THREE SOLDIERS and an assistant district chief were shot dead and five others wounded after being attacked with a roadside bomb while on their way to rescue security volunteers at a checkpoint in Khok Pho in Pattani, officials said yesterday.
Pol Lt Thirawut Panma of Na Pradu police station said the insurgents started the attack by spraying bullets at defence volunteers stationed at a checkpoint in Tambon Pak Lor – to lure other security officials to the scene to rescue them.
Authorities led by Khok Pho assistant district chief Chaktra Promkaew, accompanied by soldiers in an armoured car had not reached the checkpoint when their vehicles were hit by an improvised explosive device, thought to be a 30kg gas cylinder.
After the explosion, they requested backup from Pattani Special Force 21, both on land and air, because the insurgents threw nails around the scene.
Pattani Provincial Governor Witthaya Panitpong said all officials were alive after the bomb attack but the insurgents came out from hiding and sprayed bullets at them before fighting erupted, leading to the casualties.
The three soldiers killed were Master Sergeant First Class Rungruang Klarob, 34, Corporal Tossaporn Phoklang, 25, and Private Samruay Supanmuang, 24.
The five injured included two soldiers, two village heads and a defence volunteer. All were sent to Yala Hospital.