Four soldiers killed, 17 hurt by roadside bomb

Traffic police officer gunned down in Yala

Four soldiers were killed and 17 others wounded, two of them seriously, in a roadside bomb blast in Pattani yesterday.

A forensic officer examines the scene of a bomb blast in Pattani’s Kapho district yesterday. ABDULLOH BENJAKAT

The soldiers were on their way to a military camp as part of a routine troop rotation when the explosion occurred.

The bomb detonated about noon as a six-wheel military truck carrying the 21 soldiers was travelling along the Thungyang Daeng-Kalapo Highway in Kapho district's tambon Plong Hoi.

The impact of the explosion forced the truck to slam into a roadside tree and plunge into a ditch.

All the soldiers on board were thrown out of the vehicle.

Four soldiers died at the scene.

The blast left a crater about two metres wide and 1.5m deep in the road.

A source said the soldiers were on their way to Nang Phaya Tanee camp in Pattani's Nong Chik district when the bomb, weighing about 5kg, was detonated remotely.

Army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha has expressed his regret to the families of the four soldiers who died, Internal Security Operation Command (Isoc) spokesman Banpot Phupian said.

Gen Prayuth said the army would ensure the families receive full welfare benefits, the spokesman added.

Col Banpot said Gen Prayuth has also ordered the Isoc Region 4 office to keep stringent security measures in place in areas where insurgents remain active.

The measures will be maintained indefinitely as security forces have been the targets of several attacks over the past few months.

In Yala, meanwhile, a traffic police officer was shot dead in Muang district yesterday.

The attack occurred about 7.50am as Pol Snr Sgt Maj Montree Saengmolee was travelling by car to work at Krong Pinang police station.

Two men following on a motorcycle opened fire on the victim as he drove along the Malayu Bangkok-Phong Yirai bypass in Muang district.

Pol Snr Sgt Maj Montree died at the scene.

The attackers took a pistol and a rifle from the victim's bullet-riddled car before fleeing the scene.

The officer had been shot and wounded in an earlier attack.

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