Senior RKK militant dies in gun battle

Senior RKK militant dies in gun battle

A key member of the Runda Kumpulan Kecil (RKK) militant group has been shot dead and three security officers wounded in a gun battle in Yala's Raman district.

Police yesterday surrounded a house in Aekeng village of tambon Kaero, Raman district, following information that Madaree Tayae, a prime suspect wanted in security cases, was hiding at the house along with other insurgents.

Upon seeing the officers, four to five armed men inside the house began shooting about 8.20am, prompting the officers to return fire.

During the exchange, Pol Cpl Preecha Thinchana, 36, was shot and wounded. He was taken to a local hospital before being transferred to Yala Hospital.

About 9.30am, Pol Maj Gen Suchart Theerasawat, deputy commissioner of the Southern Border Provinces Police Operation Centre, took police from a special operations unit, taskforce soldiers and volunteer military rangers to the house where they blocked the men's escape route.

Both sides exchanged gunfire and two more soldiers were wounded in the clash.

After a gun battle lasting more than three hours, the officers entered the house and found the body of a man identified later as Madaree.

An AK rifle, with a magazine loaded with ammunition, and a handgun, were found near his body. The other insurgents managed to flee.

A source said Madaree, 42, was a key figure of the RKK's operations under insurgent leader Mazawe Kama. He was believed responsible for a string of attacks in Raman district, including an ambush of military rangers in 1998 that killed four, and arson attacks in 2005.

Madaree provided arms training to local rebels and was often assigned to carry out major attacks in Pattani's Kapho district and Yala's Raman district, the source said.

In Pattani, three members of a military team providing protection for teachers were wounded in a bomb blast while patrolling in Mayo district yesterday.

The bomb went off at 8.20am as the soldiers patrolling the route on foot arrived at an intersection in tambon Kor Chan.

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