4 dead in southern Thailand attack on military outpost

Thai police forensic officers examine the wreckage of motorcycle in Pattani province, southern Thailand, Wednesday, July 24, 2019. Thai police says an unknown number of assailants carried out an attack on a military outpost Tuesday night using firearms and explosives and triggered a gunfight. (AP Photo)

HAT YAI, Thailand (AP) — Four people were killed in an attack on a military outpost in southern Thailand, where Muslim rebels are active, Thai police said.

An unknown number of assailants carried out the attack Tuesday night using firearms and explosives, triggering a gunfight that left four dead and three injured, said Pol. Col. Yanapong Ubolbarn, chief of the Muang Pattani police station.

Two people who were part of a village defense unit were killed immediately, while a soldier and a volunteer officer died in a hospital. The attack also left three other volunteer officers wounded.

A Muslim separatist insurgency has left about 7,000 people dead since 2004 in Thailand's three southernmost provinces of Pattani, Narathiwat and Yala.

Police said the attackers Tuesday were riding on motorcycles as they threw explosives at the outpost. They waited for the explosions to subside before opening fire on the outpost and security officers. A firefight took place for several minutes before the attackers retreated.

The unidentified assailants also scattered nails on the road to intercept incoming vehicles that came to help the attacked security officials, police said.

Separately, rebel groups in Thailand's deep south issued statements Tuesday to condemn an incident in which a suspected insurgent was allegedly taken from his home for interrogation by officials and within 24 hours was rushed to a hospital in critical condition with brain injuries.

Over the years, the region has seen multiple allegations of torture and mistreatment of suspects under the custody of Thai authorities.