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Yala Attack Kills 1, Key Suspect In Pattani Gunfire Named


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Yala attack kills 1, key suspect in Pattani gunfire named

By The Nation.

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A soldier was killed and two others injured when a roadside bomb exploded in Yala's Raman district yesterday while the team was escorting teachers to school.

Corporal Phadungphong Songarjin succumbed to injuries while on his way to hospital, though the other two Army rangers suffered minor injuries. The three victims were members of the 4113 Army Ranger Company.

Meanwhile, Hasman Jehba was identified as the key suspect behind the gunfire attack in Pattani on Thursday, which killed five and wounded four others at a busy market. It is believed that the attack was aimed at Buddhists. There is already a warrant out against Hasman for shooting dead a teacher in Pattani two years ago.

Hasman was once apprehended, but he jumped bail and has been on the run since. Police say Hasman and the five gunmen who took part in the shooting were still hiding in Sai Buri district.

Narathiwat's deputy imam Abdulwahab Jehpoh, meanwhile, expressed condolence over the deaths of the five Pattani residents and denounced the violence, which he said was aimed at separating the Muslims and Buddhists.

Some 29 clerics and imams based in Narathiwat's Sungai Kolok district have taken up the mission of educating Muslims about the Islam's teachings of nonviolence as well as tell them about His Majesty's speeches on peace, reconciliation and coexistence.

An expert on the peace process in the South, Asst Prof Srisomphob Jitphiromsri, confirmed authorities' speculation that the attacks are now aimed at causing a split between Buddhist and Muslim residents.

He warned authorities and the public to watch out for possible attacks against Thai Muslims, which would drive a further wedge between the two faiths and even prompt a violent retaliation.

"This is the ultimate goal of the insurgents in the South," he added.

Army commander Prayuth Janocha, meanwhile, called on insurgents to lay down their arms and surrender to authorities by the end of March. He did not say what would happen after the deadline.

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-- The Nation 2011-02-05

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