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5 shot dead in Pattani attack
Publication Date : 12-09-2013
Five police officers working for an anti-smuggling unit were killed in Pattani yesterday when their vehicle was attacked by a group of gunmen.
Among the dead were a police major and a police lieutenant.
The attack, carried out by five or six armed men, took place on a rural road in the southern border province's Thung Yang Daeng district, according to Colonel Pramote Prom-in, spokesman for the Forward Command of Internal Security Operation Command's Region 4 unit in south Thailand.
He identified the slain policemen as Pol Major Santichai Sartpradit, Pol Lieutenant Anawil Akunsada, Pol Senior Sgt-Major Masuding Meesa, Pol Sgt-Major Maroning Yuso and Pol Sgt-Major Sompote Somprasong.
They worked for an oil-smuggling suppression team attached to the Police Operation Centre in the Southern Border Provinces. The policemen were on a mission to collect information on oil smuggling, one of the main illicit activities in the restive border region.
The bodies of four of the policemen were found lying outside their pickup truck while the other body was found inside the vehicle, according to Pol Colonel Kowit Ratanachote, superintendent of Pattani's Thung Yang Daeng district station, which is investigating the multiple killings. He said all five officers were in plain clothes, and their vehicle had a Bangkok licence plate.
Police arriving at the scene found that the slain officers' vehicle was ransacked and their weapons and body-armour vests had been stolen.
Isoc's Pramote yesterday said the latest incident indicated there was a connection between the violence in the border region and the underground trade in drugs, smuggled petrol and other contraband.
Meanwhile in Yala, another southern border province, a school was ordered closed for three days from yesterday to tomorrow following an explosion on Tuesday that killed two soldier guards and injured two other people.
An executive of Kanarassadorn Bamrung 2 School said yesterday that the school would be reopened on Monday.