A suspected militant sympathiser was arrested and two insurgents believed wounded in a clash with a combined government force in Nong Chik district of Pattani province early Monday, police said.
The shootout occurred about 3.20am after the government force surrounded a house at Tanyongpao village in tambon Tha Kam Sam of Nong Chik district to arrest Seri Waemamu, a suspect wanted under an arrest warrant.
As they closed in on the target two men ran from the house toward a canal at the rear of the house, shooting as they fled. The security forces returned fire.
The two men were believed to have been wounded in the clash but still managed to get to the canal and disappear in the dark.
The authorities finally entered the house about 7am and found the owner, Sama-ae Salae, 51, alone inside. He was detained for questioning.
A search of the premises revealed several articles which belonged to the suspects, along with three M16 rifles and two home-made bombs found in a boat stored on the ground under the house.
A check for the serial numbers of the M16 rifles revealed that one of them was stolen during an insurgent attack on the base of the 12th Development Unit in Pattani on April 28, 2003. The serial numbers on the two other assault rifles had been filed off.
Authorities were continuing the search on Monday for the two men who fled, but they remained free.