalai, 48, the driver, was shot in the head and seriously wounded. Also wounded were garbage collectors Serm Poonkaew, 56, who was hit in the right shoulder, and Prapas Ounthong, 50, who was shot in the left leg. All were admitted to Khok Pho district hospital. Police blamed Islamist militants. The three wounded were also members of the Ban Yang Daeng village defence unit. [Source: Bangkok Post, January 17, 2013*]
In January 2023, in Pattani's Khok Pho district, a 78-year-old Muslim rubber grower was shot dead while taking a ritual bath. Pol Col Suchart Asawin, said police received a report of a shooting at a house in tambon Khok Pho about 7am. Officers sent to the scene found the body of Rorham Dorlor, who was shot in the head. Meenoh Mahmu, 68, the victim's wife, told police that her husband was taking a ritual bath at a pond next to their house in the early morning when it was still dark. She heard a gunshot. When she went outside the house she found her husband had been slain. Police said Rorham had regularly exhorted youths in the area not to be involved in drugs. [Source: Bangkok Post, January 17, 2013]
Thai Marines Kill 16 Militants Who Attacked Base
In February 2013, AP reported: “Marines fending off a major militant assault on their base in Thailand’s violent south killed 16 insurgents in an overnight shootout, authorities said. It was believed to be the deadliest toll the Muslim guerrillas suffered since more than 100 died in a single day nearly a decade ago. About 50 militants wearing military-like uniforms raided the marine corps base in Bacho district in Narathiwat Province late Tuesday night, Col. Pramote Promin said. The shootout ended with at least 16 militants killed and the rest fleeing, Pramote said, adding that soldiers who fended off the attack suffered no casualties. He said the marines had been tipped-off by the locals and were alerted for the assault. [Source: Sumeth Parnpetch, AP, February 13, 2013+]
“Regional army commander Lt-Gen Udomchai Thammasaroraj said in an interview on ThaiPBS channel that the army has declared a curfew for the area within 5 kilometers of the base for Wednesday night into Thursday. Sunai Phasuk, a Bangkok-based researcher for Human Rights Watch, said“The insurgents were uplifted because of a surge in their successful attacks in recent weeks, so this is a significant loss on their side.” Sunai said. “From now, authorities will certainly have to be very concerned about their retaliation.” He said Narathiwat Province has been a contested area between security forces and militants. +
“A few days before, “suspected militants killed five soldiers and wounded five others in two attacks that included a car bomb blast in Yala Province that was detonated as a truck carrying six soldiers passed. The militants then opened fire on the soldiers, killing five of them, and took away the dead soldiers’ rifles, he said. There were reports of large numbers of local people attending the funerals of the militants. A week after the shootout bombs killed two people and hurt 12 others in Pattani. +
Text Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, Lonely Planet Guides, Library of Congress, Tourist Authority of Thailand, Thailand Foreign Office, The Government Public Relations Department, CIA World Factbook, Compton’s Encyclopedia, The Guardian, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, AFP, Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Monthly, The Economist, Global Viewpoint (Christian Science Monitor), Foreign Policy, Wikipedia, BBC, CNN, NBC News, Fox News and various books and other publications.
Last updated May 2014