A spate of violence shatters temporary peace in Deep South
After weeks of temporary respite from violence, people of the four southern border provinces of Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat and Songkhla were suddenly given a rough wakeup to reality when militants launched a string of coordinated gun, bomb and arson attacks on February 11-12 resulting to two deaths and, at least, two injured.
At about 8.30 pm on the night of February 11, suspected militants detonated a roadside bomb next to Nissan car showroom in Pattani’s Nong Chik district injuring two paramilitary rangers as they were on foot patrol at the scene.
On the same night, the burning of old car tyres was reported on several roads in Pattani and four districts of Songkhla.
Early Friday morning of February 12, suspected militants torched the Ban Khai school in Pattani’s Nong Chik district. Fire reportedly started at the library on the ground floor of the two-storey concrete school building and spread to the second floor, damaging books and teaching equipments.
Police said that the suspected militants cut open the iron grille of a window of the building, broke the glass window pane and slipped into the library. They then poured gasoline onto the books and equipments and set them afire before escaping.
At dawn on Friday, a police team was rushed to a rubber plantation in Tambon Sa-ae, Krong Penang district of Yala to investigate a bombing incident perpetrated by suspected militants to attack a foot patrol unit.
One of the nine patrolmen, Pvt Sayomphu Kaewklum, 22, a resident of Tak province, was killed by the bomb explosion.
A man, identified as Masuedee Sameng, was shot dead in Yaring district of Pattani as he was riding a motorcycle at about 8.50 am. The motives of the murder are still under investigation.
About half an hour later in Bacho district of Narathiwat, a bomb which was hidden at the foot of a bridge was detonated as a foot patrol unit was passing through. There were no injuries however.
At about 6 pm Friday, an assistant district officer of Songkhla’s Sabayoi district, identified as Mr Montri Putthachote, 47, was shot dead as he was riding a bicycle for exercise on a road in Thepa district. The motives of the murder remain unknown although militants were suspected to be responsible.
At about 7 pm, a Muslim man identified as Masorbree Korreedee, 24, was shot dead as he was travelling in his motorcycle in Yala’s Yaha district.
Three bomb explosions were reported in Bacho district of Narathiwat at about 9.20 pm. There were no injuries however.
A car tyre was turned at a PTT gas station at about 2 am Saturday in Nong Chik district of Pattani. The fire was however put off by employees at the station.
Security officers told the Isra news agency that the spate of violent incidents during the two-day period might be revenge attacks following the seizure of a bomb-making factory in the mangrove forest in Pattani’s Nong Chik district on February 10.
Or the attacks might be symbolic to mark the third anniversary of an incident in Narathiwat’s Bacho district when a large band of militants led by Maroso Chanthavadee attempted to attack a marine base in Ban Yuelor. But the attack turned out to be suicidal when marine defenders, apparently fully aware of the attack in advance, set up a trap and killed 16 of the attackers, including Maroso.