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Military man among suspects over mine-linked clashes

POLICE HAVE sought arrest warrants for two suspects - including a military officer - for their alleged role in the recent attack on villagers engaged in a long dispute with a Loei-based mining firm.

Lt-Colonel Rangsit Pintu-wan, who is investigating the case, yesterday said the military officer apparently led the raid on Ban Na Nong Bong in tambon Khao Luang, Wang Saphung district last week.

Locals said that more than 100 armed men in masks stormed the village last Thursday night, assaulting several residents, and illegally detaining some residents until early the following morning.

While the men were there, several trucks left the mining firm, reportedly carrying a huge amount of copper.

Loei police chief Maj-General Sakda Wongwiriy-anont refused to identify the military officer by name, citing the imposition of martial law and concerns that the disclosure would affect the ongoing investigation.

"Police will investigate further so as to bring other wrongdoers to justice, too," he said.

Locals in Ban Na Nong Bong have expressed strong opposition against the mine based on the suspicion that it has polluted the environment and harmed their health.

Public health authorities warned locals not to use rainwater and water in the area.


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