Narathiwat bomb hurts 5 troops

Five soldiers were injured in a roadside bombing in the violence-plagued southern border province of Narathiwat on Saturday afternoon.

The bomb was triggered when a nine-member security unit (five on a military Humvee and four on two motorcycles) was patrolling in Waeng district, said Pol Sub Lt Burin Atnansena, a duty officer at Waeng police station.

The blast, which destroyed the Humvee and left a crater one metre deep and one metre wide in the road, was caused by explosives hidden in a cooking gas cylinder.

After the explosion, officers who were not injured had to fire on militants hiding in the bushes to prevent them from shooting.

The five injured officers were taken to Waeng hospital.

The bombing followed a pair of drive-by shootings in Pattani earlier in the day, in which a local official was killed and another villager seriously wounded.

The first attack occurred in tambon Talohmaena in Thung Yang Daeng district where Sofee Yapa, 46, deputy chairman of the tambon administration organisation, was shot dead.

Witnesses told police that Sofee was travelling on his motorcycle on the local road at Ban Khok Mude when a gunman riding pillion on another motorcycle fired at him with a handgun. The assailants then fled.

Sofee took bullets in his face and left shoulder. He was taken to Thung Yang Daeng hospital and later pronounced dead.

Police blamed separatist militants.

The second shooting took place on a rural road at Ban Yukong in tambon Kaso of Mayo district.

Suemadee Bueraheng, 31, was travelling on his motorcycle when he was shot with a handgun by a gunman on another motorcycle, who fled after the attack, said Pol Col Kongath Suwankham, chief of Mayo police station.

Suemadee was seriously injured, taking several bullets in his torso, and was taken to Mayo hospital.

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