A group of suspected insurgents launched a gun ambush on a defence volunteer’s car in Pattani’s Khok Pho district early Monday morning, resulting in two deaths – one passenger from the volunteer’s car and the driver of a songthaew that was caught up in the crossfire.
At least six suspected insurgents, hiding in roadside bushes, launched the shooting ambush at 2.20am against a Honda Civic sedan driven by defence volunteer Muhamad-roree Jehdeng, 42, on a road in Ban Kuan Lamae in Tambon Na Ket.
The sedan crashed into a songthaew driven by Sabuding Niheng, 32, who often uses the truck to pick up students from a Tadika school. Sabuding and a Abdul-karin Meusa, 30, a passenger in the sedan, sustained fatal injuries in the fire and were pronounced dead at Khok Pho Hospital.
Muhammad-roree – who had escaped three previous attacks on his life – sustained slight injuries. He told police that he didn't know who wanted him dead but he had been careful and during this ambush had counter-fired at the assailants, causing them to retreat into forest.
Muhammad-roree urged those who shot at him to surrender to the authorities and turn over a new leaf.
“There is no need to fight one another, let’s help restore peace to the deep South together,” he said.
Police were investigating the attack motive but expected it was related to ongoing unrest in the region, said Pol Captain Sukhawat Chaimanee of Khok Pho precinct.
Police collected 30 spent cartridges for M16 and HK33 guns, along with shotgun bullets from the scene, he added.