Thai Army chief flew to restive south following mosque attack 2009-06-09 11:39:55   Print

    BANGKOK, June 8 (Xinhua) -- Thailand's Army chief Gen Anupong Paochinda on Tuesday morning flew to the southern border area following an attack at a mosque Monday night which killed 11 and wounded 12.

    Anupong left Bangkok with Suthep Thaugsuban, Deputy Prime Minister for security affairs, at 08:30 a.m. local time.

    Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva instructed Suthep and Anupong to urgently visit the deep South to be briefed on the latest situation, the Nation news website quoted a source as saying.

    Unidentified gunmen armed with assault rifles on Monday night launched an attack at a mosque in Thailand's southern most province of Narathiwat.

    Security officials believed that the gunmen who have fled into a forest nearby, are trying to create conflict between Thai Muslims and Thai Buddists. Meanwhile, security forces are trying to hunting for the militants.

    Army Col Prinya Chaidilok, spokesman for the fourth region of the Internal Security Operations Command, a unit of the Thai military devoted to national security issues, told NBT, Thailand's state TV, that the militants must be very familiar with the surroundings and the route because they fled from the scene shortly after the attack.

    The attack came on the same day with Abhisit's visit to Malaysia during which he and his Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak planned to visit Islamic religious schools in the Malay-speaking south when they meet in December.

    Earlier Monday, suspected insurgents ambushed a teacher protection unit in Narathiwat, killing one villager and wounding seven soldiers

    Thailand's deep south comprises mainly the three provinces of Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat and some parts of Songkla province. Over 3,700 people have been killed in insurgent violence in the area since January 2004.

Editor: Fang Yang
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