Marines credit villagers for help in repelling attack
Captain Somkiat Ponprayoon, marine commander of the Southern region praised the cooperation of villagers in repelling an attack by insurgents on their base in Narathiwat province early Wednesday morning, saying it had been key to their success.He said their cooperation was the result of better understanding about the work of the security authorities after being updated and following the news everyday.
"They are fed up with the violence in the southern region that has been going on now for more than nine years. They want to see peace restored and they have seen that the armed forces could help solve their troubles," Somkiat said.
About 50 militants wearing army uniforms and body armour raided the Bajoh marine base in Narathiwat at about 1am but walked into a trap, resulting in 16 of them being killed. It was believed to be the deadliest toll the Muslim militants suffered in a single day for more than a decade ago. Confiscated from the scene were 13 assault rifles and three pistols, a pickup and two motorcycles.
Meanwhile Colonel Pramote Phomin, Internal Security Operations Command spokesman, said villagers had tipped off the marines about on the planned attack, "so we were waiting for them," he said.
The military imposed a 24hour curfew on villages in Bajoh and Maiken districts starting 6pm today as troops pursued the suspected Muslim separatists.
Among the dead was Maloso Jantarawadee, a leader of the Runda Kumpalan Kecil insurgent group blamed for much of the violence in the Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala. Maloso had been wanted for the killing of a teacher earlier this month.
Authorities said they believed Wednesday’s attack was revenge for the recent death of a rebel leader.