BANGKOK, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) -- The Thai Army on Thursday said that they have apprehended and held five suspects believed to be involved in the Nov. 5 killings of 15 volunteers in Thailand's restive province of Yala.
Security forces in the wee morning of Thursday, combed through Nang Chan mountain range cutting through Yala and Pattani Provinces and have held five suspects for questioning, said Thailand's Fourth Army Region in charge of tackling insurgency in the South.
"Hopefully, the search operation by police, army troops and para-military rangers for these alleged suspects will end on Nov. 25," 4th Army Region commander Lt Gen Phonsak Poonsawat told media, "we will quickly bring the perpetrators to justice. There is no place for terrorism acts on Thai soil."
Phonsak also warned local villagers not to venture into the Nang Chan mountain range during the operation for their safety.
The 4th Region Commander said more than 30 insurgents and their sympathizers are believed to have been involved in the Nov. 5 attack on a defense outpost in Yala Province, with some serving as lookouts and others burning car tires and scattering spikes on the road to impede pursuit by authorities.
A decade-old separatist campaign in Thailand's largely ethnic Malay-Muslim provinces of Yala, Pattani, and Narathiwat has killed nearly 7,000 people since 2004.