Security beefed up in Narathiwat after 13 persons killed in ten days

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NARATHIWAT, March 11 — Security officials on Sunday stepped up security measures in restive Narathiwat thanks to a tip-off of a new possible assault within the next few days, as recent attacks killed 13 people over the period of March 1-10.

Officials tightened security in all 13 districts by setting up checkpoints to inspect vehicles passing through main and local roads around the clock.

The stiff security in the province came after a tip-off of the possible attack in the next few days by the suspected insurgent group Runda Kumpulan Kecil (RKK), as violence from March 1-10 killed 13 persons and injured 28 others. The victims included residents and government officials.

Regarding the attacks on two military outposts in Bacho district on Thursday night [March 8] which left 12 soldiers wounded, Pol Maj Gen Choti Chavarnwiwat, commander of Narathiwat provincial police, on Sunday called for a meeting with Bacho police investigators to follow up on the incident.

According to a development on the investigation, the police found that assailants attacking military outposts recently were a new group of young people recruited from four districts of Narathiwat by Maroso Chantharavadee, a suspected RKK leader.

Meanwhile, police on Monday will retrieve and examine footage recorded by closed-circuit television (CCTV) surveillance cameras at the scene of the incidents in order to seek arrest warrants from the court.

The assaults on two military outposts took place in Narathiwat’s Bacho district during the night of March 8 and wounded 12 soldiers.

According to preliminary investigation, about 50 well-armed men divided into three groups attacked two military outposts with M-79 grenade launchers and gunfire. The third group felled trees to block the roads and cut down three electric poles to cut power at the targeted locations.

Soldiers exchanged gunfire with the suspected insurgents for about 20 minutes before the attackers retreated.

More than 5,000 local residents, security personnel, monks, teachers and insurgents have been killed since a renewed insurgency among Thailand’s mainly ethnic Malay Muslim far South erupted some eight years ago.