A retired policeman was shot dead and burned yesterday in Yala's Yaha district before the Army chief visited the deep South to follow up on security measures against the separatist violence.
Following the report of a shooting at a gas station in Tambon Yaha at about 6.50am, police found the charred remains of the owner, Sen Sgt-Major Ekkapong Sakdayuth, 65.
Two men on a motorcycle pretended to be customers before shooting Ekkapong in the chest and setting him on fire, police said.
The assailants fled with a computer notebook, cash and a file folder from the station’s office.
Although police suspect the attack was part of the southern unrest, they didn’t rule out theft as the motive.
Police also interrogated a teenager hanging out suspiciously near the scene.
Meanwhile, Army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha joined a meeting of national security officials in Narathiwat’s Muang district.
Lt-General Sakol Chuentrakul, commander-general of the Fourth Army Area, reported that January-February saw 86 bombings, 83 shootings, 122 anti-state banner campaigns, 14 arson attacks and two military outpost attacks in the three southernmost provinces and four Songkhla districts.
Narathiwat had the most bombings at 36 followed by Yala’s 17, while Pattani saw the most shootings at 46 followed by Narathiwat’s 38.
Yala had the most arson attacks at seven.
Narathiwat also had the most raid-turned-gunfight operations at six.
From January 1 to March 14, there were 136 deaths and 154 injuries.
Prayuth also visited the 4109th Ranger Company of Ranger Forces Department 41 at Rusoh district’s Budo mountain range to inspect operations to keep the area safe.
The area was previously the Runda Kumpalan Kecil militant group’s hideout for weapons procurement and training.