Bangkok [Thailand]: At least 15 people were killed and several others suffered injuries in an attack on a security checkpoint in a Muslim-majority province in southern Thailand, security officials said on Wednesday.
The late-night attack was the worst single attack in years in Yala province 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 response from security forces, Al Jazeera reported.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility as such incidents are common in the province.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha has said that the perpetrators must “be brought to justice,” according to Defence Ministry spokesman Kongcheep Tantravanich.
A decades-old separatist campaign in Thailand’s largely ethnic Malay-Muslim provinces of Yala, Pattani, and Narathiwat has killed nearly 7,000 people since 2004, claimed Deep South Watch, a group that was established in 2006 with the intention of raising awareness about the conflict in southern Thailand.
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.
The region is under martial law, heavily policed by the military and sometimes staffed with trained civilian volunteers, with residents and rights groups accusing them of heavy-handed tactics.
Some rebel groups in the south said they are fighting to establish an independent state. Police, teachers and other government representatives are often targets of the violence.