Separatist insurgents in Thailand’s southern border provinces killed two Buddhist monks in an unlawful assault on a temple, Human Rights Watch said today. The deliberate attack on civilians and a place of worship is a war crime.
On January 18, 2019, at about 8:30 p.m., a group of apparent ethnic Malay insurgents attacked Wat Rattananupab temple in Su Ngai Padi district of Narathiwat province, killing two Buddhist monks and wounding two others. Witnesses told Human Rights Watch they saw armed men arrive on motorcycles, open fire with assault rifles at the temple, and then storm inside and shoot the monks at point-blank range. Among those killed was the temple’s abbot, Phra Khru Prachote Rattananurak (real name, Sawang Vethmaha).
“The ghastly attack on Buddhist monks by insurgents in Thailand’s deep south is morally reprehensible and a war crime, and those responsible should be held to account,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “The insurgents’ 15-year campaign of deliberately attacking Buddhist and Muslim civilians can’t be justified.”
The attack followed a pattern consistent with other insurgent attacks, and heightened fears in Su Ngai Padi district and other parts of the four southern border provinces. Thai authorities have instructed all Buddhist monks in Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat, and Songkhla provinces to stay inside temples and cease their daily morning routine of collecting alms.
Continue reading HRW: Thailand: Insurgents Kill Buddhist Monks