11 July 2024

Two of the three southern insurgents allegedly responsible for torching one of the 19 targets, mostly convenience stores, in three southern provinces of Thailand on Tuesday night, wore the flag of the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN), the main insurgent group in the region, on their shirt sleeves.

CCTV images from a Mini Big C convenience store shows three men arriving at the store, one of whom, wearing all black and holding an assault rifle, stood guard outside the store while the other two, who were seen wearing shirts bearing the BRN flag, entered.

There were three employees inside and all of them were told to leave immediately. One of the suspects then splashed gasoline from a bottle onto the shelving and the other started a fire before they all left on motorcycles.

Thai military officers believe that at least 70 insurgents, in groups of 4-5 each, were involved in a coordinated attack on the 19 targets, mostly convenience stores, in Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat provinces.

The attacks occurred almost simultaneously and followed a similar pattern, with some groups throwing firebombs at their targets from motorcycles and others forcing their way into some stores and torching them. One gas station in Narathiwat province, however, was attacked using a remotely detonated IED (improvised explosive device).

One man was found dead in one of the burned-out convenience stores.

The Thai military said that the spate of attacks was intended to undermine the economy of the Deep South, as the stores are seen as an economic symbol.

More than 7,300 people have died in violence in the Deep South since 2004, when insurgent groups launched a violent campaign seeking self-determination.