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Group hunted for slaying of |three boys

KILLERS ALLEGEDLY HIDING IN NARATHIWAT

A FACT-FINDING team pursuing leads about a group suspected to have carried out the February 3 shooting that killed three young Muslim brothers and wounded their parents visited Narathiwat's Bacho district.

At the same time, it has been revealed that as many as 45 schoolmates of the slain brothers have shown symptoms of post-traumatic stress.

Aziz Benha-wan, chairman of the Advisory Council to Promote Peace in the Southern Border Provinces, and his team met with Bacho district chief Anan Boonsamran and related officials at 10am yesterday to discuss the attack on Jehmu Maman's family.

A source at the Internal Security Operations Command Region 4 Forward Command said Jehmu was a former sympathiser to the separatist movement, who later co-operated with authorities by providing information about insurgents in Bacho and Pattani's Sai Buri and Mai Kaen districts.

The source said the information led to the arrests of many suspected insurgents.

Disgruntled insurgents ordered the attack on Jehmu but his three sons were killed instead, the source said.

It is understood officials have developed leads on the group - led by Afandi Kapa and Yafree Saroheng - that allegedly carried out the attack and whose members are believed to be lying low in Bacho, Sai Buri and Mai Kaen.

Anan later led Bacho public health chief Benjamin Jehlae and a team of psychologists from Songkhla to visit Palukkapaeroh School to provide free lunch and to do mental health checks on the three boys' schoolmates.

The team checked 133 students and found that 45 had symptoms of post-traumatic stress.

Officials will continue to provide therapy to the affected children for one week. If a child's condition does not improve, further treatment will be provided at Narathiwat Rajanagarind Hospital.

During a stage performance in which a song was sung for the slain brothers, some 20 child performers broke into tears while many in the audience also cried.

In related news, authorities hosted a meeting yesterday with community leaders and relatives of alleged insurgents and sympathisers from 53 villages in Bacho's |six tambons to get their help |to convince the fugitives to surrender.

Bacho and another Narathiwat district, Yi-ngor, have 35 residents wanted for breaking security laws.


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