Insurgents 'waging cyber war'

Security forces in the far South are being blamed on social network sites for violent attacks that in fact were committed by insurgent groups, security officials say.

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The warning comes from a state intelligence unit after it viewed several accusations on the internet following several acts of violence carried out last Sunday and Monday in Yala and Narathiwat.

The postings on the internet occurred over the same period and concerned shootings and arson attacks, the intelligence unit observed.

Early on Sunday, gunmen murdered two villagers while they were sleeping in their home in Ban Bannang Kuwae Moo 4 in Yala’s Bannang Sata district.

The attackers then torched their house, another building and three cars before fleeing.

Police identified the two victims as Dolo Phadung, 66, and his wife Mariyae, 60.

On Monday night, suspected insurgents set fire to two motorcycles parked at a house in Ban Charamae Moo 3 in Yala’s Than To district.

Later the same night, officers were alerted to another arson attack in Narathiwat.

Suspected militants had set fire to a building on Thetsaban Road in tambon Tanyong Mat in Rangae district just before midnight.

Investigators said the attackers threw a Molotov cocktail into the building — a drinking water factory.

They then sprayed the building with gunfire before leaving.

Part of the building was badly damaged and a motorcycle was destroyed.

There was no report of casualties.

Following the attacks, students from Pattani calling themselves the Permas group began using the internet to point the finger at the authorities, claiming security forces were responsible for the attacks, the intelligence unit says.

Permas is the name of  Persekutuan Mahasiswa Anak Muda dan Siswa Se-Patani, or the Federation of Patani Student and Youth.

Their members were launching a “propaganda” attack on the government by spreading negative rumours about the authorities, especially in cyber space, the intelligence unit said.

The move is apparently aimed at stoking public hatred against the government, it said.

The intelligence unit believes this to be a “new strategy” by separatists which may have been hatched by the Barisan Revolusi Nasional. It says it has already reported its findings to the army as well as the Internal Security Operations Command.

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