This shooting spree on the 23 July 2017 was PROBABLY carried out by one group and is PROBABLY the same group that has been responsible for the attacks occurring in Pattani province. Based on these attacks and prior incidents; this group has PROBABLY lost its IED capability and is keeping to small arms attacks. This group is currently understood to be part of the BRN.
It is POSSIBLE this group is limited/prefers to attack on weekends. This coming weekend, there will POTENTIALLY be more of these attacks carried out which will be done in a sequence of 2-3 murders of civilians and defence volunteers in the space of 2 hours, followed by a larger small arms attack which could POTENTIALLY be against another army base or could be a drive by shooting of civiliansâ houses.
On 23 July 2017 between 08:00-23:00 hours approximately, 2 murders and one skirmish attack occurred in Pattani province in southern Thailand. These incidents are shown in Figure 1 below with arrows to represent the timeline of events.
Figure 1. Shootings in Pattani, Thailand on 23 July 2017. (Click on above image to expand)
A breakdown of each incident is as follows:
1. 08:00 Hours, 23 July 2017 â Defence Volunteer Murdered In Sai Buri District, Pattani:
A defence volunteer in Sai Buri district was shot dead at a roadside tea shop. Police said two men on a motorcycle arrived at the shop and opened fire, speeding away after the attack. The defence volunteer was shot in the head and died instantly.
2. 09:30 Hours, 23 July 2017 â Insurgents Murder Couple In Yarang District, Pattani:
A couple was murdered Yarang district, Pattani 90 minutes after a territorial defence volunteer was shot and killed in Sai Buri district. The victims were driving a pickup truck to sell mattresses to other villagers when an unknown number of assailants approached the pickup truck at shot at the vehicle. The husband died instantly while the wife is believed to have died later from wounds.
3. 23:00 Hours (approx), 23 July 2017 â Insurgents Carry Out Small Arms Attack On Infantry Base In Nong Chik District:
A group of insurgents conducted a small arms attack against the base of Infantry Company 2513, Pattani Task Force 24 in Ban Tha Dan, tambon Don Rak late on Sunday night. The insurgents opened fired at the base, prompting an exchange of fire lasting for five minutes.
While withdrawing, the insurgents fired randomly at surrounding houses. There were no casualties in the attack and the clash. Searching of the area after the attack found two bomb craters in front of the base and recovered more than 80 spent cartridges of M16 and AK47 ammunition.
COMMENT. Available reports on this incident do not point to the use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) or grenades being thrown by the soldiers. Both of these could be the reason behind the craters. COMMENT ENDS.
Shortly afterward, the vehicle used by the insurgents was found in an irrigation canal tambon Paka Harang, Muang district. A police investigation revealed that a group of five to six insurgents stole the vehicle at a village in Tambon Pulo Puyo, Nong Chik district and took the owner as a hostage. The owner was reportedly killed after the attack. Details surrounding the attack are pictured in Figure 2 below.
Figure 2. Events surrounding the attack on the Infantry base. (Click on above image to expand)
COMMENT. Based on previous reporting, one insurgent was killed and another captured during a raid by the Thai army at a Mosque in Paka Harang on 12 July 2017 â where the vehicle was dumped â after they received a tip-off that insurgents linked to the Big C Supercentre bombing on 09 May 2017 were hiding there (PRATTEN 2017a) .
These incidents on 23 July 2017 occurred are too close to be a coincidence, the timing of the incidents would strongly indicate they have been carried out by the same group of people.
Based on incidents shown in Figure 3 as well as incidents of Direct Weapons and Bombings dating back to 01 May 2017, it was assessed there are currently 2 active groups fighting in Southern Thailand. Group 1 appears to be located in Pattani province while Group 2 appears to be operating in Narathiwat province further south (PRATTEN 2017b). Group 1 is showing similar aims to what is previously known about the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN); aiming to cause chaos which will lead to the breakdown of security and loss of confidence in the Thai government (Fevrier, 2017). This group has utilised a variety of tactics, from IEDs targeting the Big C Supercentre, IEDs against the Thai Army â however these kinds of attacks appear to have ceased after 3 insurgents linked to the Big C bombing were killed (PRATTEN 2017a, PRATTEN 2017c) â to small arms ambushes against teachers, drive-by shootings on civiliansâ houses and murders â which were not factored into the previous analysis of this group. The use of small arms appears to be becoming this groups preferred or only equipment available. COMMENT ENDS.
