Some security sources have identified a shadowy separatist revolutionary group with a paramilitary arm known the Barusi Revolusi Nasional as the force behind a new insurgency driven and financed by robbery such as the raid on the Hangthong Suthada gold shop in Na Thawi at the end of August.
Thai security services have arrested one suspect linked with the devastating attack on Tuesday night on a Yala village checkpoint in which 15 local volunteers and security personnel were killed. The attack is also being linked with a robbery on a gold shop in Songkhla at the end of August in which up to ฿85 million in gold was taken in a robbery executed with military-style precision. In addition to this, the escalation of insurgency activity is forcing many security officials to now face up the fact that a separatist and Islamist movement identified as the Barusi Revolusi Nasional is the prime mover behind the recent uptick in violence which since 2004 has seen over 7,000 lose their lives in Thailand’s southern provinces.
Some Thai security service personnel believe that the lethal attack that occurred on Tuesday night and into the early hours of Wednesday on a security checkpoint in Yala provinces may have been the work of the Barusi Revolusi Nasional, a shadowy group that seeks to establish an independent Ismalist state in the southern provinces centred on Pattani.
Suspect arrested in connection with the attack
On Friday, authorities arrested a suspect connected with the attack who was found wearing black army fatigues and carrying ammunition which Thai security services have been able to link to a number of insurgent attacks including the elaborate robbery of a gold shop in the Na Thawi district of Songkhla province in which at one stage, it was claimed ฿85 million in gold was stolen. Later police reports suggested, however, a lower figure.
Proceeds from the heist believed to have been taken into Kedaj state in Malaysia by insurgents
The heist was later attributed to key players in the southern insurgency and it was understood that the haul and proceeds from it were taken south through the Malaysian border into Kedah state.
The arrest of the suspect occurred on Friday night. He was taken to Ingkayut Borihan, a military facility in Pattani province. It is understood that he is a Thai national from the Khok Pho district of Pattani.
Security forces have identified key insurgency leaders associated with the deadly attack
Security officers have identified two key insurgency leaders who they believe to associated with the attack. They are Hubaidila Romueli who is reported to be a leader of insurgents active in the Yala and Kabang districts of Pattani and a man named as Amat Tunenga in the Mueang district itself where the attack was carried out early in the week.
Group identified as the Barusi Revolusi Nasional
The belief that the latest outrage and string of recent attacks are linked to the Barusi Revolusi Nasional is gaining credence but has for a long time been played down by officials in the south reluctant to acknowledge that the insurgency is becoming more organised and structured.
Fighting for an Islamic type state within the southern provinces based on the old sultanate of Pattani
The group is understood to be fighting to create a separatist state based on the former sultanate of Pattani annexed by Thailand in 1909 but even at that point long under Thailand’s hegemony.
The group is believed to be behind an insidious campaign to murder teachers in the region and to impose strict Islamic teaching on the population.
Other sources are linking the attack on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning to the deaths of two suspected insurgents in the Sai Buri district of Pattani the week previously.
Ferocity, duration and organised nature of Tuesday’s attack has shocked local villagers
The ferocity and well-organised nature of the attack earlier this week, has put locals in Tung Sadao Village in the Lam Phaya subdistrict of the Mueang area of Yala on guard against the escalating threat posed by the insurgent group.
Only 2 defenders from 22 were left uninjured
Villagers were particularly shocked at how long the attack went on for and the horrific carnage left to be seen in its aftermath.
It is understood that between 10 and 30 attackers were involved in the attack on the checkpoint in the village manned by 22 volunteers including a police captain pursuing an investigation.
Only two of the defenders were left injured with 11 fatalities on the spot. 4 died later after they were removed to hospital.
Heartbreak among families and the community
The attack has brought heartbreak and suffering to people in the closely-knit community.
40-year-old Sarinya Chaiya was left mourning her husband of 10 years Samsami Sama.
She heard the shooting and the attack on the checkpoint but could only pray her husband would be safe. After midnight, the village headman brought her the bad news.