Narathiwat community to honour late police officer
Some 6,500 residents in Narathiwat's Rusoh district, both Buddhists and Muslims, met yesterday and decided to build a memorial to Pol Lt-Colonel Jakkrit Wongphrommes, who was killed in an insurgent attack last week.Supak Pipitwattanapan said the officer had done a lot to ensure safety during his time in the district and now he had sacrificed his life for them.
"We loved and respected Jakkrit as he worked hard to ensure our safety. The meeting agreed that a memorial, possibly a statue, should be built to remember his sacrifices for our province," he said. The statue could be erected at clock tower in the district, he added.
Jakkrit and two other officers were killed in a roadside explosion in Rusoh district on Friday. The 90-kilogram bomb left a crater three metres wide and two metres deep in the bridge where it was planted. The six officers were on a pickup truck, travelling on administrative duty.
Tapanee Khiriwong, Jakkrit's wife, said she was touched by the villagers' decision to put up a statue in her husband's memory.
Jakkrit, a Chiang Mai native, was a much-decorated officer and took over as deputy police chief last April, after which he volunteered to work in the South.
As investigation into Jakkrit and his fellow policemen's death continued, a 200-strong combined security force yesterday conducted pre-dawn raids at 90 homes in tambon Salow and apprehended three men for interrogation.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra offered her condolences to the families of slain policemen, especially those working in the deep South, while she was presiding over the Royal Thai Police (RTP) Policy Committee's meeting yesterday.
Yingluck called on the police force to prepare before the Asean Economic Community is launched in 2015, as it could lead to an increase in criminal activities such as drug and human trafficking as well as wildlife and wildlife product trades. Also they will need to ensure the safety of the rising number of tourists. She said the government was ready to support the RTP with funds, manpower and tools, as well as dispatching up to 3,000 police officers to the deep South. She also thanked her deputy Chalerm Yoobumrung for tackling drugs in communities, especially in the deep South.
Meanwhile, two men were killed in separate attacks in Pattani early yesterday.
The first victim was Sapae-ing Sulong, 55, a deputy village headman of Khok Pho district. Initial investigation showed that he was heading home on a motorcycle shortly after midnight when armed men opened fire. His body was riddled with bullets from war weapons, such as AK-47 and M-16. The attack took place at around 12.10pm, but the police only learned about it at 9.30am.
Separately, in Sai Buri district, armed men on a motorcycle shot dead Jaewae Jaewae, 55, as he was riding home just after midnight. He died instantly.
Police also found the body of another victim, Kolaree Damusor, in Yala's Krong Pinang district. The victim's hands were tied and he had been shot at close range. Police arrived at the scene after learning about a shooting on Highway 410 (Yala-Betong) in Tambon Krong Pinang at 2.15am yesterday. Initial investigation showed that Kolaree was parking his pick-up truck at an abandoned gas station before transferring to his motorcycle for the ride home, before unknown gunmen shot him in the head four times. Police suspect personal conflict as a motive, but have not ruled out insurgent attack.
In related news, academic Ahmad Somboon Bualuang has urged the government to be patient until the March 28 peace talks with separatists, as he believes the attacks were some people's attempts to boost their bargaining power and incite unrest. However, he said, security officials should be on guard and beef up security in the region.
"The journey to peace without fighting is a difficult one and needs time, thus the government must stand firm on its principle as the journey can be tested with violence," he added.