Three people, including the son of an alleged police informant killed by militants two years ago, were shot to death and two women were injured Thursday in three separate attacks in the insurgent-wrecked Deep South, according to police officials.
The attack came a day after Peter Haymond, the chargė d’affairs for the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok, made his first trip to a university campus in Pattani, where he told reporters he wished the region’s warring factions could stop the violence.
Police said the first shooting occurred Thursday morning in Ban Sanambin village in Yala, when Amri Kuteh, 36, was riding back home on his motorcycle after working as a rubber tapper.
“At least two gunmen riding on a motorcycle flanked Amri and shot him with a 9 mm pistol into the head and he fell to the ground,” said Lt. Capt. Nattawut Petchsatit, an investigator at Bunnang Sata police station.
A police official who requested anonymity told BenarNews that Amri’s father was a high-profile police informant who was killed in a bomb and gun attack two years ago.
“Amri is the son of Ahamakuding Kuteh, who helped police hunt down many insurgents. I believe the insurgents carried out the attack in order to exact revenge against his father,” the official said.
The second attack occurred before dusk when Pathompong Kaewthong, a soldier, was shot in the head as he rode on a motorcycle with his wife in Saiburi, a district in Pattani, police said. He was pronounced dead at Kapo Hospital while his wife survived a bullet wound to her leg, a hospital official said.
A few minutes later at a marketplace in Yarang, another district in Pattani, gunmen opened fire on an ice cream vendor, killing him and injuring another woman, police said, adding that the attackers managed to escape.
No one, including Thailand’s most powerful insurgent group Barisan Revolusi Nasional, has claimed responsibility for any of Thursday’s attacks.
Since the beginning of the year, at least 44 people have died in the Deep South and at least 48 more were injured in violent attacks, according official reports obtained by BenarNews.
About 7,000 people were killed since the violence reignited in Muslim-dominant Malay speaking region in 2004.
The Thai government has unsuccessfully attempted to negotiate a peace settlement with the insurgent umbrella group MARA Patani since 2013.
Haymond, who visited the campus of Prince of Songkla University in Pattani province on Wednesday, said U.S. officials would like to conduct projects to support young Muslims in the region.
“I hope when there is a new government, the negotiating partners succeed for the benefit of the Deep South and elsewhere,” Haymond told reporters.