Suspected rebels kill 15 at southern Thailand security posts

Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn

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More than 7,000 people have been killed in the area since the Muslim separatist movement resumed its armed struggle in 2004 after a decade of relative calm, according to estimates of monitoring organization Deep South Watch.

Gunmen in insurgency-wracked southern Thailand killed 15 village defense volunteers and wounded five security personnel in what is believed to be the deadliest attack on government forces since the separatist rebellion began 15 years ago. Victims of the attacks were mainly police officers, teachers and governmental officials./.

The population of the provinces, which belonged to an independent Malay Muslim sultanate before Thailand annexed them in 1909, is 80 per cent Muslim, while the rest of the country is overwhelmingly Buddhist. "It (the attack) is a reminder that they are still here", Pathan said. Since then, there was a demand by Muslim groups to create a nation separate from Thailand.

Numerous dead at the checkpoint were members of the Village Defence Volunteers, a community-watch type organization, who were believed to be giving information to the local police and military.

Most insurgents appear to be linked to Barisan Revolusi Nasional, the most influential of the separatist groups, though local members operate with some autonomy.

The Thai junta, which seized power in 2014, has held several rounds of talks with one group that claims to represent the militants, Mara Patani.

Ten insurgents walked through the rubber plantation to the checkpoint building and attacked the securitymen at 2130 hrs on Tuesday, Bangkok Post reported.

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