The killing of three employees of Charoen Pokphand group in Nong Chik district of Pattani last Saturday (June 5) allegedly by suspected militants seems to have reinforced the suspicion that the militants may have deliberately targeted outside workers for attacks.
35-year old Mr Krisda Nuankhao, manager of the CPs shrimp farm in Tambon Bang Khaoa and his two staffers, 28-year old Mrs Inthawong Chaokla and 22-year old Mr Wansiri Suriya and a fourth employee, 29-year old Nitikarn Uttara who survived the gun attack were travelling in the same pick-up truck out of the shrimp farm to the provincial hospital as Mrs Inthawong was sick.
But the truck pulled to a stop after it was flagged down by a man who dressed like an official. Then the other suspected militants emerged from hiding and sprayed the vehicle with automatic gunfire, killing Krisda, Mrs Inthawong and Wansiri. Mr Nitikarn was seriously injured.
Police suspected the fatal attack was either motivated by business conflict or it was perpetrated by suspected militants. But the victims colleagues dismissed business conflict as the motive for the attack. They also pointed out that Mrs Inthawong was holding an ID card in her hand when she died suggesting that the man who flagged down the vehicle might dress like an official.
There have been three other gun attacks against workers who are not natives of the three southernmost provinces since January. The followings are details about the three cases.
On January 13, suspected militants attacked a construction site of a contractor of the local provincial electricity office in Sai Buri district of Pattani. One employee, Mr Vik Rattanaruammala, was killed and four others were injured. The assailants also torched a pick-up truck, a six wheeler and construction equipments before escaping.
On March 11, three employees of the TT&T telephone company were killed and one other was injured when a group of suspected militants attacked their work site in Ban Ton Pai, Yarang district of Pattani. The victims were identified as Jua Suwanwong, Somchoke Suwanchatri and Ekrak Poonpan.
The assailants also torched the employees car.
On May 14, suspected militants opened fire with automatic guns on a group of construction workers resting at their camp in Sai Buri district of Pattani. Five workers who are all northeasterners were injured.
Yala Governor Krisda Boonrach noted that in all the three cases, all the victims were Buddhists and came from other provinces.
By Abdullah Wangni / Issara News