By SURIYA PATATHAYO,
A CONFLICT over the drug trade is thought to be the motive behind the brutal killing of five men in Yala province yesterday.
“We have not yet ruled out other possibilities but our investigation has showed the victims were involved in drugs,” police’s deputy spokesman Pol Colonel Krissana Pattanacharoen said yesterday.
The murders took place at about 1am at Ban Tohdue village in Tambon Tanoh Puteh, Bannang Sata district.
Police and soldiers found spent bullet casings at the scene, but an informed source said four of the victims had sustained knife wounds as well as bullet injures.
“Most victims were knifed in the back and in the mouth,” the source said, adding the knife wounds were apparently inflicted before the attackers shot dead all five victims.
The victims were identified as Ibroheng Museh, 32, Ahmah Museh, 33, Usman Yusoh, 39, Furagon Lasoh, 25, and Aranchai Doheh, 27.
Police are now examining recording from closed-circuit cameras near the crime scene to determine who the killers were.
Provincial Police Region 9 commissioner Pol Lt-General Ronnasilp Phusara led officials in inspecting the crime scene himself.
A source claimed Ibroheng and Ahmah were major methamphetamine and kratom traffickers.
Krissana said National Police Commissioner Pol General Chakthip Chaijinda had asked for the speedy arrest of culprits behind this brutal crime.
Colonel Tanawee Suwannarat, a deputy spokesman for the Forward Command of the Internal Security Operations Command Region 4, said the attackers arrived at the crime scene on two motorcycles.
“All victims died at the scene,” he said.
Tanawee said the military’s own probe had indicated that the murders might not be related to the insurgency in the deep South.
He urged people to get in touch with authorities if they knew anything about the crime or the attackers.
“You can provide information via the hotline 1341 around the clock,” he said.
Thailand’s southernmost region has been struggling with an insurgency for more than a decade now, with violence reported almost daily.
In the neighbouring province of Pattani, a female doctor was shot and killed on her way home on Sunday evening.
The 48-year-old victim, Yeuna Abubaka, suffered two gunshot wounds – one to the head and one to the body. Police said Yeuna was riding her motorcycle back home when a man riding pillion on another bike opened fire at her. She was rushed to a nearby hospital but pronounced dead soon after arriving. An investigation is ongoing to determine the cause of the attack.