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One officer killed, two injured in Narathiwat insurgent attacks



PHOTO: Police and bomb disposal officers inspect the scene of a shooting and firebomb attack in Sri Sakhon district of Narathiwat in which a patrol police officer was killed Friday night - Waedao Harai

A police officer is dead and two others in hospital after shooting and firebomb attacks in Thailand’ southern Narathiwat province, bordering Malaysia, yesterday. Police say three officers in a patrol truck were attacked shortly after they leaving Sri Sakhon Hospital on their way back to their station, at about 11:55.

Narathiwat and its neighbouring provinces of are home to Thailand’s Southern Insurgency, which has gripped its southernmost provinces for decades. The area has been deemed the ‘deep south’ or the ‘restive south’ and the unrest there has become, statistically, a bloodier conflict than that on the Gaza Peninsula in the Middle East.

As the patrol returned to Sri Sakhon Police station unknown number of assailants suddenly opened fire in a roadside ambush. The incident occurred about a kilometre from the hospital. The attackers used M16 and AK rifles.

The driver tried to speed away, but the truck came under fire again just 50 metres away from the first site. The attackers threw a firebomb at the vehicle, causing it to veer off the road.

One officer who was sitting in the front seat, and and another riding in the back, immediately got out of the vehicle as it caught fire. They returned fire as the blaze engulfing the truck spread to a nearby roadside clothing stall.

A police sergeant who was in the back seat was found dead inside the badly damaged vehicle. The two other officers sustained undisclosed injuries

Police from Provincial Police Region 9 led police and a bomb squad to inspect the two sites of the attacks. More than 40 spent cartridges were found scattered along the road at Talor village in tambon Sakor, the scene of the attacks. Fifty more were found at the second site.

Thai authorities recently embarked on a new phase of direct peace talks, the first involving the most powerful southern rebel group, in hopes of resolving the conflict that has taken 7,000 lives since 2004.

Thai officials this week met with representatives of the Barisan Revolusi Nasional insurgents in Kuala Lumpur for two days. They say the talks will take time and require support from “all sectors.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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