ONE MARINE was killed yesterday and three others seriously injured when a bomb planted in a cooking cylinder exploded as an eight-strong patrol team passed by in Narathiwat's Bacho district. The team was providing protection to teachers.
Seaman Kittipong Butsripa, 23, was killed instantly. The three wounded soldiers were named as team leader Chief Petty Officer First Class Somchai Thobsri, 40, Seaman Passakorn Boonmaporn, 22, and Seaman Nirut Khumpong, 23.
The marines engaged the assailants in a brief gunfight before the bombers retreated into the forest. The explosion occurred at 7am on the Narathiwat-Pattani Road in tambon Kayomati. Police found spent M16 and AK-47 cartridges at the scene near team's wrecked pickup truck.
A national-security source at Chulabhorn Military Camp said the attack, believed to be part of ongoing unrest, was allegedly carried out by a Bacho-based insurgent cell led by Rormeulee Kajaekaso.
Rormeulee allegedly belonged to the same network as Maroso Chantrawadee, a key local leader of the Runda Kumpulan Kecil (RKK) militant group, who was killed along with 15 other insurgents on February 13, 2013, during a pre-dawn raid of a marine base in Bacho.
Meanwhile, in neighbouring Yala province, Privy Councillor General Surayud Chulanont presided over a meeting of a committee to organise the "Sanjai Thai Su Jaitai" project's reunion and network development among participants in the past 10 years. The event by the Southern Border Provinces Administration Centre will be held on August 22 at Songkhla Rajabhat University.
Surayud said the project, which began in 2005, had been attended by 5,000 youths from the deep South. The project sent these youths to stay with host families in Bangkok and nearby provinces in a bid to promote friendship. Hence this event expected to see 3,000 alumni and family members show up along with 600 others from host families, he said.