2 suspected militants arrested

An assistant village headman was killed in a drive-by shooting in Pattaniā€™s Khok Pho district on Tuesday morning, police said.

The victim was identified as Somsak Surasith, 44, assistant village chief of Moo 4 in tambon Khok Pho, said Pol Col Suchart Assawachinda, chief of Khok Pho police station.

Witnesses told police that Somsak was travelling on his motorcycle on the rural road at Moo 3, tambon Pa Bon of Khok Pho when a gunman riding pillion on another motorcycle fired at him with handgun.

Somsak took bullets in the head and torso and died on the spot.

Police blamed separatist militants.

In Khok Pho, a school teacher was shot and seriously wounded late Monday night.

Police said 56-year-old Saman E-so was returning home in a pick-up truck when a group of men in another pick-up truck opened fire at his vehicle.

Mr Saman was admitted to Pattani Hospital. Doctors said he was now out of danger.

Early Tuesday morning, a former paramilitary ranger was wounded in a drive-by shooting in Yala’s Yaha district.

Police said Marase Saekaela, 28, a resident of Moo 5, tambon Patae of Yaha district, was travelling on his motorcycle on  a rural road in his village when he was shot by a gunman on another motorcycle. The attackers then fled.

Marase was hit in his right shoulder and taken to Yaha hospital.

In Narathiwat's Rueso district, a 60-strong combined police and military force descended on a house before dawn and arrested two suspects named in warrants issued for bombings and arson.

The house at Ban Muelae in tambon Sawo was reported to be a hideout of a group of RKK militants led by Repae-ing Useng who took part in an attack on a marine base at Ban Yuelo in Bacho district on Feb 13 in which 16 militants were killed. 

As the authorities approached the house three men fled into the forest.

Two others remained behind and surrendered.

The first man was identified as Isueman Jehama, 28.  He is wanted on warrants for a bombing in Rueso district on Sept 12, 2008 in which eight policemen were injured and another security related incident. He is also believed to be one of the insurgents who attacked a marine oupost on the morning of Feb 13.

The other man is Ali Baka, 25.  A warrant was issued earlier for his arrest for setting fire to Ban Muelae School in Rueso district on March 21, 2007.

A search of the house found one 9mm pistol with 26 rounds of ammunition and four mobile phones.

The two suspects were taken to the Narathiwat Task Force 30 operations base for questioning.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung on Tuesday signed a Prime Minister's Office order appointing nine prominent figures as his advisers to assist him at the Centre for Implementation of Policies and Strategies for Solving Problems in Southern Border Provinces.

They are Wan Muhammad Nor Matha, Den Tomeena, Areepen Uttarasin, Sukarno Matha, Najmuddin Umar, Phetdao Tomeena, Abdulrohman Absulsamad, Suthipan Sriwikanont and Sudin Phuyuthanont.

They are all members of the Wadah group, known to be well-versed in the problems plaguing the southernmost provinces.

They will be responsible for giving advice, opinions, analyses and suggestions on various issues relating to  southern problems as assigned by Mr Chalerm.

Related search: militants, Rueso, Narathiwat, marine base, arrested

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