Islamist militants killed three people in southern Thailand
Affected Countries: thailand;
Thailand’s simmering Islamist insurgency in its southernmost region claimed several new victims when three members of a family were shot and burned to death inside their vehicle in Pattani, a Muslim-majority province.
Four assailants riding motorbikes opened fire early on April 24 on a pickup truck driven by a 58-year-old man who was delivering products, according to eyewitnesses.
Also in the vehicle were the man’s daughter and her son. All three of them died in a hail of bullets and the ensuing blaze that engulfed the car.
The assailants targeted the vehicle and continued shooting at least 30 rounds at its occupants from M16 or M19 assault rifles, according to police.
Officials described the drive-by shooting as a terrorist attack during which two heavily armed gunmen riding pillion on two motorcycles shot the driver, whereupon his pickup careened out of control and came to a halt in a ditch at the side of the road.
The two gunmen dismounted and continued shooting at the car before dousing it in petrol and setting it on fire.
The car and its occupants may have been targeted at random, according to police, in an ongoing separatist insurgency during which tit-for-tat violence between Muslim separatists and Thai security forces has claimed thousands of lives over the years.
Suspected insurgents have been known to target innocent civilians, both Buddhists and Muslims, in the three Muslim-majority southernmost provinces bordering Malaysia, where hardline Islamists have stated their aim of ceding the provinces from Thailand to create a separate Muslim sultanate.
A day before the three family members were massacred in Pattani, Thai rangers shot and killed a suspected insurgent and arrested two others following an exchange of gunfire in the same province after the latter had allegedly thrown an explosive device at a defense volunteer outpost.
The Islamist insurgency in the three Muslim-majority provinces erupted in 2004 and Thai authorities have been unable to suppress it since.
Source: UCA News