3 women shot dead in Thailand's far south

Members of a bomb squad unit inspect the scene after a roadside bomb blast, triggered by suspected separatist militants, that left a village defence volunteer with leg injuries, in Narathiwat.

Two women were shot dead in Yala's Betong district yesterday morning, while a female teacher was also fatally shot in Pattani's Khok Pho district.

A bomb in Narathiwat's Rueso district also injured a defence volunteer.

In Yala's Betong district, Sirirat Saechan, 35, was shot dead at 10.30am while her friend Salinee Saethong, 55, died on the way to hospital after two men on a motorbike chased and open fire at them while they were riding a motorcycle on Highway 410. Police were investigating if the killings stemmed from a personal conflict or the ongoing unrest.

Meanwhile, Ban Kuan Taen Schoolteacher Isara Chairitchok was shot at 12.30pm at her house's gasoline pump shop in Khok Pho, as two men on a motorbike pretended to be customers and shot her twice in the head and twice in the back.

Khok Pho Hospital later sent Isara to the better-equipped Pattani Hospital but they were unable to save her. Her death made Isara the 179th teacher to be killed in the region over the past decade. Police suspect the attack was retaliation for the killing on Friday of two alleged insurgent leaders in Nong Chik district by the authorities.

Meanwhile, Internal Security Operations Command Region 4 Forward Command spokesman Colonel Pramote Phromin said two guns plus ammunition were seized in the operation on Friday at Nong Chik's Ban Khok Node in which two suspected insurgents were killed.

Suspects Russadi Baerohsamae, 33, and Abdullohman Jehteh, 31, were wanted for 11 and 45 national security cases respectively, he said. Pramote said that out of the five others who surrendered during the operation, two were found to have nothing to do with violence, so they were released.

In Narathiwat's Rusoh district, defence volunteer Doloh Waesu was injured at 8.40am by a bomb on Suan Pithan Road. He was patrolling the area with five others when they spotted a bomb under a vandalised roadside sign, the patrol team leader Ban Bluka village headman Royalee Musor said.

As they walked to closer look at the item, Doloh tripped on a wire linked to a hidden bomb, which resulted in him getting leg injuries.