Rescue workers transfer the bodies of dead village defence volunteers to stretcher trolleys at a hospital in Yala province on Wednesday. Surapan Boonthanom/Reuters
Suspected separatist insurgents stormed a security checkpoint in Thailand’s Muslim-majority south and killed at least 15 people, including a police officer and many village defence volunteers, security officials said on Wednesday.
It was the worst single attack in years in a region where a Muslim separatist insurgency has killed thousands.
The attackers, in the province of Yala, also used explosives and scattered nails on roads to delay pursuers late on Tuesday night.
“This is likely the work of the insurgents,” Colonel Pramote Prom-in, a regional security spokesman, told Reuters.
“This is one of the biggest attack in recent times.”
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, however, as is common with such attacks.
A decade-old separatist insurgency in predominantly Buddhist Thailand’s largely ethnic Malay-Muslim provinces of Yala, Pattani, and Narathiwat has killed nearly 7,000 people since 2004, says Deep South Watch, a group that monitors the violence.
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.
Some rebel groups in the south have said they are fighting to establish an independent state.
Authorities arrested several suspects from the region in August over a series of small bombs detonated in Bangkok, the capital, although they have not directly blamed any insurgent group.
The main insurgency group, the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN), denied responsibility for the Bangkok bombings, which wounded four people.
In August, the group told Reuters it had held a secret preliminary meeting with the government, but any step towards a peace process appeared to wither after the deputy prime minister rejected a key demand for the release of prisoners.
The Taliban denied any involvement in the attack. While no other group immediately claimed responsibility, Daesh militants frequently orchestrate assaults on the country's religious minorities.
Five people were killed in an extremist attack on a hotel in Somalia's capital Mogadishu, police said on Wednesday, adding that the victims were three civilians and two members of the security forces.
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Dubai Economy also urged everyone to report any non-compliance to the precautionary guidelines through the Dubai Consumer app available on the Apple and Google stores, by calling 600545555, or by visiting the Consumerrights.ae website.
The government has also introduced a Pass Track Application that all travellers will be required to install in their mobile phones. A health declaration form is also required to be filled 48 hours before arriving in the country.
It was extinguished after 140 firefighters were called to the scene, the local fire brigade said in a separate statement.
Paul Rusesabagina, in a pink prison uniform for his bail hearing on Friday, told the court in Kigali, the capital, that he helped to form the National Liberation Front in order to help Rwandan refugees, but he never supported violence.