PATTANI, May 2 – Six people including a three-year-old boy were shot dead in an attack at a grocery store in this Muslim-predominant province in Thailand’s far South last night.
Police said the assailants opened fire into the one-storey shop in Ban Koke Muang, Rusamilae subdistrict, killing six men and seriously wounding another resident in the neighbourhood.
Leaflets which read “This is revenge for the innocents” were found at the scene together with many bullet casings.
Grocery owner Samarn Hiangma, 37, and his son, Chakarin, were killed instantly. The four other victims were identified as Kosolpan Nidnoisueb, 56, Somporn Payonrat, 45, Vichien Chalermjit-uthai and Maruding Karim, a driver of the Pattani electricity bureau.
Adul Daokaew, 40, who was seriously wounded from bullet shots was rushed to Pattani provincial hospital.
Police quoted eyewitnesses as saying that four heavily-armed men in black outfits fired into the shop, immediately killing three people.
The attackers left their motorcycles and walked closer to the shop to shoot at three more persons. They fired several shots into the sky before fleeing on their motorcycles.
Another group of militants scattered crooked nails on Route 42, damaging the tyres of 12 cars.
Police immediately sealed off roads in a 500-metre radius to search for the assailants.
The brutal attack occurred just three days after a fresh round of peace talks was held in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur during which the Thai security authorities called on southern insurgents attending the meeting to stop violence and attacks on state officials and civilians in Thailand’s southern border provinces