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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05BANGKOK6104
2005-09-23 13:25:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Bangkok
Cable title:  

SOUTHERN VIOLENCE: TWO SOLDIERS KILLED AFTER BEING

Tags:   PGOV  PREL  PTER  TH 
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L BANGKOK 006104 

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR EAP, EAP/MLS, S/CT, INR
PACOM FOR FPA (HUSO)

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/20/2015
TAGS: PGOV PREL PTER TH
SUBJECT: SOUTHERN VIOLENCE: TWO SOLDIERS KILLED AFTER BEING
HELD BY VILLAGERS

REF: BANGKOK 5706

Classified By: Political Counselor Susan M. Sutton. Reason 1.4(d)



1. (C) SUMMARY: On September 21, A Thai Navy officer and
Marine were beaten and stabbed to death in Narathiwat
province after being held overnight by Muslim villagers. The
soldiers, in plain clothes, had been sent to the village the
previous evening to investigate a recent shooting incident.
Villagers seized the pair and held them at a local mosque
before they were killed. Thai security forces were able to
recover the bodies without incident. The murders are another
disturbing development in the ongoing violence and highlight
the climate of fear that permeates the region. Further
violence is expected as a consequence of the incident. END
SUMMARY



2. (C) The following information is derived from a mixture
of government, local, and news sources. It gives the story
as we have it so far, but many details are still not clear:
On September 20, at approximately 2000, there was a drive by
shooting at a local tea shop in the Ra Ngae district of
Narathiwat province. (NOTE: Press reports indicate that one
person was killed, and four injured. However, a local
contact told Emboffs that three people were killed and four
injured in the incident. END NOTE) Following the shooting, a
Thai Navy ensign and Marine sergeant in plain clothes, were
sent to investigate the shooting. Villagers -- apparently
seeing weapons in their vehicle and suspicious they might
have been involved in the shooting -- seized the pair and
moved them to a local mosque where they were held overnight.



3. (SBU) After they were moved to the mosque several
hundred to several thousand villagers surrounded the mosque
to prevent Thai security forces from freeing the soldiers
(NOTE: A local source told Emboffs that there were
approximately 200 villagers directly in front of the mosque
and 1-2,000 in the surrounding area. END NOTE) Sometime
during the afternoon on September 21 the sailor and marine
were beaten and stabbed to death, despite government efforts
to negotiate for their release. Following the murders, the
villagers dispersed, allowing the military to recover the
bodies.



4. (C) Post has been in touch with contacts in the security
forces to express concern and urge a careful response. The
Supreme Command assured us that they were aware of the need
to handle this in a responsible manner.



5. (C) COMMENT: The apparent mob murders of the Thai sailor
and marine is another disturbing incident in the long running
conflict in Thailand's far south and has the potential to
further inflame the situation. The incident highlights the
climate of fear and suspicion that exist in the South,
particularly in rural areas, created by daily incidents of
violence that mostly go unexplained and unclaimed. We do not
yet know who killed the soldiers, but it is clear that within
this tense atmosphere the villagers could have easily been
manipulated (or mobilized) to commit violence by those
seeking to create instability in the South (reftel). Thai
security forces have not as yet responded to the incident,
but the circumstances of the murders are particularly galling
and could provoke reprisals, feeding the ongoing cycle of
violence in the region. END COMMENT
ARVIZU