Two rangers killed in Pattani bomb attack

Two military rangers were killed and four others wounded in a roadside motorcycle bomb attack in Pattani's Mayo district yesterday afternoon.

The deaths came one day after Capt Siwat Sripujyo, the commander of a patrol, was killed and 14 other members of his unit injured in an ambush that triggered a gunfight on Friday in Narathiwat's Rueso district.

Yesterday's bombing occurred at about 2.30pm just as a group of military rangers was patrolling a road in Ban Khaek Thao of tambon Koh Chan, police said.

The dead were identified as Maromalee Hama, 27, and Nithi Chanowan, 25. They sustained severe injuries to their whole bodies and died on the way to a nearby hospital.

The injured victims were Sompong Klanniam, 29, Thannandorn Kaeokhao, 28, Kriangsak Srikhet, 37, and Mahamadarulee Malayu, 19. They sustained shrapnel wounds.

The six were travelling in a pickup truck when the bomb exploded and severely damaged it. A car owned by Mayo District Hospital that was following the truck also was damaged by the impact of the explosion but its driver and passengers were safe.

About 10kg of explosives were planted in a motorcycle with a side-car parked on the road. Grass covered the bomb, police said.

Before the attackers left after detonating the bomb, they fired at the rangers and a gun battle raged for about five minutes.

A combined security force later combed the area but found no suspects.

In Yala, a suspect wanted by police in at least five gun attacks in Than To district between 2005 and 2009 was detained at his hideout in a rubber plantation in Ban Rae, police said.

Abdulloh Pula, 34, a Than To district resident, was caught after a tip-off by villagers.

Five arrest warrants were out for the suspect, said Pol Col Jaras Chinapong, chief of the Than To district police station.

Mr Abdulloh was wanted in connection with a gun attack on Wiroj Kaeothawon, 31, in 2005 and another attack on Thawatchai Sakuljaroenwong, 34, the following year, said Pol Col Jaras.

In June, 2008, Mr Abdulloh was believed to have carried out two more attacks, one on Muhammadreesawan Yunu, 39, and the other on Thani Harnbhirom, 52.

Most recently, he was believed to have been behind a gun attack on Hama Mamadaehae, 70. All the attacks were carried out in Than To district.

Mr Abdulloh denied any involvement in the cases, police said.

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