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1 still missing after South gun attack that killed 4

AFTER SUSPECTED insurgents fatally shot four villagers on Tuesday in Pattani's Nong Chik district, police and local authorities yesterday continued to search for a missing villager who fled into a swamp.

Inspecting the scene yesterday morning, police collected 20 spent bullets from an M16 rifle and a 9mm pistol.

The four villagers who ran into the mangrove forest before being shot dead were Charan Suksamran, Thammanoon Panyaem, Natthapol Panarat and Pisal Bangbiew. The fifth man, Prapas Thong-ead, is still missing.

Police said the attackers dragged the bodies of the dead villagers onto the road before fleeing with the victims' truck.

The attack took place in Bang Khao sub-district at 7pm. Four suspected insurgents on two motorcycles opened fire at 10 villagers, travelling in a pick-up truck from Muang district to the roadside mangrove forest to hunt for crabs for sale in the market, said Nong Chik police superintendent Pol Colonel Yukkhol Prasartnanon.

Police suspected the attack was a part of the ongoing unrest in the region.

Pattani Governor Wittaya Panichpong called an urgent meeting and instructed kamnan, village headmen and local residents near the shooting scene to help locate the missing man.

He said the search faced difficulties as the area was mangrove forest and it was raining. Wittaya said the attack might be the insurgents' retaliation for state officials' previous arrest of key insurgents. Wittaya offered condolences to the victims' families.


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