Soldier slain in Pattani ambush

PATTANI - A soldier was killed and four others injured in an ambush carried out by a group of suspected insurgents on Friday night, police said.

Police said a military task force unit was on its way on a four-wheeler truck when an unknown number of unarmed militants fired at the vehicle. The soldiers attempted to drive the truck out of the danger and returned fire briefly.

After the gunfight, the gunmen fled and the injured officers were rushed to hospital.

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There were five casualties. One of them, Pvt Sarawut Srinakhon, 22, had succumbed to a gunshot wound on the left side of his lower chest.

Two soldiers were in a critical condition.

An investigation team recovered some spent bullet casings from the scene to determine the weapons used in the ambush. The police will compare them to those found in past attacks.

The army truck will also be examined. Its front windshield and doors on both sides were riddled with bullet holes. There were pools of blood inside the passenger compartment.

According to an intelligence report, such type of attacks against security forces is likely to intensify this year.

Over 5,000 people have been killed and more than 9,000 hurt in over 11,000 incidents, about 3.5 a day, in Thailand's three southern border provinces and the four districts of Songkhla since violence erupted afresh in January 2004, according to Deep South Watch, which monitors the regional violence.

Related search: Southern Thailand, violence, unrest, insurgency, Pattani

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