PATTANI: Firearms seized from three insurgents killed during a clash with security forces in Nong Chik district on April 30 had been used in many attacks in the far South, a 4th Army spokesman said on Tuesday
The three slain insurgents had been wanted on 10 arrest warrants, including for bombings in Phuket and of a Big C superstore in Pattani, and a gold robbery in Na Thawi district of Songkhla province.
Maj Gen Pramote Prom-in, spokesman for the 4th Army, said forensic experts had examined the three guns taken from the dead insurgents and found they were linked to 22 violent incidents in the region.
“Criminal records coupled with forensic results from the seized evidence show their involvement in many unlawful acts," he said.
"They were sought under arrest warrants and were considered to be criminals. Authorities had to enforce the law to bring them to justice.
"It was not a military operation against enemies at war, as claimed by the Permas group (the Federation of Patani Students and Youth) and its allies,’’ Maj Gen Pramote said.
The three men were killed in a clash with security forces at Pakaruesong village in tambon Tuyong of Nong Chik district of Pattani on April 30. A government force surrounded a house in the village about 5pm, and a gunfight followed. One soldier was wounded.
The Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) and the Pattani United Liberation Organisation (Pulo) have condemned the government operation as "inhuman" act, pointing out the clash occurred during the Covid-19 crisis.
Following the fatal clash on Thursday, a paramilitary ranger was shot dead and another wounded in a roadside ambush in Sai Buri district of Pattani on Sunday night.
The 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 when attacked.
Sitthichai was hit in the head and the back. He died on the spot. Pongchai was shot in the right arm.