Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has condemned the latest violence in Narathiwat in which two monks were gunned down and some others injured on Friday night.
Government spokesman Puttipong Bunnakun said that security authorities were ordered to hunt for those who were behind the attack at the Rattananuparb temple, locally known as Kokego, in Sungai Padi district.
“The premier deplores the ambush at Rattananuparb temple which resulted in deaths and injuries of monks. He ordered officials to urgently investigate the incident and bring those involved to justice. He asked the public to have confidence in the government's commitment to restore peace in the country,” said the spokesman.
One of the slain monks was Prakru Prachote Rattananurak or Sawang, the abbot of the temple and chief monk of Sungai Padi district. He played a roles in activities to develop communities.
Witnesses said that a group of about 10 men in camouflage uniforms armed with high caliber weapons opened fire on monks who were in the temple at about 8.30pm.
There were differing accounts on how the militants arrived at the temple. Some claimed that they rode on motorcycles while a Facebook user, Rungrot Kongpiban, quoted a monk who survived the attack saying that the militants walked from the back of the temple.
Rungrot claimed that the abbot was shot at close range and died instantly at the scene. Some attackers opened the monks’ cubicle one by one and fired randomly inside.
The government spokesman said that the prime minister ordered immediate strengthening of the security in the province and other areas and to arrange compensation for the victims' families.