Narathiwat rocked by gun attacks, bombings

Narathiwat rocked by gun attacks, bombings

Soldiers cordon off the shooting scene on a road in Sri Sakhon district, Narathiwat, after gunmen opened fire from ambush at three rangers on board a pickup truck on Saturday afternoon. (Photo by Waedao Harai)
Soldiers cordon off the shooting scene on a road in Sri Sakhon district, Narathiwat, after gunmen opened fire from ambush at three rangers on board a pickup truck on Saturday afternoon. (Photo by Waedao Harai)

NARATHIWAT: Three rangers were seriously injured after assailants hiding in a roadside rubber plantation opened fire in Sri Sakhon district on Saturday afternoon.

The ambush occurred on Aiyaeng-Panae Road in tambon Sri Sakhon when the pickup truck carrying the three rangers arrived at the spot. An unknown number of gunmen opened fire from M16 rifles at the vehicle. 

Some bullets hit two cooking gas cylinders in the rear of the pickup truck, causing a fire that engulfed the vehicle. The three rangers immediately got out of the vehicle and returned fire.

After the gunfire, the attackers fled and the three rangers sustained serious gunshot wounds, said Pol Lt Singha Wasanhirankit, deputy investigation chief at Sri Sakhon police, who was reported at around 1.20pm.

Pol Col Suthawet Thareethai, chief of Sri Sakhon district police, immediately led police and soldiers to inspect the scene.

The officers found the pickup truck, loaded with food supplies and two cooking gas cylinders, engulfed in flames. Fire trucks and firemen were called in to put out the fire 

More than 10 spent M16 cartridges were found scattered in the area.

The three injured rangers — Sgt Sompong Asi-ukho and two volunteer rangers  Watcharakorn Kwanyaem and Sakkarin Prommas — were earlier rushed to Sri Sakhon Hospital before being sent to Naradhiwasrajanagarindra Hospital.

A police investigation found that Sgt Sompong and his subordinates went to buy food supplies at a market before going to their outpost in Chanae district. On the way to their outpost, they were attacked.  

Authorities blamed southern insurgents for the attack.

The attack followed bombings and shooting on Friday night.

Four people were injured and two power poles damaged in a string of bomb blasts and a shooting attack at eight locations, including a security outpost, in four districts of this strife-torn southern province on Friday night.

In the first location, an unknown number of armed men opened fire on a security outpost in tambon Kalisa of Rangae district at around 6.30pm on Friday. This prompted defence volunteers to return fire, said police.

As both sides were exchanging fire, another group of assailants cut a roadside tree on a way to the outpost with metal spikes scattered over the road to prevent police and soldiers from entering the area to help those inside, police said.

After firing into the outpost for more than 30 minutes, the attackers decided to flee to a nearby forest.

Shortly later, bombs targeting power poles went off at seven locations in Chanae, Sri Sakhon and Tak Bai districts.

In Chanae, four bombs went off at four locations, damaging one electricity pole. Most of the explosives were planted near roadside power poles and a bridge. No one was injured.

In Sri Sakhon district, two bombs went off at different locations, injuring four villagers.

The villagers travelling on motorcycles were hurt shortly after passing a bridge at Sakor village in tambon Sri Sakhon when a bomb, planted under the bridge, exploded. The other attack damaged a power pole at La-or village in tambon Sri Banphot of the same district.

In Tak Bai, a roadside power pole at Khok Yamu village was damaged in a bomb attack.

Pol Maj Gen Dutsadee Chusangkit, chief of Narathiwat police, ordered tight security in all 13 districts of this southern province following the string of attacks. Officers manning road checkpoints were asked to strictly check vehicles.

Security officers interrogate a woman on a motorcycle about a bomb blast in Sri Sakhon district in which four villagers were injured as two other women look on. (Photo taken from Berita Tempatan Facebook page)

A road checkpoint is set up in Sri Sakhon district on Saturday following a string of bomb blasts and a shooting attack in four districts of Narathiwat. (Photo taken from Berita Tempatan Facebook page)



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