Two rangers killed, 4 wounded in Pattani ambush

Two rangers killed, 4 wounded in Pattani ambush

Soldiers and local officials in discussion at the scene where gunmen shot dead two paramilitary rangers and wounded another four in an ambush in Pattani’s Nong Chick on Tuesday night. (Photo by Abdulloh Benjakat)
Soldiers and local officials in discussion at the scene where gunmen shot dead two paramilitary rangers and wounded another four in an ambush in Pattani’s Nong Chick on Tuesday night. (Photo by Abdulloh Benjakat)

PATTANI: Two patrolling paramilitary rangers were killed and four others wounded when they were ambushed in Nong Chik district on Tuesday night.

The two fallen servicemen were identified as Suchart Kongsuk and Thanadet Chaimusik, attached to Ranger Forces Company 4303. 

The injured are Private 1st Class Uthai Prathumwan, Issarapong Kaewraksa, Anirut Wang-eaid and Warakon Nimmak, all from the same company. 

Police were alerted to the attack in Ban Donna of Tambon Bang Khao about 9.45pm on Tuesday. 

The six men were on patrol on three motorcycles when gunmen hiding in roadside bushes opened fire at them, killing two servicemen instantly, officials said. The other four were wounded and rushed to Nong Chik hospital. 

Nong Chik district chief Ake Yang-apai Na Songkhla led a team of army and local officers to inspect the scene about 10pm. They also discussed plans to track down the perpetrators. 

It remained unclear how many attackers were involved and what types of firearms they used. The investigation is continuing. 

A local source said one of the slain rangers, Suchart, had been wounded before, in a bombing in the far South on Jan 10. He was hit in the head by shrapnel, but he later fully recovered. 

"Two rangers were killed at the scene of the attack and four others were wounded," Captain Sarawut Nuchwang, deputy chief police investigator, told AFP.

The number of attackers and their identities remain unknown.

"We suspect it was the work of the same local group who are active in this district," southern army spokesman Colonel Pramote Prom-in said, in an apparent reference to a band of local militants.

"They want to create a situation to incite unrest."

The three southernmost provinces have been part of Thailand for over a century.

But some of the majority Malay Muslim population have resisted Bangkok's rule, calling for greater autonomy or independence.

They accuse the state of railroading their distinct culture as well as carrying out routine abuses which go unpunished.

The latest round of insurgency broke out in 2004, marked by near-daily shootings or bomb attacks which have left civilians -- both Muslim and Buddhist -- bearing the brunt of the violence.

The shadowy rebels shun publicity, operating in small cells in remote forested border areas.

The main militant group the Barisan Revolusi Nasional are reluctant to commit to peace talks in public.

Since the ruling junta seized power in 2014, big attacks have become less frequent due to a combination of heightened security, arrests and intelligence work.

Last year a record low of 235 people were killed in clashes between insurgents and the military.

But in recent weeks violence has spiked with a series of shootings and small bombings, including targeted attacks on rubber farmers.


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