The army has stepped in to find the missing AK’s.
It kind of grabs you by the boo-boo when you find that an obscure report about the southern Thailand insurgency makes it to The Washington Post — zero comments on the article, mind.
A follower on Twitter (I interact more on Twitter these days, as Facebook has censored me, you can find my profile here) asked me what the deal was with those missing guns down in Narathiwat. I’d seen a headline in Thai about it, and started to dig a bit into the story after the question.
After all, it’s a topic that I’ve held a fair amount of interest in, and I cover it when I can. Like most crime threads, I can only cover it as much as time allows: like in this story about an BRN insurgent ambush on Thai coppers back in January.
Or in this report, which I found on a Yala province Facebook news group, which was a statement from the Barisan Revolusi Nasional on the 1 year anniversary of peace negotiations with the Thai government.
For those of us in Thailand, it’s easy to keep what’s happening in the “scary 3” southern provinces — Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat — out of mind. It’s not every day that a foreigner books a ticket to travel down that way, although I’ve heard there are beautiful national parks there.
But it’s not the kind of thing that can be brushed under the rug. From the reading I’ve done — and I’m no expert here — the conflict stretches back decades, and it’s likely to be a festering boil on Thailand’s rump for decades to come.
So what about those guns?
A report dated May 24th detailed twenty-eight AK-102’s missing from the Narathiwat Territory Volunteer Company in the Mueang district of Narathiwat. The incident is said to have taken place on May 18th during the day.
On May 19th, Mr. Mayu Sohgute, Deputy District Chief of Narathiwat went to wag his chin with a detective at Narathiwat Police Station.
The matter at hand? The missing guns at the volunteer’s armory.
Other reports earlier in May stated that there were missing guns in thirteen other Narathiwat districts, too.
One of the volunteers who was in charge of the arsenal “kept bringing firearms out of the inventory” but the cause is still unknown.
The report does float the idea that there could be a bad actor on the inside who raided the armory for its goodies.
The armory’s missing AK-102’s weren’t detected until a slain insurgent had been found with one of the firearms on his person after being shot dead.
Another report is clear to note that there have been no attempts to keep the press out of the situation, but also states there has been a secret investigation underway to root out the truth about the missing AK-102’s.
Lt. Gen. Kriangkrai Srirak, a veteran soldier of 35 years and commander of the 4th Army Region, said that the Royal Thai Army has taken over the case. He wants the investigation accelerated to find the guilty thief.
The village heads of the three southern provinces have been ordered to inspect firearms in their local communities: check their registration and compare with the AK-102’s.
If I put myself in the shoes of the Thai soldiers that are down that way, I’d want those AK-102’s found sooner than later.
The story’s on my radar, of course — and I reckon that it’s one that we’ll see some resolution on soon enough.
This isn’t one of those stories that gets all the media whipped up in a frenzy, but Lt. Gen. Kriangkrai Srirak strikes me as a guy that means what he says: he wants the thief caught, and soon.
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