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Girl, 5, killed in Trat rally attack

A FIVE-YEAR-OLD GIRL from Khao Saming in Trat has become the first child killed during the latest wave of political violence, while a another young girl is in a critical conditions in hospital after being wounded at the same anti-government rally.

It is understood the wounded girl, also aged five, is brain dead.

Another three children at least - two girls and a boy - were injured when an unknown group shot and threw grenades at a rally by the People's Democratic Reform Committee at Yingcharoen fresh market in tambon San Tung on Saturday night.

The girl died after being shot in the head. At that time, she was playing near her grandmother's noodle stall, which was closed due to the anti-government rally in the eastern province.

Supaporn Pincha, 28, the mother of the dead girl, said her family was not there for the rally.

She said her daughter was playing while helping her grandmother wash dishes at the noodle stall.

"When I heard the sound of the bomb attack I saw my daughter collapse but I could not help her as there still was a sound of bomb explosions," Supaporn said.

"When the bomb attack ended I called out for other people to help her."

The girl's uncle, Somkid Boonchoo, 54, said before the attack he saw a group of men drive up to the demonstration site in two pickup trucks.

He said they were driving slowly and then started firing guns and throwing grenades.

When the attack ended he said he saw the two trucks leave the area and he tried to follow them but it was too dark.

Sombat Boonchu, a customer at a noodle stall, also said he saw two vehicles travel slowly into the market and a person in the first vehicle hurled a grenade out while shots were fired from the second vehicle.

"I quickly pulled my son away from the noodle stall as I saw the grenades heading that way," he said. His son sustained minor shrapnel injuries.

About 35 people were injured in the attack, including a second young girl, who was in a critical condition after being shot and hit with bomb fragments.

The PDRC's Trat spokesman, Suwicharn Suwannakha, was sure that the attackers were not locals.

Suwicharn said locals knew and loved one another and were not opposed to the rally.

"We didn't expect anyone would cause a disturbance. We have no people from the other side here," he said.

Suwicharn said the attack happened while Pong Sarakham, a PDRC leader, was making a speech to about 2,000 people at 9.30pm.

The spokesman said he heard a few explosions and the sound of gunfire and saw chairs in front of the rally stage scattered.

Some people ran and others lay down.

"It was chaotic. I saw two pickup trucks speed away. I believe they were attackers," Suwicharn said.


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