Insurgents attack a roadblock in the Islamic South: At least 15 dead and four wounded

Most of the victims were defense volunteers on duty. No rebel group has yet claimed the act. About 90% of Thais are Buddhists, but Muslims are the majority in three southern provinces. Since 2004, armed Islamic groups of ethnic Malay have given rise to an insurrection in which nearly 7 thousand people have died.

Nov 07, 2019

BANGKOK: Suspected separatist rebels have killed at least 15 people and wounded four volunteers in a shootout in a checkpoint in southern Thailand, a territory with an Islamic majority. The incident took place tonight in Lam Phaya, sub-district of Muang (Yala province), Bangkok security officials reported this morning. The attackers used explosives and nails scattered on the roads to delay the pursuers, in what the authorities describe as the most bloody rebel attack in years.

About 90% of Thais are Buddhists, although Muslims are the majority in three southern provinces bordering Malaysia: Yala, Pattani, and Narathiwat. In this region, since 2004 armed Islamic groups of ethnic Malay have given rise to an insurrection in which nearly 7 thousand people, mostly civilians, have died. No rebel group has yet claimed responsibility, as is customary in the deep south of Thailand.

According to initial reports, the attackers were at least 10. Around 11.20 pm, they approached the outpost in the village of Moo 5 on foot, after crossing a rubber tree plantation. During the attack - carried by gunshots - 11 residents and local officials died, most of them volunteers in defense service. Four colleagues did not survive their injuries. Three other people are receiving medical treatment at the Yala hospital. Two volunteers survived unharmed.

To hinder the pursuit, the insurgents scattered nails along the road, burned tires, knocked down a tree and blew up a trellis. They also prevented emergency services from rushing to the scene of the attack, sabotaging three rescue vehicles. The authorities say the attackers stole an assault rifle, two shotguns and five guns to the victims. In the same minutes, unknown persons attacked another checkpoint without causing victims.--Asia News

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