Two Thai soldiers killed in Pattani bomb ambush

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PATTANI, Jan 3 – Two Thai Army soldiers on Tuesday were killed in a bomb ambush in the southern border province of Pattani, according to local police.

The victims were identified as Lt Direksin Rattanasin and Sgt Yuttaya Jumpamee of the Pattani Special Task Force Unit 25. The two were seriously wounded and both died later en route to hospital at the Ingkayuth Boriharn military camp, said Pol Col Adul Buenaebango, superintendent of Mayo Police Station.

While inspecting the scene of the incident on the Khao Wang-Klong Chang Road in Mayo district, investigators found the pickup truck carrying Lt Direksin and Sgt Yuttaya were completely destroyed by the powerful explosion and fell into a roadside canal.

According to the preliminary investigation, Lt Direksin and his driver Sgt Yuttaya were in the truck along with eight soldiers on four motorcycles when their convoy left an army outpost in Ban Khao Wang village to give villagers New Year gifts in a nearby subdistrict.

When the army team was one kilometre from their base, a remote-controlled bomb buried underground was exploded, severely wounding the lieutenant and his driver, who both died later. The soldiers following by motorcycle were uninjured.

The powerful explosion caused a one-metre-deep excavation in the roadside.

Mayo police presumed that those responsible had hidden a 15 kg homemade bomb beneath the road surface and triggered the explosion by an electric wire.

More than 4,800 persons, including residents, security personnel and insurgent suspects, have died in the southernmost provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat since violence intensified in 2004.