PHUKET: Unknown gunmen ambushed a group of Muslim men outside a mosque in Ao Luek, Krabi, last night, killing three of the men and wounding three others.
Ao Luek District Police were informed of the massacre at Ban Ao Nam Mosque in Laem Sak just after 7pm.
Sub Lt Manad Inpornphorm, Inspector with the Ao Luek District Police Crime Suppression Division, told the Phuket Gazette that when officers arrived they found large pools of blood on the stairs and terracing at the front of the mosque.
Investigators collected six 11mm bullet casings and photographed bullet holes in the wall of the mosque as evidence.
All six victims were alive when they were rushed to hospitals by local residents, witnesses told police.
Three of the victims were hit in vital organs and died in the hospitals from lack of blood and other complications.
Two died at Ao Luek Hospital, and the third man died at Krabi Hospital, Ao Luek Police Superintendent Col Somdej Sukgarn told the Gazette.
Of the three survivors, two were seriously injured and are still undergoing treatment at Krabi Hospital.
The third survivor, Village 2 chief Donlorrak Khonlian, had his right arm grazed by a bullet. He was treated as an outpatient and released from Ao Luek Hospital last night.
“Mr Donlorrak told me that he went for prayers with his father and other villagers, just as he did every evening,” said Sub Lt Manad.
“Then he came out from the mosque for a group conversation. All of the sudden, a silver Toyota Vios sedan pulled up on the street in front of the mosque. Two men wearing ski masks got out of the car, walked toward Mr Donlorrak and his group, and started firing. Then they ran back to the car and sped off,” he said.
Police have yet to make any arrests.
“I don’t know who did this, but I suspect it involves local politics. On November 24, Mr Donlorrak won the election for the position of village chief [over the incumbent candidate]. It turns out that the margin of victory was just 19 votes in favor of Mr Donlorrak,” said Col Somdej.
“This is a serious case. We will continue to investigate until we find the man who was behind all this,” Col Somdej added.
— Chaiyot Yongcharoenchai
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