Over 1,700 weapons lost to suspected insurgents
More than 1,700 weapons have been lost to suspected insurgents and just one-fourth of them were recovered in the past nine years since the start of a new round of insurgency war by a new breed of Islamic militants in 2004.
The latest arms raid occurred at about dawn on Friday December 7 when some 30 suspected insurgents in military camouflage and hoods stormed a defence volunteers’ outpost in Kapor district of Pattani and made away with four AK47 assault rifles, one M16A1 assault rifle with more than 400 rounds of ammunition, six cellphones and one radio transceiver. However, the raiders did not harm any of the five volunteers on duty at the outpost who were Malay Muslims.
One of the volunteers, Mahama, later told the media that he was having coffee at the outpost when he was surprised by five intruders. He said he tried to grab his rifle which was put on the table but one of the intruders pointed the barrel of a gun at his neck.
Mahama said his two other colleages were in the upstairs and the other two were in another room on the downstairs. All of them were rounded up and tied, he said, adding there were about 20 suspected insurgents outside their outpost.
On day afterward on December 8, security forces raided two villages in Tambon Karubi and held in custody two men suspected to be involved in the arms raid. They were identified as Makta Datae, 40, and Suding Arwae, 50.
The December 7 incident was the latest of a series of arms raids which took place this year. The followings are some details of the arms raids:
- On November 18, a gang of some 20 suspected insurgents raided the office of the Budo-Sungai Padi national park in Ba Cho district of Narathiwat in an attempt to steal weapons kept in the office. But the attempt failed as the raiders could not break through a steel vault where the weapons were kept.
- On October 6, suspected insurgents killed three defence volunteers traveling in a pick-up truck in Yaring district of Pattani and made away with one AK47 assault rifle, one M16 assault rifle and two pistols.
- On September 15, suspected insurgents shot and killed three paramilitarn rangers and one woman traveling in a pick-up truck. They seized four weapons, including AK47 assault rifles.
- On July 28, suspected insurgents, riding in three pick-up trucks, shot and killed four soldiers riding in two motorcycles on a road in Mayo district of Pattani. They made of with four M16 assault rifles and their bullet-proof vests.
- On July 25, suspected insurgents detonated a car bomb killing five policemen traveling in a pickup truck in Raman district of Yala and escaped with six AK47 and M16 assault rifles.
- On May 25, five suspected insurgents stormed the office of village headman in Tambon Jarang, Yaring district of Yala and escaped with three AK47 assault rifles, two shotguns, one .22 calibre rifle and two pistols.
But the worst arms raid occurred on January 4, 2004 which marked the symbolic start of the insurgency war. Suspected insurgents raided an armoury at Narathiwatratnakarin barrack or Pileng barrack in Cho-Airong district of Narathiwat and made of with 413 war weapons, mostly M16 assault rifles.
The second worst arms robbery took place on January 19, 2011 when suspected insurgents raided an army outpost in Ra-nage district and escaped with 65 weapons, many of them assault rifles.
According to security forces, altogether 1,629 weapons were seized by suspected insurgents in the past eight years until early this and, out of these, only 484 have been retrieved.
Caption : A defence volunteers’ outpost in Kapor district of Pattani
Thanks : Photo by Pares Lohason