More than 200 troops and policemen searched 19 locations in the southern border provinces of Yala and Pattani late Friday night, seeking those suspected of involvement in the fatal attack on a village defence volunteer outpost in Yala’s Muang district on Tuesday night.

Nine suspects were apprehended in their coordinated searches of six locations in Kok Pho district of Pattani and 13 locations in neighbouring Muang district of Yala province.  Three were released shortly after initial checks showed they have no criminal records, but the rest were detained for further questioning.

Two other suspects were earlier also detained for questioning.

Pol Maj-Gen Chirawat Padoongtham, commander of Pattani provincial police, said today that the operation last night was in response to an order from the commander of the Fourth Army Region, Lt-Gen Pornsak Poonsawat, to bring the perpetrators of the Tuesday’s attack justice.

The security forces found several knapsacks and bandages in the searches, but no weapons.

Pol Maj-Gen Chirawat said background checks showed some of the six detained have warrants issued for their arrest.  However, he said forensic checks are needed to determine whether any of them were involved in Tuesday’s attack and the search continues.

In his capacity as director of the Internal Security Operations Command, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has invoked the Internal Security Act to order a partial curfew in some districts of Songkhla, Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat provinces, effective as of December 1st for one year, to limit the movement of insurgents and to facilitate security forces’ hunt for insurgents.

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