Insurgents Kill Four Soldiers in Thai Deep South

By Associated Press 30 July 2012

PATTANI, Thailand—Four Thai soldiers were shot to death at close range Saturday in a brazen daylight attack carried out by suspected Muslim insurgents in Thailand’s violence-prone south. Two soldiers were wounded.

Video footage of the attack in Pattani Province was captured by surveillance cameras that authorities have installed throughout Thailand’s three southernmost provinces, where an Islamist insurgency that erupted in 2004 has claimed more than 5,000 lives.

The footage shows pickup trucks tailing a pair of motorbikes that soldiers were riding as they returned from a military patrol to their base.

As the trucks pulled up alongside the motorbikes, armed men opened fire on the soldiers at close range and shot them dead. They then stole their victims’ rifles, which they used to fire at another oncoming security vehicle before fleeing.

Police Col Kong-att Suwannakha said three motorbikes were attacked in total, each carrying two soldiers. Police were looking for about 15 suspects in connection with the attack but had made no arrests.

The shooting is among several attacks by suspected militants since the Islamic holy month of Ramadan began last week.

A roadside bomb on Wednesday in nearby Yala Province killed five policemen.

The three southern provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat are the only Muslim-dominated provinces in the largely Buddhist country.