Pattani: Successfully staving off an insurgent attack on a military base in country’s south, Thai troops killed 17 militants, officials said Wednesday.
A marine base in Thailand’s Narathiwat province was attacked by insurgents late Tuesday night, Col Pramote Promin said.
The militants were donning military uniform like dress and were about 50 in number.
The colonel added that the attack ended with 17 militants dead and no soldiers harmed.
The military had already been on alert as the locals had tipped them off.
An Islamic insurgency erupted in 2004 in Thailand`s three southernmost provinces, a Muslim-majority region in the Buddhist-dominated country. In April of that year, guerrillas launched simultaneous attacks on police stations and checkpoints in the three provinces, triggering clashes in which more than 100 militants died; 32 of them were killed at the Kreu-Sae mosque in Pattani where they were holed up.
Sunai Phasuk, a Bangkok-based researcher for Human Rights Watch, said the overnight toll was the worst since then.
Muslims in the south have long complained of discrimination by the central government in the capital, Bangkok, and the insurgents are thought to be fighting for autonomy. But the insurgency itself remains murky, with militants making no public pronouncements on their goals.
Officials from security agencies are scheduled to meet Friday to discuss safety measures for the southernmost provinces.
With Agency Inputs