Deep South 11-year toll hits 4,000
Small fall in attack fatalities last year
Almost 4,000 victims have been killed in 16,969 violent incidents in the deep South over the past 11 years since the southern violence erupted, figures show.
Sunday was the 11th anniversary of a separatist insurgent attack on the 4th Development Battalion headquarters at the Kromluang Naradhiwas Rajanagarindra military camp in Cho Airong district in Narathiwat province, widely regarded as the trigger which set off the latest surge in insurgent violence.
That attack killed four soldiers. They were Chief Warrant Officer Sanoh Insamphal, CWO Chamlaeng Poonsawat, CWO Prapan Terngpeng and CWO Surin Kanchana. The insurgents also stole 413 firearms and explosives from the battalion's arsenal.
Since then the stolen weapons have been used in attacks and unleashed violence many times in the far South.
Of the 413 stolen guns, government forces have retrieved 104 of them. They include 90 M16 rifles, eight 11mm pistols, three SKS rifles, two AK47 rifles, and one shotgun.
On the anniversary, security units in Narathiwat, Yala, Pattani and Songkhla were put on high alert for possible attacks.
In Yala, a special task force of rangers and territorial defence volunteers manned checkpoints in tambon Bannag Sareng, Muang district and on Weruwan Road to check vehicles and passengers who entered the municipality.
However, by press time, no violence had been reported.
After 11 years of unrest, a total of 16,969 violent incidents, which occurred during the period Jan 4, 2004-Jan 4, 2015, have resulted in almost 4,000 fatalities, the Southern Border Provinces Police Operations Centre says.
They comprise 8,027 armed attacks, 3,022 bombings, 1,647 arsons, 258 clashes, 339 attacks on individuals, 172 gun robberies, 102 murders, 65 protests, 3,315 acts of harassment and 22 other incidents.
A total of 3,961 fatalities comprised the deaths of 2,610 civilians, 509 soldiers, 365 police officers, 138 teachers, 18 monks and 321 insurgents.
A total of 9,625 injuries comprised those of 5,548 civilians, 2,453 soldiers, 1,422 police officers, 147 teachers, 24 monks and 31 insurgents.
However, fatalities decreased in 2014. A total of 212 deaths was reported in 2014. They were divided into 129 civilians, 40 soldiers, 28 police officers, five teachers, two monks and eight separatists.
In 2013 there were 322 deaths, and in 2012, 326 deaths.
As the numbers indicate, the general security situation has improved, the centre says.
The police operation centre said a total of 147,049 criminal cases have been lodged, of which 9,755 cases or 6.63% involve security and insurgency related issues.
Of the security and insurgency cases, authorities arrested suspects in 1,634 cases. Courts have handed down sentences in 702 cases involving 1,493 suspects. In court rulings, 57 suspects were sentenced to death, 114 were sentenced to life imprisonment and 282 were given terms not exceeding 50 years.
The report classified the security of villages by colour codes. Villages were divided into red, yellow and green zones, depending on their levels of violence. Red refers to the highest level of violence.
For 2014, red zone villages decreased to 136 from 2013's figure of 319. The yellow zone villages fell from 517 for 2013 to 234 last year. Green zone village numbers increased from 1,160 in 2013 to 1,600 for 2014.
Authorities say they are identifying insurgency groups from their interrogations of suspects. They believe they have identified a total of 11,000 insurgents comprising 315 Islamic leaders, 208 insurgency group leaders, 2,314 members of the Runda Kumpulan Kecil (RKK) group, 6,075 supporters of various groups and 1,123 others.