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Thai insurgents attack southern army base, troops kill 16

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By Amy Sawitta Lefevre

BANGKOK (Reuters) – A pre-dawn raid on a Thai military base ended with 16 Muslim insurgents killed on Wednesday in the deadliest violence in the country’s south in nine years, marking a dangerous escalation in one of Asia’s least-known conflicts

200 year old Krue Sac Mosque in Pattani, Southern Thailand

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Acting on a tip-off, marines lit flares and opened fire as up to 60 insurgents wearing military fatigues approached the base at about 1 a.m. in Narathiwat province on the Malaysian border, said Internal Security Operations Command spokesman Pramote Phromin.

He revised the death toll to 16 from an earlier 17. None of the Thai military defenders of the base was hurt, he said.

Violence is common in Thailand’s south but the scale of the attack and targeting of a marine base illustrate the difficulty Buddhist-majority Thailand faces in preventing the low-intensity Muslim insurgency from turning into a more dangerous conflict.

Although there is no indication of the fighting spreading beyond the provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat, just a few hours’ drive from some of Thailand’s most popular tourist beaches, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra appears powerless to quell the almost daily gun fights and bomb attacks.

“It was only going to be a matter of time before this type of incident happened,” said Anthony Davis, a Thai-based analyst at security consulting firm IHS-Jane’s.

“The insurgents have been moving towards larger attacks on military bases since 2011. At the same time, there has been more pro-active security intelligence work.”

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Posted by on February 12, 2013. Filed under Asia,Thailand. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

One Response to Thai insurgents attack southern army base, troops kill 16

  1. Rafiq A. Tschannen

    February 12, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    Peaceful efforts to end this long-standing conflict should be increased. Only negotiations can bring an end to this conflict.

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