Narathiwat militants were unaware they were entering a death zone, the Bangkok Post's veteran military affairs reporter Wassana Nanuam writes.
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Families of the dead insurgents arrived on Wednesday to retrieve the bodies. Many said they had no idea the dead men were involved with the violent southern insurgency.
Death zone awaited unsuspecting raiders
A group of 50 militants approached a marine base in Narathiwat's Bacho district early Wednesday to launch a surprise attack, unaware that they were entering a death zone.
Narathiwat Task Force 32 knew in advance of the planned attack on their base. Fifty marines led by Cdr Thammanoon Wanna, the task force commander, were poised for action.
"My men and I waited for days.
"Before they turned up, we spotted about eight men pointing night-vision telescopes at the base. Then we knew it was time," Cdr Thammanoon said.
The militants were divided into two groups – the attack group comprising 30 men, and the support team of 20.
As the base is next to a village with access via a road, the militants arrived in two pickup trucks.
Spikes were strewn on the road to stall military backup from arriving.
The insurgents launched their attack with guns and grenades. As they closed in on the base, explosives planted by the marines went off, killing and wounding some of the intruders.
Shooting then erupted and both sides exchanged heavy gunfire for about 20 minutes before the support team retreated. Two militants were killed as they were being pursued while 14 died during the attack on the base.
Cdr Thammanoon said the marines devised the counter-attack after intercepting a map from suspected militants killed days earlier.
The map showed the attack target.
He said the hardest part of planning the counter-attack was to keep the preparations secret from villagers, as some of them might have been insurgent sympathisers. A source said those who took part in the defence of the base included 17 men who had completed SEAL training and 11 others who had passed the Recon programme.
According to the source, the loss of lives was unavoidable.
"They were heavily armed and came with tools of torture. We seized ropes, wire, sharp objects and some materials for setting a fire," said the source.
It is reported that Maroso Chantrawadee, a core rebel leader, managed to get past the obstacles to enter the base where he was shot and killed.
The militants wore military uniforms but had scarves on to set themselves apart from the real soldiers.
A military source said the insurgents had formed a so-called "Army of Pattani" to give themselves some self-respect.
insurgent – someone who belongs to a group of people fighting to take control of their country or area by force กลุ่มกบฏ
retrieve – to recover; to get something back ได้กลับคืนมา
involved – taking part or having a role in something เกี่ยวข้อง
violent – involving or caused by physical force that is intended to hurt or kill somebody รุนแรง, ร้ายแรง, สาหัส
zone – an area that has an important or typical feature; an area where a particular activity is allowed or not allowed พื้นที่, บริเวณ, เขต
unsuspecting – not realising anything is wrong ไม่สงสัย
raider – a person who makes a quick attack on an enemy ผู้เข้าจู่โจมทันที
militant – someone who uses violent methods to achieve something นักรบ ผู้ต่อสู้กัน
approach – to move closer to someone or something เข้าใกล้
marine – a soldier who is trained to serve on land or at sea, especially one in the US Marine Corps, the British Royal Marines or the Thai armed forces นาวิกโยธิน
base – a place where an army, a navy, etc. operates from ฐานทัพ, ฐานที่มั่น
launch – to start something เริ่มต้น เริ่มทำ
unaware – not understanding or realising something ซึ่งไม่รู้ตัวมาก่อน
task force – a group of people who are brought together to do a particular job, or a large military group who have a military aim to achieve คณะทำงานเฉพาะกิจ, กองกำลังเฉพาะกิจ
in advance –before something happens ล่วงหน้า
commander – the head of an army or army unit ผู้บังคับบัญชา
poised – ready for action พร้อม, พร้อมสำหรับการกระทำ
turn up – to come somewhere มาถึง
spot – to see or notice สังเกตเห็น
telescope – a piece of equipment shaped like a tube, containing lenses, that you look through to make objects that are far away appear larger and nearer กล้องโทรทรรศน์,กล้องส่องทางไกล
comprise – to consist or be made up of two or more things ประกอบด้วย
access – allowing entry to a building or place ทำให้เข้าสู่ได้
via – through ผ่าน (ช่องทาง)
spike – something sharp and pointed, especially a piece of metal or wood ตะปูยักษ์
strewn – covered with things, especially in a disordered way อีฉุยอีแฉก, กระจัดกระจาย
stall – to delay ทำให้ล่าช้า
backup – people or equipment that can be used when extra help is needed สำรอง
grenade – a small bomb that someone throws or fires from a gun ลูกระเบิดเล็ก
plant – (of an explosive) to hide in a place where it can be exploded ฝัง
wound – to cause to be hurt, especially where the skin or flesh is damaged, usually seriously ทำให้บาดเจ็บ
intruder – someone who enters a place without permission ผู้บุกรุก
erupt – to start suddenly ปะทุขึ้น
retreat – to move back or away ถอยกลับ
pursue – to chase someone or something in order to catch them ไล่ตาม
devise – to invent a method of doing something คิดขึ้นใหม่
counter-attack – an attack made in response to the attack of an enemy or opponent in war, sport or an argument การโต้ตอบ
intercept – to stop and catch something or someone before they are able to reach a particular place สกัด
suspected – thought to be something เป็นที่สงสัย
target – a person, business, building, area, etc., that someone intends to attack เป้าหมาย
preparation – things that you do to get ready for something or make something ready การตระเตรียม
sympathiser – someone who approves of and supports someone or something ผู้สนับสนุน, ผู้เห็นอกเห็นใจ
source – someone who gives information แหล่งข่าว
SEAL – Sea, Air and Land, referring to a type of military unit and strategy begun by the US Navy
recon (reconnaissance) – the activity of getting information about an area for military purposes, using soldiers, planes, etc การลาดตระเวน,การตรวจตรา,การสำรวจ,การสอดแนม
unavoidable – impossible to avoid or prevent ซึ่งไม่สามารถหลีกเลี่ยงได้
heavily armed – carrying a lot of weapons ติดอาวุธพร้อม
torture – causing great physical or mental pain to someone intentionally ทรมานให้เจ็บปวด
seize – to take something using official power ยึด
core leader – one of the most active or most important leaders of a group แกนนำ
rebel – of people who try to remove a government or leader by force ผู้ก่อกบฏ
obstacle – an object that you must move or go around in order to move forward อุปสรรค, สิ่งกีดขวาง
uniform – the special set of clothes worn by all members of an organisation or a group at work, or by children at school เครื่องแบบ
scarf – a piece of cloth that is worn around the neck ผ้าพันคอ
set apart – to make somebody/something different from or better than others แยกจาก
so-called – said to be something but which may not be true ที่เป็นที่รู้กัน (ซึ่งบางครั้งอาจไม่เป็นจริงก็ได้)
self-respect – a feeling of pride in yourself that what you do, say, etc. is right and good การเคารพตนเอง