Police: Thai Security Forces at Fault in Deadly Deep South Raid

By Nasueroh
150402-TH-pattani-probe-620.jpg A fact-finding committee investigating a deadly raid at a village in Pattani province meets in a local town hall, March 29, 2015.

Police in southern Thailand’s Pattani province said Thursday seven military members would likely be charged in the killings of four men in Tung Yang Dang district on March 25.

Security forces surrounded Toh Sud village that day and had what they described as a shootout with suspected insurgents in which four men were killed and 22 taken prisoner. But locals and human rights advocates later claimed the four were innocent and carried no weapons when they died.

Police Major Gen. Krisakorn Pleetunyawong, superintendent of the provincial force, said investigators had compiled a list of five suspects and were still trying to identify two others. Police expect the suspects to surrender at a location and date that have yet to be determined, he told reporters.

“They will probably be charged with killing – but whether it was done in the line of duty or not, they will have to testify later,” Agence France-Presse quoted him as saying.

Thursday’s statements by provincial police contrasted with information from an official fact-finding committee probing the claim that the four men were unarmed and innocent.

On Wednesday, the 15-member committee said four members of the military and three police officers had taken part in the deadly shootings at Toh Sud.

The security forces fired first, in violation of their rules of engagement, a source who observed the committee’s close-door sessions told BenarNews.

According to that person, the troops may have been relying on faulty intelligence when they raided the village on March 25.

“The committee made an observation that the inaccurate intelligence and a lack of cross-checks, as well as poor situational control, might have been the combined causes for the shootout, which ended in four fatalities,” the source said.  

The regional military command appointed the committee, which comprises government officials, police, military, civilians and Islamic clerics.

The committee is expected to announce its findings on Friday.

Multiple shots

According to a local doctor, an autopsy on one of the dead men revealed that he was shot more than once and with bullets fired from different guns.

“One of the four dead suspects was wounded by two calibers of projectiles, according to the autopsy. He was running, wearing slippers,” Dr. Aran Rohga, director of Tung Yang Dang Hospital, told BenarNews.

Of the four slain men, two were residents of Toh Sud and the other two were students at a local campus, Fatoni University.

Ismail Lutfi Chapakiya, the school’s rector, denounced the use of lethal force.

He called for a non-violent solution to the separatist insurgency that has afflicted Pattani and other parts of Thailand’s Deep South region.

“Everyone who works in this area must learn about non-violent means because the way of non-violence is the best solution to the problem,” Lutfi said.

In other news from the Deep South, four remote-controlled bombs were set off early Thursday morning in Pattani’s Muang district.

One person was injured in the bombings in and around Pattani town that mostly targeted local businesses. One of the bombs exploded near utility poles, causing a power outage, according to news reports.


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