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Troopers injured in insurgent attack

Three army troopers were injured when their outpost, at a pier in Tak Bai district of the southern province of Narathiwat, came under explosive and automatic gunfire attack on Wednesday night.

The attack was launched by about 6 suspected insurgents who arrived on motorcycles at about 9pm.

They threw three improvised explosive devices and opened fire with automatic rifles at the troops, who returned fire, starting a brief firefight which lasted until the attackers fled.

Three troopers were found injured and were taken to the district hospital. Officials said they are in a stable condition.

Other troops combed the area around the outpost and found one LPG cylinder, thought to be an improvised bomb, next to a convenience store. It was later removed from the scene.

The attack last night prompted security officials in Tarnto and Betong districts in neighbouring Yala province to increase checks of all passing vehicles.

Patrols on the main and secondary roads in the two districts were also stepped up.

Tak Bai district was the scene of a violent protest on October 25th, 2004 by about 1,500 Muslims protesting against the detention of their peers. 

The protest turned violent, with the crowd throwing rocks at the police, who responded with gunfire, killing about seven.

The protesters were later arrested and transported by trucks to a military barracks in Pattani province. The detainees were stacked one on top of another and over 80 were found to have died of suffocation upon arrival at the barracks.

More than 7,300 people have been killed  since 2004 when insurgency violence in the region surfaced, according to platform organisation Deep South Watch.

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