RKK chief held, weapons seized

NARATHIWAT : Security officials have stumbled upon a large weapons cache in Narathiwat, thwarting what they believe was a terror plot planned for the New Year holidays.

The discovery followed the arrest on Thursday of Rutsaran Sale, alleged leader of the Runda Kumpulan Kecil (RKK) insurgent group.

The officers were inspecting a rubber plantation in Ban Darun Hisan in Cho Airong district late Friday and early Saturday when they found the weapons and explosive materials buried beneath some of the rubber trees.

One AK and five M16 assault rifles, a shotgun and several hundred rounds of ammunition were uncovered, along with 20 kilogrammes of urea fertiliser and several sheets of metal which can be used to manufacture explosives.

Officers believe the weapons were being stockpiled by Mr Rutsaran for use in attacks over the long weekend.

Mr Rutsaran was arrested on charges of attacking a marine police unit in Tak Bai district and shooting a teacher of Ban Ta Ngo school in Cho Airong district. His interrogation led officers to the weapons.

An initial check of the seized M16 rifles found three were among the 413 guns stolen from the 4th Development Battalion in Cho Airong district on Jan 4, 2004. Four soldiers were killed that day. The theft is often considered as marking the beginning of a new phase of the southern insurgency.

In Yala, soldiers have set up checkpoints on roads in Muang district to look out for suspicious cars and motorcycles that may be used in bomb attacks.

They are looking especially for a grey Mazda Fighter and bronze Toyota Vigo which were stolen recently. Police believe they were taken for use in attacks.

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