One dead, one wounded in Yala teacher protection unit ambush


YALA, March 6 – – A Thai army non-commissioned officer dies of wounds this morning and another soldier, a private, is in stable condition in Yala hospital after a bomb ambush in this southern border province earlier today.

Sergeant-Major 1st Class Preecha Kongpaksi, 52, died after being evacuated for emergency surgery at Yala Hospital and Private Thongchai Boochuay, 23, is in stable condition after physicians and other medical personnel here attempted to save their lives.

Struck down by a remote-controlled bomb while on a 12-man foot patrol mission, a bomb estimated at weighing 3 to 5 kg, hidden in a pile of rubbish was remotely triggered and exploded while the teacher protection squad was on patrol on a Krongpinang district road.

Today’s incident occurred one day after a blast in Narathiwat on Monday killed one and injured seven others including both local residents and military personnel.

The initial investigation found that the explosion took place as a squad of 12 soldiers was patrolling Ban Ta Ba market along the Thai-Malaysian border to provide security for traders and residents.

When the soldiers stopped at a rest pavilion near the market, an explosive device hidden in a ceiling board was set off by remote radio signal.

The explosive device was identified as a homemade bomb in a metal box, weighing an estimated 5 kg.

Police presumed that the ambush was carried out by suspected insurgents.

More than 5,000 local residents, security personnel, monks, teachers and insurgents have been killed since the renewed insurgency in Thailand’s Muslim-predominant far South erupted eight years ago.