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Woman to leave South after son, husband slain

There is no longer anything keeping a Pattani woman from moving back to her hometown in the Northeast after she lost her husband and 2-year-old son in an insurgent attack on Wednesday night.

Watcharin Nuansai, 34, lost her husband Samarn Hiangma, 38, and son Jakarin Hiangma, 2, in the drive-by shooting.

Families and friends of four other civilians killed in the attack remained in shock yesterday.

"My husband told me every day that he wanted to move to Buri Ram, my parents' hometown, but we couldn't do that. We didn't have enough money to start a new life there. So, we had to continue to live and work here, even though we feared death. Now, I've lost both my husband and son. Right after I finish their funeral rites here, I will definitely migrate to Buri Ram. I don't want others in my family to be killed," Watcharin told Isra News Agency yesterday.

Samarn and Jakarin were among the six people killed at Watcharin's grocery store in Tambon Rusamelae of Pattani's Muang district on Wednesday night when four men on two motorcycles opened fire at them.

Watcharin, whose eyes were red from crying hard, said she was a Buri Ram native whose family moved to Pattani when she was 8 years old. The violence in recent years caused her and her relatives to plan to move back to their hometown.

"Most of the victims were sitting at my outdoor table set in front of my grocery store. I had been sitting with them there but later I went to the restroom to take a bath. I heard loud gunfire so I rushed to see what was going on. I saw smoke there and heard the gunfire again, so I went back to hide in the restroom. Then, authorities took me to hide in an area at the back of my house as they feared more attacks."

"I followed the authorities to a hospital but have not seen my husband and son's bodies. I'm waiting for a temple's pavilion to become vacant and available for hosting their funeral. My husband's relatives are coming from Nong Bua Lamphu to join the rites. [Samarn and Jakarin] will be cremated on Monday.

"It would have been better if we'd all been killed. It's too painful to me to see their belongings and miss them. [The attackers] were very cruel as they killed a 2-year old who was innocent," she said.

Watcharin's mother, Samrit Nuansai, said her family had settled in Pattani about 30 years ago. However, her relatives in Buri Ram kept asking her when her family would move back as they were worried about their safety.

"I told them that we might not be unlucky and killed here as we've rented a house in an urban area and are only 200 metres from the authorities' checkpoint. However, we ended up getting attacked," Samrit said.

Adul Duangkaeo, 40, who narrowly survived the gun attack but was seriously wounded, is being treated at Pattani Hospital.

He said he stood near the shop and saw the four men on the motorbikes, who were dressed like army rangers, so he did not think they were separatists.


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