Pattani records the highest violent incidence in February
Altogether 46 people were killed and 72 others injured in 64 violent incidents in the Deep South in February, according to statistics compiled by the Isra news agency.
Of the 46 dead victims, 29 of them were innocent people, one soldier, two policemen, three paramilitary rangers, two defence volunteers, two community leaders and seven suspected insurgents.
Among the injured were 13 soldiers, six policemen, 19 rangers and 32 innocent bystanders.
The record of casualties in February was the highest in four months since last November.
Out of the 64 violent incidents, 52 of them were shooting incidents, nine bombings and three arson attacks. However, the forward section of the Internal Security Operations Command said that only 47 incidents were related to insurgency problem while the rest were motivated with personal conflicts.
According to Isra news agency, there were altogether 55 violent incidents in January of which 32 of them were related to insurgency problem.
Pattani registered the highest number of violent incidents in February with a total of 32 incidents. This was followed by Narathiwat’s 19 incidents, Yala’s 9 incidents and four in Songkhla.
The high incidence of violence in Pattani was suspected to an incident on January 29 when paramilitary rangers shot up a pick-up four members of a group of Malay Muslims on their way to attend a funeral in Nong Chik district.
The districts which were spared any violent incidents in February were Krong Penang, Kabang, Betong and Tharnto districts of Yala, Yee-ngor, Waeng, Muang and Tak Bai districts of Narathiwat and Jana district of Songkhla.
For the past eight years since January 4, 2004, the violence in the restive Deep South has claimed 4,645 dead victims of these 2,576 were Muslims and 1,942 Buddhists and 127 whose religious faiths were not known. Also, there were 8,264 injured, including 2,605 Muslims and 5,158 Buddhists.
Besides violent incidents, relatives of a suspected insurgents lodged a torture complaint against some military personnel with the regional Isoc office and the National Human Rights Commission.
The complainants claimed that the suspect, Sulkiplee Sika, a native of Narathiwat was tortured by his captors while he was held in detention during February 10-16 at a detention centre of the 46 paramilitary regiment in Narathiwat’s Muang district. The victim was allegedly beaten up by his captors who also tried to suffocate him using a plastic bag to cover up his head.
The suspect was later moved to Ingkayuth barrack in Nong Chik district of Pattani and later on to the detention centre of the police in Yala’ Muang district before his release on February 20.
Isoc however denied that the suspect was tortured but maintained that he suffered minor injuries when he resisted arrest.
Also, a complaint was lodged to the police in Yarang district of Pattani against two rangers by relatives of a 16-year old who claimed she was raped by one of the two rangers.
A video clip of the incident was posted on the social network by an unidentified person causing widespread resentment among the local Malay Muslim people against the military. It has also brought shame to the young girl whose identity was kept confidential.
The military has taken action by transferring the two rangers in question out of the district and has placed them in detention. Disciplinary actions are being mulled against them.
A source in the Isoc regional office said that although the case was personal as it involved two individuals the army had not ignored the case and has taken actions to mitigate the damages.
The source also maintained that it was unlikely that any army officer was responsible for posting the video clip on the social network because the army had already agreed with the relatives of the victim that the case would be settled quietly in order to protect the reputation of the victim.
Caption : Car bomb in Pattani on February 9