The warning from the Internal Security Operations Command Region 4 follows another weekend of bloodshed in the southernmost provinces.
A spate of bombings and shootings occurred in Narathiwat on Saturday and yesterday, killing at least two soldiers and injuring more than 10 people, including a nine-year-old girl. A suspected insurgent was also killed.
Col Pramote Prom-in, deputy spokesman of the Isoc Region 4 Forward Command, yesterday said all soldiers in the region had been instructed to prepare for more violent attacks until the end of the month.
Col Pramote said intelligence showed about 2,000 insurgent group members were preparing to launch attacks in the deep South.
"They will not focus only on Tak Bai district. They want violence to spill over into other areas," Col Pramote said. "They are also trying to intensify their attacks to counter the government's success in bringing 93 southern militants to surrender to authorities."
Col Pramote said another leading insurgent would turn himself in to the army today in Yala. This insurgent is a former uztad (Islamic teacher) and used to work with Sapae-ing Bazor, the most wanted southern insurgent and former principal of Thammawitthaya Foundation School in Yala.
On Oct 25, 2004, the military cracked down on thousands of demonstrators staging a protest in front of Tak Bai police station to call for the release of six village defence volunteers who had been detained.
The crackdown resulted in the deaths of 85 people, 78 of them from suffocation and being crushed during transport to detention centres. Seven were shot dead.
The clash has provided a rallying point for insurgents, and over the past seven years, attacks have been common around the time of the anniversary.
With the anniversary of the clash on Thursday, the army is going after about 30 core leaders of separatist groups who remain at large, Col Pramote said, adding that they were believed to be behind the weekend attacks.
Five attacks took place in tambon Jeh He and tambon Kosit of Tak Bai district between 8pm and 9pm on Saturday. They were:
- A motorcycle bomb exploded in front of Sodsai karaoke bar, injuring nine-year-old girl Rungthip Kanthawil and Arthit Paengpor, 39.
- A sedan carrying a 20kg bomb exploded in the Taba Hotel car park. No one was injured but the blast severely damaged the hotel building and surrounding properties.
- Two groups of suspected insurgents ambushed a marine police base, resulting in a 10-minute gun battle. Marine police officer Toranin Ponpasuk, 42, sustained a bullet wound to his leg. A suspected insurgent was shot dead. Police vehicles and patrol boats were also damaged.
- A bomb hidden in a fish can exploded inside Vshop grocery store and ignited a fire that burnt down part of the shop. No one was injured in the attack.FA pickup truck carrying an 80kg bomb was found on a local road in Ban Yaring. A bomb disposal unit managed to defuse the device.
Insurgents had also strewn metal spikes across a highway linking Muang Narathiwat and Tak Bai district to disrupt security operations responding to the attacks.
Hours after authorities managed to deal with the simultaneous Tak Bai attacks, two bomb blasts were also reported in Bacho district.
Two soldier were killed and six others wounded in two explosions in the district about 8am yesterday.
The first explosion came from a remote-detonated home-made bomb while eight soldiers from Narathiwat Task Force 32 patrolled the area near Ban Chuwo on motorcycle.
About 1km from the site of that blast, a number of suspected militants detonated a roadside gas cylinder bomb, weighing about 50kg.
The explosion killed Sergeant Major 1st Class officers Issarawut Polsak and Nadi Champawan. Six other soldiers were wounded.
Violent attacks continued throughout yesterday. At 1.45pm, a motorcycle repairman was shot and seriously injured at a shop in Thung Yang Daeng district of Pattani province.
Suhai Dolo, 32, was repairing a bike when two men on a motorcycle stopped outside. One walked up and shot him twice in the head with a pistol.
At 4.30pm, a teacher at a border patrol police-run school was shot dead in Rue So district of Narathiwat. The bullet-riddled body of Preecha Samaimai, 40, was found dead in the driver's seat of his pickup truck on Rue So-Tha Rua Road. Witnesses said the teacher was on his way back from Narathiwat Community College to his home. Two men followed on a motorcycle and a pillion rider sprayed bullets at him.