Ranger dies, another hurt in ambush

Ranger dies, another hurt in ambush

PATTANI: A paramilitary ranger was shot dead and another wounded in a roadside ambush in Sai Buri district on Sunday night, police said.

The attack occurred about 6.40pm on a road in tambon Trobon.

Two men from the 44th Ranger Regiment -- Sitthichai Pakdiphan and Pongchai Pongthong -- were travelling on a motorcycle from a health screening checkpoint to buy food at a nearby village.

As they neared a bridge, a group of men on the roadside opened fire at them. Sitthichai was hit in the head and the back. He died on the spot. Pongchai was shot in the right arm.

The police believed the insurgents might have been seeking revenge after a clash in which three insurgents died in Nong Chik district on April 30.

A forensic investigation has been conducted on three firearms seized from the three dead insurgents in the firefight at a house at Pa Ka Kue village of tambon Tu Yong.

Maj Gen Pramote Prom-in, spokesman for the 4th Army, yesterday told the media that forensic experts had found the firearms were linked to 22 previous cases. Records showed that 10 warrants had been issued for the three dead men regarding major cases -- such as bombs in Phuket and at a Big C supermarket in the province, and a gold heist in Na Thawi district.

Among the seized firearms, one AK-102 assault rifle belonged to Ah-wang Dendayad, the former village head of tambon Pian, who was shot dead and the weapon stolen on on Aug 21, 2015.

Based on the records of three dead insurgents and the forensic results, Maj Gen Pramote said the insurgents had committed crimes for many years and therefore, the government had no choice but to enforce the law to bring them to justice.

It was not a "military operation with war in mind" as claimed by the Patani Students' Federation, he added.

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