Motorcycle bomb kills three rangers

Motorcycle bomb kills three rangers

Three military ranger volunteers were killed and seven others injured by a motorcycle bomb in Pattani's Mae Lan district yesterday.

The explosion occurred on the Pattani-Yala Highway No.418 at Ban Wang Kwang in tambon Pa Rai of Mae Lan district when soldiers on two six-wheel trucks and two pickups were passing a parked motorcycle while they were moving to their new camp in Yarang district.

Two rangers, Chokchai Chaisith and Prasert Thopna, were killed instantly.

Chakrit Iamniewngam, another ranger, was seriously wounded and taken to Yala Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. The other seven wounded soldiers were taken to Pattani Hospital.

Police said about 50 rangers attached to the 22nd Ranger Division were moving from their old base at Nong Chik district to a new base in Yarang district on the two pickups and two six-wheel trucks.

A pickup led the convoy, followed the two trucks with a pickup at the back.

The motorcycle, loaded with 5kg of explosives, was parked on the roadside at Ban Wang Kwang and was detonated by radio, killing and injuring the rangers in the last pickup truck, police said.

Police found the motorcycle was stolen in Mae Lan last month and carried a fake licence plate.

They have blamed separatist militants for the attacks.

Mae Lan is the only district in the three southernmost provinces in which the emergency decree was revoked after the situation there had improved.

The motorcycle bomb attack came only two days after Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra visited the deep South.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Yutthasak Sasiprapa said yesterday soldiers who have been deployed to the lower South from other regions will be sent back to their original bases.

The 4th Army will now resume direct responsibilities for security operations in the region. Local paramilitary rangers will take a prominent role, with conventional soldiers taking a back seat, Gen Yutthasak said.

Ms Yingluck has assigned Gen Yutthasak to supervise the integration of all agencies to ensure they follow the government's policy and move in the same strategic direction, especially on southern security problems.

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