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SECURITY FORCES FOUGHT WITH OUTLAWED CPI REBELS IN ODISHA KILLING TWO INSURGENTS AND ONE INJURED, AND FOUR POLICE OFFICERS INJURED IN A PLANTED BOMB AND FIRE ATTACK IN SUNGAI GOLOK, THAILAND

April 25- May 1, 2024 | Issue 17 - PACOM Team

Chloe Woodbine, Mrinmoy Routh, Hae Lim Park, Martina Pagani

Christina Valdez, Editor; Alya Fathia Fitri, Senior Editor


Battle In The Wilderness: Security Forces Clash With CPI Rebels[1]


Date: April 25, 2024

Location: Boudh District, Odisha, India

Parties involved: India; Central Government of India; State Government of Odisha; Odisha Naxalites; Communist Party of India (CPI); Odisha law enforcement; Odisha Special Operation Group (SOG); Boudh District officials; Parhel Reserve Forest Officials; Kandhamal District officials; Kantamal Police; Boudh District candidates

The event: Security forces fought with outlawed CPI rebels in the Parhel Reserve Forest, killing two insurgents and injuring another. Law enforcement announced that CPI fired at SOG while they were on patrol for Naxalites. Law enforcement will conduct combing operations to recover weapons and grenades.[2] Over the last four months, the Boudh district has experienced at least seven incidents of clashes with security forces, indicating an escalation in Maoist-related violence.[3] Naxalite insurgents staged attacks during the first phase of polling in Chattisgarh, which further highlights the vulnerability of electoral infrastructure.[4]

Analysis & Implications:

  • Law enforcement will likely enhance its presence in the region in response to the recent exchange of fire, likely intensifying patrols, surveillance, and operational activities to counter the Naxalite activities. The increase in security measures likely signifies a proactive approach to counter the Naxalite threats and demonstrates a commitment to reducing further violence, aiming to restore regional stability. By increasing patrols, surveillance capabilities, and conducting targeted operations, law enforcement very likely aims to disrupt Naxalite networks, dismantle their infrastructure, and apprehend key operatives. This proactive approach will almost certainly deter Naxalite activities in the short term and weaken their operational capacity in the long run, very likely reducing the risks of future incidents and fostering a safer environment for communities in the region.

  • As elections approach in Odisha, attacks are likely to continue in districts like Boudh as political competition, polarization, and rivalries heighten among groups vying for power. The convergence of elections and escalating Maoist-related violence in the Boudh district very likely raises concerns for potential further attacks during the electoral process as the groups will likely exploit the situation for violent agendas. The pattern of clashes with security forces over the past four months very likely indicates a deepening security crisis in Boudh district. The recent incidents in Chhattisgarh during the first phase of polling are very likely a reminder of the vulnerability of electoral infrastructure to Naxalite attacks and will very likely need to safeguard the electoral process and polling personnel.

  • Law enforcement agencies will very likely coordinate crackdowns on Naxal networks to mitigate election violence as Naxal activities intensify during polling periods, likely focusing on areas prone to attacks like Boudh District due to the geographical location of remote and densely forested areas, socio-economic problems stemming from underdevelopment and poverty, and long history of Naxalite activities. By taking preemptive measures, law enforcement agencies will very likely aim to disrupt Naxal activities, prevent attacks, and safeguard the electoral process as the law enforcement strategic response is almost certainly vital for maintaining security during electoral events and for fostering long-term peace, prosperity, and democratic governance in these areas.


Date: April 28, 2024

Location: Pasemus, Sungai Golok, Thailand

Parties involved: Thailand; Thai law enforcement; Thai government; Malay Muslims; suspects Chanin Bunsanog, Peerathat Khemphet, Sandusit Somklang, Natthapat Thippromthong; Malaysia

The event: Suspects planted a bomb and shot at police officers near the police base around midnight, injuring four police officers. Suspects also tossed nails on the road before escaping. A car with a Malaysian license plate was at the scene. Thai security personnel heightened security measures along the Malaysia-Thailand border to deter the suspects from crossing.[5] Many Malay Muslims distrust the government due to the deteriorating economic concerns in South Thailand.[6]

Analysis & Implications:

  • Police forces operating on bases at the Malaysia border will very likely enhance security measures by implementing a multifaceted approach to prevent other attacks. Thai law enforcement on the border will likely collaborate with Malaysian law enforcement to increase security around the border and very likely will increase personnel deployment at key border checkpoints, bolstering surveillance capabilities through advanced monitoring equipment such as CCTV cameras and sensors, and fortifying physical infrastructure with barriers and defensive structures to deter potential aggressors. Police forces at the base will very likely re-organize their patrol schedules to prevent any other similar attacks in case other aggressors are aware of the police’s routine, implement stricter access control measures, conduct regular security drills, and employ rapid response teams to swiftly address any security breaches or incidents.

  • Potential motives driving the attack likely include political grievances and retaliatory actions against law enforcement. There is a roughly even chance that insurgency groups executed a pre-planned attack targeting law enforcement to rebel against the government due to the long history of dissatisfaction and distrust of the government in the area. The deprivation and poverty in the underdeveloped area of Thailand likely fuel the insurgency in Southern Thailand, increasing the number of attacks against government facilities and personnel.

 

[1] Forest Cover by Marine Sgt. Rebecca L. Floto licensed under Public Domain

[2] Two Naxalites killed in exchange of fire with security forces in Odisha, The Hindu, April 2024 https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/two-lwes-killed-in-exchange-of-fire-with-security-forces-in-odisha/article68104788.ece

[3] 2 Maoists killed in Odisha’s Boudh ahead of May 20 polls, Times of India, April 2024

[4] Two Naxalities killed in exchange of fire with security forces in Odisha, The Hindu Times, April 2024, https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/two-lwes-killed-in-exchange-of-fire-with-security-forces-in-odisha/article68104788.ece

[5] Hunt for suspects linked to bomb attack on 4 Thai policemen at Sungai Golok base, New Straits Times, April 2024, https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2024/04/1044043/hunt-suspects-linked-bomb-attack-4-thai-policemen-sungai-golok-base

[6] Sustaining the Momentum in Southern Thailand’s Peace Dialogue, International Crisis Group, April 2022, https://www.crisisgroup.org/asia/south-east-asia/thailand/sustaining-momentum-southern-thailands-peace-dialogue

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