4 militants, ranger killed in Narithiwat fighting

4 militants, ranger killed in Narithiwat fighting

Cho Airong Hospital on March 13, used as a base for an attack on a military base on March 13. (Bangkok Post file photo)
Cho Airong Hospital on March 13, used as a base for an attack on a military base on March 13. (Bangkok Post file photo)

NARATHIWAT -- Four militants and one ranger were killed during an extended operation when a security force captured an insurgent camp in mountainous Chanae district on Wednesday morning.

Led by Col Pasit Chanlekha, commander of the 46th Rangers Regiment, a joint military and police force scoured a mountain range near I-kros village in tambon Chang Phuak of Chanae district.

They were acting on information an armed unit of the RKK separatist movement had set up a temporary camp there, preparing to conduct armed activities during the Muslim Ramadan festival, due to begin on June 6.

This RKK unit was believed to have seized Cho Airong Hospital on March 13, used as a base for an attack on an operations base of  Rangers Company 4816.

Gunmen opened fire on the government force as it approached the target area. The troops responded in kind and the two sides clashed for about 20 minutes, after which the insurgents retreated.

The bodies of three militants were found in the area.  Two of them were identified as Lukman Laleburing and Buraheng Awaema, both wanted under arrest warrants for the seizure of Cho Airong Hospital.  The third dead militant was not identified.

The rangers found two AK47 and two M16 rifles, hammocks, clothes and a large quantity of medical supplies in a temporary camp, which comprised 18 huts.

Col Pasit sent a commando team from Rangers Company 4603 to pursue the fleeing insurgents.  Trails of blood found in the area led to the belief that a number of insurgents had been wounded.  

Another 10-minute clash subsequently occurred in an area linking Chanae and Rangae districts. A ranger, Anusak Amrod, and an unidentified rebel were killed.

Later in the afternoon, Maj Gen Manee Chanthip, deputy commander of the 4th Army, flew by helicopter to the operations base of Rangers Company 4605 in Chanae district for a full briefing.

At a press conference, Col Yuthanam Phetmuang, deputy spokesman of Region 4 Internal Security Operations Command, confirmed that two of the slain militants, Lukman and Buraheng, were involved in the seizure of Cho Airong Hospital on March 13.

Lukman had also shot dead a ranger, Chaisit Malai, at Luboyo village in tambon Chuap of Cho Airong district on July 19, 2015, he said.

The four military assault rifles seized at the temporary camp would be examined to see if they were among the weapons stolen from the 4th Development Battalion in Cho Airong district on Jan 4, 2014  or during  raids on other bases.

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