Insurgents attack army base in Pattani after stealing vehicle, killing its owner

Pattani — A group of southern insurgents launched an attack on the operation base of an infantry company of Pattai Task Force 24 in Nong Chik district late on Sunday night after stealing a vehicle and killing its owner, police reported.

Pol Capt Manit Chanakan, a Nong Chik police investigator, said the operation base of Infantry Company 2513 is located near Ban Tha Dan in tambon Don Rak.

The insurgents opened fired at the base, prompting soldiers to return fire.  An exchange of ensued for about five minutes.

While retreating, the militants fired randomly at many houses of villagers near the base.

There were no casualties in the attack and the clash. Three villagers’ houses were damaged.

Police and soldiers who scoured the area after the attack found two bomb craters in front of the military base and recovered more than 80 spent cartridges of M16 and AK47 ammunition.

Shortly afterward, the authorities were reported that an Isuzu D-Max pick-up truck, registered in Songkhla, which was used by the insurgents in the attack, was found in an irrigation canal near Moo 7 village in tambon Paka Harang of Muang district.

A man was wound dead in the vehicle, of which the front section was submerged in the canal.  He was identified later as Samae Meena, 62, the owner of the pick-up truck, who was shot in the head and right arm.  About 10 spent M16 cartridges were also found in the vehicle.

A police investigation revealed that a group of five to six insurgents robbed Samae Meena of his vehicle at a village in Tambon Pulo Puyo in Pattani’s Nong Chik district and took him as a hostage.  It was believed Samae was later killed by the insurgents.

The insurgents then travelled in the vehicle to the military base at Ban Tha Dan in Tambon Don Rak before launching the attack.

While speeding away after the clash, the pick-up truck skidded off the road and plunged into the irrgation canal.

Military and police forces have been deployed to hunt for the insurgents.