Early yesterday morning, a ranger was killed and four soldiers injured when suspected insurgents launched grenades at a makeshift army camp in Narathiwat’s Tak Bai district.
The army set up camp on the banks of the Sungai Kolok River to prevent people from crossing the natural border between Thailand and Malaysia. The camp was manned by eight soldiers in five tents.
A soldier said about 15 suspected insurgents started firing grenades at the camp from a Malaysian M79 grenade launcher. They also threw pipe bombs and started automatic firing, prompting the soldiers to fire back.
“There was gunfire for about 15 minutes until the other side stopped firing and probably fled the scene after realizing they couldn’t take possession of the camp,” said one soldier. “Once the smoke cleared, we found the body of volunteer ranger Kiattikhajorn Nakhadee with multiple gunshot wounds along with more than 50 shell casings and about 10 detonated pipe bombs.”
Four other soldiers also suffered minor injuries and were sent to Sungai Kolok Hospital for treatment.
Colonel Thaweerat Benjathikul, chief of the regiment, said he believes the attack was in response to the recent extrajudicial killing of Rosalee Lamso, a suspected insurgent who had been warranted for his arrest in Pattani’s Nong Chik district.
“The soldiers were prepared as we expected an attack and were able to prevent insurgents from taking the camp, although the attack resulted in the tragic loss of army personnel,” he said.
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