WHILE SECURITY was stepped up in Songkhla's seven districts during Chinese New Year celebrations yesterday, the bloody unrest continued with the latest gun attack in Narathiwat's Si Sakhon district on Wednesday night claiming a paramilitary ranger's life.
A police investigation learned that a 12-strong team of Ranger Company 4914, led by Sergeant Kasitpong Buasakad, had left their military outpost in Sawang Wittaya School, located a kilometre from the scene, to patrol a road in tambon Cherngkhiri and set up a stakeout in the woods nearby.
They then encountered about six armed men at around 10.30pm and a gunfight ensued when they sought to search them. After about 10 minutes of shooting, the assailants sped off on three motorcycles. Ranger Jiraphan Theungsiabyuan, 28, died on the scene.
The company chief 2nd Lieutenant Siriwiwat Saengprasit then led a larger team of rangers on a hunt for the suspects.
Upon inspecting the scene yesterday morning, police found some 30 spent AKA and M16 bullets and believe the attack was in retaliation for the arrest of 10 alleged Ronda Kumpulan Kecil (RKK) members in Si Sakhon on January 11.
The body of Jiraphan, who is survived by his wife, who is four months pregnant, will be sent back to his hometown in Krabi for burial.
Meanwhile, Abdulloh Pula, a local man accused of having a hand in the January 24 bomb attack that killed two police officers in Yala’s Than To district, filed a complaint with the National Broadcasting Services of Thailand in Yala yesterday saying he had nothing to do with the attack. He added that he was in the process of proving his innocence in court and dismissed news reports that he jumped bail as groundless.