Unknown gunmen kill Thai Buddhist monks in temple located in Muslim Malays majority area

Bangladesh Live News | @banglalivenews | 20 Jan 2019

Bangkok: Unknown gunmen attacked and shot dead two Buddhist monks in a Thailand temple located at Su Ngai Padi district of Narathiwat province, triggering tension in the area which has seen clashes between ethnic Malay-Muslim rebels and the Buddhist-majority Thai state over the years.

According to several media reports, the attackers are suspected to be Muslim insurgents.


Witnesses described seeing gunmen dressed in black arrive on motorbikes before storming the Rattanaupap temple, shooting the monks at close range, reported BBC.


No group has claimed responsibility for the attack so far.


The region, which is located to close to Malaysia, has witnessed violence for the past several years.


Muslim separatists have been fighting the Buddhist-majority Thai state for several years.


As per BBC report, some 7,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed since the insurgency began in 2004.


Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha  has vowed to take action against those involved in the crime.


Security officials are trying to catch the attackers.


What did Human Rights Watch say on the attack?

Witnesses told Human Rights Watch they saw armed men arrive on motorcycles, open fire with assault rifles at the temple, and then storm inside and shoot the monks at point-blank range. Among those killed was the temple’s abbot, Phra Khru Prachote Rattananurak (real name, Sawang Vethmaha).


“The ghastly attack on Buddhist monks by insurgents in Thailand’s deep south is morally reprehensible and a war crime, and those responsible should be held to account,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “The insurgents’ 15-year campaign of deliberately attacking Buddhist and Muslim civilians can’t be justified.”


The attack followed a pattern consistent with other insurgent attacks, and heightened fears in Su Ngai Padi district and other parts of the four southern border provinces.


Thai authorities have instructed all Buddhist monks in Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat, and Songkhla provinces to stay inside temples and cease their daily morning routine of collecting alms.


Since the outbreak of armed insurgency in January 2004, Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) insurgents have targeted Buddhist temples and monks, which they consider emblematic of the Thai Buddhist state’s occupation of ethnic Malay Muslim territory. At least 23 monks have been killed and more than 20 wounded. The insurgents have also targeted security personnel assigned to provide monks safe passage to and from the temples.


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