Thai police accuse Muslim insurgents of attack in Yala

Published : 17:31, Nov 08, 2019 | Updated : 17:44, Nov 08, 2019

Rescue workers push stretcher trolleys carrying the bodies of dead village defence volunteers, who were killed by suspected separatist insurgents, at a hospital in Yala province, southern Thailand, November 6, 2019. REUTERSPolice in Thailand on Friday blamed the worst attack in years in the country's restive south on the region's main Muslim insurgent group, the Barisan Revolusi Nasional.

Fifteen people, including a police officer and many village defence volunteers, were killed on late on Tuesday when suspected separatists stormed a security checkpoint in Yala.

It was the worst single attack in years in a restive region where a long-running Muslim insurgency has killed thousands of people in a fight against central government rule in overwhelmingly Buddhist Thailand.

There has been no immediate claim of responsibility, as is common with such attacks in the region.

"We have evidence indicating that it was the BRN," said Ronnasilp Pusara, a police commander in the south, referring to the Barisan Revolusi Nasional, the main insurgent group operating in the south.

"We have captured one suspect, who is now being interrogated. He also belongs to the BRN," he said.

Reuters could not immediately reach a representative of the BRN for comment.

The separatist insurgency in 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.

In August, the BRN 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.