Figure 3. Similar incidents in Pattani, 01-21 July 2017. (Click on above image to expand)
When comparing the incidents on 23 July 2017 to prior incidents in Figure 3, a number of similarities can be seen:
Multiple murders in quick succession. In both prior incidents and on 23 July, multiple people were killed in a short space of time; no more than 2 hours between the murders. Also, Defence volunteers were among the victims. The murders were carried out in a similar fashion. Two of the murders on 06 July 2017 and the murder at 08:00 hours on 23 July 2017 were carried out by two men on a motorcycle. A skirmish or ambush being carried out shortly afterwards. After the murders on 06 July 2017, two people were wounded in a roadside ambush to the south of these murders in the same district 3 days later. On 23 July 2017, the two murders were followed by the skirmish in Nong Chik district. However, this attack occurred on the same day as the murders and was against a target that can counter-attack. This would appear to be a reduced timeframe and a much more brazen target. The small arms attacks in Figure 3 both occurred on a weekend while the murders preceding them were three days before; the 23 July 2017 was a Sunday. Previous reporting on the SALUTE HIM2 of this group indicated a potential habit emerging. However, this apparent habit could very well be a preference rather than a limitation. The weekend may offer greater freedom of movement and larger numbers of targets to choose from.
This shooting spree on the 23 July 2017 was PROBABLY carried out by one group and is PROBABLY the same group that has been responsible for the attacks occurring in Pattani province. This group is currently understood to be part of the BRN based on its apparent targeting of anyone for the purpose of creating chaos with what would appear to be an established supply of small arms weapons.
Based on these attacks and prior incidents; this group has PROBABLY lost its IED capability and is keeping to small arms attacks. Its targeting of anyone in the province has not changed but the speed of multiple attacks combined with its willingness to shoot at an army base makes it POSSIBLE this group is becoming more confident, faster and willing to carry out much more brazen attacks.
Considering the timing of these attacks â on a weekend â and the timings of previous attacks; it is POSSIBLE this group is limited/prefers to attack on weekends. This coming weekend and future weekends, there will POTENTIALLY be more of these small arms attacks carried out which will be done in a sequence of 2-3 murders of civilians and defence volunteers in the space of 2 hours, followed by a larger small arms attack which could POTENTIALLY be against another army base or could be a drive by shooting of civiliansâ houses.
FEVRIER, V. 2017. Southern Thailand: Instability in Patani, a Threat to the Greater Region. Intelligence Fusion [Online], 2017. Available: https://www.intelligencefusion.co.uk/single-post/2017/05/16/Southern-Thailand-Instability-in-Patani-a-Threat-to-the-Greater-Region [Accessed 16 May 2017].
PRATTEN M. 2017a. Post Incident Report: Suspect in Big C Super Centre bombing killed in Paka Harang, Pattani. Intelligence Fusion [Online]. Available: https://www.intelligencefusion.co.uk/single-post/2017/07/13/Post-Incident-Report-Suspect-in-Big-C-Super-Centre-bombing-killed-in-Paka-Harang-Pattani [Accessed 13 July 2017].
PRATTEN M. 2017b. Thailand Fortnightly Snapshot: Armed Conflict in Thailand. Intelligence Fusion [Online]. Available: https://www.intelligencefusion.co.uk/single-post/2017/07/24/Thailand-Fortnightly-Snapshot-Armed-Conflict-in-Thailand [Accessed 24 July 2017].
PRATTEN M. 2017c. Weekly Intelligence Report: Monitoring in Thailand – 16 July 2017. Intelligence Fusion [Online]. Available: https://www.intelligencefusion.co.uk/single-post/2017/07/16/Weekly-Intelligence-Report-Monitoring-in-Thailand [Accessed 20 July 2017].