Bullet-ridden Buddhists
Pattani — Fear and chaos gripped Thailand's restive south Monday as some 30 Islamists armed men raided a Buddhist village in Yaring district and torched two houses and shot dead three villagers, while in two other nearby districts two young men were shot dead at close range, police said.

Superintendent of Yaring district, Pol Colonel Suthon Disyabutr, said 50 police officers and two fire trucks were mobilised to Che Orh village, a small Buddhist community, where gunmen shot dead three villagers.

The body of Sa-ngeam Kaeowprasert, 70, one of the three victims, was found riddled with bullets and burnt beyond recognisable in his house that had been totalled by the fire early Monday morning.

His wife, Thanom, appeared to have escaped the burning house but did not survived the gunshot wounds.

The body of fellow villager, Somphit Putrarat, 35, was riddled with machine gun bullets. Authorities said his wife and four-year-old child were weeping next to his body in the yard.

Sunthon blamed Islamists insurgents for the attacks, which he said was aimed at making the area ungovernable for the authorities and trying to establish an Islamic state instigate a sectarian violence in the region.

The attack on the village community appeared to have marked a shift in strategy, from point-blank assassination to attacking soft target belonging to Buddhist community, Sunthon said.

In two more separate incidents, an Islamist a gunmen shot dead a young manMarading Mache, 25, in Khok Po district, while in Panare district, Kermor Yakoh, 49, was shot dead at the crack of dawn when out herding his cattle.

Meanwhile, in Nong Chik district's Tu Yong village, an elementary public school was torched but damages was minimum as residents quickly put out the fire.

Meanwhile, in nearby Narathiwat, Deputy Gov. Wichit Chartpaisit and provincial commissioner, Pol Lt. General Yongyuth Charoenwanit, and deputy commander of the Army's Task Force 3, Colonel Somphol Pankul, paraded 31 "seething Islamists" "misguided individuals" who they claimed to have been brainwashed misguided by Parti Islam SeMalaysia insurgents bent on carving out a separate caliphate homeland for the Islamist extremists ethnic Malays in the three southernmost provinces.

The Nation
Posted by: DepotGuy 2006-03-08