– Thailand news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community
PHUKET: Insurgents launched two shooting attacks in this southern border province this morning, killing three and injuring four people.
Police said two insurgents on a motorcycle shot dead Doloh Yusoh, 44, an assistant village headman in Thapong village in Tambon Talokapo in Pattani’s Yaring district at 3:30am.
He was attacked while parking his pick-up truck in front of his house.
Nearly at the same time, two insurgents arrived on a motorcycle in front of a teashop in Buket Nori village in Tambon Khuannori in Pattani’s Khokpho district.
Police said the pillion rider fired into the teashop with his AK-47 assault rifle, causing some 10 customers to flee for their life.
Police said Saleh Baheng, 60, the shop owner, and Abdulromae Mano, 37, were killed.
This follows the car-bomb blast at the CS Pattani hotel in Yala last night.
Songkhla governor Krissada Boonrat said he has alerted authorities that insurgents may step up attacks across the border into neighbouring Songkhla.
“High-ranking security officials, police and military will work together and all department stores are being asked to check their safety measures, including fire exits, extinguishers and fire alarms, to make sure that they are intact and ready to work around the clock,” he said.
The governor said he did not want the public to panic but that they have to be alert to the situation. Songkhla’s Hat Yai district was the victim of a car bomb attack late March, killing Thais and foreigners.
Six companies of Army paramilitary rangers have also been mobilised to hunt key insurgent Kaman Chaichana, who is thought to be behind last week’s car bomb attack that killed five policemen.
Yingluck puts Chalerm in charge of South
Despite her recent apathy toward the surge in terror attacks in the deep South, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra instructed Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung to handle the problem by closely coordinating with the National Security Council on Monday.
The Cabinet also approved a budget of 391 million baht to cover allowances, supplies and logistical support for military personnel based in the region. It also declared three public holidays for people living in the South, namely Eid ul-Fitr for Thai Muslims, Tet for Chinese Thais, and Christmas for Thai Christians. The first Eid ul-Fitr holiday will fall on August 21, once the fasting period of Ramadan comes to an end.
The Cabinet has also approved in principle an improvement in the compensation payments for people suffering from the violence, future budget allocations for recruiting civil defence volunteers, and citizen patrols for the period of 2012-2015. In addition, funds have been earmarked for the renovation of Songkhla’s main mosque as well as the dredging of parts of the Pattani River. The work will begin next year.
Meanwhile, opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva called on Yingluck to personally take charge of dealing with the increased violence in the South, citing a Pheu Thai policy focused on distancing her from politicised matters – a policy that was mentioned by House Speaker Somsak Kiatsuranont at a recent party meeting.
— Phuket Gazette Editors