Suspect in teacher slaying killed

The man suspected of murdering Narathiwat teacher Chonlathee Charoenchol last month was shot dead in a gun battle with security forces in Pattani on Saturday, authorities said.

  • Published: 9/02/2013 at 04:33 PM
  • Newspaper section: breakingnews

A joint task force of police and soldiers raided house No 9/1 on Tapha Road in tambon Taluban of Saiburi district around 11.30am after receiving a tip that a militant suspect wanted on arrest warrants was hiding there.

Knowing that he was surrounded, Suhaidee Tahe, 31, opened fire at them and fled into the nearby forest, officers said.

Soldiers and police fired back and after a 10-minute gunfight, they found the dead body of the suspect lying with a 9mm handgun beside him.

According to police, Suhaidee was a key leader of a separatist group in Bacho district of Narathiwat, where he had lived.

They said he was wanted under eight warrants from Bacho police station and another warrant of Saiburi for involvement in bomb attacks, killing state officials, burning schools and most recently for murdering Chonlathee.

The slaying of Chonlathee Charoenchol, 51, shocked the government and security authorities for its cold-blooded nature.

The teacher was shot at lunchtime on Jan 23 in front of 292 students and 15 other teachers in the canteen of Ban Tanyong School in Bacho district.

On the day in question, four men arrived on two motorcycles and headed for the canteen. One gunman approached Chonlathee, said a few words to him and fired a 9mm handgun twice at his head.

The gunman then drove away in Chonlathee's bronze Nissan car.

A total of 158 teachers have been killed since the resumption of violence in the country's three southernmost provinces in 2004.

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