"Life is uncertain. Every time I leave my house to defuse a bomb, I tell my wife and son to come to terms with what might happen to me in the future."
A file photo shows the late Pol Sub Lt Chaen Warongpaisith, second from right, and his bomb disposal team experts inspecting the scene of a blast in Ban Kuyi in Yi-ngo district of Narathiwat province on June 16. WAEDAO HARAI
These are the words of Pol Sub Lt Sayobmarn Maitreechorn, chief of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) squad of the 44th Border Patrol Police (BPP) Division based in Yala.
''I also tell them not to have regrets if I lose my life as I am helping restore peace and prosperity to the deep South.''
Pol Sub Lt Sayobmarn was expressing his feelings after three of his colleagues were killed in a bomb blast while examining another device next to Phetkasem Road in Bacho district of Narathiwat province on Monday morning.
Deputy squad leader Pol Sub Lt Chaen Warongpaisith and two squad members, Pol Sub Lt Jaroon Mekruang and Pol Sgt Nimit Deewong, were killed in the explosion. Chief Warrant Officer Somkiat Youngsiri was also wounded in the blast that damaged a Toyota pickup truck containing the signal jammer used by the bomb squad.
The deaths of Pol Sub Lt Chaen, better known as Darb Chaen, and his team have raised awareness of the difficult lives led by members of the bomb squad in the far South who work behind the scenes in some of the most dangerous conditions.
Despite the life-threatening danger, Darb Chaen had never asked to be transferred from the restive region.
''This is our home. If we do not do it, who will do it for us?'' he told the Isra news agency in an interview a few years ago.
Darb Chaen was said to be dedicated to his job. He had defused between 200-300 bombs in the deep South.
He received a National Police Office award for being an outstanding cop.
In 2011, he was promoted to sublieutenant after many years of hard work.
Several years ago he complained in a Channel 9 documentary that his unit lacked sufficient equipment. He asked for more support, but said he was told to keep quiet.
''I am dedicated to my job because I want to see peace in the three southern provinces. This is my home town and I want everyone to live in peace like they did before. My working philosophy is to be dedicated to my job for my family and the people so they can sleep well,'' Darb Chaen told the news agency.
On Monday Narathiwat police's EOD team, comprising four police, rushed to the scene near Ban Sompoy in tambon Kayo Mati after receiving reports that a bomb had been planted in a hole next to the road.
The bomb squad turned on a mobile phone signal jammer while examining the hole, and confirmed there was a bomb inside. Another bomb inside a 50kg gas cylinder then exploded nearby, killing the three policemen and injuring Chief Warrant Officer Somkiat.
Pol Sub Lt Sayobmarn said the situation in the far South is getting worse. Insurgents in the area want to kill officials, he said. Attacks still take place every day there and insurgents are beginning to plant multiple explosive devices at the same time and the same place.
Pol Sub Lt Sayobmarn said he had been informed by intelligence officers that bomb squad members working in the deep South would be prime targets for insurgents.
The insurgents plant at least two bombs in the same place to lure police officers and squad members into positions where they can be attacked.
The bombs can then be detonated by radio control by insurgents hiding nearby.
Pol Snr Sgt Maj Charoen Pobmor, a bomb squad member of the 44th BPP Division, said he was sorry for the loss of the three officers.
He said those officers working in bomb squads in the South had been warned that undesirable incidents were likely.
Pol Snr Sgt Maj Charoen admitted the explosion in which his three squad members were killed has scared him, but he is not discouraged.
He still intends to work in the bomb disposal squad to keep people safe and secure.
''My two children have often told me to quit my job. They said they only have one father. They don't want to lose me before my time comes,'' he said.
''I told them they do not need to worry about me as I always pray to Buddha to help save my life when leaving for a bomb disposal mission.''
Pol Snr Sgt Maj Charoen was almost killed in two bomb attacks in Sungai Padi and Tak Bai districts of Narathiwat province two years ago.
Insurgents planted explosives in the two districts to lure the bomb disposal team to the scene before detonating them.
Fortunately he was not standing too close to the sites of the explosions. Pol Snr Sgt Maj Charoen sustained injuries, but three of his squad members were killed by the blasts.
Pol Snr Sgt Maj Charoen said bomb disposal experts need to undergo training as often as possible to keep their skills up to date. This is because insurgents in the deep South are using increasingly complicated new methods to plant bombs.
''We need to keep up with the methods so we can defuse bombs and prevent more deaths,'' he said, adding the government must provide more training courses for bomb disposal experts.
The government also must obtain more modern mobile phone and radio signal jammers so disposal experts can examine the bombs and cut phone and radio signals effectively in every mission, he said.