Southern army go on offensive in hunt for separatist insurgents
The Fourth Army Region has decided to embed about 10,000 men in 735 special mobile units in 188 villages known to be used as safe havens for separatist insurgents.
The change of strategy, from a defensive to an offensive mode, follows the fatal attack by about ten insurgents on a road checkpoint in Pattani province on Tuesday night. One soldier and four defence volunteers were killed and two other volunteers were injured. Their five M16 assault rifles were stolen.
Commander of the Fourth Army Region, Lt-Gen Pornsak Poonsawat, chaired a meeting of unit commanders, police and local administrators to be briefed on the strategy change.
He said that the targeted villages, out of over 1,900 villages in the restive Deep South, were known to be used as shelters by insurgents after their operations.
He said that the mobile units will be embedded in the villages to deny insurgents their safe haven and to flush them out of the jungle.
The damaged road checkpoint, in Village 7 of Tambon Pakaharang, is now being repaired and it is expected to be operational again soon.