By The Nation
THE FOURTH Army Region has ordered a manhunt after insurgents gunned down four tambon defence volunteers in Pattani’s Yarang district yesterday before escaping with their assault rifles.
The four defence volunteers from Tambon Prachan were guarding Ban Buko School in the tambon when the insurgents arrived in Army uniforms, pretending to be soldiers visiting the post before they opened fire and killed them, according to police.
The insurgents then took four HK-33 rifles and fled the scene without harming the teachers and students. They also left road spikes behind to try to slow down the authorities who might be pursuing them, the police said.
The four victims were identified as Sulaiman Wae-useng, Muhammad Teteng, Abdulloh Saleh and Buaraheng Ji.
The Internal Security Operations Command yesterday condemned the attack for the indiscriminate use of firepower that threatened educators and school children, said spokesman Pramote Prom-in.
Insurgent-orchestrated violence in the predominantly Muslim deep South since early 2004 has claimed nearly 7,000 lives. Authorities in Bangkok have struggled to contain almost daily violence. Several attempts at peace talks with insurgent groups have failed to bring a lasting peace.
In another development, the authorities yesterday detained five additional suspects for questioning in connection with a car-bomb attack in Songkhla province on Tuesday.
The blast in the province’s Thepa district injured eight border patrol police members, including five women. The pickup used for the explosion was also found to have been stolen from a retiree, who was found dead inside his home.
The authorities believe at least 10 militants were involved in the attack, and interrogation of three suspects since Wednesday led to identifying the five suspects yesterday. The interrogation yesterday led no further clues, according to officials.
A search operation in Songkhla yesterday found some electronic devices, including mobile phones and integrated circuits, as well as PVC pipe and pieces of steel that could be used to construct a home-made bomb. Two suspects who might own the material have escaped, said officials.