Village guard system in Deep South to be revamped after Tuesday’s attack

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The current village guard system, in the restive Deep South of Thailand, will be completely overhauled or replaced by a mobile system, under which village defence volunteer units will be on regular patrol to seek insurgents, instead of being a “sitting duck” target for attacks.

The overhaul of the security system was announced yesterday by Lt-Gen Pornsak Poonsawat, commander of the Fourth Army Region, following a deadly raid by insurgents on the Ban Thung Sadao village defence unit in Tambon Lam Phaya in Muang district of Yala province on Tuesday night, killing 15 volunteers and villagers.  A number of others were also seriously injured.

After inspecting the makeshift roadside outpost where the attack took place, Lt-Gen Pornsak told the media that the stationary village guard system has made the volunteers an easy target for insurgents and is in need of an immediate revamp to prevent a repeat of Tuesday night’s carnage.

“From now on, they (the defence volunteers) must be on the move.  They must not camp out in the jungle, but must sleep in the basements of each other’s houses.  We can’t afford to be a sitting duck, otherwise they will all be killed,” said the commander.

One community leader of Tambon Lam Phaya told Thai PBS that there were about 20 defence volunteers at the outpost on Tuesday night, attending their weekly meeting to discuss their work plan.

He said that more than 10 insurgents carried out the surprise attack.

Lam Phaya Tambon Administration Organization (TAO) Mayor Thanong Maithong said he suspected the insurgents had targeted the weapons of the volunteers, as he insisted that the volunteers were not careless.

All 15 victims killed in the attack have been buried in accordance with Islamic tradition.

The families of the victims will be provided with 500,000 baht each as initial compensation.



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