Thailand sends 10,000 troops to the border
The southern Army chief has dispatched 10,000 troops in 735 units to monitor 188 villages in border provinces where insurgents are hiding following a resurgence of violent incidents in the deep South.
Army Area 4 commander Lt Gen Pornsak Poolsawat gave the order after a group of insurgents attacked a security checkpoint in Pattani’s Muang district Tuesday night, killing four officials and injuring three others before escaping with five M16 assault rifles.
Following the attack, Pornsak ordered security officials to check traces of DNA and check footage of security cameras along the route believed to have been taken by the fleeing insurgents.
A military source said the identities of certain attackers are known but would not be announced for fear it would send them into hiding.
Pornsak said he has ordered the Army taskforces in the deep South to dispatch 735 units of 12 or 13 troops to stay in 188 villages that insurgents are believed to use as hiding places.
Troops from the 735 units will stay with villagers to maintain security in the area and try to arrest insurgents.
Pornsak said the 188 villages were selected following a check of 1,988 villages in the deep South.
The authorities found that insurgents often retreated to these 188 villages after clashing with the authorities.
Some villages had secret underground chambers below certain houses in which the insurgents could hide, Pornsak added.
The southern Army chief said the presence of troops in the villages would step up pressure on insurgents and they would be discouraged from coming out to launch more attacks.
The same military source said if the measures pressured the insurgents to isolate themselves from the villages and live in the forest, it would be easier for the security officials to deal with them.