Army rangers overran a group of heavily armed insurgents on Tawe Mountain in Narathiwat province Monday, but there were no reports of injuries, authorities said.
Bystanders look at the bullet-ridden pickup truck belonging to Madari Lameng, 47, a kamnan of tambon Nong Rat in Yaring district. The kamnan was killed in his vehicle in a gun attack in Muang district while driving home yesterday. AFP
A combat group of 36 rangers were tracking down Runda Kumpulan Kecil (RKK) operatives when they found a camp housing 10 armed militants.
As the rangers approached, gunfire broke out. The insurgents fled after a 30-minute gunfight.
The troops searched the camp and seized 53 rounds of M-16 rifle ammunition, two cooking gas cylinders, some food, field equipment and medicine. The camp was later dismantled.
Col Chalermchai Sutthinuan, commander of the 45th army ranger regiment, said the insurgents were RKK operatives with warrants for their arrests.
The suspects included Abdulhakim Puta, Tuansaeh Tuankueji, Nasuha Abu, Usanee Bado and Kuling Lueba, he said.
Col Chalermchai said a manhunt would be launched to pursue the insurgents, while the seized items would be examined for fingerprints.
A helicopter was seen combing Tawe mountain yesterday where the clash took place. Meanwhile, police yesterday arrested a man in connection with the deadly shooting of a former army ranger in Narathiwat's Rueso district.
Nirosali Tohni, 28, was charged in connection with the murder of Asmadee Ahwae-niya, 46, on Friday.
On Sunday night, suspected insurgents put up banners and spray-painted roads and bridges in Narathiwat and Pattani, demanding security forces leave the southernmost provinces.
In Narathiwat, the banners and spray-painted messages were found in 38 locations spread across eight districts.
In Pattani, the message was painted on Highway 410 and other roads.
The messages, written in Thai and the Malay-language Rumi script, demanded police and soldiers leave the deep South if Thailand wanted to see peace in the region. Authorities believe the act is in response to the shooting of a suspected insurgent in Narathiwat's Cho Airong on Friday.
Masupien Mama, 35, was killed in a gunfight with security forces as they tried to arrest him for alleged involvement in a bomb attack in the district that wounded two soldiers on Wednesday last week.
In Yala's Raman district, a rubber tapper was gunned down in a plantation in Ban Pulasanor. Masaipu Hatama, 26, died of multiple gunshot wounds.
A kamnan was killed in an attack as he was driving home in Muang district of Pattani yesterday.
At least seven people in two pickup trucks were chasing Madari Lameng, 47, a kamnan of tambon Nong Rat in Yaring district, who was driving his truck home, police said. A gunman in one of the pickup trucks sprayed bullets at Madari who was hit and lost control of the wheel. His truck crashed into a tree.
The attackers then fired shots at the kamnan, killing him instantly. The attack occurred about half a kilometre from the nearest roadside security checkpoint.
Police said Madari had survived three previous murder attempts.
Walking in religious circles: Buddhists in the southern province of Narathiwat attend a wian-tian, or candlelit ceremony, at the provincial Buddha Monthon park in Muang district to mark Asarnha Bucha Day Monday amid tight security. (Photo by Waedao Harai)
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