A village head was shot dead and his assistant was wounded in an insurgent attack as they drove from a meeting in Pattani yesterday.
Koya Kamae, 52, of Ban Pula village died at the scene while his assistant Sama-ae Karao, 52, was injured, according to Pol Colonel Tuande Chutanant, chief of Yarang police station. The attack took place as the men were returning after the monthly meeting at the Yarang district office.
Unidentified assailants in another pickup followed them and drew alongside the headman’s vehicle and a gunman shot at them with an AK-47 assault rifle.
In a separate report, the Air Force will deploy more aircraft on aerial surveillance missions in the deep South by the end of this year, air force chief Air Chief Marshal Prachin Chantong said yesterday.
Prachin said the Diamond DA42 aircraft would be used in aerial surveillance missions to support ground security operations in the South. The aircraft, equipped with thermal video and digital cameras, will be ready for duty by December, he said.
Currently, Prachin said, the Air Force deploys C-130 aircraft to transport military personnel and other provisions, while two Fairchild AU-23A Peacemakers have been used for aerial surveillance. The personnel manning the Diamond DA42 will be the same as those stationed at Taklee air force base in Nakhon Sawan province.
He said the Air Force was considering deploying additional personnel in Narathiwat or Pattani and Songkhla’s Hat Yai district to support ground operations of other agencies.
On Tuesday, nine alleged insurgents surrendered to the authorities in Yala, saying they wished to give up their fight and were ready to face legal procedures, according to authorities.
Yala Governor Dejrat Simsiri was on hand to witness the surrender to report to the authorities.
Of those who turned in, four were suspects who may have been involved in previous attacks, though insufficient evidence is available to request arrest warrants from the court.
Three were defendants whose cases are pending in the courts for security-related offences.
All have been temporarily released with verification documents issued by the Yala authorities.
The remaining two men are defendants in a security-related case. They were acquitted by the court but said they still lived in fear and that they decided to meet with the authorities after learning about the policy to bring peace to the troubled region.
Dejrat said the province had been implementing a development policy to ease violence in the area, based on His Majesty the King’s advice – to understand, access and develop the local area as well as setting up the Yala Outreach Centre between October 2009 and April 3 this year.
During the period, 209 insurgents joined the government’s attempt to bring peace to the southern provinces.