Four Soldiers Gunned Down in Southern Thailand

By Nasueroh

2015-06-03
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150603-TH-shootings-620 The bodies of Thai soldiers lie on the road after a shooting in southern Thailand’s Yala province, June 3, 2015.
BenarNews

Gunmen shot dead four soldiers in southern Thailand’s Yala province on Wednesday as the servicemen drove back to base from a sporting event, officials said.

And in neighboring Pattani province, eight soldiers were injured – one of them seriously – in a roadside bombing on Wednesday night.

The four soldiers who were killed wore plainclothes and carried guns, but they were ambushed from behind by unidentified gunmen in a truck who followed their car and opened fire on them, officials said.

The assailants had also put spikes in the road to blow out the car’s tires, according to an initial investigation by police.

The soldiers were returning to their base after an event at Central Stadium in Yala’s Raman district, said Lt. Col. Isara Chantaprayom, commander of the 41st  Paramilitary Task Force to which the four soldiers belonged.

The shooting occurred four days after gunmen killed two other soldiers in Pattani.

Officials suspect that the people who carried out Wednesday’s killings were separatist insurgents.

“The incident is another deliberate act of violence," Isara told reporters.

The gunmen took the soldiers’ weapons with them after killing them, he said, noting that they made off with three M-16 assault rifles and a .380-calibre pistol.

The slain soldiers were identified as Sgt. Tanong Meechaichana, Sgt. Adisorn Sangkowit, Pvt. Teerakom Krairith and Pvt. Teeranai Luansing.

Pattani blast

In Wednesday’s attack in Pattani, a bomb exploded on Route 42 in the Tuyong sub-district, as a truck carrying soldiers passed by, officials said.

The explosion also started a fire that burned the vehicle completely.

The eight soldiers who were wounded in the explosion were rushed to Nong Chik hospital in Pattani.

Yala and Pattani are part of a restive region in far southern Thailand known as the Deep South.

Since 2004, some 6,500 people – mostly civilians – have been killed in the insurgency, according to Deep South Watch, a regional watchdog group. Thailand is a predominantly Buddhist country but the Deep South is predominantly Muslim.

Resistance in the region to Bangkok’s rule has lasted for decades.

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