Based on incidents since Lukman Madingâs death, the death of Suding Mama will PROBABLY elicit a similar response; insurgents will begin to carry out murders and ambushes against civilians linked to the Thai government â especially teachers â or ISOC as a means of reprisal to discourage further tip-offs being made to ISOC regarding the whereabouts of insurgents. Given that a tip-off was still given about Suding Mamaâs location despite the recent killings, insurgents will POSSIBLY try to make the reprisals even greater than before. Over the next seven days, there will POSSIBLY be several murders or attempted murders of civilians and will PROBABLY consist of roadside ambushes.
At 03:00 on 12 July 2017 (GMT +7 hours), a force from the Internal Security Operations Command, Region 4 (ISOC) carried out an operation at the Ban Paka Harang Mosque in tambon Paka Harang, Pattani province. ISOC had received a tip-off that suspects involved in the Big C Super Centre bombing
were hiding there. On arrival, they found a group of men on hammocks and bamboo beds at the rear of the mosque. The alleged suspects saw the ISOC personnel and a firefight ensued.
One of the men was killed in the firefight while the others reportedly fled. The man who was killed has been identified as Suding Mama. Officials identified him as one of the suspects wanted under arrest warrants.
Figure 1. Suding Mama, 28, wanted in connection with Big C Super Centre bombing on May 09, 2017.
COMMENT. The Big C Super Centre in Pattani was bombed on 09 May 2017, injuring 80 people. The bomb consisted of two gas cylinders – stolen from a murdered vendor in Yala province – being filled with explosives, placed in a car and detonated.â¯Authorities believe 15 people carried out the bombing.
Since the Big C bombing on 09 May 2017 up until todayâs incident (12 July 2017), a number of improvised explosive device (IED) attacks have occurred in Southern Thailand. With the exception of the two drive-by attacks with âpipe-bombsâ in Banang Sata District, Yala province, all IED attacks have been with the use of gas cylinders packed with explosives weighing between 15kg-30kg (see incident map below). The last IED attack was three weeks ago near the Thai-Malaysia border on 23 June 2017.
Figure 2. Incidents in Southern Thailand 09 May 2017 – 12 July 2017.
Since the attack on 23 June 2017, there have not been any IED attacks occur in Southern Thailand. What has happened since 23 June 2017 is the following:
30 June 2017: Lukman Mading â an insurgent with five arrest warrants issued between 2013-2016 for terrorism, arson, robberies, possession of illegal weapons and explosives and attempted murder â was killed by ISOC personnel attempting to arrest him after they received a tip-off of his whereabouts. 30 June 2017: Two men shoot dead the head of ‘Bali Kampung’ in Sun-gai Kolok, Narathiwat. 06 July 2017: Three murders in quick succession in Mayo, Pattani; one of which was a defence volunteer. 09 July 2017: Two teachers ambushed and wounded while driving in Mayo, Pattani 10 July 2017: Former teacher ambushed and killed while driving in Rueso, Narathiwat.
With Suding Mama’s and Lukman Mading’s deaths, the list of suspects would now appear to be reduced to 13. With his arrest warrants including possession of explosives, Lukman would have been a significant figure, he may have been behind making the bombs.
The killing teachers, public servants or anyone supporting ISOC has been an insurgent tactic in Southern Thailand since 2004 (Askew, 2008) as means of discouraging people in Southern Thailand having anything to do with the Thai government or military. Before Lukmanâs death, there were only two incidents where teachers or civivlians were shot and killed / wounded. Since then, the amount has more than tripled. This would indicate insurgents wanting to exact revenge for Lukmanâs death.
The similarities between the Big C Super Centre bombing and the majority of IED attacks since â use of gas cylinders â makes it PROBABLE those behind the Big C bombing are the same insurgents behind the IED attacks that have occurred up until 23 June 2017.
With the ambushes and shootings that have occurred in the wake of Lukman Mading’s death, these were POSSIBLY reprisal attacks by the same group to discourage civilians giving further tip-offs to ISOC. Considering the assessed reprisal attacks for his death and Madingâs arrest warrants for possessing explosives, it is POSSIBLE that Lukman Mading was involved in making the explosives for the IED attacks and the Big C Super Centre bombing.
The lack of IED incidents since Madingâs death could POTENTIALLY mean that ISOC have killed one of â if not the only – bomb maker behind the Big C attack and the IEDs that have occurred since. It could POTENTIALLY mean that IED attacks using gas cylinders will cease.
Based on incidents since Lukman Madingâs death, the death of Suding Mama will PROBABLY elicit a similar response; insurgents will begin to carry out murders and ambushes against civilians linked to the Thai government â especially teachers â or ISOC as a means of reprisal to discourage further tip-offs being made to ISOC about the whereabouts of insurgents. Given that a tip-off was still given about Suding Mamaâs location despite the recent killings, insurgents will POSSIBLY try to make the reprisals even greater than before. Over the next seven days, there will POSSIBLY be several murders or attempted murders of civilians and will PROBABLY consist of the roadside ambushes.
ASKEW, M. 2008. Thailand’s intractable southern war: policy, insurgency and discourse. Contemporary Southeast Asia, 30, 186+.