Soldier killed, five injured in ambush
Insurgents shot dead a soldier and injured five others in a roadside ambush late Friday night in Pattani's Muang district.
An unknown number of insurgents used M16 rifles to open fire at an army truck carrying seven soldiers while they were travelling from their Pattani 23 Special Force base to exchange shifts with other soldiers at a checkpoint in the district.
The ambush occurred about 80 metres before they reached the checkpoint. A Yarang police team was on patrol and opened fire at the assailants to protect the soldiers but the assailants were able to escape on motorcycles.
All the injured soldiers were rushed to Pattani Hospital. Private Sarawut Srinakhorn, 23, later succumbed to his injuries. The injured soldiers included Sergeant Anirun Khajornphakdee, 35, Corporal Prawes Thongchan, 35, Sergeant Akkhaphon Uai-chai, 37, Private Arom Doloh, 22, and Private Surat Phromsue, 23.
Police said the insurgents were probably reacting to the authorities' crackdown on areas near the checkpoint during the New Year holiday, which led to the ambush.
Pattani Governor Pramuk Lamul and Southern Border Provinces Administration Centre secretary-general Pol Colonel Tawee Sodsong yesterday attended a funeral bathing ceremony of Sarawut at Wat Suwannakorn in Nong Jik district in Pattani before his body was sent to Trang province's Huai Yot district for merit-making and cremation.
Pramuk also met the wounded soldiers at the hospital and gave them money and gift baskets.
Meanwhile, 106 police officers yesterday were randomly selected to work in the three restive southern provinces at Southern Border Provinces Border Operation Centre in Yala.
One hundred and forty-eight policemen had applied to be selected to work in the southern border provinces, of whom 42 were previously appointed. The other 106 officers were chosen after drawing of lots.
To prevent partisan or unfair selection, the chiefs of these police officers drew lots for each of them to find agencies for them to work in different areas of the provinces.
As violent incidents in the Na Thawi and Chana districts of Songkhla are less severe, a special unit made up of soldiers and border patrol police will, on Tuesday, hand over to the Songkhla unit of the Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc) the responsibility of taking care of people's safety.
Previously, when violence in the districts was worse, the special unit had been assigned to provide security instead of the Songkhla unit of Isoc. However, both units will still work together to provide security in the areas.