BANGKOK (AFP) – Thailand’s army chief has warned under-pressure troops deployed in Thailand’s insurgency-stricken south need to be better supported, an army spokesman said Friday, after a conscript shot dead four officers before turning the gun on himself.
Ten years of war have left more than 6,200 people dead – the majority civilians – in Thailand’s Muslim-Majority southern provinces, according to conflict analysts Deep South Watch.
The estimated 60,000 security forces blanketing the area face near-daily roadside bomb attacks and ambushes from shadowy rebel groups who melt away into remote communities broadly opposed to rule by Thailand, which colonised the region more than a century ago.
A 21-year-old conscript from northeastern Thailand opened fire with an automatic rifle on Thursday in a barracks in the Nong Chik district of Pattani province, killing three low-ranking officers immediately, a spokesman for the southern region army told AFP. Another wounded soldier died overnight, while the gunman remains in a coma in hospital after shooting himself.
“It’s likely he is suffering from stress and a personal problem,” Colonel Pramote Promin said, adding the conscript had only been deployed in the south for a month.