Suspected separatists kill at least 15 in southern Thailand

Gunmen killed at least 15 people and injured four in southern Thailand, in one of the country’s worst attacks in years.

The attack took place on Tuesday night in the province in Yala – one of three provinces in the region that has often been hit by violence.

Separatist insurgents are believed to have targeted a security checkpoint, killing at least 15 people including a police officer and numerous village defence volunteers.

These volunteers are usually civilians who have been trained to use weapons and are tasked with protecting the village.

There is still no evidence as to who was behind the attack, but Colonel Pramote Prom-in, a regional security spokesman, told Reuters that it was “likely the work of insurgents”.

“This is one of the biggest attacks in recent times,” he said.

The attackers used explosives and then scattered nails on roads in an attempt to slow down people chasing after them.

The separatist insurgents are rebels who have been looking to achieve for some form of independence in southern Thailand. Their story dates back a 100 years when the southern region used to be an sultanate known as Patani.

The majority of people that lived in Patani were Malay Muslims. But at the beginning of the 20th Century, Patani became part of Thailand. They were different  from most people in the rest of Thailand, whether culturally, ethnically or religiously. They are fight against cultural assimilation and suppression.

More than 7,000 in southern Thailand have died since the conflict between the insurgents and authorities resumed in 2004.

It’s not only Thailand that is the cause for concern but Malaysia too are “afraid of the spillover effect”.