Couple slain in drive-by shooting

Couple slain in drive-by shooting

Granddaughter, 2, left injured as more deadly violence wracks deep South

PATTANI: A manhunt is underway after a couple were shot dead and their young granddaughter wounded in a drive-by shooting in Mae Lan district, Pattani late on Friday.

The fatal attack took place near a market between tambon Khuan Noree and tambon Pha Rai in Mae Lan district, said Pol Col Sonthaya Thoopthong, Mae Lan police chief.

Police arrived at the scene to find the bodies of two villagers, identified as Anukul Khunkaew, 60, and his wife Yuphin Khunkaew, 55, on the road with gunshot wounds. A 2½-year-old girl, who was a grandchild of the victims, sustained head injuries and was rushed to Khokpho Hospital. A motorcycle was found nearby in roadside bushes.

According to police, Mr Anukul was riding his motorcycle home with his wife and their grandchild after visiting a nearby market. Four men on two motorcycles followed them before opening fire and then fleeing.

Maj Gen Piyapong Wongchan, chief of Pattani special task force, ordered troops to hunt down the assailants by searching the district and neighbouring Khok Pho and Nong Chik districts.

Also on Friday, the police and the 4th Army updated the public on the investigation into Nov 5's brutal attack on a security checkpoint in Yala's Muang district, which killed 15 people and injured five others.

Eleven suspects were being detained at three military interrogation centres, while a total of 12 suspects have been clearly identified by the forensic science probe, three of whom already faced arrest warrants, said Lt Gen Pornsak Poonsawat, 4th Army commander.

The suspects were found to be linked with multiple insurgent attacks in the deep South, he said.

He added the army was encouraging southern residents to join hands in the fight against Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) by providing tip-offs about the militant separatist group to authorities in the hope of preventing more such attacks.

Ronasilp Phusara, commissioner of Provincial Police Region 9, said a total of more than 40 people were involved in the gun attack on the Yala checkpoint and three associated bombings of utility poles.

DNA evidence collected from the scenes led to the first three arrest warrants being issued, Pol Lt Gen Ronasilp said. The first 11 suspects were detained on Nov 8-9, though six were later released, he said, adding that another six suspects were detained last Thursday, bringing the total number of suspects in detention to 11.

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