PATTANI : Seven people, including two military rangers, have been slain in separate incidents in the country's strife-torn southernmost provinces, triggering concern among authorities over rising violence in the region.
Forensic officials examine a petrol station in tambon Naket of Pattani’s Khok Pho district following a gun attack that killed one employee and wounded another. ABDULLOH BENJAKAT
The spate of fatal attacks on security officers and civilians occurred just after three defence volunteers were gunned down in Pattani on their way back from a security meeting on Monday.
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Of the latest seven victims, five were were killed in Pattani, while the two rangers were killed in Narathiwat.
The first of the latest series of attacks took place late on Monday night in Pattani's Khok Pho district when a couple were shot dead on a road in tambon Makrud.
The victims _ Supachai Chuaysen, 27, and Sirikwan Saengthong, 24 _ were riding a motorcycle from their village to the downtown area.
Witnesses told police that a gunman riding pillion on a motorcycle shot the woman first before firing at the man. After the man fell from the motorcycle, the assailant walked up to him and shot him again in the head.
At 4.20am yesterday, in tambon Na Pradu of Khok Pho district, two rubber tappers were shot dead in an ambush on a road near a rubber plantation. They were identified as Phon Phetsorn and his wife Nit, both 65, residents of Ban Kluay in tambon Na Pradu.
Witnesses told police the couple were travelling on a motorcycle to their rubber plantation when gunmen hiding in a roadside forest fired on them with an AK-47 assault rifle and a 11mm handgun. The assailants then fled, witnesses said. The victims were hit several times in the head and torso and died on the spot.
At 11.20am, a 30-year-old female staff member of a petrol station in tambon Naket, also in Khok Pho district, was shot dead. Her 22-year-old colleague was seriously injured.
Police said two assailants drove the motorcycle to the pump to buy petrol. After the victim, Prapaporn Suwanno, filled the vehicle with petrol, the pillion rider pulled out a gun and fatally shot her and wounded her co-worker Leelawadee Boonlert.
Prapaporn died at the scene, while Ms Leelawadee was taken to Khok Pho hospital. The gunmen also took some money from the petrol station's cash box.
In Narathiwat province yesterday, military rangers Chanakorn Kanchong, 26, and Piyarat Romphruek, 29, were shot dead about 2pm as they were riding a motorcycle from Bangosarayo village in Rangae district to a nearby market.
The two rangers were attached to Ranger Forces Regiment 45.
The shooters also took away one .38 pistol from a ranger.
The rangers were assigned to provide protection at a fruit orchard of Buddhist people in the village.
Their bodies were riddled with bullet wounds. Police found more than 10 spent AK rifle bullets at the scene.
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