THAI BUDDHISTS living in the far South including women and children should beware of possible insurgent violence targeting them, Narathiwat police chief Pol Maj-General Phatthanawut Angkhanawan warned yesterday.
Insurgents have resorted to harming so-called “soft targets” reportedly in revenge for the recent fatal shooting of three young sons of a former insurgent who cooperated with state authorities, he said.
“The case has not been solved, so within the next one or two months Thai Buddhists, including women and children, should exercise extra caution, especially during their travels,” he said.
Officials said the family of former operative Jehmu Maman had been targeted because he had provided inside details about the insurgency. But insurgents have claimed that security officials were involved in the attack, which also wounded his pregnant wife.
Phatthanawut said the probe into the shooting was underway and more evidence was needed before arrest warrants could be obtained for suspects.
He said insurgents had been spreading rumours that the shooting had something to do with security officials, and partly also with Thai Buddhists.
“As Jehmu’s sons and wife were harmed, it is not much beyond anticipation that revenge would be taken against Thai Buddhists including women and children,” he said.
The Southern Border Province Administration Centre’s initial finding was that the shooting was based on personal conflicts Jehmu had with unidentified assailants, who dressed as security officials on the night of February 3.
The police centre for coordination of operations in the far South said yesterday evidence was being compiled to complete the probe into the cause of the shooting.
Centre director Pol Lt-General Yongyuth Charoenwanich deplored both the February 3 shooting and subsequent violence supposedly avenging the killings, which he said was conducted by the same group of people.