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Authorities not involved in insurgent's killing: police

People pray for peace at the Thai Islamic Centre in Bangkok yesterday.

People pray for peace at the Thai Islamic Centre in Bangkok yesterday.

Police have denied authorities were involved in the fatal shooting of a key insurgent who was wanted for six security-related crimes in the deep South.

Mukta Ali-mama, 31, was killed on Thursday night after unknown attackers opened fire on him and his six-year-old son, Lukman Apibarnbae, at Ube village in Bannang Sata district, Yala.

The boy died while being treated at Bannang Sata Hospital.

After the shooting, police rushed to the scene but were forced to retreat in the face of a storm of bullets.

"An ongoing investigation suggests that internal conflicts within his [Mukta's] group might have led to the fatal attack," Yala police chief Colonel Sukon Sri-arun said.

He convened a meeting yesterday morning to plan how to investigate the case.

According to Sukon, intelligence reports revealed that Mukta was also involved in drug-trafficking and illegal-logging gangs.

Sukon did not detail what conflicts within Mukta's group may have provoked the murders.

Mukta, 31, was blamed for several crimes in the violence-plagued deep South.

In 2007, he allegedly played a role in the attack on a military base at a school that killed a ranger and resulted in the theft of six assault rifles.

Mukta was also accused of killing Pol Captain Thoranit Srisuk, a famous bomb-disposal expert.

He was also facing numerous charges relating to multiple attempts to murder officials. Unrest has been raging in the country's southernmost region for about a decade.

Also on Thursday night, a local leader was dragged out of a mosque in Pattani's Nong Chik district and shot dead in front of it. The victim was Adisak Lateh, 53. He was the chairman of the Tambon Korlortanyong Administrative Organisation.

Witnesses said that while Adisak was praying inside the mosque with several people, two men stormed in and arm-locked his neck.

"After they dragged him out, one of them used the victim's gun to shoot him in the head," a police source said.

Adisak had survived two shooting attacks previously.

Police are trying to determine the motive behind his killing. Unrest is among the possible motives alongside a personal conflict and a political conflict.






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