Six dead in series of bombings, shootings in Yala, Narathiwat
PM accuses Army chief Sonthi of being slow to act against violence
Officials inspect the site of a roadside bombing of a military vehicle in Yala’s Raman district yesterday. The blast and subsequent attack by militants killed five officials who were preparing to provide security for a local school.
Six people were killed yesterday in a series of attacks in the deep South, including a powerful roadside bombing followed by a gunfight that left five security personnel dead.
Police said a 20-kilogram bomb was detonated as a military vehicle passed by, killing one soldier instantly and leaving a two-metre-deep crater.
Four defence volunteers survived the blast but were gunned down seconds later by a group of about 20 suspected militants waiting in ambush.
The bomb had been hidden in a drain underneath a bridge in Yala's Raman district and was set off by wire.
The victims were part of a unit providing security for a local school.
About an hour later, another bomb exploded just metres from nearby Wat Sountrawat. Nobody was injured.
In another incident, Mayainung Sa-ah, 35, of Rangae district in Narathiwat, was shot in the head at close range while riding his motorcycle. He died at the scene.
Meanwhile, a third bomb exploded outside the home of a Narathiwat district chief in neighbouring Sungai Padi.
And, separately, a bomb hidden under a Sungai Padi market stall exploded. There were no injuries.
Yesterday's attacks came amid finger-pointing and political tussling in Bangkok over who should have control over security agencies in the troubled South, where more than 1,200 people have been killed since early 2004.
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra accused Army chief General Sonthi Boonyaratglin of being slow to respond and suggested he should be more active in handling the protracted regional violence.
"I have told him [Sonthi] on several occasions. He still has to make adjustments," Thaksin said in one of his strongest statements yet against the Army chief.
But officials claimed Sonthi was being denied cooperation by civilian agencies, including provincial authorities and their respective governors.
Provincial leaders continue to look to Deputy Prime Minister Chidchai Vanasatidya for guidance, officials alleged.