By The Nation
Pol Corporal Nares Iiadthong, 31, and Pol Corporal Ruswaidee Samae, 30, were found shot dead in a ditch in tambon Pukit at 12.30am yesterday. Joh I Rong Police Station was alerted of the kidnapping immediately after eight insurgents raided the teashop on Tuesday evening at 7.30pm. Two villagers, Rosi Mana and Dulman Jejdeh, were drinking tea with the policemen when the insurgents arrived.
Rosi and Dulman told police that eight masked and armed suspects showed up dressed like soldiers. While four of the suspects stood guard outside, four entered the shop, spoke to the policemen in Thai before forcing them at gunpoint into Nares’ pickup truck and speeding off.
Alerted of the kidnapping, Joh I Rong police chief Pol Colonel Lukman Borkoh radioed all 13 police stations in Narathiwat to hunt for the pickup in a bid to rescue the officers. But at 12.30am, villagers contacted the Joh I Rong police chief to report that the two policemen’s bodies had been found dumped in a roadside ditch about 200 metres from the teashop.
Lukman then dispatched a team of police and bomb disposal officers to investigate, fearing that the insurgents might have booby-trapped the scene. No bomb was found at the spot. At 4.30am, Narathiwat deputy police chief Pol Colonel Kong-at Suwankham reported Nares’ pickup had been found torched on a road in Ban Paluka village in tambon Kosit of Tak Bai district. A bomb-disposal team was again sent to the scene, but found no explosive devices.
Kong-at, who is acting Tak Bai police chief, said the kidnappers apparently knew local routes well because they had used back roads to avoid police checkpoints. They drove through Sungai Padi and Sungai Kolok districts without being detected, he added. Police believe the suspects may have already fled across the border into Malaysia. Kong-at said the insurgents had also snatched an M16 assault rifle and two 9mm pistols from the slain policemen.
Meanwhile, a friend of Nares mourned his passing in a Facebook post: “You vowed to be a good policeman for the southern border zone that you held so dear. Dear friend, you did your duty till the last minute of your life. Rest in peace, my friend.”
A volunteer-for-development club of the Prince of Songkla University’s Surat Thani Campus also lamented that Nares had become a victim of the South unrest. Apparently, Nares had been an active member of the club.
On Tuesday, a bomb attack killed ranger Angkhan Ruenkham, seriously injured another and wounded a civilian in Yala’s Bannang Sata district. Angkhan was on patrol duty.
Lt-General Wanlop Thitikul, deputy director of the Internal Security Operations Command Region 4’s Forward Command, yesterday led a ceremony in which Angkhan’s coffin, draped with a national flag, was paraded through guards of honour before being loaded into a helicopter at a military base in Pattani’s Yarang district.
The body will be sent by air to his hometown in Mae Hong Son province and his funeral will be held based on Christian beliefs.