3 killed, 10 hurt in Pattani attacks

Two Singburi farmers were shot dead and 10 others injured in Pattani, where a third man was also slain in a separate incident late Friday.

Police examine the shattered windscreen of a pickup truck that was carrying farmers taking part in a rice-growing project run by the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Centre. Two farmers from Singburi died when attackers opened fire on the truck. (Photo by Abdulloh Banjakat)

The attack on the farmers occurred about 5pm on a rural road near the Baloey Tambon Administration Organisation office in Yaring district, said Pol Col Mana Naknang, chief of Yaring police station.

The attack could mean shutting down the promising state project which aims at reviving rice farming in the deep South.

The farmers will return home, they said, and relatives began arriving on Saturday to take them out of the South.

Full background and details of the programme are at this link.

Witnesses told police that 12 farmers from Singburi were travelling on a pickup truck when gunmen riding pillion on two motorcycles fired on them with assault rifles. The assailants then fled.

Saneh Khunnain, 28, and Ekarin Homchoey, 26, took several bullets to their bodies and died on the spot. Their ten colleagues were wounded and taken to Yaring Hospital.

Police blamed separatist militants.

The farmers from the central province were working with the Southern Border Provinces Administration Centre (SBPAC) to teach rice growing techniques to local farmers.

The SBPAC began the project to rehabilitate abandoned rice fields in the three southernmost provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat.

Pol Col Thawee Sodsong, the SBPAC secretary-general, admitted the attack could hurt the programme because it could scare other farmers from the central plains away from working in the deep South.

A separate attack on Friday night in Yarang district claimed the life of a local villager, said Pol Lt Col Thawatchai Sangkamitkol, the deputy chief of Yarang police station.

He said he received a report of a shooting on a local road in Ban Ton Durian in tambon Yarang about 9.50pm.

He led a team of police to the scene where witnesses said that the victim, Abdularsi Sa, 39, had been shot several times in the torso and taken to Yarang hospital. He was later pronounced dead.

Police were told that Abdularsi was walking to a teashop in the village when gunmen on a pickup truck fired on him with M16 and AK47 assault rifles. The attackers then fled.

According to Deep South Watch, which monitors the southern violence, more than 5,000 people have been killed and over 9,000 injured in more than 11,000 incidents, or about 3.5 a day, in the three southernmost provinces and four districts of Songkhla since the violence erupted afresh in January 2004.

Related search: Southern Thailand, Pattani, violence, separatists, terrorist

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