Ambush in South kills four soldiers
PATTANI : About 16 armed militants on board three pickup trucks unleashed a barrage of bullets at six soldiers patrolling on motorcycles in Mayo district Saturday morning, killing four of them instantly.
- Published: 29/07/2012 at 12:00 AM
- Newspaper section: topstories
SCENES OF VIOLENCE: A security camera captures the insurgent attack on six soldiers patrolling Pattani’s Mayo district. About 16 attackers in three pickup trucks killed four officers and wounded two others.
The militants, a few of them wearing fabric hoods, gunned down the soldiers at about 7.10 am while they were riding along Mayo-Ban Palat road.
The fearsome attack was caught on a CCTV camera installed in a well-hidden place nearby. The five minutes of footage was then leaked by local authorities to the media.
Those willing to see extreme violence may view the video on YouTube. It is not suitable for children, the workplace or those easily upset.
In the footage, the faces of some of the insurgents were clearly seen and authorities arrested three suspects Saturday evening
Army deputy spokesman Col Winthai Suwaree said the drive-by shooting took place while the soldiers were not in a position to defend themselves as they were on motorcycles and heading to their camp.
"We want people to condemn the actions of the southern militants. Soldiers are ready to sacrifice everything as long as the people understand us and give us moral support," Col Winthai said in Bangkok.
The dead soldiers were Sgt Luechai Chunthong, 28, Pvt Ekkalak Sidokmai, 22, Pvt Phakhim Hongmak, 22, and Pvt Bencharong Sikaeo, 22.
Their bodies were flown to their homes in Nakhon Si Thammarat and Satun yesterday for funeral rites.
The surviving solders were identified as Sgt Prida Nopphakhun, 30, and Pvt Akom Suklom, 22.
Local police said the soldiers could not defend themselves and were blown off their motorcycles.
The attackers rushed to the victims and shot them in the groin and head before taking four M16 assault rifles, armour, radio devices and helmets.
Sgt Prida and Pvt Akom, who were behind the others, were wounded and shot back at the attackers. The gunfight lasted about five minutes before the attackers fled.
Police said one of the attackers' trucks escaped toward Mayo district while the other two headed to Ban Palat.
An investigation is under way to identify the rebel group the attackers belong to. The names of the three arrested suspects have yet to be released.
Muslim leaders and peace advocates decried the attack.
Nimu Makaje, former deputy chairman of the Yala Provincial Islamic Committee, said the assailants were not Muslims because they did not abide by Allah's teaching that his followers should help promote peace and unity.
"They must stop their actions now. It is a sin to kill people," Mr Nimu said.
Somboon Ahmad Bualuang, a former member of the now-dissolved National Reconciliation Commission, said the violence in the deep South has not abated because the government would not revoke special laws such as the emergency law.
Angkhana Neelapaijit, chairwoman of the Working Group on Justice for Peace, said the killing of the four soldiers was unacceptable.
"I saw the images captured by the CCTV camera. These people carried out a daring action. I want to see the police bring them to justice as quickly as possible," Mrs Angkhana said.
The killing of the four soldiers in Pattani was the fourth major incident of violence since the start of Ramandan fasting this month.
A car bomb in Narathiwat's Sungai Kolok district on July 20 was the first. Eight people were wounded in that attack.
On the same day an armoured vehicle was bombed in Narathiwat's Rangae district, injuring four soldiers.
Last Wednesday, a car bomb exploded in Yala's Raman district, killing five police officers and injuring one other.
In Narathiwat's Rueso district, assistant to village head of Ban Ya Ba Moo 2 Amran Samo, 29, was yesterday shot by three unidentified men in an ambush as he was riding his motorcycle home from prayers at a mosque.
Police believe an insurgent group was behind the attacks aimed at the authorities.
About the author
- Writer: Parez Lohasant, Anucha Charoenpo & Wassana Nanuam