Fifteen village defence volunteers were killed and two others seriously injured in a surprise raid on their makeshift outpost, situated on a road in Tambon Lam Phraya in the Muang district of Yala province, late Tuesday night.
Security officials said that there were about 17 volunteers at the outpost at the time of the attack, which took place at about 11pm. Eleven died at the scene, four of the injured died later.
A number of insurgents, believed to be a group of more than 10, approached the outpost on foot under the cover of darkness and opened fire with assault rifles and handguns.
The defence volunteers, mostly armed with shotguns and handguns, were apparently caught by surprise and several were killed before they could return fire.
The insurgents fled with the volunteers' weapons.
Volunteer rescue units rushed to the scene in response to a distress call, but were forced to a stop after their vehicles' tires ran over spikes laid on the road by insurgents.
An object, believed to be an improvised explosive device, was found on the roadside, not far from the scene of the raid, and was destroyed by an explosive ordnance disposal unit this morning.
Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)