Gunmen kill 15 in southern Thailand

BANGKOK: Suspected separatist insurgents stormed a security checkpoint in Thailand’s south and killed at least 15 people, including a police officer and many village defence volunteers, security officials said on Wednesday.
It was the worst single attack in years in a restive region where a long-running insurgency has killed thousands of people in a fight against central government rule.
The attackers, in the province of Yala, also used explosives and scattered nails on roads to delay pursuers late on Tuesday night.
“This is likely the work of the insurgents,” Colonel Pramote Prom-in, a military regional security spokesman, said. “This is one of the biggest attack in recent times.” There was no immediate claim of responsibility, as is common with such attacks in the region.
A decade-old separatist insurgency in Thailand’s largely ethnic Malay-Muslim provinces of Yala, Pattani, and Narathiwat has killed nearly 7,000 people since 2004, says Deep South Watch, a group that monitors the violence. Many of the dead at the checkpoint were members of the Village Defence Volunteers, a community-watch type organisation, who were believed to be giving information to the local police and military.