Bomb attacks in the deep South yesterday claimed six lives and left seven wounded, one critically.
In Narathiwat’s Rangae district, a bomb exploded in the afternoon on a local road, splitting a pickup truck in two. A group of unknown men then walked towards six victims lying on the road and shot each one with an assault rifle. All of them were dead when police arrived at the scene.
Manop Boonteh was the only one to survive the shooting because the blast blew him out of the pickup and into a forest, but he was critically wounded.
The dead were Banharn Sangkaew, Preecha Jai-ong, Tiab Raksachum, Rut Sengseedaeng, Watin Sengseedaeng and former Border Patrol policeman Snr Sgt-Major Ekachai Mingkwan.
They were all hunters. Two boar carcasses were found at the scene.
While inspecting the scene, Naris Liwan, a volunteer ranger, stepped on a landmine and nearly severed his right ankle.
Earlier in the day, police in the same district defused one bomb and detected two fake bombs.
In Yala’s Bannang Sata district, a device went off at 9.25am, wounding five police, one seriously.
All victims were taken to a local hospital but Pol Snr Sgt-Major Sansern Nama was airlifted to a better-equipped facility in Songkhla’s Hat Yai district.
Two police vehicles were proceeding along Keulong-Taling Chan Road when the explosion hurled one of them off the road and wounded all five police on board, including Sansern, the driver.
The others were Pol Lieutenant Chid Sinsuk, Pol Snr Sgt-Major Yuttapong Chamborirak, Pol Corporal Suriyan Wichienpattarakul and Pol Corporal Assawin Pora.
Evidence suggests that the militants might have packed 5-10 kilograms of explosives inside a picnic cooking-gas cylinder for this attack, which left a 2-metre-wide, 80-centimetre-deep hole in the road.
Police believe the incident was related to the continuing unrest in the region.
An intelligence source said insurgents had been planning to carry out many bomb attacks in the district.
At about 11.45am, another bomb went off at a different spot in the district. Volunteer rangers were patrolling nearby but no one was hurt.
According to the Deep South Watch of Prince of Songkla University’s Pattani Campus, 121 violent attacks took place in the three southernmost provinces last month, killing 46 people, of whom 27 were civilians, and wounding 110, including 77 civilians.